15 minute timer trick (Blogging on New Year’s Day)

Like I said last week, I would be blogging on a Tuesday — every Tuesday — come rain, hail, or shine. Or in this case, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. At least I know Good Friday can’t possibly come on a Tuesday. 😉

So, today is New Year’s Day. I promise there will be absolutely NO:

  • resolutions
  • goals
  • reflections
  • general new year’s rubbish.

If you want to transform your life, any day’s a good day to start, and TODAY is always the best day to start anything.

So, new year’s hype aside, I thought I’d share a little trick that has stood me in good stead in the last few years in terms of cleaning out clutter: it’s the 15 minute timer trick. I can’t claim this is my original idea, it belongs to the wildly successful Flylady website.  So here it is:

Step 1: allocate yourself three areas that you want to work on (say, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. You want to clean the kitchen and bathroom, and declutter a couple of boxes in the bedroom).

Step 2: Set the timer to 15 minutes and go like crazy in the first area — let’s say it’s the kitchen. Clean, clean, clean as fast as you can as much as you can — it doesn’t have to be perfect, you are NOT doing all of the cupboards, just a quick wipe over, put away food, etc. As soon as the timer goes off, STOP.

Step 3: Now to the second area — let’s say your bedroom. You will sort as much as you can as fast as you can — it doesn’t have to be perfect or even complete, just 15 minutes’ solid work. You may even surprise yourself and finish early (I’ve done this on more than one occasion). As soon as the timer goes off, STOP.

Step 4: Now to the final room, in this case, the bathroom. Clean, clean, clean like crazy, until — you guessed it! — the timer goes off, then STOP immediately.

Step 5: Make yourself a nice hot cup of tea (or coffee if you prefer). Take a look around your house, and you’ll be surprised just how much you’ve accomplished in 45 minutes or less. If you feel up to it, you can do a second round, although I wouldn’t recommend a third one.

It’s surprising just how much you can accomplish in 15 minutes. I used to have two timers — my house was so cluttered I knew I wouldn’t always be able to find one, so I bought a backup just in case — but now I’m ready to get rid of the second one in my next 15 minute round of clutter clearing.

Tea, anyone?

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