Home organization projects that only take 10 minutes may not seem like they are worth the effort. Many people feel they need to put aside a weekend or an entire week to organize their home or "get their life organized". They need more planning, more products, and of course, more time.
You might think you'll be surprised how much you can accomplish in 10 minutes, especially if you focus on one small area. It’s amazing how much organizing you can complete in your kitchen in just 10 minutes, and ditto for your bathroom and clothes closet.
Think about how many times during the week you are presented with time in a 10-minute increment: waiting at the doctor's office, waiting to pick your kids up at school, or waiting for that pot to boil. Stop waiting and start doing, with this list of ways to be more organized 10 minutes—or less!
Know that 10 minutes is more than enough to make a dent in home organization, office organization, or life organization. How much can you accomplish in just 10 minutes? Small, 10-minute spurts can actually be a very powerful amount of time.
Maintaining Focus for 10 Minutes Is Very Doable
Even for the chronically distracted, 10 minutes is easy-peasy. Here's a guide to stay on track if you need a little kick in the butt to focus better at home.
10-Minute Chunks of Time Seem to Pop up Everywhere
Think about all the 10-minute chunks of time that pop up throughout the day:
- Waiting for everyone to finish brushing their teeth in the morning.
- The first 10 minutes after you walk through the door.
- Sitting in the waiting room before an appointment,
- When you have a few minutes to spare in the kitchen while that pot is boiling.
Break Down Large Projects Into 10-Minute Segments
Say you need to organize your bathroom but you can't find a full three-hour chunk of time on your calendar to set aside. You can complete the whole bathroom organization task in 10-minute projects: inventory toiletries, declutter under the sink, wash your makeup brushes, etc.
So you’re in but you’re not sure where to start. Put yourself to work by completing one of these tasks. Whether you're in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, or at your computer, follow these steps to help you become more organized—quickly and fairly painlessly.
- Go through your dresser and choose one drawer. Take everything out and refold and stack.
- Choose one collection (athletic equipment, tools, cleaning supplies, etc.) and declutter. Toss or recycle anything you no longer use.
- Vacuum your car.
- Install hooks in your garage. Use them to hang beach chairs, tools, or bikes.
- Declutter the tops drawer of your night table. Dust, tidy, and purge your night table of anything you no longer need.
- Create a fitness drawer in your dresser. Gather your yoga pants, tank tops, sports bras, specialty items, and have them all in the same spot.
- Save important people’s contact info on your smartphone. This is to help you in case of an emergency. For instance, put your mom's information under her full name, but enter a second entry for Mom. Another idea is to save a contact called *Emergency contacts. Using the * means this person will come up first in your address book in case someone else needs to get help using your phone.
- Walk around your home and gather light bulbs, batteries, and stamps. Make sure you store these in the same spot so you don't buy more than you need.
- Organize business cards. Gather these cards and any addresses you've written down, and add them to your contacts list.
- Organize your T-shirt drawer.
- Go through one file drawer and declutter. Recycle old papers, shred credit card statements, and refile anything out of place.
- Store your receipts. Sit at your desk, open your wallet, and input receipts into your filing system.
- Take 10 minutes to go through your calendar. RSVP to any hard copy and electronic invites.
- Purge your fridge of anything rotten.
- Declutter your desktop. Make sure that your favorite writing utensils are neatly organized.
- Organize your social media in one place. Move your Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Linkedin, and Instagram account streams to Hootsuite.
- Declutter your Facebook profile. Peruse your Facebook friends—this is a good reminder of who's seeing your personal information, pictures, and reading your status updates. Un-friend anyone who should not be seeing your vacation pictures.
- Walk around your home, and collect all of the loose change. Empty pockets, drawers, and wallets. Put all change into a Ziploc bag. Next, store it with your laundry supplies to use at the laundry mat, store it in your car for parking meters, or take it to the bank to deposit.
- Label frozen food in your freezer.
- Organize your entertainment. Make a list of movies you'd like to see or update your Netflix queue. This will save time on upcoming dinner-and-a-movie nights. Bonus: It's fun. You can also save your ideas for movie and TV show viewing into your Evernote. This saves time when you decide to watch a movie but can’t think of what you want to watch.
- Declutter one desk drawer. Toss gum wrappers and pens without ink. Group like items with like items for easier retrieval.
- Draft a general email, and save it in your draft file. This is a great tool when you hear from someone you haven't seen/spoken to in a while. This can help you respond to those "So how are you?" emails.
- Purge your Twitter account. Get rid of following people/topics that no longer interest you.
- Clean your makeup brushes. Wash them with antibacterial soap, and allow them to dry while laying flat on a washcloth.
- Match up your socks. Set any single socks aside. The next time you do laundry, see if you can find any missing pairs.
- Create a spot for incoming mail. Make sure you have the tools in place to manage your mail when you walk in the door with it.
- Delete old addresses. Go through your smartphone, hard copy, or electronic address book and take out old contacts—especially ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, or anyone else your phone should not be "accidentally" dialing.
- Donate books. List three books to swap on Paperback Swap, and then assemble the packing materials you will need to ship them off to their new lucky owner. A Sharpie, packing tape, and the blank side of a brown paper shopping bag will do.
- Do a clutter sweep. Sit on the couch in your living room and notice any distracting piles. Declutter.
- Find a storage space for something in your living room. What's on your coffee table that needs to be put away?
- Label cables. Grab the label maker, and label the cables behind your entertainment console.
- Delete old shows. Go through your TiVo or DVR series manager and purge shows you’re not watching. Bonus: You get to sit on the couch for this one.
- Stack and store magazines in a tray.
- Gather your throw pillow and blankets. Fold and stack your blankets and rearrange your throw pills on the couch or chair they belong to.
- Organize your remote controls. Gather and label your remotes with the name of the corresponding device: DVR, DVD, Stereo, iPod, television, etc.
- Face your books. Go through your book collection, turning each volume in the same direction. This process is called "facing," and it’s used in retail stores to make everything look super neat and organized.
- Choose a room that needs work. Get your calendar out and plan. What resources do you need to get that done? When do you have time to accomplish this? Plan ahead.
- Just store one type of item. Peruse this list of home storage ideas and store one item in your home that has been just "hanging around," such as paper towels or toiletries.
- Recycle some electronics—the right way. Do you have an older item (television, gaming system, or VCR) that you're not sure how to recycle? Find your item, and schedule a time to recycle it or do this right away.
- Measure the inside of each closet in your house. Write down the dimensions—depth, width, and height—of each space, shelf, nook, and cranny on an index card, one per closet, and store them in your wallet. The next time you're in Bed Bath and Beyond, Home Depot, Lowes, or the Container Store buying closet accessories, you'll have the information you need with you.
- Gather all of your umbrellas. Store them together.
- Go through your luggage. Remove any leftover papers, gum wrappers, or clothes/toiletries you forgot to unpack.
- Create a meal plan for next week.
- Edit your Internet bookmarks.
- Unsubscribe from blogs you no longer read.
- De-clutter your email inbox. Go through your computer and smartphone, and get rid of as many un-needed emails as possible.
- Create and designate a place to leave your keys. A few ideas: a cake stand, hooks, a small tray, a decorative plate, and an old cigar box.
- Gather mail from around your house. Divide it into three piles: action, recycle, and shred.
- Choose one item to return to its rightful storage space. This can include scarves, hats, handbags, and coats.
- Identity a bin, basket, tray, or box you can designate as an "outgoing" container. These containers can hold anything you need when you leave the house (think: school papers, outgoing mail, permissions slips, work papers, etc.).
- Unsubscribe from five emails you receive and never read.
- Email your old boss/influential work colleague to check-in. You never know when you'll need a recommendation.
- Check your Facebook privacy settings.
- Spend 10 minutes organizing your freezer. Toss old food that is freezer-burned and clean the ice makers and ice trays.
- Inventory paper products. Take a look at toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins to see if you're running low?
- Pull five items out of your closet that you haven’t worn in two years. Do you still need these?
- Schedule a pick up with Vietnam Vets. Fill a bag or box with items to donate: clothing, linens, appliances, etc.
- Organize your desktop file. If you’re following the five-file paper management system, you know how important the desktop Action file is. Spend 10 minutes sorting and organizing.
- Create a checklist for everything you need to before you go on your next vacation.
- Find all of your reusable grocery bags, and store them together in the same spot. Consider keeping them in the car, and hang them on the doorknob once you empty them so you can take them back to the car.
- Throw something out.
- Grab three bags (handbags, purses, gym bags, school bags, etc). Dump them out and then sort the contents into four piles: Trash, recycle, shred, and keep.
- Shred or recycle any mail. This includes magazines, flyers, or extra paper sitting around your entryway.
- Declutter your paper. Recycle old invitations and get rid of expired coupons and any other clutter.