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If you have 5 minutes: Put away anything on the countertops, and pull the shower curtain closed to conceal any bathtub clutter.
If you have 10 minutes: Straighten any open displays, and relocate items that don’t belong in the bathroom.
If you have 15 minutes: Dive into the vanity cabinet and any other storage space. Toss items that are outdated or unused. Corral items by type into baskets or bins.
If you have 5 minutes: Straighten books, and dust the very edges of the shelves and any items on display that look dusty.
If you have 10 minutes: Do a quick sort. Recycle magazines that are out of date. Pull books that you know at a glance need to be donated. Dust the shelf edges and around empty space, and move display items to dust around and under them.
If you have 15 minutes: Pull everything from the shelves. In addition to recycling magazines and pulling books to be donated, reorganize books in alphabetical order, by subject, by color, etc. Dust the full shelves before placing books back in their rightful spots.
If you have 5 minutes: Stack and store items as they are, but align rows of cans and boxes for a neatened appearance.
If you have 10 minutes: Regroup food by item type. Toss anything that is expired. Wipe away any spills or dirt on shelves.
If you have 15 minutes: Pull everything out of the pantry and do a deep reorganization. Look at your pantry configuration and what you need to store to determine what should go where. Keep the items you use frequently in the most accessible places. Give the shelves a good scrubbing before re-placing items. As you put things away, make a list of any storage accessories (such as trays or baskets) that would make your storage more efficient, and keep your eyes peeled for those items when you are out and about.
If you have 5 minutes: Take a quick glance at the place where you stash all your important reminders, such as a bulletin board, magnet board, or refrigerator. Pull down anything that you immediately see as outdated or no longer needed.
If you have 10 minutes: Dig a little deeper if your message center is overflowing. Spend a little more time going through the items.
If you have 15 minutes: Take everything off the message center and sort into piles: keep on the board (telephone numbers, etc.), move elsewhere (paid bills, pictures, etc.), and toss (anything you don’t need).
If you have 5 minutes: Separate lids and containers into their own spots.
If you have 10 minutes: Organize lids and containers by size.
If you have 15 minutes: Pull out the lone lids or containers. Pair up lids and containers that match, and discard anything that doesn’t have a match. Place the items back in an organized fashion.
If you have 5 minutes: Simply straighten the insides of your most disorganized or most frequently accessed cabinets and drawers. Bringing order to the things you use most often will make daily routines easier.
If you have 10 minutes: Spend a little time doing the organizational tasks you always think about when you’re cooking but don’t have time to do in the moment, such as relocating your cooking utensils to a drawer closer to your range.
If you have 15 minutes: Do a quick sort-and-toss. Put items you never use into a donation box, and toss gadgets that no longer work or are past their prime.
If you have 5 minutes: Hang up clothes that are draped over your designated drop spot, such as on a chair.
If you have 10 minutes: Reorganize the hanging bar in your closet by item type, placing all of your shirts in one section, pants in another, etc.
If you have 15 minutes: After you organize the hanging bar, target one other area, such as the top shelf or the floor of your closet. Come back as you have time, such as five minutes before hitting the hay, to organize the next section until you've worked through the whole closet.
If you have 5 minutes: Straighten up the shoes and coats.
If you have 10 minutes: Entryways, as coming-and-going spots, tend to collect more than their fair share of clutter. Do a quick cleanup, and return items to their rightful places.
If you have 15 minutes: Hang hooks or pegs to give coats and bags a home instead of the floor.
If you have 5 minutes: Sort items into trays.
If you have 10 minutes: Place a pretty liner in the drawer before sorting.
If you have 15 minutes: Dive deeper into purging and sorting.
If you have 5 minutes: Grab a laundry basket and toss in any large items that are on the floor or taking up space on the shelves.
If you have 10 minutes: Grab three bins and sort by the most commonly present items. For example, if it’s a front-entry closet, designate one bin for hats and mittens, one bin for outdoor gear such as umbrellas and dog leashes, and one bin for everything else.
If you have 15 minutes: Install an organization aid that will streamline the closet storage. If you have a lot of outerwear to store, consider adding a second closet rod or hooks on the back of the door. If you need to organize shoes, make room for a tiered shoe rack on the floor.
If you have 5 minutes: Make a game of it. Challenge your child to pick up as many items as possible in five minutes. If you have little ones who aren’t old enough to pick up, spend five minutes before they go to bed picking up a few things.
If you have 10 minutes: Target one area to clean up, such as a disorganized dresser, a messy desk, or a haphazard bookcase.
If you have 15 minutes: Pick an area that needs a purge, such as a toy collection or the clothing closet. If your child is old enough, have him or her work with you to identify items that can be donated or tossed if they are broken or no longer usable.
Use these done-in-five tasks to declutter your home one step at a time.
Transfer DVDs to a CD case for more compact storage. Stash the cases elsewhere if you want to hang on to them.
Sort through the pens, markers, and pencils in your junk drawer. Test all of the utensils, and toss the ones that don’t work or are missing caps or erasers.
Sort through as many file folders as you can in five minutes. Start at the front of the file cabinet, and note where you leave off. The next time you have five minutes to spare, pick up where you ended last time until you move through the whole cabinet.
Stack books and magazines by size. Corral extras, such as remotes, in a pretty tray.
Remove items that don't belong, and place everything else in a pretty box or basket.