Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up really has changed my life for the better. Let’s face it though – we all have moments where we enjoy sitting back, relaxing, and not doing anything. The joy of not caring about the mess, letting it sit so we can enjoy a few moments with the kids, leaving it there so we can head out and enjoy life is important too. I would love to be perfect, but I want to enjoy life too.
All too often the issue is we are so busy with everything and adding one more thing to our list just doesn’t feel doable. We are already overwhelmed and there just isn’t an extra 5 minutes in our morning schedule to clean up before we head out the door. With our hands full of workday items and the kids’ stuff we run out of hands. Our minds are full with the overloaded to do list, the extracurricular activities schedule to try and remember to make it on time for, and then supper to figure out before we get back as we are stuck in traffic.
How in the world could we possibly fit anything more into our over packed day? By the time the weekend makes it here, we are so far behind. The sports, homework, housework, errands, shopping, cooking, laundry, dishes, dirty toilets, oh the list is endless. We are run off our feet and the last thing we want to do is more cleaning, decluttering, or thinking about any new projects.
Sometimes leaving the mess for one more day is the only way we can regain our sanity and spend time with loved ones. Sometimes we have to prioritize and do what needs to get done in other areas of life.
Today on this Tuesday I propose you learn the one ‘one minute rule’:
If it takes less than one minute to do, just do it now. Don’t wait and put it off. Do the task right now as you go. Do the task as you think of it.
It takes me just as long to put calling the doctor on my to do list as it does to actually make the call. Even if the office is closed, or they/I may be on lunch break, make that call and leave a message. The odd time you might be surprised to have made that whole transaction of phone call and putting the appointment onto your calendar in less than a minute.
Dirty dishes on the desk or coffee table? Reach forward, pick it up and bring it to the kitchen with you on your way to the washroom. It isn’t a ‘choice’ nor ‘I don’t feel like it’ rebellious moment. It is in front of you and needs to be done. No choice, no putting it off for later. No nagging feelings constantly weighing on your mind and a reason to argue with others when you decide it is finally time to clean up 5 days of procrastinated ‘one dish wonder moments’ that added up to a messy house and visitors are coming in 2 minutes so scramble and scream!
Laundry basket full when you wake up in the morning? Drag it downstairs with you to the laundry room. Stop in the kitchen to start the coffee maker and then proceed to finish the hamper to laundry room journey.
Sitting watching tv for hours? In commercials fold laundry and distribute next commercial break. Netflix and chill? Well, Netflix and fold honey. Between episodes those baskets of magically fully folded clothes and towels make the quick journey to the room of choice as you dash to beat the screen loading the next show.
It is much easier to keep a clean kitchen if the dishwashing rack and dishwasher are emptied each morning. A few minutes while you tell the kids to eat breakfast and find their shoes means the daily dishes are put away. Time it. You may be surprised at how fast you can do this. The sink and dishwasher are empty so you don’t add the extra step of loading and unloading the counters multiple times in order to do one day’s dishes. Eliminate that extra step just by one easy morning routine.
These small one minute wonders will make cleaning into an easier habit. It isn’t magic. You may still struggle to stop yourself from categorizing this as a choice and try to put it off. It really isn’t a choice. It is a non-negotiable must do it now task towards having a better life.
Would you rather continue looking at those dirty dishes and dreading a day of house cleaning? Would you like to continue the arguments, stress and frustration? Having the constant mess, the nagging feelings of “I should clean this up but it is so overwhelming’, the knowledge that each day it is just piling up and getting worse until you can’t take it anymore is hard on your mood and steals happiness in the home.
No-one else is going to do it for you so why make the argument and struggle any worse than it needs to be? Why let it pile up and interfere with relationships? Why let those 100 one minute tasks encourage everyone else in the house to add their 100 one minute messes to your workload?
Do you enjoy spending a whole day cleaning the crusted on grossness that could have been wiped up right away in 30 seconds but instead got smeared all over the counter and floor so it now takes 30 minutes to pry the dishes free of the counter for fear of breaking the glass, and then the endless scrubbing to work out your frustrations that this mess created?
It doesn’t have to be like this. For many who know and follow the one-minute rule without being told it as an adult, this is a habit they never think about. They know it isn’t a choice to think and rebel about having to do one minute of work every time it occurs. They know they want a clean house and this is a non-negotiable. At some point in childhood or adulthood, they learnt it is easier and better to just go and do it.
For others, here is your ‘aha’ moment. A quick lesson on how to have more time every day free for what matters. Shine the light on how it is done. Try it to see how it adds up to saving you time and frustration.
It’s time to realize if you want a clean home and can’t find the time to make cleaning a big event, just clean up in one minute manageable moments. These moments are part of every day life and habits anyway so use them to work for you. Stop procrastinating. Stop thinking it is a choice you get to put off in the moment. If you want a clean house, want to spend less time doing housework, and less work in the long run, this is the choice you make now. Never let your rebellious brain trick you into having the mess any longer.
You can do this. All hope is not lost. You will save money on cleaning products, broken dishes and ruined papers. Regain sanity and control. Be less stressed and happier in the long run. Improve relationships as they see you doing these new habits they will get the message easier. You can’t tell others to clean up after themselves if you never do it and expect them not to argue. Less yelling and arguing makes for a happier home life.