30 minutes manages major mayhem!

claire_de_lunaOctober 6, 2008

Ok, yes, I went a little crazy with the title, but I wanted to tell you about the 30 minutes we spent reorganizing and calming the chaos that was the storage area of my attic stairwell. I have been guilty of handing off bulk storage items to my dh and asking him to ''put this somewhere''. Whenever he would ask for ideas, it was always the attic stairwell, since we seem to run out of storage areas that are close and accessible.

Every time I would go there to find something, I would be frustrated because my husband was storing things on the stairs, keeping accessibility to a minimum, putting things on top of things in a way with no rhyme or reason. In looking around,I realized last week that when I actually put a ''system'' into place, it's easier to follow the guidelines the storage perimeters define, when it's well laid out. He never has trouble putting things away if he knows where to put it! (DUH.) I remembered a tall, skinny bookcase that I bought years ago for storage in a closet, that just might work. It DID! He handed me the items and I put them away, all in what seemed record time. We managed to put all the extra paper towels, toilet paper and bulk cleaning supplies on the bookcase and turn that little stairwell space into an extended organized pantry. Inside that mess I found items I had put on my supplies list to purchase, which I already had; by doing it together, we both knew where the items were stored. Last night and today, I keep walking to the door to look inside to get the feeling of a job well done, and it didn't take much of my day at all.

Now, if I can accomplish the same with a couple more items on my ''to do'' list today, I'll be happy!

The goal is 30 minutes or under. Does anyone else have anything they've been putting off that wouldn't actually take very long?

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Yes, I have had lots of jobs that I have been putting off and I have been doing the 15 minute or 30 minute and it has been working great. I am still dealing with papers but can't do that all day so every morning or evening I will take a folder and go through. If I am inclined I will do a few more and have been getting rid of most and have what is left organized so if and when I need them I can find them.

Also been doing my windows as I deep clean a room I will do those windows inside and out instead of thinking of the whole house.

Nothing is taking as long as I think it will. Next week I hope to tackle the garage. I have done some but want it all done.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 12:39PM
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dd50, congratulations! We washed half our windows a week ago. The other half will have to wait, but I'm hopeful they'll be clean before cold weather hits.

Oh...The Garage! I'm trying not to think about mine. You know, come to think about it, it's usually those areas I let my husband have control of, which are those that end up bugging me so much. Last year we cleaned out the garage, and a year later, although I can still see signs of organization, it needs tweaking again. This year my goal is to put another car in there, which is something I never thought possible! (Last year it wasn't.) We've downsized one car for better fuel economy and I hope the next garage clean-up will be the end of a reorg for us.

Today, I'm putting some clothes away and donating others. 30 minutes here I come!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 1:12PM
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Amazing, isn't it, how often it's the fretting about the job and not the job itself that gets to us!
Yesterday I had a minor revelation while helping my mother tackle the one big walk-in closet in her retirement apartment...she was putting things away based on shape and size rather than function. (All the rolled up things, like wrapping paper and old documents and charts were together, for instance, and all the aerosol cans, regardless of content, together...) So we put an old shower curtain liner on the bed and took everything out and sorted it by function, which she had never done before.
It took 30 minutes to take it out, and another 30 minutes to put it back.
Now she has a laundry area, a shoe care area, a mending area, a stationery area...and she has called me up three times to tell me what a sense of control it gives her.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 8:28AM
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We are fixing up the mud room. I had painted the entire room, except for one spot where hubby had to fill a hole. Usually, I do all the sanding and painting because I do a neater job. Hubby does related things, like repairing holes.

It has been about one week since hubby filled the hole. After all was dry, he sanded it one night after dinner.

So now it was my turn to paint that small area and be done with the painting, so that we can move on to the next phase. Health concerns and doctor appointments have kept me busier than usual lately, but how long does it really take to paint an area that is about one foot by one foot? I had never found the time, and here, hubby was offering to do it for me after dinner last night.

I resisted the urge to have to do it all myself. I surrendered control. I reminded myself that "It doesn't have to be perfect," especially since this area will be covered by a cabinet. I helped him find everything he needed, and he painted it while we chatted with each other.

It needs a second coat today. I will try to remember how little time it took last night!

Procrastination takes a whole lot longer than just doing the job. But it is sometimes hard to juggle everything. I have finally decided that if I pass by the same undone task too many times, it is time to move it to the top of the list!

Lesson learned. :-)

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 10:18AM
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I love those stories!

Bronwynsmom, I can just see your mom looking into her organized closet with its separate functioning areas, the way I keep peeking into my attic stairwell. How nice when you can actually find the things you need because it's set up in a way that makes sense!

Maryliz, It's lovely that you didn't have to deal with it, and it will soon be done! It's so true, that thinking about doing something often takes more time than actually getting it done. I'm trying to remember this as I traipse out to the garage later this afternoon...

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 2:32PM
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Just having company while you're doing a boring job is helpful. DH went out to the garden to dig up his potato crop. Three rows, about six feet each. I sat down next to him the whole time and we chatted pleasantly. The time went by quick, now I have a sack of potatoes to cook this fall and wointer. I have some organizing to do in a closet. I wish I could just get the energy/determination to work on it 15 to 30 minutes a day. I'd probably be done in less than a week!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 4:45PM
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It is amazing how powerful 30 minutes can be.

And I agree that just having company can be really helpful.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 11:36PM
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Sometimes the radio makes a good substitute for having someone with you while you do your chore. You might try your favorite talk show, or some energetic, happy music. Sometimes, I fold laundry in front of the TV.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 6:15PM
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My source of worry and procrastination was the home office. I really did not want to file that big box of papers in those crowded filing cabinets. I decided to clean out the files during advertisements, but it did not take long to figure out that I could take one file at a time to my chair in front of the TV and go through the papers there. I have burned two office size trashcans full of papers, and the filing is now down to a tray full. Doing the filing during 15 min. advertisements really made the task bearable.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 1:35PM
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This thread has been so helpful to me. Thank you Claire for starting it!!!

When I'm doing dreaded/tedious/mindless and timed chores, I like to listen to audio books.

Thanks to this forum and Janet Evanovich's "Stephanie Plum" audio series, I've...

...Cleaned two windows, inside and out, in preparation for winter. I have many more to go, but I focus on the success, not the ones in waiting.

...I cleaned and properly stored several bird nectar feeders and watering stations that won't be used until next spring. I've even traded out messy squirrel baffles (over the feeders) for clean ones and cleaned and stored the first set. I try to keep my bird feeders and stations neat and sanitary. It actually takes very little "time" to do it right.

...I doubled checked the winter seed and suet feeders. Everything is ready to go.

...I've also began purging and filing the huge pile of paper that has spread from the table, to the baking counter, to the chair seats, to a box. I will beat it down into a very few, smaller, easily stacked file boxes.

We're in the midst of needed almost-major remodels. The bathroom has been completely gutted. Drywall dust, insulation, and sawdust rule supreme right now but I keep reminding myself, "one step at a time."

At the rate I'm going, by the time the construction dust and messes are cleaned up, my files and papers will be in perfect order and I can get right to enjoying and using the new office and craft room for their intended purposes...not to mention the bathroom!

Some of my mantras...

"I can do anything for 15 (or 5, or 30) minutes.

"It doesn't have to be perfect; it just has to be done!"

"A place for everything; and everything in it's place." Thanks, Mom!

Since I have a poor depth of field vision, we have a new rule that really helps in lots of ways, "Nothing goes on the floor except our feet."

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 10:41PM
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I made a deal with my daughter. She lives in another city and because of an eye condition, she must do eye exercises for 30 minutes each day. She has avoided doing it because it makes her very nauseous. I hate exercising so the deal was that she does her 30 minutes at the same time I either exercise or clean. Cleaning can be exercising too since it makes me move around. I'm glad to say I cleaned the kitchen today, at least most of the seeable part of the kitchen. It took me 1 1/4 hours but as long as it's not less than 30 minutes, day 1 is accomplished. I figure that just 30 minutes a day for the next 100 days (which is the number of days she is to do these exercises) and my house should be in order and maybe I'll lose a few pounds while I'm at it.

Claire, it was because of this thread that I even thought to bring up this challenge. Thank you. If she stays with the exercises, you may have helped a girl's eyesight.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 3:48PM
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Marie, Thanks for that. You know, 30 minutes of exercise a day is a goal for me as well. I find that when it comes to something I really don't enjoy so much, it helps me to do it early in my day, so I can remove it from my list. Good luck to you and your daughter.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 4:07PM
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Oh, Caroline, you hit me hard with two of your quotes:

"I can do anything for 15 (or 5, or 30) minutes."

"It doesn't have to be perfect; it just has to be done!"

Houseguests are arriving on Tuesday and I soooooo don't want to clean. I was in a small car accident a month ago, and while I was healing, the house got pretty messy. And now it seems overwhelming to tackle. But, you're right--I can do anything for fifteen minutes. And it DOESN'T have to be perfect, it just needs to be (mostly) done.

Thank you so much! Off I go to clean.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 4:12PM
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