One day I came home, walked in the door, took off my shoes, and put my bag down. It had been a long day; I wasn't exhausted, but I was tired and ready to kick back and relax a bit before having a glass of wine, making some dinner, and enjoying the evening. As I went into the kitchen and dining area my eyes were drawn to the mess on the counters and the kitchen table. Right away I was irritated and knew that I should clean up my mess, but another part of me wanted to ignore the problem and have a glass of wine and kick back.
That day I made the right choice.
I got to work and started putting away the odds and ends on the counter.
I tossed the empty bags into the trash.
I loaded up the dishwasher.
When the counter was clean I got the sponge from the sink and scrubbed the counters until the dish and cup stains were gone and the surface was smooth. It had been a while since it looked this nice.
I looked around and felt like a weight was being removed from my shoulders. I was still tired from the long day, but already I was feeling better. I kept going.
The kitchen table was a mess as well. It was covered with magazines, mail, newspaper sections, and odd items of clothing. Although it looked bad, it was simple to clean up. Removing the clothes and tossing them into the laundry basket or putting them back into the drawers or closet was a quick task. The magazines and newspapers sections that hadn't been read but were still sitting out were quickly tossed into the recycling bin.
I didn't yet have a good system for organizing my mail and reducing paperwork clutter, but I did manage to put it all together in one area away from the table – not the best solution, but it was a start!
After 20 minutes my kitchen and table was relatively clean, organized, and not nearly as cluttered as it was when I walked in the door. I felt great!
It was the best choice I had made that day and stuck in my mind as the template for how to conduct myself and my life in the future in order to get rid of clutter, stay organized, and lead a happier life.
There have been several other times where this has happened and I look forward to sharing them – they can really be life changing events. I really didn't think that something as simple as cleaning up my kitchen and tossing a few items in the trash and recycling bin would be a “game changer” for me, but it has fueled a lot of events that have led me to where I am now.
I stress the principal of getting started. I believe that getting starting and taking action in any shape or form is the most important part of getting rid of clutter and in many other areas of our lives. It is the lack of action that will condemn us to not changing into what we want to be. If I had come home that day, looked around, and ignored it all I might not be living a more organized and uncluttered life today. Just thinking about it that way puts a smile on my face and almost scares me at the same time!
The next time you see part of your home that needs to be picked up, organized, or just plain decluttered, do yourself a favor and take action right then and there.
Remember, it doesn't matter if you have 2 minutes or an hour, do what you can with what time and energy you have.
You will be happier in the end and will be building habits that will make a better home and life for you and those around you.
One last thing – after cleaning off the counters and kitchen table I definitely had that glass of wine! And enjoyed it in a home just a bit less cluttered and much cleaner. It's amazing how the little things can make such a big impact on how you enjoy your life; I guarantee that the glass of wine was much more enjoyable than if I had made the choice to not touch the mess in the first place.