While you may not be able to clear all the clutter in your home in 15 minutes, by taking a little time to focus on specific tasks, you can get organized little by little. These ideas will show you how to conquer the common clutter culprits room by room.
Target the pantry staple that's tripping you up. Maybe it's baking supplies or snacks. Use bins and baskets to organize similar items. Label your containers so you know what goes where when you're unloading your next round of groceries.
The Junk Drawer
There is such a thing as an organized junk drawer and it can be yours with these simple steps.
Label the lids on your spice jars and store them in a drawer or basket. Use a desk tray intended for office supplies to stand everything upright.
Baking Sheet & Platters
Create a vertical partition in a cabinet with pairs of wooden inserts or spring-loaded curtain rods to keep baking sheets, platters, cutting boards, and trays in line.
Organize small entertaining extras, like tea lights and napkin rings, in a storage caddy designed for tea cups.
The Extra Clutter
"Undesignated space is the key problem in eating spaces," says professional organizer Lorie Marrero. "Rather than dumping stuff on the table, assign specific places for specific items and create destination stations." If paper is the problem, set up a basket or tray sorting system to organize kid’s papers, mail, and more. If your dining room doubles as an office or homework station, wrangle desk supplies into organizers and stash them in a cabinet.
Lost and Found
Set up a "lost and found" system in your living room or family room. Assign each family member their own basket. Toss their items into their basket as you clean, and set up your own rules as to what needs to be done with the basket. Do family members need to empty it when it's full? Or do you have a once-a-week basket clean out session?
Games and Puzzles
Stacked board games and puzzles are an invitation for crashing piles. Fix the potential storage disaster with a rubber-coated wire pan rack. The slots will keep boxes upright and easy to grab.
What's Your Pitfall?
Identify your biggest clutter culprit. Is it magazines and mail? Kid's gear? Spend a few minutes every day, or every few days, tackling the biggest violator.
First Aid Supplies
Corral bandages, ointments, and first aid supplies in a utensil tray. Clip on file tabs to identify what goes where.
Deal the Duplicates
You may be surprised by just how many bottles of shampoo you have lurking under your sink. Try professional organizer Lauren Leist's "shop from home strategy": Store your excess products elsewhere and check your inventory before you go shopping.
Streamline your shoe storage and stow away off-season shoes. (You don't really want to look at your espadrilles when there's 12 inches of snow on the ground, anyway.) Pack shoes one layer deep in a labeled underbed bin. For easiest access, choose a clear container with wheels and a split lid.
Organize the hanging clothes in your closet by item and add hanger tags so you keep like garments together.
Can't ever find the exact pair of earrings you want? Implement a system that allows you to see everything you have. Organize small earrings in a divided tray and hang necklaces from a decorative corkboard. Hang bigger earrings on a piece of metal screening placed inside a frame.
Make it a habit to spend 10 to 15 minutes before the start of each week planning out kid's outfits.
Odds & Ends
Laundry rooms seem to be a haven for odds and ends. Set up a series of jars corralled inside a tray and use the jars to collect pocket finds, clothes pins, and mending supplies.
The Trouble Zone
What’s the one spot in your office or workspace that drives you stark raving mad? Zone in on that spot. If it’s your main desk drawer, grab a few drawer dividers or trays to organize all those little items that pile up. Or if paper is the problem, do as much sorting as you can in 10 to 15 minutes. Ready to commit more time to the paper pileup? Have a strategy in place before you start sorting so you know what to do with the papers once they’re organized.
Employ mini cubbies near the door with important (but occasionally used) papers, such as gift certificates, coupons, and school forms, so that they are right there and easy to grab as you are walking out the door.
Boots and Shoes
Set out a tray for setting boots and shoes in, so water, dirt, and mud collect in the tray and not on your floor. You can buy trays designed for this purpose, but an old cookie sheet works well, too. (Look for one with higher sides.)