Monthly Missions WEEK 1 Orientation: Getting Ready

Filed under: Monthly Missions — Colleen at 2:51 am on Monday, April 3, 2006

The Monthly Mission program gets you to tackle every area of your home, twice a year! How much you get accomplished depends on how much time you have available, how much clutter you have, and your ability to maintain your accomplishments. Before diving into the Set Me Free! Monthly Mission program, spend at least one week getting ready to ensure your success.
This week you are challenged to improve your household organizing systems so that you can maintain control over your clutter. This means that you will work on ways to prevent the addition of clutter to your home. Do not work on the backlog of clutter–the messy closets, the papers piles, etc. When you are ready for Monthly Missions, you will address the backlog.

1. Adopt 2 organizational goals:

  • “Beginning today, everything I bring into my home will find a “home” within 24 hours.”
  • “Beginning today, everything I use in my home will return to it’s “home” within 24 hours.”

*Finding a “home” for an item means that the item now has a place where it logically belongs–in most instances this is NOT the kitchen counter! Try to store items where you use them.*

2. Establish morning and evening routines: If you are not currently meeting the above 2 goals, you will need to create a system that works for you. As the Fly Lady suggests, you can do this by creating morning and evening routines. I recommend keeping it simple and manageable to ensure your success.

Every morning:

  1. Straighten the bedrooms & bathroom as you are getting ready.
  2. Empty the dishwasher while your coffee is brewing or your breakfast is cooking.

Every evening:

  1. Straighten your living areas.
  2. File your mail/paperwork.
  3. Do the dishes.
  • These are activities you can involve your whole family in. Set a timer for 15 minutes and see just how much you can get done, or have your child put way the number of items corresponding to his age (For example, a 10-year-old has to put away 10 things).
  • Try to devote 20-30 minutes a day to these maintenance activities. Even if you are strapped for time, commit to 20 minutes a day. In the long run, having an efficient, clutter-free home will save you time retrieving items. Initially, you won’t be able to to completely straighten up in 20 minutes. Stay positive and focus on what got done in the designated time, not what didn’t get done.

3. Create a Filing System: If I lost you when I instructed you to file, don’t panic. If you don’t have a filing system that works for you, now is the time to create one.

I recommend starting with a filing container and hanging files with file tabs. Your basic filing system requires 3 areas “ACTION” , “REFERENCE”, AND “BILLS/FINANCES”.

  • ACTION: As you identify items requiring an action, give a file tab an appropriate title “to read”, “to reply”, “to pay”, etc. (You’ll use these folders the most, so use a different color folder, or highlight the label so it stands out). Keep your ACTION files on your desk, or in the front of your filing container. Keep a calendar and an address book handy so you can note important dates and contact information as you go.
  • REFERENCE: Reference files contain papers that do not require action. Limit your reference papers to any papers you expect to refer to. If the information is outdated or you can find the information easily on-line , you don’t need to keep it. Assign an appropriate category to the item and store it in a labeled folder. Place the folder in a hanging file and store alphabetically within your reference area.
  • BILLS/FINANCES: Label 12 files with the months of the year. When you pay your bills, simply put them in the corresponding file. Then, when a year has passed you will be cued to sort through and shred records you will no longer need. You can create additional financial categories for financial records or information you will need to keep for more than a year. Consider files such as “taxes 2006”, “credit card information”, “retirement info.” If you prefer, these additional files could also be stored within your REFERENCE section.
  • Tips:
    • Most people place file tabs on the back of a file. Instead, place the file with the tab in the front, facing you. When you need to file, just pull the appropriate tab forward and the file opens for you. It’s much easier to file this way.
    • It’s also easier to search for files if the tabs/labels are all in the same position and are not staggered. If you have folders with assorted tab positions, use one position for your ACTION folders, one for your REFERENCE files, and one for you BILLS/FINCANCES section. This will help prevent you from filing folders in the wrong sections.
    • Remember to focus on your current paperwork first-not your backlog.

4. Create an “OUT” Box: Designate a container or decorative basket for things that need to leave your house. It should be big enough to hold library books that need to be returned, small items to be returned at the store, and the registration form you need to put in your car. The box should be small enough that you will need to empty it about once a week to prevent clutter from piling up. Place the box by the door or where you keep your keys/purse. When you are getting ready to leave your home, quickly search the box and grab any items you need for that day. Until you find the “perfect” container, settle for a cardboard box.

5. Clean out the trunk of your car! If you’re driving around with clutter in the trunk of your car, it’s time to clear it out. It is important to make space in your trunk so that when you start your Monthly Missions, you can immediately use your trunk to store any donation items. How many times have you driven by a donation center and wished you had your donations with you?
Devote this week to implementing the above 5 steps. It’s okay if it takes you longer than a week. Once you’ve completed these 5 steps, you’re ready to start Monthly Missions.
Overwhelmed? Hire Set Me Free! to provide hands-on help!



Comment by Mary

April 12, 2006 @ 9:00 pm

Love the week one tips. They seem reasonable and manageable. I’ll give them a try!


Comment by katie

June 13, 2006 @ 5:36 pm

very excited to get started!! i feel much more comfortable having a “to-do” list for the week…i think it will keep me from getting overwhelmed with the piles that have been accumulating. i’ll keep you posted on my progress, but i’m optimistic!!

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