Making Icky, Sticky Tasks Creative

February 3rd, 2010

inside my purse. yikes!

I've started the home theme with some internal cleaning. Yesterday was spent working hard on bookkeeping. And today, well, I'm starting with cleaning out my portable home. And oh yikes, it's kind of scary in there!

Ever since I moved in September, my files have not been in order. And as a result, there's been a back up of paper everywhere. I've been procrastinating about it, not knowing exactly where things are going to go, but I know I'll feel better and more clear-headed once I deal with this stuff.

But I've gotta do it step-by-step. The build-up didn't happen in one day and I don't expect it to be cleared up in one day. Which is why today, my baby step is to dump out my purse and sort through it all. I know it will feel great to have it cleaned up!

So, how do you make these icky, sticky, un-fun tasks creative?

Creatively break down your tasks. Get creative with how you tackle your to-do's. Break them into smaller chunks, set a timer, mix it up with more fun tasks (like circuit training!)

Draw your to-do's: I like to doodle my to-do list, drawing a little picture next to each item. My visual-self loves the images. It's an easy reminder of what's on my list without even having to read it. Plus, it's fun and makes the to-do list look pretty nifty!

Get creative with your rewards. I like to make un-fun tasks more enjoyable by adding treats. For example, when I go to the grocery store, a task I do not enjoy, I often bring along my ipod and listen to an audiobook while I shop. It gets me out the door, I get my shopping done, and I don't dread it as much. I also use audiobooks to help motivate me to change the litter, do the dishes, and fold my laundry. Hey, whatever works!

Make your organizing attractive: Using purple pens and pretty folders makes filing more enjoyable for me. I also love colored paper clips. Go figure.

Play rockin' tunes: Great music can be incredibly motivating when you're cleaning or organizing. Dancing while cleaning or organizing is highly encouraged. :-)

What are some ways you get creative while cleaning up your space?

22 Responses

I totally agree with making your organizing attractive. There is nothing quite like shopping for some cool stuff. It is sort of like the thrill of shopping for school supplies way back when.

You know what makes the time go by faster and the cleaning seem a lot easier? Talking to myself. I put all my thoughts out there, and they usually are way more important than the cleaning. So I have double advantage – cleaning without even noticing and cleaning my thoughts…
Nice evening to you and good luck with the cleaning :)

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I like to listen to a book on my Ipod. Right now I’m getting ready to go sort through some papers and get them filed and I’ve got The Fellowship of the Ring on my IPod ready to go.

I listen to podcasts (my fav is the Creative Mom Podcast) in the car, running errands, waiting at carpool, etc. Your idea about doodling your to-do lists sounds like something I’ve got to try!

What an interesting and fitting interpretation of home. I’ve definitely decided to make “Home” about being present in my life, at home in my present. Artistically, I don’t know what that will end up looking like, but who the heck ever knows that?

I couldn’t agree more, Leah. Good on you for finding a way to make the process enjoyable. I love thinking about all the amazing space there will be for your creations when the ‘accumulation’ is dissolved.

You rock. Thanks for being a voice of sanity and inspiration!

:) Jen

my life is so centered around “home” right now as we have been looking for a house since the beginning of December!! cleaning, purging, organizing and packing are on everyday’s todo list. Mostly I like to listen to music while i clean…

as a list-maker, i have lots of lists of all of my to-do items. it keeps me focused on what needs to be done and I love crossing things off! sense of accomplishment is my motivation.

I like to invite a friend over to play sometimes. The knowledge that someone else is coming over to play in my space makes me rethink where some things are and is definitely a motivation for making it really tidy and attractive. I am getting better at just making my space nice for myself too though. I think when I am feeling well and “happy” my space reflects that. And so does the process and my attitude about keeping it “nice”.
Happy Cleaning !

Thanks, that was really helpful, Leah. I like the tip about listening to an audio book while grocery shopping. That must make it much more relaxing. I’ll have to try it.

Thanks for the great tips. I think I’ll use that one about the iPod for grocery shopping. I never even thought of taking it along to listen to music. That would be great and I wouldn’t have to listen people making cellphone calls from the checkout line. Awesome. And I tend to get creative when my purse gets junky…I put it in the closet and go shopping for a bright new one that is empty. Much easier, right? :-)

You have got some great ideas…you have me inspired!

Great post, so many creative ideas! I’m a list kinda gal! When I have several things to tackle in a day …I make a list the night before, then first thing in the am I get set on doing what’s on the list. It helps me focus, to stay on track. As a general rule, I usually keep things very organized. You know the type – labeled containers everywhere!
My one goal this year was to toss out at least 50 things every month. I keep a basket in one spot and usually try to throw a few things in it throughout the day. You would be very surprised at how much ‘throw away’ items that you come across in a day!

My newest organizing job is my yarn stash! I currently have it all over the floor in one of my bedrooms. Now, I need to go purchase some clear containers and sort by weight of the yarn. Then I’ll stack the containers in the
closet and when I need a certain type of yarn …I’ll just go to that bin! I could not live without containers and beautiful labels!

Here’s to organizing creatively!

Every day I do a task that is bothering me the most; sometimes more. I do listen to audiobooks, and tend to get several things done in a row that way.

If I am really uptight about tasks, I meditate. I use the meditations from I think they are the very best!

As a born organizer, I really enjoyed Leah’s post and all of the above posts as well! Since it’s so chilly here in NE Pa. in the winter months, I always use these months to do closets, drawers, etc. And since this was my first winter since retirement, I really got a lot done. I did the dreaded medicine cabinets the double vanity in our master bathroom and just yesterday I cleaned out the refrigerator which has been over stuffed with outdated bottles and containers since Thanksgiving!! =P And the other night I did the ultimate purge…my filing cabinet!! How good I felt when I could actually fit a piece of paper in there in any drawer…lol!! Now I can start my on line gallery with space to keep my business files!! yeah for all of you go getters. Glad we are “nesting” and organizing during “home” month….

You and I have a lot in common! I just moved in September and have only done the bare minimum to set up my office. I do love colored folders and all the funky paperclips/office supplies they have out there. The display at Staples with the binder clips and paperclips etc. which you can pick up in bulk is almost as good as the candy aisle! Making organization colorful and fun as well as chunking it down into manageable tasks is definitely the ticket. :) Thanks for the words of wisdom once again!

This was a great post and really got me thinking about how I do approach things. and it’s funny because I’m realizing I am more creative, even with the mundane, that I thought. but there is always room for improvement.

I definitely take the Ipod when I grocery shop. It’s a task I hate doing and I have become highly sensitive to the noises. So putting the ear plugs in and turning up the music helps a lot. Plus I just keep trying to purge stuff. How much “stuff” does one person need? OMG. One thing I do is sort the mail over the trash can. I do not lay it down intending to look at it later. Most of it is trash anyway and I have a little shredder over the can. Bills or important papers go in the letter organizer. I have whittled down the paper mountain to a tiny mole hill that way. I also like to scan and file things on the computer. That way I have less actual papers to file or boxes to keep. Just be sure back up.

Oh, I dropped a piece of mashed potato behind the oven yesterday and I need to get that fixed today and I really can’t find anything creative about dragging out the oven and see whay other delicacies roam free behind there…

Thank you Leah for inspiring me to clean out my purse! It really needed it. :)

I love to listen to podcasts when doing housework or going grocery shopping, too. Sometimes I’ll even look forward to dusting or folding laundry if I have something I’m excited to listen to.

Love this post. Usually I have to be in the mood to clean and organize but once I get started I have fun with it. Now if I invite someone over, that means I will definitely clean up :-)

I too moved a few months ago, and I still haven’t managed to put a new filing system in place; it’s on the agenda for this week. I like to burn candles and play mellow music or put French films on in the background. I may not actually be paying attention to it, but I can pretend I’m in France while I file the bills!

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