Like many parents and those working busy jobs, I often feel like I spend my day rushing from one thing to the next doing my best to check things off my ever-growing to-do list. I frequently think how great it would be to have a personal assistant to help with some of the everyday tasks that I am often too busy to tackle.
But recently, after a good clutter clearing session, I realized a helpful assistant was right beneath my nose—my home! I had just finished clutter clearing a lot of unused and mismatched Tupperware that had spilled from one drawer to two and were taking up precious space in my kitchen. When I removed and sorted through what I needed and what still had a matching lid, I was able to get everything in one drawer. I then put all of my son’s lunch box items into the empty drawer. His lunch box, bento box, thermos, and little containers for snacks all fit in one place.
The next day when I made his lunch, everything felt easier! I wasn’t searching for containers in a cluttered drawer and everything I needed was together. All of a sudden making his lunch, something I do every morning five days a week, was a simpler and more enjoyable task. I found myself even being a little more creative filling his bento box with more creative and healthier snacks. I had gained extra time to be more thoughtful about what I was making.
This small change in my home – clutter clearing just one drawer – made this particular morning routine so much more enjoyable, which made my morning more enjoyable. As we often suggest our clients do, I then thought of all of the tasks that I have to perform everyday and considered what I could do to make them flow more smoothly.
Mornings are always a particular challenge, trying to get myself and my toddler out the door on time—especially as my husband travelled for work so we were many days on our own. Everyone who has children knows toddlers operate on their own schedule and don’t like to be rushed. So I re-read a blog my sister wrote year’s ago Getting Your Kids Out the Door: 8 Tips for a Peaceful Morning when her kids were toddlers. Then I thought about the things that often trip me up in the morning. For me, picking an outfit that is work appropriate is a struggle. I opened my closet door and realized it was time to do another clutter clearing session. Having done a big clutter clearing session a few years ago, I didn’t need to do too much this time, but I did need a refresher.
Once I got rid of the clothes that either no longer fit, were no longer in good shape, or I simply no longer liked my closet was streamlined and I was able to organize my work clothes in one section and my weekend/free-time clothes in another. This simple change made picking an outfit a lot more fun! My home/personal assistant made a pretty good stylist too!
If you want your home to support you on a day-to-day basis, take a moment to think about your daily routines. Then imagine how a clutter-free, organized home may help you with those tasks and routines.
What gets in your way in the morning or when you come home at night when trying to make dinner or get a good night’s sleep? What are your least favorite tasks? Did you know clutter can increase levels of cortisol, a stress hormone? Is clutter getting in your way?
Try this exercise:
1. Start by identifying one task that you often put off or dislike doing.
2. Take a moment to really think about what it is about that task that makes it a challenge. You may need to break the task down into steps (i.e. making my son’s lunch involved a few steps including laying out food from the refrigerator, making the lunch, getting the lunch box and containers, etc… For me, surprisingly, it was the third step that was getting in my way!). Often if we don’t like a task or procrastinate, it’s because we aren’t certain what the next step should be or have anxiety about the next step. Something as small as negotiating a cluttered drawer can give us anxiety!
3. Once you’ve broken the task into steps, take a moment to think about something that you could do make that task easier or more enjoyable.
p.s. I spent a lot of time researching healthy lunchbox containers that my son could open himself (per my son’s teacher’s request). If you’re looking for some new lunch containers, checkout my favorites on our Pinterest board Back to School!