Pinterest is filled with organizing challenges. They are great ways to jump start an organizing routine. The ideas are brilliant and give a place to get started - a road map to a simpler, cleaner life.
I fail at every single one. Every single time.
I certainly think a challenge can work for some people. (Probably those mythical people who have kids in school all day, a maid, an unlimited food budget, and time to take a bath all alone without children.)
But for most of us, our days look more like this:
And that isn't even a very busy day. I'm only working 7.5 hours (while most people work 8) and my kids are at school all day.
But when, with that schedule and task list, would I possibly do an organizing challenge?
And on weekends?
Ha ha ha ha ha! The kids are home, there is important television to catch up on, and I have about a thousand social events. So, no, I'm not doing an organizing challenge then, either.
Know what does work?
Finish What You Start
If you are emptying a grocery bag, don't leave the toothpaste in the bottom of the bag on the counter just because you don't want to walk to the bathroom. Walk to the bathroom.
If you are putting away laundry, put everything away (or in a designated spot for the kids to do so before you feed them supper). Don't ignore your bathrobe or the kitchen towels just because they go in other rooms.
Do A Little Something Extra
Have a couple of minutes after applying make-up? Straighten up your makeup bag. Toss trash or old makeup that you never use. Write "buy mascara" on your shopping list.
Talking on the phone with your best friend for 30 minutes? (Or, worse, on hold with Franklin Covey customer service?) Check which ink pens work, toss those that don't work, and find an empty jar or decorative basket for storage.
Have A Someday/Maybe List With Estimated Times
Have 2 minutes? Do a two-minute task, like organizing the plastic bag bin.
Have 5 minutes? Clear all those random papers off of the fridge.
Have 10 minutes? Teach a kid to do a new chore, like gathering up trash cans, emptying and lining them with a grocery bag, and returning them to their places all over the house. Finish what you started by having them write a weekly reminder in their planners or on the chore chart.
Have 30 minutes? Reorganize and label the junk drawer.
Come to think of it, those organizing challenges are a great resource for ideas to put on the Maybe/Someday list.
Also, whenever something in your house bothers you and you don't have time to do it right away, add it and an estimated time that it will realistically take to your list.
TIP: If it takes more than 30 minutes, divide it into 30 minute parts and write it in your planner in those segments on your Maybe/Someday list.
So give up on the challenge, but use it as a resource!
(This entire post does not apply if you are truly kicking booty at the challenge!)
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