Clearing a Corner of the Bedroom #5MinuteFriday

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Two weeks in a row is a start, right?

I cleared a section of my master bedroom. In FIVE minutes.


FYI, even though my master bedroom is waaaayyyyy better than it has been in the past, five minutes didn’t seem to be enough time to bother working on it.

But I was determined to tackle some space for five minutes.

So here’s the before:


I just started putting things away. Y’know, the easy stuff. 

The vacuum cleaner went to its “home” in my tiny coat closet about six feet away from my bedroom door.

The pile of random sheets/tablecloths/bedskirt-removed-when-we-got-a-new-mattress went straight to the washing machine. The washing machine was free because Laundry Day was yesterday.

Not sure why I didn’t see that ridiculously huge pile of things to be washed yesterday, but whatever. They’re being washed now.

Toothbrush and toothpaste (on top of the speaker by the door) that have been there since who-knows-when went to the trash. I’m hope-hope-hoping that whoever they belonged to has since replaced them. (Note to self: check that each kid has been brushing teeth.)

Boots (all three of them) went to my closet, and I even had the time to grab the second brown boot from across the room.

I’m a random-book-taker-offer, clearly.

Yoga ball went where yoga balls go. Under the table by my bed and hopefully out of accident-causing paths.

The tripod was folded up and taken across the room where I’d look for my tripod.

My book and audio book (props for FB live videos) went to the stack of books across the room.

The mannequin was disrobed and the ties were placed upon my husband’s tie-hanger (which is really a scarf-hanger) and the shirt was put in the bag where my husband keeps his cleaning that’s ready to be taken to the cleaners.



Much better after only five minutes, don’t you think?

I’d love to hear about your own five minute task in the comments, or tag me on social media and use the hashtag #5MinuteFriday so I can see your progress!




Working Through the Mess – After Holiday Cleanup

Today is January 3rd. I wrote this post on December 26th. On December 26th, I was so proud of myself for just picking up, and had full faith that I’d do the “real” after Christmas cleanup precisely on time: January 1st.

Ummmm, I didn’t. New Year’s Day and the day after came and went, and my tree is still up. Oops.

And I didn’t even get this post up in the week after Christmas (when it would have made me look good). So I was tempted to not share it at all. But it’s written. And the steps still apply to any room that overwhelms me when I realize I need to clean it up.


I won’t do the math and figure out how many years I didn’t bother cleaning up our Christmas mess right away. So many times, I looked at the volume of new mess added to old mess and felt paralyzed. That paralysis made me procrastinate, and we ended up with a disaster to dig our way out of in January.

So I was proud of myself for dealing with the mess on December 26th this year! (If these pictures make you assume I don’t understand real mess, check out some of the before and after photos here. I promise, I understand.)

I’ve shared my steps for working through overwhelming mess before.

Here they are in action this last week:


1. I took a deep breath and grabbed a trash bag. I went through the room, picking up trash. Wrapping paper, empty packaging, paper plates.


Less overwhelming now! Removing trash first makes such a difference visually. 

Seeing a visible difference spurs me to keep going.

2. Do the easy stuff. Take things where they go right now.


I didn’t moan or groan (much), but just started answering the question: Where would I look for this first?

And then I took it there.

The “take it there right now” game-changing decluttering strategy doesn’t mean each little item has to be a separate trip. As I pick up something, I take it where it goes immediately. But, to save time and sanity, I look for other things to take where I’m going anyway.



3. I kept on with the easy stuff, consolidating boxes and gift bags and stockings. I also dealt with the procrasticlutter over there on that recliner. That’s laundry that didn’t get folded straight out of the dryer because someone other than me was doing the laundry.

While there was most definitely a part of me that wanted to stomp my foot and whine at the reappearance of a problem I’d finally solved after years of laundry struggles, I chose to be thankful for the person who did the laundry. The person who wasn’t me.


Yay! So much better. So not perfect, but so much better.

How is your after-holiday cleanup going? 


P.S. We’ll take down the Christmas decorations on New Year’s Day soon. Hopefully.

P.P.S. Yep. I also saw that my teenager was sitting in that next room playing his new video game while I worked. I was in the zone, completely out of routine during that odd week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and the other kids were gone so it didn’t occur to me to do this as a family pick-up time. Oops!

P.P.P.S. Don’t buy fake leather recliners. Fake leather peels. And looks bad. And has to be covered by a throw blanket to look decent. But throw blankets get carried to the next room on cold days, and then slob-blogger-moms forget to put them back before taking pictures.



10 Easy Ways to Have a Neater Home in the New Year


Don’t worry. I’m not over-simplifying or assuming your home is a few tweaks away from perfection. But these ten simple things that I’ve learned the (very) hard way over the past seven years of my own deslobification process have had a big impact. A much bigger impact that I would have ever believed possible.

1. Do your dishes. I could go on and on (and I do go on and on in my book), but this is THE task that, when done daily, made the biggest impact on my home. Go here to understand how it works: Why I Have to Run the Dishwasher EVERY Night. If you don’t have a dishwasher, read this: 5 Truths about a Clean Kitchen that are Still True if You Don’t Have a Dishwasher. 

2. Reduce the flow of paper coming into your home. As bills or financial reports arrive in the mail, go online and choose the digital delivery option.  Most of these pieces of mail include instructions on how to switch to digital delivery right on the envelope or the report itself. More paper-clutter-reducing ideas: How to Reduce Paper Clutter

3. Declutter your dishes until they all fit inside your cabinets. At the same time.  This one separates the why-would-anyone-have-more-dishes-than-fit-in-their-cabinets types from my target audience. If you’ve ever been frustrated that on the rare occasion when your dishes are done (like, every single last one) there isn’t room for all of them to be put away, you’re my people. If the thought of decluttering plates or coffee cups sends panic through your soul because you fear running out, just focus on #1. Once you get that figured out, this will make so much more sense. For more on this general concept that I had to learn the hard way, listen to this: Containers and Limits and How They’ll Change Your Life! Podcast

4.  Store your food containers with the lids on. Really. It will make your life so much easier. I explain the ins and outs of why here: Strange Organizing Solutions that Work: Storing Food Containers.

5. Create a Donate Spot. Grab an empty box and mark it DONATE. Choose a place for it (by the back door, in the garage, wherever it’s not in the way but is still easily accessible). As the kids mention they don’t like a toy or that their sleeves are suddenly two inches shorter than they were last week, have them throw the suddenly-unloved item immediately into the Donate Box. More on this: What a Lifestyle of Decluttering Looks Like – Podcast

6. Fold clothes straight out of the dryer. I resisted this for YEARS. I came up with every logical reason not to do it this way. But y’all, this simple thing is a game-changer. When I fold straight out of the dryer, I don’t have piles of clean laundry on my couch. My living room looks way better without piles of clean laundry on my couch. Really. Read more here: The Laundry Management Method that is Rocking My World

7. Hang instead of fold. When I’m doing #6, my clothes don’t get wrinkled. If I hang them instead of folding, they stay wrinkle-free. Need more words on this topic? Clothing Management – Hanging vs Folding

8. Whenever you think of it, do a 5 Minute Pickup. Set a timer and spend 5 minutes picking things up and putting them away. If you don’t believe this will make enough of a difference to be worth your time, try it anyway. You have nothing to lose but 5 minutes. And this is the very best way to start getting the kids involved: Family Pick Up Time

9. Buy a soap-in-the-handle dish scrubber, mark it “BATHROOM ONLY” with a permanent marker, and hang it on a hook or over the door in your shower. Scrub a little here and there as you shower. Read more here: Making Shower Cleaning as EASY as Possible and How to Clean the Shower Without Getting Your Clothes Wet.

10. Throw away (or recycle if you have an available and established recycling routine) pens that don’t work. As soon as you realize they don’t work. I have no idea why this is so UNnatural to me, but it is. More on this: Planning to be Desperate and 2 Second Task – Throw Away the Pen

There you go. Ten simple, easy, pretty-much-duh-but-why-don’t-I-do-these-things-naturally ways to have a tidier home in the new year. Pick one or two or do them all. Any one of these things will make your life easier. 

If you need a guide to getting your home under control and keeping it under control, you need my new book: How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind! It is the handbook you need to go from completely overwhelmed to I’ve-got-this, no matter your starting point. I love this review that was recently posted on Amazon:

This book has changed my life!!! Finally someone who gets me. This isn’t just a collection of organizing ideas that you can find on Pinterest. This book changes your whole approach. The most helpful part for me was how she says to deal with the guilt of getting rid of stuff. I feel as if Dana was in my head as I read this. She had already written the counter-argument to every argument I had started to say in my head while reading. I’ve already ordered a second copy for my mom for Christmas.

If you want to keep the decluttering momentum going, join 30 Days of Decluttering Inspiration. It’s free!

You can also listen to a podcast on this subject here!




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