September 29, 2009

The Zone Method

I'm sorry this post is a week later than promised. Life took one of those weird turns Monday afternoon, and I spent the rest of the week tending sick girls.

I wrote a couple week ago about discovering Hannah Help Me on APT IQ Monday nights. I was intrigued by the idea of zone cleaning. The idea, before I modified it to fit our home, is to divide your home into four zones, set a timer for ten minutes, and declutter that zone until the timer goes off every day for a week. Then go to the next zone for a week, and so on and so forth.

One good thing about moving back in March is that we jettisoned the majority of our clutter then, so the unaltered zone method seemed like a bit of overkill. Yet, I liked the idea of using a timer. My biggest issue has always been procrastination, especially if I think something is going to take a long time. I figure I'll run out of time, have an even bigger mess, so why should I bother even starting. Yet, if I say, I have X amount of time to do this, and whatever doesn't get done will have to wait until tomorrow, the procrastination monster is slain.

So, I divided our house like so. The kitchen is zone one. With a preschooler, a toddler, and my goal to prepare more of our food myself, the kitchen is the trouble spot in our house, so it deserved to be a zone unto itself. The girls' bedrooms make up zone two. Zone three is the living room and master bedroom, and the bathrooms are zone four.

I set the timer for twenty minutes and set to in the first zone. If the timer goes off, I reset it and move on to the next zone. If not, I go ahead and move to the next zone until the timer goes off. Whatever time I don't use in one zone can be used for the next, but I don't go past the fourth alert. I save the zone I want to deep clean any particular day until last, and use the extra time to scrub grout, clean out the fridge, organize drawers or cabinets, or rifle through a stack of papers adding some to the kindling bag and filing the rest.

I get started every morning at 7:40 when the girls are eating their breakfast, and I'm done by 9, just in time to cover letters and numbers with Boo and play with the girls for a couple hours before lunch. Then on Saturdays, Hubby and I set the timer for an extra twenty minutes and work together on some of the hidden hot spots like closets, the filing cabinet, or the attic.

We're loving it so far. I'll let you know if it changes.

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