• Tiffany Frederick

Putting in to Action: 15 Minute Task Timer - Case Study Front Closet Clean Up

Recently, I have been reading a lot about how to simplify life via tackling all the to-dos - both written and those constantly running in our minds. These words resonate so close to home for me and with the nesting phase full swing and a never ending “pre-baby arrival project list” on top of the “home improvement list” and the “keeping the household functioning list.” Not to mention the work to-do items that take high priority.

Most of the tips focus around the variation of if it will only take you 15 - 10 - or 5 minutes to complete a task then set a timer and knock it out. Doing so will check that item off the list and will clear up space in your mind to focus your attention on the things that matter more. Sounds great in theory right? Well I have been challenging myself to put into action all of those tidbits that I have been reading and saying “A Hah!”

Case Study: Front Closet Clean Up

I do not know about you but our front closet has become the dumping zone catch all of items from coats, shoes, bags, work bags, summer time items, and toys that our toddler was no longer allowed to play with based on behavior. It is crammed … more like overflowing disorganized mess.

Sounds like the way you want to be greeted when arriving home … or the last reminder as you head out the door. NO Not Really! Me Either … one of the things I have adored the most about books like Grace Over Perfection by Emily Ley or Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist is their stories sound like my thoughts, their tips sound simple to apply and they make me see that our disorganized front closet being further ignored is causing me unnecessary stress throughout other areas of my life or my families because it is the first and last thing we see of home.

So it seemed like the appropriate place to start.

  1. Timer On 15 minutes - while Julianna was done with her breakfast and playing in the front room with me before snack.

  2. Empty Out Everything Into Four Piles:

  3. Belongs Here: appropriate items for the space.

  4. Does not Belong: should be somewhere else and has called this space home for too long.

  5. Donate: when possible always donate first.

  6. Trash: keep the bag near by.

  7. Think About the a Few Items: This does not take as long as you think because really if you are like me you have been thinking - frustratedly about these things but never in this way.

  8. What is the Purpose of the Space?

  9. To hold our family items that need to be easily grabbed when leaving and put away when we arrive.

  10. How is it fulfilling that purpose and serving you?

  11. Not well because it has become a catch all not organized at all.

  12. How is it falling short? What is missing that would make it more functional and your life easier?

  13. Need more space and organization because the baby car seat will need to be stored in here in the next few weeks.

  14. Need more space for guest shoes.

  15. Julianna items are kept up high in a bin would be so much easier to have them down where she can help put her items away.

  16. Clean:Wipe out or Sweep Out

  17. Start Placing Items Back In with Purpose

  18. Purposely Leave Space for Items You May Have Forgotten About

  19. Give Yourself Grace: In this case a 7 Day Trial to see if what you did it working and be flexible.

The last piece to this I have added based on combining the approaches of several books is an effort to “Keep Tabs on What Is Missing, Extra, Working or Failing” over the next week.

  1. Either a sticky note right there or in your planner separate from all the other to do items or in your iPhone notes.

  1. Involved the family in this feedback exercise - they use that space too and need to to be functional for everyone so that there is “buy-in” on keeping it that way and the “burden” of keeping it organized is not solely on your shoulders. Ahhhh HAHA there it is a lighter load to carry more margin for the things that matter more now and in the long haul.

We are on week two and so far the closet is in still great shape. I have made notes about wanting another show hanger for guests shoes, adding a large command hook on the back wall for the diaper bag, and we plan to try out the car seat on the shelf this weekend.

The best part thus far has been seeing Julianna’s face light up when she proudly pulls out her shoes from the bin we have down low on a shelf or when she puts them away after taking them off like a big girl. The joy she is beaming with is just the best - we are thinking about adding some command hooks down low on the door so she can hang up her coat on her own too.

So far thinking about this closet clean up - I am kicking myself that it took so long to do - but so grateful for the way it has now not only lightened my load of stress by removing a visual reminder of the chaos when coming home or headed out. It has now been replaced with a moment of learning and proud independence for our two-year-old who loves to be helpful. In just a few weeks she will be ”promoted” to big sister and now can feel like a special helper when we are preparing to leave the house or when we get home - making my life easier and even in the smallest way a less hectic moment is something I am already savoring.

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