Organizing 10 Minutes at a Time

If you’ve got just a few minutes to spare each day, you still have some time to organize your home. You will be surprised when you see how much your accomplishments will add up. 

Timesaving Basics
First, remember that anything you can do to make things easier to find, or to simplify processes will help you to organize your life. Here are some basic rules used by professionals:

  • Store basic cleaning supplies (window cleaner, antibacterial wipes, paper towels, air freshener, etc.) in a bucket that can be carried from room to room for quick clean-ups. 
  • Keep stored items in containers that are clear, marked, and stackable.
  • Don’t leave the room you are organizing to return an item to its place. Set the wandering item just outside the room until you are finished with the task at hand.
  • Keep similar colors together in your wardrobe, so clothes look more organized and are easier to find.
  • Hang slips with dresses, keeping camis with sheer blouses, and keep socks in a basket in the closet with shoes. This last tip is especially useful for children. 

Horizontal Sweep
If you have only 10 minutes to spare, remove things that have accumulated on horizontal surfaces such as tabletops and counters, beds and chairs. This will have the most visual organizational impact. Instantly, your home will look better.

Consider giving a few minutes each day to clearing bathroom drawers, cabinets or the vanity area for things that are old or no longer needed. Remove old cosmetics, wash brushes. 

Instead of washing large loads at a time, opt for three small hampers or baskets: one for dirty clothes (set apart from clean clothes), one for newly cleaned clothes that need to be folded and put away, and one for clothes that need to be repaired or removed. Washing a smaller load means that putting away fewer cleaned clothes will take only a few minutes. Even if you still don’t have time to put them away immediately, they will stay neatly in the basket until later.

Try to take a few minutes early each morning to tackle part of one drawer or the clothes closet. Folding sweaters or matching socks can be relaxing, helping you to transition from sleep to daytime activity. 

Keep your closet and drawers only for things you are actively wearing in season. Generally, if you haven’t worn something in three years, you probably never will.

Rotate purses so you will always have occasion to clean out contents. Store smaller purses tucked into a larger purse of the same color. Then store them side by side on a shelf to keep their shape.

If you have to wait somewhere, make good use of the time to clean out old contacts and apps.

When returning home, take a moment to clean out any trash, receipts and purchases that have accumulated. 

The kitchen is one of those places that takes up so much daily time and yet also needs a lot of care to keep it organized. While you are waiting for water to boil or for dinner to cook, take the opportunity to:

  • Empty or load the dishwasher 
  • Clear off a countertop
  • Clean out a drawer
  • Remove outdated refrigerator foods
  • Check pantry and cabinets for outdated food and medicines
  • Re-organize pantry to put the things used most within easy reach
  • Get rid of all the takeout forks, containers, ketchup packets and old plastic ware
  • Permanently remove specialty cooking gadgets that you don’t use
  • Organize holiday-ware in cabinets by Christmas, Thanksgiving, Summer, etc. 

You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish if you can perform double duty here.

The Junk Drawer
Everyone has a junk drawer, where anything can wind up. Get small containers or zip bags to separate the small parts such as picture hangers, batteries and screws. If they are parts for a certain item, include a note to that effect. If possible, make a separate drawer for tools and larger items such as extension cords. 

Living Room
If you feel guilty relaxing and watching TV, bring a small drawer from another room or a box from storage to sort through while enjoying your entertainment. This is a good time to sort through your costume jewelry or sew a button back on a shirt, clear out your old DVDs, or make a final decision on books you haven’t gotten around to reading. 

Doing a little something every day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes, can lead to an organized and relaxing place you can be proud to call home.