I shared about my useful one tip to corral clutter a while ago. I’m notoriously bad about picking up after myself, which doesn’t quite bode well for living in a clutter-free home.
A few weeks ago, I went for a house-viewing, and I was stunned at how well-kept it was. It was neat, tidy and everything was in its place. There was no stray bits of clutter lying around. Everything looked deliberate and it was beautiful. And CLEAN!
I was inspired.
So I returned home, and for the next few weeks, I started picking up after myself a little better. I still kept my landing strip, except I’d cleared it out more.
I started making it a point to run the vacuum more regularly (The Roomba iRobot is a dream!) and clean the floor more often. I started picking up after myself.
And then I came across an interesting concept – the One Minute Rule. I was intrigued and inspired.
The One Minute Rule – Takes just a minute to clear up after yourself
Basically, the ‘One Minute Rule’ dictates that if something needs just one minute to do, do it immediately instead of setting it aside for another day. It is usually the small niggling tasks that will pile upon themselves and get out of control.
The idea is that if it will take you less than a minute to do it e.g. picking up your coat, making your bed, cleaning up a spill in the fridge etc, doing it immediately will take less time than it would if you left it and tried to do one big major clean-up.
I wasn’t consciously practicing it (I hadn’t heard about it till very recently) but it made sense, and I kept it at the back of my mind.
This One Minute Rule is especially useful for keeping your house in order. But it is just as useful to keep your life in order. Here are some examples of what you can do to keep your life more orderly, less cluttered and cleaner.
One Minute : Make your bed
It’s odd, but I found out that there are many people who don’t make their beds every morning. I have been making it a habit since I was in school, so it isn’t a big deal for me.
It doesn’t take a minute to fold your blanket or smooth and pull your duvet/comforter in place, and put your pillows neatly. When you want to fall into it at the end of the day, a clean, neat bed will feel so much better! Trust me on this 🙂
One Minute: Put away dry dishes
I’ve taken to not using a dish drainer. I used to have one that fit in my sink, that I’d been using for the past few years. But early this year, I removed it.
These days, I wash my dishes, and leave them on a drying mat to dry. I wipe them down with a fresh, clean cloth and let it air-dry.
It doesn’t take a minute to keep them away the next morning, so that’s what I do now. The sight of them on my counter irks me anyway which makes it a great incentive for me LOL! 😀
Previously, I’d keep them in the dish-dryer, where I don’t really see them, so I don’t feel the need to keep them away as quickly.
One minute. That’s all it takes for a clean, clutter-free countertop!
One Minute: Pick up Clutter and Keep Away what you use
One very bad habit I have, that I am quite well-aware of, is that I have a tendency to leave things where I find them. We all do it in some degree of another.
You take a pair of scissors out of the kitchen drawer, and ‘forget’ to put it back after using.
You bring back the mail and leave it on the dining table or on your ‘landing strip’ and instead of opening it immediately, you leave it there and let it pile up. After a few weeks, it’ll take you more than a minute to open it up and try to file it all away. Believe me, I’ve been there LOL!
You pull out your foundation, eyeshadow, blush and powders, and you leave them where they are, instead of keeping them away immediately. It clutters your dresser, you risk them falling to the floor and breaking, and it is an eye-sore. So, after using each item, take a few seconds to place them back where they belong. Trust me on this, you will feel much better about it! 🙂
So, if you take the few seconds to return things to where they belong now, it will save you more time and effort later!
One Minute: Put away your Shopping
OK another thing I’m guilty of – leaving my shopping lying around 😛 Sometimes, it’s just pure laziness. You know how it is. You get home at the end of the day, and you conveniently drop everything where you stand, shower and go off to bed.
A week later, that paper bag is still on the floor where you left it 😛
These days, I get home, make it a point to remove everything from the bag, fold it up and store it away. If it is clothes, I toss it into the laundry basket (I wash all new clothes before wearing them)
RELATED READING: Do you wash your new clothes before wearing? Here’s why you should READ HERE
If it’s makeup or skincare, or random purchases, I put them where they usually go. If it’s groceries, I put them away immediately.
When you take groceries out of your reusable bag, immediately fold up your bags, and keep them away, instead of hanging them on a convenient chair. If you do, it’ll stay there for weeks, and you won’t be able to find it when you need it. Sparing a few seconds to put it away not only means a neater home, it means you can find it when you need it!
Putting them away immediately takes you barely a minute (trust me on this) and prevents them from building up, cluttering the house and kitchen, and just being an eyesore.
One Minute: Clear your desk
OK so it’s been established that I’m not the neatest person this side of the universe. I have a very functional desk, and I have a bit of a logical mind, so I don’t work well with mood-boards and fancy desks, and flowers and stationery and what have you.
What I do have is a utilitarian desk, a box of rudimentary stationery (usually pens I can score for free LOL!), and lots and lots of paper (perils of the job). Often, the paper takes over my life… and my desk.
I’ve found it useful at the end of each day, to take just a minute, to corral the papers to some semblance of order, put the pens back into the box, and straighten the files. It isn’t much, but it sets the tone for when I come back to my desk the next time. Far less stressful too!
One Minute: Wash your coffee cup or breakfast bowls immediately after using
I’m quite guilty of this 😛
I grab my coffee or cereal in the morning, gulp it down, and then leave the dirty cups and dishes in the sink. If I were to just quickly rinse it out, it’d take me barely a minute to!
Instead, when I get home later in the day, and see the morning’s dishes still in the sink, I get irritated.
One Minute: Clean the floor
I’m a bad housekeeper, so safe to say that cleaning isn’t never quite on the top of my priority list 😛
Where I live, there are a lot of roadworks going on, which means a lot of dust. I used to be lazy about cleaning the floor, so it’d get dusty and then it just hard to control as it all builds up and overwhelms.
But I realised that for my space, it doesn’t take too long to run a sweeper over the floor, once I’ve had the robot vacuum have a once-over. I have had my robot vacuum for many years, and I love it! 😀 Highly recommend.
These days, there are alternatives to the more expensive Roomba. Personally, I haven’t tried other brands, seeing as my Roomba is still going strong (it’s over 5 years old now) but I reckon they all serve a similar function – hands-free vacuuming!
Cleaning my floor more regularly simply means that it is cleaner and easier to keep clean for longer, rather than doing one major clean in one go and being exhausted at the end of it 😛
One Minute: Skincare and sunscreen
Ok, perhaps it takes a little more than a minute to do your skincare, but it can be done. But it most certainly takes far less than a minute to put on sunscreen!
If you have that one minute to spare in the morning, use it productively. Use a Vitamin C serum if you can tolerate it. It brightens your skin and gives it clarity. Use hydrating products. I find that in the day, when I’m out and about a lot, and it’s hot, my skin needs more hydration than at night, when I can treat it.
One Minute: Wipe down surfaces regularly
This includes your kitchen surfaces, bathroom or even your dressing table where you keep your skincare. Dust can settle, and it isn’t pretty.
You don’t have to do it all at once – it’ll take you more than a minute! LOL! 😀 But if you do it immediately, it’ll take you mere seconds.
Wipe down your kitchen sink after using, and run your cloth over the counter top. Wipe down your bathroom sink after using it. Wipe down your dressing table once a week.
One Minute: Take out the trash
It’s easy to let things slide, but it really barely takes a minute to tie up your trash bag and walk the short distance to the bin to toss it out.
Your house will be cleaner and pest-free 🙂
One Minute: Don’t let it rule your working life
While I find the One Minute Rule very helpful to keep my home clutter-free and make me more productive at home, I draw the line at using the One Minute Rule for work.
I know many proponents of this rule tell you that you can use it to clear your email Inbox or perhaps, if you are on social media, to reply to quick comments or questions. That is true.
But I believe that anything that is work related requires a little more cerebral action, to be sure you don’t make any mistakes or gaffes that will take you more than a minute to resolve in future.
So, when it comes to work, take your time to think about what you need to do and the consequences of what you say or the decisions you make. When it comes to work, and to life in general, taking time matters more than knee-jerk reactions 🙂
One Minute: It’ll make your life more orderly but it isn’t gospel
Basically, if it is a little task that you think you can perform and complete in one minute or less, just do it now and not leave it till later. It’ll actually be more productive, especially if you’d like to keep your home clutter-free, neater and cleaner.
However, do note that it isn’t gospel. You don’t have to do EVERYTHING at one go. It’ll take you far more than a minute. Instead, just make it a habit each time you pick something up, to make the effort to put it back where it belongs. Or pick up a piece of clutter as you walk by, and put it where it should go.
The little things you DO NOT do will pile on each other and then you’d need to dedicate a whole DAY to clearing up house. Similarly, the little things that you DO do, will make that a lot easier to manage!
If you feel overwhelmed at the thought of having lots to do, breaking it down into little manageable chunks, and chipping away at it makes far more sense than just sitting there, giving up in despair.
What I can say for sure is that it’s helped me. And if it helps this clutterbug, it’ll help you too! 😀
Do you practice the One Minute Rule? What other things can you do in one minute?
I’d say that you may not find this useful, if you are naturally predisposed to being neat and tidy. This tip is for those of us who struggle to maintain a neat, tidy existence and household. It’s been helpful to help me stay (almost) clutter-free and hopefully, this helps you too! 🙂