Pebbles to Sand 2: Cleaning & Organizing

This is Donna!  She befriended me and my sisters at Lake Crescent in Washington last fall.  She followed us all over the pebbly beach and to our cabin…and would have waddled in and joined us in a game of monopoly, except I didn’t want to clean up after her.

You see, cleaning is one of those pebbles in my life that gets in my shoe and annoys me.  I know I need to dig it out and put it in my daily jar…but I don’t want to (hence, Donna stayed outside).

My cleaning pebbles were becoming quite daunting.  So I came up with this plan to smash them into bits of sand so I could more easily fit them in my daily jar–and not fight them.

My old cleaning goals were daunting–clean the garage, organize the closet, dejunk the cabinets in the bathroom, clean out the pantry etc.  I knew those things would take me hours, so it was easy to procrastinate and justify that I didn’t have the time to do them that day!  The problem is….THAT day never seems to come.

Experimenting a little, I decided to make a new goal:  15 minutes of cleaning a day.  That’s not very long.  If I don’t check off this box now, I feel lame!  I mean, 15 minutes!  Come on!  Anyone can do that.

Tackling my house in 15 minute intervals (or even 3 – 5 minute intervals) has brought amazing results.  One day I organized my whole closet in that time.  Another time, I got the laundry room immaculate and tidied up the kitchen.  I realized that before it was the task itself that scared me away from starting it.  A set amount of time didn’t frighten me so much.

My 15 minutes cleaning is for things I don’t usually do.  I’m always doing laundry and cleaning in the kitchen with meal prep, etc with a bunch of teenagers, so those don’t count.  But approaching the deeper cleaning in bite size increments has improved my home a lot.  I’m not volunteering to be on “Cleanest Homes in America” or anything (if there is a show like that), but I’ll never be on “Hoarders” now (yippee!!!).

This works for organization projects too.  I’m the worst at printing off recipes that look good on blogs and then stuffing them in my cupboard and never making them.  My pile of recipes is about 3 inches thick, but I never feel like taking the time to copy those recipes down on cards to use.  Too much work.  I dig through my massive loose pile of papers to find a recipe I remember putting in there, but it is frustrating and time-consuming.

This is a pebble that has gotten out of hand.  I decided to break it down into manageable chunks.  My goal now is to copy one recipe onto a card and the ingredients needed on my grocery lists each day.  It only takes a couple minutes to do.

Over the last month, I’ve whittled my pile down by over 30 pieces of paper.  Yea!  The good thing about making sand-size goals, is that many times just doing that small thing will lead me to more.  One day I copied 5 recipes; another day I decided to clean out my recipe file and throw away at least 50 old recipes I haven’t made in years (nor do I want to make again).

Anyway, I’m a believer of turning pebbles into sand.  There is lots of down time spent waiting in the car for kids practices to finish, or at the doctor’s office or school.  Keep a book with you to read; make a list of things to do or ideas to write about; talk with your child about their day.  Many times we waste these snatches of time, when they can be super productive if we USE them.

Rocks, pebbles, and sand.  When your pebbles seem too daunting, break them into smaller pieces so that you can fit them in your daily jar easier.


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Pebbles to Sand 1:  Time Management

32 thoughts on “Pebbles to Sand 2: Cleaning & Organizing

  1. I really like this time management tip about breaking things into smaller chunks so that they’re easier to handle. I’m definitely going to try that more often. Thanks!

  2. This inspires me. I loathe cleaning and will put it off indefinitely. I may just try this. By the way, I’m reading your book and so far, the writing is excellent!

    • It’s always fun to clean other houses rather than your own usually (unless the other person is a slob and disgusting, then not so much)

      • Haha, I don’t enjoy cleaning my house (my back really doesn’t like it) so there’s no way I’d enjoy cleaning someone else’s. But you seem so eager, I want to take you up on your offer! 😉 I can’t complain though, my house is mostly clutterless. I’m the opposite of a hoarder.

  3. That sounds like a great approach to chores and time management. I think I could handle 15 minutes of cleaning a day…. 😉 And it might be a good approach to try on my novel revisions. Spend some time tackling one aspect (like writing a new scene or revising an existing one) before worrying about all the others that need to be done!

    • Yes, I was thinking it would work with writing as well…for the things that aren’t quite as pleasant as other tasks.

  4. I’ve been telling myself I need to do this–that I could accomplish a lot of household chores if I just did a little each day. Your post has motivated me. Well, when I get back from vacation, anyway. 🙂

  5. Great post and pics, Char. I try to do as you do, tackle things in small bits, but sometimes I’ll get on a tear and in that frenzied cleaning mood and go from top to bottom! I can’t even count how many times I’ve organized my garage. But, it feels SO MUCH better when things are organized and clutter-free. Clears the mind as well. ;).

    • Yep! I need to motivate myself with the small, consistent goals…but you’re right, a lot of times if you start small, you end big.

  6. It’s the only way I can fit writing in. By breaking up my day into necessary chunks (like eating) and spreading out the not-so-necessary chunks across a week, I have more flexibility in my day. My biggest problem is tearing myself away from my writing once I get my fingers in it. I have been known to skip mealtime when I’m in the middle of a project (when I’m kid-free, obviously. Otherwise the kids wouldn’t dare let a meal pass them by. 🙂 )

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  8. I am often completely overwhelmed by the tasks of cleaning and organizing… I love the idea of dedicating just 15 minutes each day to this – so much more approachable! Thank you! We love Lake Crescent too. 🙂

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  10. i like sand much better than pebbles 😉 Well Done you! i usually do set myself a time period to complete a task – however, there is one task i have been putting off… sitting with my son & going through his room to get it back to more acceptable standards… sigh… i will… after the holidays – hehhehee 😉

    • Thanks for not starting any forest fires while you were here; it’s been a little dry lately. Seriously though, thanks for stopping by…and keep your fun posts coming.

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