Yesterday, we discussed the need to get our homes in order so that we can celebrate the holidays in a relaxing environment. And we focused on the what we need to do to make that happen, rather than the how.
So, today let’s talk about the how. You’ll need your list from yesterday, and a calendar of this month and next month.
The first thing we need to do is prioritize. For example, if you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner, you might want to prioritize decluttering and cleaning the living room, dining room, and kitchen ahead of the bedrooms.
We also need to break the tasks down into bite-size pieces. For example, as I described in my series about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I implemented the KonMari method piecemeal rather than all at once, as the author recommends. I decluttered and tidied my shoes, then my coats, then my clothes, then my jewelry. In the kitchen, I decluttered and tidied my utensils, then my pans, then my food storage containers. On my to-do list, I would actually write “tidy utensils” rather than “tidy kitchen.”
There are two major advantages to breaking up tasks. First, the smaller the task, the more do-able it seems. Second, you don’t need a lot of time. Decluttering and tidying some categories, like my clothes, took a lot longer than other categories. If I’d waited until I had time to declutter and tidy the whole house, I’d still be waiting!
So now that we have a list of tasks we want to accomplish, it’s time to match that list up with our calendar. On the days when you will be particularly busy, plan to do small tasks – for me, that’s things like scrubbing the baseboards in one room. On days when you have more time, you can plan for bigger tasks, like steam cleaning the carpets (I’m not looking forward to this but we’re way overdue). You may find it helpful to work backward from a special event, like Thanksgiving or Christmas. You can also plan to delegate the tasks – when my kids are off from school the week of Thanksgiving, I’m planning to send them around the house wiping their dirty handprints off the walls!