Sometimes people hear my voice in their heads. It’s not unusual for a friend to come up to me and say, “You would be so proud of me! I looked in my closet the other day and thought, ‘What would Rose do?’ and I donated two bags of clothes!” And, of course, I am proud of them. (Although, to be honest, I find it a bit awkward that people think of me as the angel (or devil?) standing on their shoulder as they deal with their stuff…)
If you’ve ever heard my voice in your head (or perhaps you’d like to…) I’m starting a series of blog posts called Rosie-isms, featuring some of my tried-and-true advice, the one-liners I regularly say to clients (and myself) to help clear the clutter. (As an alternative to reading these blogs, though, I can happily refer you to a great therapist to deal with these voices…)
Spend Two Minutes, Save Two Hours
This phrase basically means that you should spend a little time now to put things away, as opposed to spending a lot of time later. I often use this phrase when I find clients have accumulated what I affectionately call “bags of randoms” (or bags of randoms’ cousin, “box of randoms”). Typical bags/boxes of randoms include, but are certainly not limited to:
- Half-unpacked bags from last weekend’s trip
- A canvas tote of items used to entertain a child at a restaurant four months ago
- Swag bag from a conference, full of rockin’ swag: A cheese cutter that doubles as a flashlight? Nail clippers that are also a USB cord? A pocket calculator??? Heck yeah, my pockets just got so much more awesome!!!
- Box ‘o miscellany cleared off the kitchen counter when company came last Christmas. Okay, well, maybe also the Christmas before that… okay, okay, every Christmas since ’09…
You get the idea. We’ve all been there. Bags of randoms accumulate when we don’t take a few minutes to find homes for things. We let them sit in their bag/box, getting more random as each moment passes, until we move the bag/box to a room (usually the home office or basement) to join their fellow random bags/boxes, and eventually we have an entire room that can’t be used because the randoms–like a slow, deliberate alien invasion–have taken over.
But you don’t need to go down that road! You can cut the problem off at the source by immediately putting things away. It really doesn’t take that long. And if you can’t find a home for it? Well, then… the trash, recycling, or donation box are always acceptable places to put that random item. (Unless, of course, it’s the cheese cutter/flashlight combo. In which case, bring that gem over to my house so I can cut my cheese in the dark… he-he.)
Personally, I often think of this rule when I enter the house at the end of day, arms full of paperwork from the day’s client, a few groceries, the mail, keys, water bottle, kid backpacks and lunches… you know what I’m talking about. It would be easy to dump all that stuff at the door and get on with the rest of my evening. But I know that stuff doesn’t magically disappear and if I spend two minutes putting it all away, I will save myself hours later.
So how about you? Do you have two minutes? Do you have some bags of randoms that could use your attention? I urge you, go bravely forth and conquer! Rosie is on your shoulder!
Rose Lounsbury is the Dayton, Ohio area’s up-and-coming professional organizer. She also sometimes cuts cheese in the dark, much to her husband’s chagrin. After blogging about her own journey toward a minimalist lifestyle, Rose was inspired to start Less, a minimalist-minded professional organizing company. If you’d like Rose’s help with an organizing project at your home or office, please call her at 937-626-9030.