And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Five Minute Rule

Hi. My name is Barefoot, and I am a slob.

Not just messy, not just disorganized, a slob.

I have made plenty of excuses about it over the years.

I just don't have time. I was never taught how to be neat. I'm too tired. I'll do it later. My kids/roommate/hubby aren't neat, either, so it's not fair to expect me to clean up after them. There is too much stuff and too little room...

....etc, etc, etc....

I have tried, so many times, to change this about myself. I don't like being a slob. Really I don't. It's frustrating to not be able to find things when you're in a hurry, or to buy something only to get home and realise you already have 3. It's embarrassing to have people come to the house, and you would rather keep them out in the rain and cold than allow them entrance to your home.

So, as part of my plan to come back to the land of the living, I have instituted a five minute rule for myself.

It's simple, really. Whenever I go to do something (take Little Sprout to preschool, go to bed, eat breakfast, take a shower, head off to work) I get started five minutes early, and use that time to pick up.

Genius, if I do say so myself.

Now, those of you who are born neat (and I hope you don't mind if I hate you - just a little) probably do this without even thinking about it. You probably sit down to read the paper in the morning with your coffee and toast, and before you head off to get ready for work you put the paper in the recycle, rinse out your cup, and wipe the crumbs from the table.

I don't. I never even think of it until there is so much junk piled on the table that it takes 20 minutes just to throw stuff in boxes and bags so we can sit and eat at it. I don't bat an eye at the kids having to push back piles of papers before being able to set their plates down.

Yeah, I'm that bad.

It's amazing how much you can get done in five minutes, and even more amazing how many five minute sections there are in a day. Turns out, there are 288 five minute segments to every day. I don't use anywhere near all of them, and I really see a difference in Barefoot Manor.

Take today for example. When I got up, it took me less than five minutes to pick up the clothes off the floor, make the bed, and clear all the Mt. Dew bottles out of the bedroom. So I got ambitious and emptied the trash cans, too. A little later in the day, it took me a total of 8 minutes to vacuum the living room. Another 5 were spent sweeping the bathroom, hall, dining room, and kitchen. And I never really broke the rhythm of my day. After dropping Little Sprout off at preschool, I spent 10 minutes picking up in her room. No big sacrifice, but HUGE improvement when looking through the door. It took me less than that to switch out the lightweight jackets and sweaters from the front entry, and replace them with the heavier winter coats.

I know eventually it would probably be good for me to have some kind of system. Something like a routine. But right now, my life HAS no routine. Instead of fighting that, I just take five minutes here and there, and do something that needs doing. I can do just about anything - no matter how distasteful - for five minutes, and I love the results!

And guess what? This post only took a few minutes to write this post! That might mean more posts in the future!


jenny said...

Gosh, isn't it amazing how quickly it piles up, especially with kids?! It's SO frustrating for me to accept that with kids, nothing will ever stay exactly where I put it. I cleaned off the buffet in the dining room, where we keep the laptop and school stuff and not an hour later, it looked like I never cleaned it.

I like to think that our house isn't too bad, I lived in much much worse when I lived with my mom. I swore I would never be like that when I get my own home. I'm not, but I'm certainly no neat-nik either!

Keep it up girl!! You can do it! Baby steps! :o)

Barb. said...

I am working on a post that just about says the same thing. But instead of *5 minutes* mine is *Just one thing.*

To be barefoot and out in the garden is so much better than being inside.


Frugal Down Under said...

I'm a slob too - that is why I'm trying to declutter. Anything new in the home, the same size of bigger has to leave. I'm thinking less stuff would mean less slobbing.

I hate not inviting people over because I'm too embarrassed. This impacts on my daughters life as I say no to having her buddies over for a play date. The kids I don't mind - it's the parents that make me squirm.

Finding Pam said...

While I strive to be orderly, I often fall short in that dicipline.

I think you are a very busy woman with two kids, a husband, and a job. I would not beat your self up about clutter.

Keep up the five minute rule.