Monday, May 9, 2011

Making It Better Monday: Touch it Once

I am hoping your weeks of getting in the habit of closing doors, drawers and cabinets have productive.  My kids have definitely improved in doing this and I plan to keep it going.  It makes such a difference in the appearance of a room!

This week, I am planning to work on the Touch it Once rule.  This means dealing with things, such as mail, just once.  I began doing this with my mail about a year ago and for the most part have done a pretty good job of it.  However, there are some parts where I struggle.  Here is how it would ideally go:

Step 1- Check the mail and bring it into the house.  This means, do not bring it out to the van, even if I am heading out the door.  If I absolutely feel the need to bring it to the van, it MUST come back in the house with me and be dealt with immediately upon returning home. (Can you tell this is one area where I struggle?)

Step 2- Sort mail immediately upon bringing it in.  I place my husband's mail on his pillow so that he is certain to find it when he gets home and the kids will not accidentally grab it and use it to color on.

Step 3- Pay or file any bills; if any mail requires making a phone call, make it right then or at least write it in your schedule with any pertinent information (phone #, account #, reason for call, etc) that you need so that you may get rid of the piece of mail; file away any coupons or checks received so that you can use them during your next trip out; put away any samples or other items received; and deal with any miscellaneous mail in an appropriate manner.

Step 4- Shred any mail with personal information on it and recycle the rest.  If you reuse the envelopes or packaging materials, immediately put them in the place where you keep them.  Also, be certain you are not hoarding these items.  The mail service is not ending anytime soon.  More envelopes will come, probably tomorrow.  Only keep the amount of envelopes that you will actually use. (This is another area that is starting to get away from me.  Not only do I have a ton of envelopes, I do not always put them where they belong right away.)

Another area where the touch it once rule works is dirty laundry.  If you immediately put it in the hamper/down the laundry chute when you take it off, it will not be on the floor/on the counter/hanging from a lamp later, therefore making the house cleaner.  The same goes with dirty dishes.  Hand wash them or put them in the dishwasher as soon as you are done using them.  This keeps the sink clear and keeps the food from getting crusted on, decreasing the amount of time spent washing dishes.

So, for the next week, I am going to purge my stash of envelopes to a reasonable amount and work on bringing the mail into the house, not the van.  I am also going to work on getting my family in the habit of dealing with their laundry and dishes as soon as they are finished with them.  I expect that this will result in fewer pieces of "missing" laundry, as well as a reduced work load when it comes to overall housework.

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