Lightning Quick Tidy Hacks if You Work From Home
It’s the end of the year. The pressure is on to finish everything before Christmas.
Or maybe the week before Christmas. Instead, you are tying up loose ends in the business, securing contracts for next year, attending planning days, Christmas parties, client meetings and financial management deadlines. Every day is a mix of juggling the finishing and the starting, the clearing and the new beginnings.
But … you work from home, and all your home responsibilities have ground to a halt. It seems everywhere you look stuff has piled up in the corners, papers lie around needing chucking or filing, the bedding hasn’t been folded, the clean laundry hasn’t made it to the cupboards. While you’ve been focused on your work deadlines, the house has been laughing behind your back, stocking up stuff to be cleaned, sorted, tidied or chucked.
To top it all, weeks ago you invited people over for tea or to stay (which seemed like a good idea at the time), and you’ve run out of time to prepare. You’re tempted to move the socialising to a local park or book your guests into a hotel. But wait. Here are some quick tidy hacks if you work from home (with apologies to those who already have perfectly-tidy-homes; I’ll never understand, and this article is not for you).
A quick caveat: I spent many months sorting my parents’ home after they passed away, and learnt some great methods that I apply to my own home when speed is needed.
Here’s how to tackle mess either in your home or office quickly and efficiently:
1. Top to bottom, left to right.
Scan the room. Decide where left is and where top is. Then start at the top and work top to bottom, left to right.
2. Macro first, micro later.
Group things. Use containers. All the stationery here, all the papers to be sorted here. You can choose important papers and other papers, but you can’t sort by a piece of paper. You can sort by clean clothes and dirty clothes; the dirty ones go straight to the wash-basket. You can group photos by those that have been put in albums and those that need filing or display. But you can’t sort through every photo. Little things that might need attention put all in one box.
3. Big baskets are your best friend.
If people are arriving in a few minutes, you have no chance of clearing your place effectively. Carefully place everything on any surface into a big basket. Label it the date and hour that you placed it there, then put it in your wardrobe or your bathroom; somewhere where you will see it every single day until it’s sorted. Preferably within 48 hours, it needs to be sorted, or you’ll find it there a year later.
4. Make the micro sorting delightful.
Settle in to sort the big baskets in three or the macro categories in two in a way that is a delight. Enjoy it. Music. Coffee. Even chocolate is allowed. Outside is ideal. Maybe even on your favourite rock overlooking the water. The secret is to enjoy it. But make sure you have the equipment you need; staples, envelopes, small boxes, labels, pen, a recycling bag, a give-away bag. That way you can deal with it all at the time, not later.
5. Get some help: Make friends with a robot or a human.
My favourites are my leaf blower (amazing how quickly you can ‘sweep’ inside and then just brush up the bits from the corner) and the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner. Just perfect. Oh, and then there’s the automatic pool cleaner (a quick skim of the top leaves and the cleaner will do the rest).
While we’re about it, human beings can be very useful if enlisted cleverly. A gardener every now and then to take care of the broad brush-strokes or a cleaner to give your house the once-over or a window cleaner to reach those high windows. Budget in some help, either from robots or humans.
Here’s the thing. Christmas comes every year, as do visitors. Work happens all year, and so does the end-of-year or end-of-term rush. Take a moment to realistically plan how to finish it all and have a lovely house to enjoy over the holidays. You’ll find yourself chanting under your breath:
“Top to bottom, left to right,
macro before micro and get some help”.
These things really work. Trust me, I know. The result? A lovely house for the holidays and all my work complete. Every time, and just in time.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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