You might be wondering–what in the hell does housekeeping have to do with writing?
If you’re an adult and you live in a house, especially if other people live there with you, the answer is probably quite a lot. Because it’s hard to take anytime at all to write when every minute of your day could be filled with three other things.
Write, or make dinner.
Write, or clean the toilets.
Write, or vacuum the living room.
You get the point.
So, here’s the plan. We’re going to get a handle on all the adulting stuff this year, so that we can open up some time for writing.
First things first though: right now we’re making a non-negotiable commitment.
Ten minutes of writing and ten minutes of reading every day. No matter what. Even if you have to sneak them in the bathroom. That’s twenty minutes a day and it’s okay if it’s a struggle right now. We’re going to work on that. Lean into the struggle. Do it everyday. Like Ray Bradbury said, then see what happens.
Okay, now that’s out of the way, here’s what we’re going to do.
- Divide your house into eight areas. Mine are: entry/hallway, kitchen, dining room, living room, other room (for me this is the den/office), bathrooms, master bedroom, Ruby’s bedroom. Do what makes sense for you.
- This week we’re going to start with the first section and give it a good hard look. For me, that’s the entry and hallway in my house. I’ve got a coat hanging area, a coat closet, a mail center, and a linen closet. Also, a railing around the stairs to the basement that often gets used as a hanging rack for all manner of things. (I’ll describe the Fresh Eyes exercise below.)
- And then we’re going to give it a brutal decluttering. I want you to look at everything you own that’s hanging out in that first section of your house and ask it this: is keeping you around worth my writing time? Do I like you that much? Have I even looked at you in the last year? Will I be sad a year from now if you’re not around?
- Take before and after pics. If you want to, you can come share them in our Facebook group.
- Keep up with the 7 Super Habits. They make a difference.
The Fresh Eyes exercise works like this: take an honest look at the section of your house you’re working on. (I’m just going to assume it’s your entry and hallway.) Ask yourself these questions:
- What needs to be cleaned?
- What needs to be decluttered?
- What needs to be repaired or refinished?
- What do you need to buy for this section of your house?
Your goal is to look at your house the way a realtor might–someone totally dispassionate and unconnected. Someone who won’t have to actually do the work. Go ahead and list things like painting or getting a new front door, even if you’re not sure how or when you might actually do them.
Start a Life, Curated notebook and hang on to your answers to those questions. You’ll need them over the next six months. I made a Fresh Eyes printable for you. If you’d like to download it and sign up to get weekly Life, Curated posts delivered to your inbox.
We are curating here. Life curating.
Curating means to pull together and sift through. I am not a minimalist and I don’t think I ever will be, so I’m not here to tell you how much stuff you need to get rid of.
What I’d like you to think about is this: every single item that you own takes a little bite of your time and energy and resources. At some point you’re going to need to use it, clean it, dig through it, dig for it.
The point of the next eight weeks is to really look at everything you own and ask yourself: is this thing worth the amount of time it takes away from writing?
Real life example. I own probably 20 pairs of shoes. I regularly wear two of those pairs. A huge reason why I only wear two of those pairs is because digging through all the rest to find something else I want to wear is too much to even think about. So I don’t even think about it. I just slip on my sneakers that are probably sitting in the middle of the hallway. Everytime I need something out of my coat closet, I have to brave an avalanche and take time to spelunk into that space.
I’m looking forward to this, you guys.
What about all the stuff you declutter? My advice is to jut get it out of your house. Donate it. Give it away.
You’ll have to check in with yourself about whether or not you can trust yourself to put stuff aside to sell. Will you actually have a garage sale or do the work to sell stuff on eBay or Craig’s List? Or is boxing stuff up to sell just redistributing the clutter?
If you have the space to store things to sell later, go for it. Mark a box SELL and put stuff in it. Make the decision that after we’re done with this six months, you’ll give yourself a set amount of time to make that sale. If you don’t meet your deadline, donate those boxes.
Okay, here’s where I get brave. Some quick and dirty before pictures of my entry and hallway. It’s muddy and slushy outside and you can see that not having a rug is making the floor pretty gross. And that the coat rack is a major clutter catcher.
And OMG, the inside of that coat closet. Here’s where my declutter time will be spent. Also–just not having to dig through that mess for boots and shoes everyday will open up at least a minute or two of time every day, right? Dang.
Okay. Are you ready for this? Come on over to our Facebook Group for support. I’ll be posting pictures during the week as I do my own work. I love you, you awesome Life Curator!
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