Organizing in 10 Minute Blocks: The Dining Room Table:

dining table piled with clutter

Does this ever happen to you? You look at your dining room table. It looks like a small bomb went off. Maybe you wonder how this happened? Well, my dining room table looks this way because it has been a hectic week for me. Let’s look at what happened during my week.

How things landed on my dining room table

I came home from a client who gave me some coffee. I dropped the coffee bags on the table, made a run for the bathroom, and then started lunch. On my way home from my client I stopped and picked up Christmas plants and greenery at the nursery. The greenery is outside in the carport, but the Christmas plants got dumped on the dining room table along with the receipt.

Our new book, Filled Up and Overflowing came in. I was so excited that I opened the box and pulled out the new book and ran to call my co-author, Diane Quintana. The box remained on the dining room table. I was working on getting my holiday cards in the mail and did not finish. Rather than putting the project away, it stayed on the table. I was gathering items to decorate the kitchen and the hall. I staged them on the table. So, that’s how it happened. All these things just sat there on the dining room table for days. It looked overwhelming and I had so many other things to do that seemed more important.

Time to clear the dining room table

But finally, enough was enough. I couldn’t stand the clutter anymore. Diane Quintana and I have just finished the production of a deck of cards, Organize Your Home 10 Minutes at a Time, to help declutter small areas in your home. Each card in the deck has a ten-minute task. I decided to use this table as a test, so I set my timer for 10 minutes. It actually took me seven minutes to take everything off the table and put them where they belonged. That gave me three minutes to clean the table and decorate it for Christmas.

Everything on that table had a place where it should have gone. Yes, we all drop something on the dining room table or kitchen counter when in a rush, but it should not just stay there and grow roots.

Clutter breeds clutter

When I came home from the client and had to rush to the restroom, it made good sense to drop the coffee bags. But, when I then returned to the kitchen to make lunch, it would have taken less than a minute to put those bags of coffee away right then.

Putting the decorations on the dining room table to stage them for the kitchen/hall zone made sense. And if they were the only things on the table, I would have been motivated to place them that day or the next. The point is that clutter breeds clutter. If you don’t maintain an area, then it just gets worse and worse.

You can accomplish a lot in 10 minutes

But the real take-away here is that even if you do let things build up over a week or two, it really takes only a short amount of time to clear that space. Taking the 10 minutes to accomplish that task really saves you time in the long run, clears your mind, and lowers your stress.

Now the dining room table is ready for its real purpose – eating. How much more relaxing to eat at the decorated table than balancing a plate on my lap in the living room.

I challenge you to look around your home and find one annoying area that you could declutter in only 10 minutes. I would love to hear your results and see your pictures. Send them to me on our Facebook page: Ask the Organizers Diane and Jonda. Feel free to ask me for suggestions if you get stuck clearing your table.