beeminding tidying


I would like to have things more organized, tidied, but I’m not sure how to quantify it… Any advice? I was thinking about time invested in tidying per day, but I’m not sure what the ground base would be, or whether to use some other measure…


I have a goal dedicated to keeping my place more organized and tidy. I have pre-defined a list of activities that count towards this goal and given each of them a number of points they are worth. Then my rate for this goal requires me to perform any of the activities in order to just get this number of points. The list includes both activities that should be done not very often but somehow require me a lot of energy to start with - I have given then more points so that I will get to these activities once in a while when I am running out of the buffer and need to recover more points. Others are worth just 1 point (1/10 of a daily rate, with my current settings) but count for just keeping my desk, etc, tidy. These I can get every day before going to sleep, and this helps a lot because makes me not create the clutter on these essential surfaces in the first place.
So, this is one of the possible approaches to such a goal with versatile activities that may contribute to the desired result.


I measure time spent tiding and have it set to 5min a day.
This is too little, but I still notice the difference from 0min a day.


I set a goal for 60 minutes a week, and find that I am easily spending more than that as I follow my system to make the house more presentable before company comes in a few weeks now.

I think you also really want some system to daily do small things to keep areas you have already tidied clean, like having all dishes out of the sink and the kitchen counters clear every day. Than can make such a big difference in a room and be a big morale boost while not taking much effort to maintain once it’s a habit. On the other hand it’s so easy to move onto other tasks leave a room be for a week, then feel discouraged while it doesn’t feel like you are making any headway.

I have looked at the FLYLady website and the Marie Kondo book which just became available in the library for inspiration. There are some huge culture mismatches for me in each of these, but I still found following a system much more effective than what I was doing on my own before.


Mark Forster’s approach to keeping a room tidy is as sensible as any his methods. Start with the visible surfaces, keep them clear, then you can treat the hidden stuff like any backlog that you need to work through.

Measuring time sounds like a good approach, with a healthy dose of retro-ratcheting if you build up too much safety buffer. If you’re less interested in the QS side, you could just count any effort made, on the grounds that some tidying is better than none.

I recently read (but can’t find) a success story from someone who had applied the waiter’s rule to her home; every time she walked through a room, she put something back in its place. The waitering analogy is that you should never head back to the kitchen empty-handed; there’s always something that needs bussing or wiping or resetting.


That’s what I do:


Thanks for all the replies! I’ll start playing with different options inspired by your ideas and see how it works.


I generally adopt a principle of “If you’re not sure how to beemind something then the answer is beemind time*”. But then I’m a religious user of tagtime so this is maybe easier for me to say than for others to do.

* Supplementary version: If you think you’re sure how to beemind something and the answer isn’t time, double check to make sure you’re really sure and maybe try also beeminding time in parallel. Beeminding time with tagtime is the best.

Tagtime mediated life

What I’ve been doing, which works fairly well though not perfectly, is making a huge list of very small incremental tasks that take only a few minutes to do (like wiping the kitchen table, scrubbing the bathroom sink, scrubbing the toilet, swiffing one room, et cetera), and holding myself to doing four of those per weekday. I manage it with a somewhat annoying system on Habitica, though if Beeminder supported any kind of to-do list system with recurring goals, I’d probably switch to that instead. The upside is that I can get my four chores done pretty quickly and cumulatively they add up to a pretty clean apartment. The downside is that I sometimes get tempted to do more of the easy ones like wiping the kitchen table and taking out the garbage, and fewer of the more onorous ones, like cleaning my desk or washing out the kitchen garbage can. But overall, it’s worked better than any other system I’ve used so far, without being too overwhelming.