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Getting started

Organizational inertia is that “stuck” feeling most people get when they think about an organizational task they have yet to do, such as cleaning out a messy closet or getting ahead of hectic schedules. Until you start, the mere thought of the energy and time required to deal with a task is paralyzing. So you procrastinate.

Happily, breaking through to get momentum working in your favor is actually easier than you might think. All you need is five minutes – you can get much more crossed off your list in five minutes than you might think.

Here are a few thought starters for you.

Make a dent on your closet. Start by getting rid of dry-cleaner bags and setting orphan hangers aside to recycle with your dry cleaner. Getting rid of those will make a significant visual impact. If you don’t believe that you can make a dent in five minutes, watch this YouTube video of Sarah Welch making over a messy closet and pay particular attention at the 55-second mark:

Fold lingering laundry. If you’ve got a basket waiting, or a bunch of items in the dryer, tackle them. Just be sure to set your timer for five minutes – somehow folding this way unleashes your inner “beat the clock” competitor.

Pay bills online. Most banks offer online bill-payment systems, which make crossing a payment off your list as easy as one or two points and clicks.

Make a meal plan. Make a menu plan for the next two or three days. Use Buttoned Up’s free printable menu-planning sheet to organize your ideas in one place. You can find the free download at

Say thanks. Dash off a thank-you note, address it and put it in your “to post” pile. If you have stamps handy, put a stamp on it and put it out by your mailbox so the postman will pick it up on his next visit.

– Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore,