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5 Minutes A Day To Control Areas Of Clutter

Sunroom Last Spring {after it was spring cleaned!}
You know those small areas in your home that tend to attract clutter?  The ones that, if left unattended, go from a small smoldering fire to a huge inferno within days?? Why does this happen?  Well, according to Flylady, it is because “CLUTTER ATTRACTS CLUTTER!”

 I recently have been spending just 5 minutes a day, focusing my attention to one of those areas, and like magic, they are starting to disappear or at least become a bit more controlled! It is great.

I have many spots in my house that I would consider “Hot Spots.”  Places that just scream, “leave stuff here, you can get it later” at every member of the family.  One of them is our desktop.  I am sitting at the desk writing this and on top of it right now are:
~a half eaten burrito  (my lunch:))
~a vitamin C pill
~ ipod & earphones
~an invoice
~my phone
~the camera bag
~ a gardening book
It was completely cleared off last night, but within minutes stuff just takes over. If I do not take a couple minutes and “rescue”my desk top, it will be a large magnet attracting more clutter, and by the end of the night it will be a hot mess!

“Hot Spots” that often need rescued around here are:
a couple of desk drawers
my dining room table
a chair in my bedroom
an area on my kitchen counter in the corner
my trunk
the stairs
the sunroom
my pantry

Back to the “5 minutes a day” part.  I have been taking 5 minutes each day to focus on a “Hot Spot”(I made it part of my morning routine) and I have been amazed at what can be transformed in such a short amount of time!  The KEY is STOPPING after the 5 minutes are up.  In the past, I would not want to stop once I started.  It would eat up my whole day and I never, ever would want to do a “5 Minute Hot Spot” check again, because I turned minutes into hours.  Not anymore! I have been setting my timer, and stopping right when it goes off, even if the area is not finished. (Duh, right?:)) I tell myself there is always the “5 Minute Hot Spot” check tomorrow, and then go on with my day.

Today my “5 Minute Hot Spot” was my sunroom.  It easily becomes a dumping ground for my family as they walk in the door.  My girls are getting much better at not doing this, due to “pick up personals” on their charts.  Recently, it became a mess and clutter attracted clutter.  Then, because there was stuff in the way, I didn’t sweep it like I normally would.  When my daughter said “Mom, the sunroom looks like a bug cemetery” I  knew it was time to rescue my poor sunroom!

I set my timer for 5 minutes and:
~gathered up all the plastic bags for recycling
~moved the big black ball bag to the trunk (Todd takes the girls to the park almost nightly and they love having the bag of balls with them)
~put the pool float in the trunk to return to a friend
~put the bag of goodwill donations in my front passenger seat so I will HAVE to drop it off today
~swept the “bug cemetery” out to the front yard

5 minutes made a big difference!
This is just one of a few techniques I use to keep my home in order.  I will be sharing the rest in future posts.

Where are your “Hot Spots?”
Do you have any techniques that you use to keep them under control?
Let me know how it goes if you try the “5 Minute Hot Spot” technique!!

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  • Anonymous
    November 19, 2013 at 4:59 am

    Setting the timer is the best idea as my perception of time becomes warped when I start organizing mess growing areas. Things were so much neater before hubby retired and decided that paper needed to take up residence on any/all flat surfaces. Oh well, he is a super nice person and I love him despite his paper habits.

  • Our Lives
    August 28, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Reading the comments made me feel better that I am not the only one who has the kitchen counter hot spot! 🙂
    We have many hot spots through out our home. I have delegated some to my older daughter and son to take care of on a daily basis. They have been doing a great job. But the kitchen counter? No one wants it.
    That’s fine, I am still brain storming on how to tackle that problem permanently (Lord willing).

  • Kim
    August 27, 2010 at 4:16 am

    Definitely the kitchen counter. Although, my office has become a dumping ground over the last few months & needs a major overhaul. Maybe 5 minutes each day would make it less overwhelming. I’ll add it to my routine tomorrow. Thanks!!

  • Julia
    August 26, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    What a wonderful plan. It would take more than 5 min. for some of my hotspots, at least the first time I hit them, but I may give this a try!

  • The Pennington Point
    August 27, 2010 at 3:30 am

    My hot spot is the trunk at the foot of my bed. I don’t mind it too much because I set aside every Thursday night to clean it all up. I clean it off, straighten my bathroom/closet, do my nails, clean out my purse….every Thursday night. It works for me! Lisa~

  • Lindy
    August 26, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    great tips for sure. I have a cute bag the hangs on a hook in the kitchen that I toss things into that belong to someone else (who doesn’t live in the home – usually one of my adult children). Every time they visit I take a look into the bag to see if I can send a little something extra home with them…

  • Megan {Honey We're Home}
    August 27, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Kitchen bar countertop is our dumping ground for mail- drives me crazy! Making yourself stop after 5 minutes by reminding yourself about tomorrow is a great idea.

  • Barb
    August 26, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    My dining room table is one of our hot spots. On my way out in the morning I turn around and do a final inspection. I often go back and remove mail, newspapers, cameras, yesterday’s jewelry, etc, and straighten up the place mats so when I walk in the door at 6:45 (ugh) it will be a pleasant sight. Unless hubby has been careless in the meantime. It only takes a minute or so, and it is so worth it on my return home.

    Love your blog, I read it often.

  • Nancy - How to Homemaker and Basketmaster
    August 26, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Love your sun room! I try to hit my hot spots every day. If I don’t things get out of control.

  • Karen
    August 26, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    My hot spot is definitely our kitchen counter. I try to sort through mail immediately, but some stuff (the I don’t know what to do with this right now stuff) gets set down. My husband always sets his keys, wallet, phone, tools, etc. on the counter. And, my boys collect stuff there too.

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