Take the Organizing Challenge

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Dog race Here's how it works. Find a spot where clutter has been allowed to congregate (and propagate!) This could be your desk, your kitchen counter, your dining table, your briefcase; wherever. Set your timer for one minute. Ready, set, go! Race around putting away as much as you can from that clutter spot. Sound effects can help: "Whoa!" "Yikes!" "Outta my way!" "Aaaack!" Hint: if you don't need sound effects, you're not moving fast enough.

Time's up! How did you do? Rate your performance below.

I put away 10 things. You are an organizing Jedi knight! If there was any clutter still left, I'll bet you could eliminate it in another minute or so. You wasted no time trying to remember what drawer to put the thingamajig in. The added benefit is that now you know where everything is!

I put away 5 things. Not too shabby. One minute isn't very long. You may have had to think a bit about where things went, which is part of the reason for this challenge. The more you have to think and re-decide, the longer putting things away takes. That means identifying specific, easy-to-reach homes for your possessions is critical to keeping that clutter from breeding.

I put away one thing. Hmm, either that one thing was the size of a baby elephant, or you need to refine your stuff storing skills. When tidying up is time-consuming drudgery, your motivation to do it will be approximately zero. On the other hand, when you know exactly where things go, you can polish off this task in no time.

I didn't put anything away. Were you overwhelmed because you knew you couldn't make much headway in one minute? Did you not even know where to start? I made up this speed challenge because I know that decluttering has to be somewhat automatic if you're ever going to fit it into your day. Imagine if every time you took a fork out of the dishwasher you had to figure out where to put it! You'd be living in chaos-land. Imagine that everything you own is a fork and find a fork drawer to put it in.

How did you do? Let me know in the comments section.

Racing dogs from Nebbish1's photostream.