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Organize Your Space Five Minutes at a Time

Small steps to organize your home, no matter how busy you are.

Keeping a home tidy and organized can feel like an overwhelming chore, especially for busy families. If you look around and see clutter in every corner, tripping over toys, wishing the groceries would put themselves away: we get it. Fortunately, a complete floor to ceiling deep clean isn’t the only way to reclaim your space and your sanity. Focus on simple tasks that don’t require much time and tackle them regularly to put your home back in order. You might be surprised how a few small steps can help set the stage for a cleaner, calmer, and more efficient living space. Unsure where to begin? Check out these tips for organizing your space five minutes at a time.

1. Put away clothes

This might seem like a no-brainer, but the small act of picking up socks by the bed can kick start the decluttering process. You’ve likely heard the expression “a place for everything and everything in its place,” which is the cardinal rule of staying organized. Clothing already has a designated place – a closet or drawers when clean or the laundry hamper when dirty – so it’s an easy place to begin. It can help improve the look and longevity of your wardrobe and bring more order to your home at the same time. If you’ve got little ones, encourage them to put away at least one article of clothing each day to help turn this small chore into a routine habit. 

2. Inventory the pantry and cupboards

We love a well-stocked kitchen, but sometimes loading up on sale items and shopping in bulk can leave you with more than you need. Consider a quarterly pantry review the same way you might evaluate your wardrobe once per season. Get rid of unused and expired foods and move seldom-used and holiday-specific items to an out-of-the-way space. Keep frequently used items accessible and grouped by category, so ingredients you need are always easy to find.  

Check out more pantry organizing tips. 

3. Organize the freezer

It’s easy to toss food in the freezer and forget about it, resulting in a frosty mess of leftovers that end up going in the trash. Keep ahead of clutter and food waste by periodically going through the freezer and checking expiration dates. Follow the rule of “FIFO” – first in, first out – by moving older items toward the front of the freezer so they can be used first. When adding food to the freezer, store it flat in labeled, resealable bags that can stack horizontally like books to maximize space and create easy access.

Get more fridge and freezer tips here.

 4. Sort through mail and other paperwork

At the end of a busy day, flipping through a stack of bills and notices doesn’t always sound appealing. Before long, however, unchecked mail can accumulate into a sprawling mess that threatens to take over an entire table or countertop. At least three times per week, sort mail into an action pile for things that require follow-up, like paying bills or RSVPing to an event, and a trash pile. The same rule applies to any stack of unread documents. Just a few minutes a few times per week can help you stay on top of tidiness and need-to-know info, so you don’t miss deadlines or get hit with late fees.

 5. Create a storage box

Even if you’re tight on closet and shelf space, creating a permanent home for your stuff is an essential part of keeping things neat. The next time you see, or trip over, objects that don’t have a container, make a labeled storage box. Stacking plastic bins with lids are a smart space-saver that protect against water and other elements, but a regular cardboard box will also get the job done. Consolidating like items into a single box or bin can help you keep tabs on everything you own and make it easier to find things when you need them.  

6. Create a donation box

Whether it’s the bedroom floor, the kitchen cabinet, or any other place in your home, organization and eliminating clutter go hand-in-hand. Focusing on one room at a time, spend five minutes purging with a critical eye any unused or unwanted items and start a collection to give away. Keep things orderly by creating one box for clothing, one box for non-perishable food, another for kids’ items, etc. After a few rounds, you’ll have a cleaner, less cluttered space with the added bonus of helping those in need. 


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