Declutter Your Home Fast with These 15-Minute Organizing Tasks
Hone Your Decluttering Strategy
Organizing your home bit by bit means you can avoid the overwhelm that comes with an hours-long decluttering marathon. To get started, choose a room and select one simple task to complete. Set a timer for 15 minutes and get as much done as you can within that time. If you don't finish the project, start the timer over or come back to it later.
Chip Away at Clutter
Identify your biggest clutter issue, whether that's magazines and mail, kids' gear, or another type of item. Spend a few minutes every day, or every few days, tackling this project. As you sort through the accumulated items, determine what can be tossed, recycled, donated, or stored elsewhere. Then sort everything that's left into categories and bring in organizers to neatly contain the items.
Categorize Pantry Items
Target a category of pantry items that tends to remain jumbled and difficult to access. Focus on a single pantry staple, such as baking supplies, breakfast foods, or snacks, instead of trying to reorganize the entire system. Use bins and baskets to organize similar items, and label your containers so you know what goes where when you're unloading your next round of groceries.
Create Dining Room Storage
"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 paperwork is the problem, for example, set up a basket or tray sorting system to organize kid's papers, mail, and more. If your kitchen or dining room doubles as an office or homework station, wrangle desk supplies into organizers and stash them in a cabinet.
Reorder Hanging Clothes
Organize the hanging clothes in your closet by type, such as dresses, shirts, and pants, then add hanger tags so you keep like garments together. You can also organize clothes by season or purpose, such as "work" or "casual." In a kids' closet, consider organizing and labeling by size since they quickly move from baby to toddler and big kid sizes.
Corral Entryway Apparel
Hang hooks on a wall so every family member has a dedicated spot for jackets, hats, and backpacks. Make sure to install the hooks low enough or kids will end up dumping everything on the floor. Dedicate a shelf or two for shoe storage. Positioning a bench near the entryway also makes it easier for everyone to slip shoes on and off.
Zone in on the spot in your office or workspace where clutter most interferes with your productivity. If it’s your main desk drawer, grab a few drawer dividers or trays to organize all those miscellaneous items that pile up. If papers are the problem, sort through as much as you can in 10 to 15 minutes. If you have more time to commit to the paper pileup, determine a filing strategy before you start sorting so you know what to do with the papers once they're organized.
Tackle the Junk Drawer
Take a few minutes to sort through the miscellaneous items you've been tossing into a drawer. Start by emptying the contents and determining which items should be stored elsewhere. Then follow the tips in this video to achieve an organized junk drawer.
Separate Bathroom Supplies
Extra bottles of shampoo and other spare toiletries can easily get lost under your bathroom sink. To avoid purchasing more of what you already have, try professional organizer Laura Leist's "shop from home strategy." Store your excess products elsewhere, such as in a linen closet or in a basket on a shelf, and check your inventory before you go shopping.
Instead of stacking spices in a cabinet where they're difficult to access, label the lids on your spice jars and store them in a drawer or basket. Consider using a desk tray intended for office supplies to stand everything upright so you can easily read the labels. Use refillable spice jars to avoid the jumbled mess of mismatched spice containers.
Sort Baking Sheets and 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. You can also purchase a cabinet insert ($17, Bed Bath & Beyond) to keep items standing at attention. Group items by category, such as pizza pans, muffin tins, and serving platters, so it's easy to find what you need for the task at hand.
Organize Entertaining Extras
Organize small entertaining essentials, like table linens and napkin rings, in shallow drawers near the dining table. If you don't have built-in cabinets in or near the dining room, look for a console table or beverage cart with storage to keep table dressing at the ready. Sort the items by type or occasion, such as holiday meals or summer parties.
Declutter the Living Room
Set up a "lost and found" system in your living room or family room to manage clutter. 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. For instance, decide whether family members need to empty theirs when it's full or if you'll have a once-a-week basket clean-out session.
Lay Out Kids' Clothes
Make it a habit to spend 15 minutes before the start of each week planning out kids' outfits. A hanging shelf offers space to tuck in accessories and shoes. You could also label hangers with the days of the week and hang up their outfits for the week.
Rearrange Games and Puzzles
Store First Aid Supplies
Store first aid supplies in a caddy or tray to keep your closet tidy and make it easy to carry the whole kit anywhere in the house. A utensil tray works well for corraling bandages, ointments, and first aid supplies in different compartments. Clip on file tabs to identify what goes where.
Consolidate Shoe Storage
Set Up a Jewelry System
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 or small hooks. For a DIY organizing project, hang larger earrings on a piece of metal screening placed inside a frame.
Simplify Laundry Room Clutter
Laundry rooms tend to gather lots of odds and ends. Set up a series of jars inside a tray and use them to collect pocket finds, clothespins, and mending supplies. Opt for clear glass so you can see what each jar contains. Colorful bins might look nice on a shelf, but they can quickly become overrun with objects making it hard to find anything.
Organize Papers in the Entryway
Employ mini cubbies near the door for important (but occasionally used) papers, such as gift certificates, coupons, and school forms. This ensures paperwork is easy to drop off or grab as you're heading in or out of the door. You could also personalize cubbies for each family member so they know where to look each day for permission slips and reminders.