Neatness-related Everyday System?

An everyday system, TM, is a simple, commonsense solution to an everyday problem, grounded by a pun or metaphor. Propose/discuss new systems here.
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Neatness-related Everyday System?

Post by ert » Tue Jan 17, 2006 5:26 am

Does anyone have a "system" for managing one's paperwork, clothing, and clutter in general? I've got a time management "system" that works, and a business record-keeping system - but my house is a mess and my personal paperwork (bills and such) is a mess. Help?

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Post by navin » Tue Jan 17, 2006 4:18 pm

If you figure that out, let me know!

I've been trying to be better about that myself recently.. I remember an acronym from something else - Today, Not Tomorrow (TNT), and I'm experimenting to see if this can be applied to the mess that becomes my tables and desks and folders if I just ignore stuff. My thought is, maybe if as soon as I see something that needs attention, I go on and do it then, rather than putting it off.

Like... if there are dirty dishes in the sink, do 'em. When I get mail, go on and look through it all and take care of it right then, if possible. We'll see how that goes... :)
Before criticizing someone, you should try walking a mile in their shoes. Then you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

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Post by reinhard » Wed Jan 18, 2006 2:18 am

Hi Ert,

The first rule of paperwork is have less of it. I do my banking online and only get paper statements when absolutely necessary. For bills and such I try to set everything I can up to autodeduct from my bank account or credit card. After that, I only have 2 bills left a month to pay: mortgage and credit card. Following advice previously posted in this forum, I have fixed day every month to pay these remaining bills: for me, the "financial" 14th (cute and it just worked out). I also make a monthly charitable contribution on that day.

For sheer mess, try something more positive: listen to audiobooks while you clean. I can vacuum, mop and do dishes forever while listening to a novel, lecture series, whatever. The merely physical and the purely intellectual don't distract from each other: on the contrary. I'd like to say our home is now in perfect shape, but our baby girl is such a talented mess-maker that I'd need two forevers to keep up. :-)

Navin's advice is good too. I used to have two absurdly grandiosely named systems that essentially amounted to "do your dishes immediately." I no longer need a system because my wife will just kill me if I don't. :-)

Hope something here helps. Keep us posted.


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Post by kellenheller » Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:13 pm

For the last six weeks or so, I've been using the time while I wait for my coffee to brew in the morning to straighten out the house.

I either load the dishwasher or unload it, depending on whether I was tidy enough the night before. Regardless, this way, the dishes never pile up more than one day.

I sweep the kitchen.

I throw a load of laundry in, and fold a load I did the night before.

I pick up kid stuff and put it on the stairs for them to take up and put away.

Straighten out chairs and couch pillows, etc.

Then I get my cup of coffee, go upstairs and make my bed.

I check my bank account online while I drink the coffee, and make sure I'm not in any danger. Then I check email, and once the coffee's done, I get in the shower.

I started doing shovelglove yesterday, so today I did the shovelglove instead of the cleaning, while the coffee was making. I will have to tweak the system - I might try it before I set the coffee on. I'm such a BAD morning person, it's hard for me to imagine really doing the SG every morning, but at least I did it this morning and didn't die.

But, the above stuff takes probably 10-15 minutes, and has been keeping my house very neat for weeks now.

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Post by gratefuldeb67 » Sat Feb 04, 2006 9:14 pm

at least I did it this morning and didn't die.
Yay you!!!!!

ps... If you feel like it, I've got plenty of straightening up to do here, nearly all the time!
Just when you do one sink full of dishes, someone goes and messes them up again!!! :twisted:
Hate that!

Peace and Love,
8) Deb

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Post by Pete » Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:59 pm

I live with 3 other guys, so things aren't really ever "neat" as such.

However, I find just making sure I put things away after I'm done with them, instead of saying to myself "she'll be right, I'll put that away later" really makes a difference.

As an upside, because I use my room to sg in, it HAS to be tidy, so I have plenty of room to work out in :D

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Post by brownstudy » Mon Feb 27, 2006 7:35 pm

Look at the book called ORGANIZING FROM THE INSIDE OUT by Julie Morgenstern. It boils down to the kindergarten organization methodology: everything in its place. Give everything a designated home and that becomes the first place to look for something. There's lots more to it, of course, but it's as simple (and hard) as that.

Don Aslett also has lots of books on clutter-bashing.

I like the earlier poster's double-dipping of tasks, doing one thing while waiting for another to finish. I had a friend who would put a pot of water on to boil and she used that time for meditation. When the whistle blew, time for meditation to stop.

I remember reading that Ingrid Bergman would tell her kids "never leave a room empty-handed." There's always something in this room that has to be taken to that one, so just carry it with you when you go. That's a nice "clean as you go" philosophy.

Also check out the flylady website; she's defined lots of household routines that you can adapt. And it is that: routine, habit, something you do without having to spend precious brain energy thinking about.
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Post by redwinger » Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:25 pm

try She's got some good techniques that don't take much time and really get you started on living a clutter free life. Once my house gets renovated, i'm going to start on this again. I did it for a while when I rented and it really helped a lot

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Here's one I try...

Post by Kevin » Mon Mar 27, 2006 10:10 pm

Everytime I leave a room, I try to leave it better than it was when I came into it. After a week or so of this, it's usually a quick glance and squaring something on a table top.

Of course, I'm only successful at this for a few days at a time, then the kids hit like a cyclone and everything looks like the aftermath again.

This does sort of sound like an everyday system, but I have no idea what I'd call it... and without the name, it's not an EDS. Otherwise, it qualifies nicely. It's habitual, it's easy, it takes schedualistically insignificant amounts of time, and in the long run it makes life a lot better.

With the kids, we're trying this. After dinner, spend 15 minutes cleaning up. If you are done early, look again. And again. And again. For them, it's not the results - because they'd be perfectly happy with lousy results - that count, it's the time they put into it that counts.
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Post by reinhard » Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:08 pm


I like your currently nameless system...

Some ideas (just leads, really)... thinking out loud here:

"Leave it Better"
"Room Steward"

Names can take a while...


We've had a bunch of flylady mentions here.. I should probably spend some more time on that site, and maybe even post a link to it on the eds home page (along with some links to lifehacker, 43 folders, etc).


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