One of the things that has changed my house and my mind about clutter more than any other thing is what I’m calling “microsorting.”
In my previous life (like five years ago), when I was waiting in a drive through at Starbucks, or waiting for my oatmeal in the microwave to finish heating, I would jump on my phone and check Facebook. Now, I microsort.
Microsorts are not our typical 15 minute Clutter Free sessions. These aren’t even five minutes. These are the seconds where I’m waiting for something to heat up, power up, and finish up.
As an example, when I’m waiting for my coffee to brew in the morning (I set it the night before, but I’m almost always up before my alarm) I straighten up the coffee area, or refill the ground coffee container, replace coffee flavoring container that is running low (I love sugar-free coconut).
What I love about microsorts is that these are little patches of time that come up all day long. In those tiny pockets of time, you can accomplish so much. The other thing I love? This helps you prepare for the next day, or the next time you are cooking, or the next time you’ll be in that area. Tomorrow, when I get my coffee, the ground coffee container will be full, I’ll have my flavorings, and the area will be clean and tidy and greet me well in the morning. It is my best way to be kind to my future self.
So here are 50 ways to microsort throughout your day:
Waiting in the Kitchen
Whether you’re waiting to take something out of the oven or for those last 30 seconds on the microwave, or maybe it’s waiting for your slowpoke kids to finally finish eating, there are tons of things to do with that extra 30 seconds:
Unload part of the dishwasher
Sort your silverware drawer
Look at dates of food on a shelf in the fridge
Look at dates of food on a shelf in the pantry
Sort through your utensil drawer
Take out the trash
Take out the recycling
Wipe off a counter
Scrub out your sink
Wipe down an appliance
Put water in the coffee pot for tomorrow
Refill a canister (with flour, sugar, etc.)
Start a shopping list for the next time you go to the store
Restock dog/cat food
Waiting in the Living Room
Maybe you’re watching real, live TV with (gasp) commercials. Here is what you can do in the living room while you wait:
Fold blankets or quilts in that room
Sort through remotes
Fluff pillows on the couch
Get rid of 5 magazines
Declutter a shelf on a book case – donate five books
Sort DVDs – donate five that your family never watches
Hang up any coats that have been discarded in this room
Get rid of any cords that you don’t use anymore
Waiting for People
I seemed to spend much of my kids’ elementary school years standing by the front door yelling, “Come on!!! Let’s GOOOOOO…” Why not multitask with the yelling and get some things done?
Clean off your entry table
Clean off some apps on your phone you never use
Sweep your front porch
Restock dog bags (for cleanups during walks)
Waiting in Your Car
We seem to wait in our cars for all kinds of reasons:
For the kids to get out of practice
For the tank to get filled up
For Starbucks to finish your order
For Walmart to bring out your groceries (that you so cleverly ordered ahead…):
Clean out trash in your front seat
Create a bag for things that need to be taken into the house
Go through receipts in your wallet and pitch what you don’t need
Buy a six pack of water and keep it in your trunk for emergencies
Sort through your glove box
Throw away five things in your trunk
Waiting in Your Bathroom
Kids taking a bath. (Obviously, depending on the age of the little ones and their ability to sit upright) or waiting for the shower to warm up:
Get rid of five empty bottles
Sort through part of a drawer
Check expired meds
Inventory shampoos and conditioners
Get rid of five products you don’t use anymore
Waiting in Your Bedroom
Waiting for your spouse to come to bed or waiting for him to get ready to go:
Sort your bedside table
Sort your underwear drawer – pitch anything you wouldn’t want to be seen at the doctor’s in
Get rid of one pair of PJs that don’t make you feel awesome
Pull 5 things from your closet that you don’t wear to donate to charity
Waiting in Your Laundry Area
I hate ironing, so I spend a lot of time waiting for the dryer to beep so that I can grab the shirts like a ninja so that I don’t have to set up the ironing board:
Match two pairs of socks
Wipe down the top of the washer and dryer
Inventory what you need to replenish in that area
Waiting in Your Office
Waiting for a friend to type out a huge Facebook message, waiting for a video to download or even just an app:
File or recycle five pieces of paper
Test out five pens to see if they have ink – pitch the ones that don’t
Return one email
Update your to-do list
Inventory office supplies
Those little bits of time can add up – make them add up to a clutter free home.
What are some of the ways that you use pockets of time?
“Today, I am trying to cling to the hope in the midst of an unknown future that lay ahead of me. At times, I just want to fast forward a year, till I know how everything has turned out . . .” And I pondered, what to do in the waiting.
Facebook reminded me of this post I made a year ago. We had just found out we were pregnant. After 4 consecutive losses. I didn’t know if I should prepare my heart for a loss, or for the possibility of a live baby to bring home.
We were also fostering a baby boy at the time. We’d had him since he was 5 months old, and had just passed the one-year mark of him in our home. Reunification with his birth family seemed imminent. But I didn’t know how, or when, I would have to let go of this baby. And I certainly didn’t know how our family would survive the good-bye.
Our adoptive daughter’s birth mom had also recently contacted me. She wanted back into our daughter’s life. Again. After failing to follow through so many times.
All of this – at the same time. I suppose you can’t blame me for wanting to fast forward. I felt like if I only knew WHAT I was dealing with, I could face it, make a plan, and work through whatever was coming my way. But at the time, our futures remained unknown – at least, to me. And I had little control over any of the outcomes.
All I could do was wait.
Many of you won’t be able to relate to foster parenting, or struggling with fertility. But I guarantee that you have experienced a time when you wanted to hit “fast forward” on life.
Maybe you are waiting for something good to come – a baby, job, degree, promotion, or retirement. Perhaps you are waiting for answers – a diagnosis, resolution to a conflict, or a restoration of a relationship. Then again, maybe you are waiting for something hard – the passing of a loved one, the closing of a business, or the progression of a disease.
None of us loves waiting. Not for our drink at Starbucks. And certainly not for life’s big events.
But as I discovered over the last year, no matter what we are waiting for, our season of surrender is not a passive one. We can make intentional decisions, right in the midst of our unknown, in order to grow stronger in faith, perseverance and character.
Here are some key actions you can take today in your season of what to do in the waiting:
Besides praying for only the outcome we want, there are a few key things we can pray for during a time of waiting.
– Pray for God’s will. This is the hardest prayer, because we know our will is often not God’s. It’s a prayer of submission, of laying down the very depths of ourselves to His perfect wisdom.
– Pray for peace. God promises a peace that surpasses all understanding. Pray specifically for a peaceful heart, free of worry and fear.
– Pray for salvation. God is not only concerned about the here and now – he is concerned about eternity. As we faced reunification for our foster son, I began praying that God would bring people into his life who would share the gospel with him when I no longer could. Who do you need to pray for salvation for?
– Pray for growth. In every season of waiting, there is refinement in our faith and character that needs to happen, if we would be open to it. Pray that your eyes are open, and your spirit is willing to grow.
Just as muscles require being broken down through exercise in order to grow, so does our faith. Our seasons of waiting give us an opportunity to question our beliefs, expand our understanding of God’s character and his role in our lives, and more solidly define what we believe and why.
In the Bible, you will find that God often had his people wait. But they were not to be idle in the process. Instead, they were to prepare for what God ultimately was calling them to. Now is not the time to sit by passively. It is a time to prepare your heart, your home, your skill set, and your faith so that you can be ready when your season of waiting is finally over. Ask yourself, “What is the next right thing I can do?” Then go do it.
PRACTICE GOOD SELF-CARE In a season of waiting, it is crucial to take stock in your spiritual, emotional, and physical needs, and then invest in meeting those needs. As much as you are able, exercise and eat healthy. Talk with a trusted friend, pastor or therapist. Journal or blog. Find what feeds your soul And take the necessary steps to make it a practice.
Give yourself grace. Waiting is hard. One day, you might feel as though you have got this. The next, you are all tears, anxiety and regret. Give yourself the grace to take your fears and emotions day by day, even moment by moment. Waiting is a marathon – not a sprint.
Seek out others who have survived a season of waiting like you are currently in. Be vulnerable about where you are, and allow them to speak the lessons they have learned into your life.
We are never guaranteed tomorrow. Either for us, or for our loved ones. It is so tempting to want to live for the futures we are waiting for, and miss out on the gift of today. Be present with your loved ones. And choose to be grateful for every single thing you can. Because tomorrow, they might be gone.
It is now a year later from the day I posted on Facebook. As much as I longed for answers, I now realize I would not have been able to handle all the answers at once. The unknown, while scary, actually served to protect my heart. Had I known what I know now, I would not have had the courage to follow through with God’s call.
Ironically, that season of waiting just gave way to a new season of unknowns.
Our foster son did return home 9 months ago – and we are now waiting to see if his mom will allow us back into his life at all. Our daughter’s birth mom never followed through, though we are open to her in case she is ready to make contact. And the baby we were pregnant with went to be with Jesus shortly after my post on Facebook. But God blessed us with another pregnancy after 5 consecutive losses, and we are only weeks away from holding our new daughter in our arms.
For now, in all these things, we hold onto hope.
And we wait.
“Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.” Isaiah 64:4
“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14
Rachel Lewis is a foster, adoptive and birth mom. When she’s not chauffeuring her kids around, you can find her shopping at Trader Joes, drinking coffee, or writing at The Lewis Note.
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