Keep up the good work

When a cleaning or organizing project is finished, there is a great feeling of relief, accomplishment, pride, and sometimes a little nagging worry: How will I be able to keep it that way?

The good news is that anyone can get organized. The bad news is that it is a long-term habit, not a one-shot cleanup. The best system in the world will not work if there isn’t follow-through.

I compare this most often to physical fitness. Going to the gym once is a great start. Training for, and running a marathon is a great accomplishment, but if you stop exercising after, the muscles will return to their previous state.

A habit that I think works well for most people is what we call the “Ten Minute Tidy.”


Leave yourself a few minutes at the end of whatever you are doing:

  • The end of the morning/afternoon/day in the office
  • The end of each class
  • After cooking or baking
  • After yard work
  • Getting home from the gym/ game/ family outing
  • The end of the day, before going to bed

Set a timer if you need to, and put things back where they belong. If you have family members or employees using the same space, get them involved. Even a small child can put clothes in a laundry basket, toys in a container, or deliver something back to the correct room.

This one small habit can make a huge difference in the way a home or office looks. You can have that lovely sense of accomplishment over and over again, as you walk away from a tidy space- and the next day, when you return, you will feel great, starting fresh rather than walking into yesterday’s mess.

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