View Full Version : Setting a Decluttering Goal in Units of Time Using Flylady's Timer Method - Jan 2016

1-9-16, 7:33pm
Hi All,

I'm a teacher on a ten-month contract so have more time to declutter in the winter and summer when I'm often off from teaching. Since I have serious hoarder tendencies, one of many strategies I've enlisted is setting a goal of decluttering a certain number of hours over a specific time period. This year, I don't start teaching again until February 16, so I'm going to try to do 40 hours of decluttering between now and then.

I usually break up the time into 30 minute - 1 hour increments using Flylady's timer method. I don't follow her instructions exactly (I just set a timer and do what I can), but here are her instructions anyway for those who are curious:


Last year, I didn't actually complete my 40 hours until the fall (though I was getting rid of stuff here and there along the way anyway), but the idea of aiming for a certain number of hours really helped.

If anybody else wants to set a goal in time for this week, this month, or this year, please join in! In any case, I'll be reporting back on my progress here - planning to start my first hour NOW.

1-9-16, 10:03pm
First hour is done!

1-13-16, 10:34am
Congrats, ejchase! I have used this method before...I loved flylady and her precursors, the Side Tracked Home Executives. Before the internet (eek! imagine) I used their tickler file system to manage household tasks and, though I would never have believed it, they have actually become second nature. Well, not washing walls or baseboards, but the beds are made, the sink is clean, and we always have food, clean clothing and toilet paper. This was not the case for me in my youth! Anyway, flylady works and I like the psychology behind her system.

1-15-16, 1:27pm
Thanks, leslieann, for the encouragement.

I actually decided yesterday to cut my goal in half to 20 hours by February 16. I realized I just have a lot of other work I have to do by then so that's just more realistic. I think I will try to hit 40 hours by June 15.

Anyway, did 2 more hours yesterday so am up to a total of 3.

1-16-16, 6:10pm
Thanks, lesbian, for the encouragement. . . .

ejchase, I think your auto-correct changed leslieann to lesbian??

1-16-16, 7:01pm
Yeah. Stupid autocorrect. Always posting some thong you didn't Nintendo. :)

but seriously, using a timer and setting a time goal can be really useful. One of my favorite websites- Unf*ck Your Habitat recommends that. They like to do what they call a 20/10. The idea is you work on cleaning or decluttering for 20 minutes and then a 10 minute break. It's amazing how much you can get done that way.

1-17-16, 4:04am
ejchase, I think your auto-correct changed leslieann to lesbian??

Yep, it did. Fixing it now!

1-17-16, 11:16am
I am reading Fly Lady, Sink Reflections. The way she talks and her acronyms drive me crazy, I don't think I will adopt everything but I've learned some good stuff I definitely will use.

1-17-16, 11:28am
This looks like a good method, ejchase
I have sort of been doing this but only one area at a time the whole room thing
is a little much for me.

1-24-16, 1:54am
Hi All -

Thanks for all the encouragement and support.

I did another hour on Friday, so my new total is 4.

Chicken lady
1-24-16, 8:44am
Good job! Do you get a chance to work on weekends, or only week days?

1-27-16, 10:09am
Thanks, Chicken Lady. It's mostly weekdays. Sometimes on the weekends if my four-year-old has a playdate I can get some time in.

Did another 30 minutes on Monday, so up to 4.5 hours.

1-31-16, 1:54pm
Did another hour today, so up to 5.5, but found out this week that I am going to have to leave town from February 4th through the 11th, so I may have to push my goal of getting to 20 hours back a bit again. Will figure it out.

It's a rainy day here, and I would have LOVED to have spent all of it decluttering - I was really on a roll - but family responsibilities are calling.

I am taking two grocery bags of paper out to the recycling bin right now though. That feels good.

1-31-16, 10:29pm
ecjchase...every little bit helps...slow and steady wins the race....you seem to be doing
a great job with this method is working for you. I am sure you will be anxious to get back at it
when you get home.

2-17-16, 11:22am
Thanks, wanna, for the encouragement.

I did another hour on Sunday, so new total is 6.5.

Chicken lady
2-18-16, 9:35am
Ejchase, I think it's great that you've found something that works for you and you're sticking with it!

2-28-16, 10:06pm
Thanks, Chicken Lady, being able to report to all of you really helps.

Did a half hour more today, along with my SO and our daughter. New total is 7.

Chicken lady
2-29-16, 7:40am
Do you find that having your family assisting helps?

when I first started clearing out, it was something I pretty much needed to do by myself, but now I'm finding that I get more done with a partner. Maybe because I'm working on stuff that I feel matters to other people, but also I feel good about having someone to share my progress with.

3-9-16, 9:38am
Chicken Lady, my family and I try to set the timer for 15 minutes once on the weekend and do a general pick-up, and when we manage it, it's amazing how we can transform the downstairs from a disaster area into a calming, relaxing space. But, in general, when I am trying to spend an hour or so decluttering - going through papers, setting up systems for where things will be kept, etc. - it helps a lot to have them out of the house. Organizing just does not come naturally to me, so it really helps to just be able to focus on it 100% without any distractions or interruptions.

Speaking of, my sister arrived yesterday for a visit, so I asked my SO to take our daughter to the library on Monday afternoon when I got off work, and I put in 1.5 hours dealing with all the most cluttered surfaces, so I'm up to 8.5 now.

3-26-16, 10:46am
Put in an hour yesterday, so up to 9.5.

Chicken lady
3-26-16, 10:56am
Yay! I was missing your posts the last couple of weeks!

i am still picking away at things. My project for this weekend is the Easter stuff. I don't think there is very much to purge there because I sorted through it last year, but I did already find a handful of small stuff that I couldn't part with last year that no longer seems very important.

3-27-16, 12:28am
Thanks, Chicken Lady! I am enjoying your "elephant" posts as well and feeling very inspired by them.

My SO and daughter were out of town today, so I made a fair amount of progress: 2.5 hours.

So I'm up to 12 now.

3-28-16, 12:56am
Had a huge decluttering binge today - 6.5 hours! It was a little manic - I ended up neglecting some other things like exercise and some errands - but my SO and a babysitter had my daughter for the day, so I wanted to take advantage. The improvements aren't obvious to anyone but me really, but I don't care. It's progress. Actually I did a lot of work in our guest room so it won't be quite so embarrassing when my dad comes in a couple of weeks. My sister was here two weeks ago, and I actually paid to have her stay at an Air B and B two doors down because it was just too stressful to have her sleeping in the middle of a mess. I don't expect my house to look like a picture in a magazine, but having stacks of clutter around you when you're staying at someone else's home is just so uncomfortable.

I took about 6 grocery bags of paper out to the recycling bin, and it made me realize that maybe I am FINALLY ready to go paperless for all my bills and probably for my financial statements too. It just seems like there is no good reason not to, and it's becoming clearer and clearer that all that paper filing is a waste of time.

Up to 18.5 now!

Chicken lady
3-28-16, 7:00am
That is terrific! I bet you got at least some exercise working on your organizing.

i went through the Easter decorations. I only found a few small things to get rid of, so I still have five bins, but they are smaller bins than I use for all the other holidays - maybe three of my big holiday bins. And I feel good about what is in them.

all three bedrooms downstairs are still a mess, but I could clear any one for guests in less than an hour. All three if I had a day. Most of the mess would just be restashed in the basement though - which is not my goal.

4-1-16, 2:03am
Two more hours today. It actually took that long to do a thorough cleaning out of my car and put everything I found in it away. Ah well. So I've met my goal of 20 hours. May start a new thread for my next goal.

Chicken lady
4-1-16, 5:38am
Good job!

and you have a nice clean car!