As I enter into the last 24 hours of cleaning frenzy (assuming I don’t stay up til 2 a.m. for the next two nights, which I’m not saying I won’t, mind you, but at my age, it’s hard) there’s one cleaning tip I come back to again and again. It’s ridiculously simple, but perhaps the most single most helpful tip I’ve found.
When I enlisted the help of my good friend Carol Laughner, the second thing she advised me to do seemed kinda silly at the time. (I can’t remember the other two right now. If I do, I’ll share those, too.)
As I empty storage containers or organizers, she said I should gather them up and set them aside, in one big pile, in an out-of-the-way area.
I nodded my head obligingly when she told me this. After all, she was helping me. I wasn’t going to argue with her. But I couldn’t see why this was one of her “big three” organizing tips.
Well, guess what? It works.
It turns out that keeping them in your line of sight as you work creates a visual distraction. I’d find my eye roving around the room, thinking of what I had to do next. I would see an empty rolling drawer cart, or a magazine file, or a box, or a jar. Then I’d have to think, “Oh, it’s empty, I don’t have to do anything with that.” Except, of course, step over it, move it out of the way, push it aside or stack it on something else.
Also, when I’d get ready to reorganize a space, I’d think of a perfect “thing” to use–but then I couldn’t remember where it was. I’d spend several precious moments looking for it. And sometimes I’d realize I’d already commandeered it for another spot.
About the eleventh time I stepped over an empty plastic tub, or searched for a basket the right size, I realized Carol was right.
I set the “empties” in a pile near the door to my barn attic. Several times a day, I took them upstairs to the “master pile”.
I instantly had more walking-around space. And fewer distractions to boot.
I could then judiciously add some of the containers back in as I needed them.
I don’t know why this works so well, but it does. So listen to Carol and move those empties to a staging area while you work on your mega-mess.