How to Get Started on a Big Home Organization Project in 10 Minutes

Does that big home organization project feel like too much so you don't start?

Bedroom closet? Garage?

Spare bedroom?

Kitchen drawers?

Want it done but avoiding doing it?

Yep. We all do it. Then it turns into procrastination.

Get started like this:

(Don’t worry it only takes 10 minutes, it can't be THAT bad)

Right now, before:

Getting a drink of water,

Doing the dishes

Walking the dog

Getting dressed for the day

Returning a phone call

Checking your email

Or anything else!

I want you to devote just 10 minutes to the procrastinated job.

If you don't know the first step, then for 10 minutes strategize how to break it down into steps.

Too overwhelming to break the project down into steps?

Then do this:

Free-form write about your project or talk into your phone’s recorder or into thin air about it. Say whatever comes to mind like "Oh God how am I even going to do anything on this in 10 minutes?" Keep going until the next right action emerges or you feel emboldened to tackle project-planning as your next right step, or 10 minutes go by.

While writing this, I created a real example.

I’m not sure if I’ve been procrastinating re-organizing my garage or just putting it off (wait, what’s the difference?)

I set my timer for 10 minutes and headed out to the garage with my computer. I was up in the air about where to begin my project so I started with writing. (By "up in the air" I mean frozen with indecision!)

Here’s my real, completely unedited riff:

(well, I added the italics, but that’s all the editing - I swear!)

I don’t know where to start on this garage because I don’t know what the priorities are. I guess I remember that I wanted to sweep the garage out before putting stuff in its final place, but I don’t have a broom out here and it feels arduous to move everything around and sweep, but maybe it’s not such a big deal and I could just do that.

When I look around it seems like there are a lot of different areas. A top priority could be the bicycle area because it’s the area most used that would have the biggest impact on my daily life if it were organized better.

Also I have resistance to starting this project. Because it’s a long project, even though I spend all day with my clients helping them get unstuck. Oooooh, here’s where it gets real. Do I want to write for another 7 minutes or do something for 7 minutes? I choose do something for 2 minutes and then re-evaluate.

After writing that, I went to the bicycle area and looked at it for a minute or so, wondering where to start. The shoes were in a disarray in front of the bicycle supply table (otherwise known as an end table I’m not using). I decided to line the shoes up against the wall. But I was blocked because the spot needed to be swept and - you guessed it! No broom in the garage.

My garage is not attached to my apartment. It’s around the other side of the building and across the parking lot. (That explains why the garage isn't swept yet even though I first thought of it a few weeks ago. Maybe there are other reasons also!)

I got the broom. Across the parking lot, around the building, into the kitchen, back out to the garage. I made it back with one minute left out of 10. I swept the spot even though it took more than one minute. Et voilá! Progress.

I got from “I don’t know what to do and I don’t have time to do it” to VISIBLE PROGRESS on a big project.

In only 10 minutes!

You can do it too!

If you’ve been avoiding a home organization project because it could take forever, try 10 minutes of focus.

Just 10 minutes and see what happens.

You won’t be worse off!

Go for it!