But I don't have time to sort through clutter...

“When do I find the time?” “By the time the kids go to bed, I'm exhausted!” “I need to tidy up first before I get organized.” “Where do I start?” I hear ya! One of the last things I want to do after the kids' bedtime is tidy up the toys the kids left on the floor, let alone spend hours decluttering. All I want to do is sit down and watch TV or on some days, just go to bed!

 

One of the things I do is “use” my TV time. When commercials are on, I use the time to do some of the following tidy up tasks:

  • pick up the kids' toys that were left around

  • wash dishes/put them in the dishwasher

  • put away leftovers

  • make lunches for next day (well, I will be doing this when my kids start Grade 1 in September)

  • pack up kids backpacks

 

A great thing to do while watching TV is to sort through a pile of clutter. If it's not a “contained” pile of clutter, throw it all into a cardboard box and bring it to the couch. Grab a plastic bag or another empty cardboard box and the kitchen garbage bin. While the show is on, sort through the box into 4 categories:

  • garbage (put directly into the garbage bin)

  • recycling (put directly into the empty plastic bag or cardboard box)

  • “to file”

  • “to put away”

 

Before moving to another box of clutter, file away the items to file and put away the other items during commercials. DO NOT pull out another box of clutter to sort through until everything from the first box is filed and/or put away. If you continue watching TV, then pull out another box of clutter and repeat the process. As long as the clutter is portable, it can be done in front of the TV:

  • papers

  • kids clothing

  • photos

  • books

  • shoes (only the ones you no longer want to take to the cobbler, of course!)

  • junk drawers

  • filing, if your file drawer is portable

  • kids artwork

  • everything that is on your desk

  • pens and markers (test them all to see which ones still work)

     

Same thing can be done during movies as well...you just have to pause the movie to file or put away items, or wait until the end of the movie, but only if you promise not to just go to bed without filing or putting things away. ;)

 

I started using these techniques a couple times a week in my own home and I'm slowly but surely getting through the clutter. Give yourself a break. Stop feeling so guilty about the clutter. It didn't happen overnight so it won't all go away in one day (or in an hour as it does on TV shows).

 

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