Time Management: Just Fifteen Minutes!

Time management has been a challenge for me for as long as I can remember. And keeping my house clean?

(Excuse me while I go have a good laugh)

Okay. Anyway, yes, the day job makes a convenient excuse. Not sayin’ it’s a good one, but it’s mine, and I’m sticking to it. Actually, I no longer worry about it, because now that my husband’s retired, he does a lot of it, and trades work with a friend to do some too (don’t hate me!). But when I was laid off a few years ago, I knew I had to step up.

Enter Flylady.

Before: My shoes were out of control!

Flylady’s website is full of tips to get your house (and other aspects of life) under control through routines. She sends out motivational emails every day, and sells products on her website that she’d personally used and determined to be the best value for what they do. She also has a lot of great sayings:

“Your house did not get messy in one day, it’s not going to get clean in one day!”

“You cannot organize clutter, you can only get rid of it!”

“Baby steps get the job done!”

“Just fifteen minutes!”

What a difference ten minutes makes!

Words to live by!

While I was out of work, I did a good job getting clutter under control, and I kept up with the house fairly well. But reining in clutter is an ongoing task, and I haven’t kept up with it since going back to work several years ago. Yesterday, I tripped over shoes in my walk-through closet and decided enough was enough. Surely it wouldn’t take that long to declutter my shoes, so I noted the time and figured I’d spend fifteen minutes on it and see what I could get done.

Buried in that junk, I found three pairs of boots I hadn’t worn in at least two years, and five pairs of shoes that were worn out (and I also hadn’t worn in a year).  Those went out. Behind them, way in the back of the closet, were a cleaning bucket I’d thought was lost, and a laptop I had from my first software development job, that I bought in 1997! Even if it could run modern software, the screen was just about shot the last time I fired it up. So I found a place that recycles computers for free, without using toxic chemicals or shipping it over to China, and I put the boots in a bag for the next AMVETS pickup.

Time? 10 minutes!

Okay, five more minutes. I decided to tackle my husband’s shoes, since his size-14s are even more of a tripping hazard than my shoes. He didn’t have any to throw out, but I did move a few he doesn’t wear often to the back, behind his slacks.

Fifteen minutes total, and I was done!

The rest of the closet awaits for my next fifteen minutes, some other day, maybe tomorrow!

Have you ever put off something because you thought it would take a long time – then when you finally jumped in and got to it, found that it didn’t take long at all? Have you found anything as ridiculous as a non-functional, 14-year-old laptop??? Got any decluttering tips? Please share!

11 Responses to \

  1. I LOVE FlyLady. Her routines keep me sane where my housework is concerned. I try to spend 15 minutes each week decluttering one area in the following week’s zone.

    Last time I went through our main closet I came across a manila envelope, inside, big old floppy disks. Some were for programs while others were backups either way, I hadn’t seen a computer with a floppy drive in ages, LOL. So no matter what was on them, out they went.

  2. You not only de-cluttered, you took pictures! Does that mean you were planning on blogging about it? See – I can’t think that far in advance!

    My house is a mess. I used to blame the kids. They don’t live with us anymore. Who does that leave? Oh yes, my husband. Yeah, I’ll blame him!

    But I do agree with the 15 minute thing. I need motivation, though. And the only thing that really motivates me is company, which I haven’t had for awhile. By then, I’ll need more than 15 minutes!!

  3. LOL no, I decided to blog about it right after I decided to declutter the shoes, so I snapped the photo then. So it was maybe 1 minute in advance. 😀

    I wonder what my husband’s excuse for trash left out will be when our daughter goes off to college??

  4. It’s amazing how much you can get done in 15 minutes. Our house is a mess every day with two young children spreading toys everywhere. I’ve had to do panic cleaning quite a few times in 30 mins or even less when surprise guests have called and asked if they can come to visit while in town. Thank goodness we have an extra room (aka junk room) so I can just stuff everything laying around to plastic bags and hide it there during the visit 😀

    Just de-cluttering the floor and one horizontal surface make a big difference to the overall appearance of a room.

    Thanks for the tip about Flylady’s site. It was a new one to me. I hope she’ll inspire me to have a better cleaning routine.

  5. GREAT and timely blog!!! I have never found something as exciting as a 14 year old laptop – lol – but I have found photos that I’d planned to use in a collage for my parent’s anniversary. I thought I’d lost those photos. *sigh*

    I’m constantly putting things off because I think they’ll take too long to do. I often find it takes more time and energy to avoid doing the task then just getting to it. My biggest avoidance? The quarterly business taxes. Blech.

    I’m going to check into this FlyLady. Thanks for the tip.

  6. 15 minutes makes a huge difference! Ten, or even five can. Have fun on Flylady.net – there’s so much good info there!

  7. Ugh, I remember doing those when my husband owned a bar! We had an accountant, but I had to collect all the info. And you’re right, it was one of those tasks that if I’d just jumped in and done it, it got done in no more than two fifteen-minute sessions! You’ll find tons of good info on Flylady’s site – have fun!

  8. I love Flylady. Her “do it now” principles have really helped. I am “do it later, the shiny things are more interesting” type, when 15 minutes will get an entire room clean.

  9. Hey there, great post. I’ve got one for you. We went from about 2k sq ft house and downsized to a 700 sq ft house. Time to vac, dust, and tidy new house? Just over fifteen minutes on an average day. Life is good.
    Throw out what you don’t need, want, or use. Own your stuff, don’t let it own you.