Something that can set my whole day in the right direction is waking up to an organized house. But somehow every few weeks things get in disarray. It feels like it happens overnight, but, really, it happens over the course of the busy weeks when we’re not looking.
I keep a relatively tidy house. I like to put things where they belong in the moment instead of waiting for one big cleanup. But there are times when life gets underfoot, and before you know it, there’s more out of place than is in place.
When this happens, getting organized can be a daunting task. It seems easier to postpone getting organized until tomorrow rather than getting it done right now. But breaking down the large task of getting organized into several smaller, more manageable tasks will make it much easier to get the job done.
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Ten Easy Ways to Get Organized Right Now:
I recommend grabbing a piece of paper or sticky note to make yourself a checklist. These are ten tasks that really help me get my home organized in a short amount of time.
Put your shoes away – 10 minutes
If you’re like my husband and me, shoes get left in random doorways throughout the house. By the end of the week, we each have several pairs by our garage door, by our front door, and even in the entryway from our kitchen to our living room. It only takes a few minutes to put all the shoes away.
If you’re a parent, this is an easy chore to get your children in on. Send everyone on a mission to get their shoes up. You can even make it a game by seeing who does it the fastest. And Voila! You have more tidy entranceways!
Clean off the bathroom counter – 5 minutes
Over the course of the week, our counter accumulates jewelry, glasses, medicine bottles, toothpaste stains, hair appliances and other odds and ends. If I take 5 minutes to clean off our bathroom counter, I feel like a different person.
Put your brushes in the drawers, set your glasses in their case, throw trash in the bathroom trashcan, and then run a disinfectant wipe over the counter surface to add a little extra shine.
Throw away trash that’s been left out – 10 minutes
Go room by room with a small trash bag and pick up all the random trash you find. Wrappers, old sticky note reminders, tags, empty drink containers, you name it, small trash items are easy to leave lying around without much notice. Going room to room to pick it up will make a world of difference in making your home organized and tidy. At the end of the day, getting organized is all about putting things where they belong…and some things belong IN THE TRASH!
Make up the beds and put pillows and throws where they belong – 10 minutes
One of the best things I do each day is start my morning by making up my bed. When I don’t, I can feel the difference. Go through each bedroom and make sure the beds are made (if you have kids that are old enough, this is a great chore to have them take responsibility for). Beyond just tucking the covers into place, though, make sure pillows are on straight and any throw blankets are in their place.
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Additionally, take the time to get your linens in order in your other living spaces. When a space is lived in, blankets get tousled, pillows find themselves in random places, and rooms lose their HGTV-worthy organization. It takes no time at all to put your throw pillows and blankets how you like them on your couches and chairs, but the difference it makes is astonishing. Just by having a pillow and blanket in the right place, your home will look and feel more organized.
Put all laundry in its designated spot and put clean clothes away – 10 minutes
If you’re like my husband and me, your clothes sometimes end up in oddball places. I will toss half-clean clothes or pajamas on a shelf in my closet, and my husband will leave a pair of shorts on the bathroom floor. But it doesn’t take long to grab all those clothes and put them in their right spot. If they’re dirty, put them in the laundry hamper. If they are clean, fold or hang them and put them away.
If you have clean clothes still yet to be put away from your last load of laundry, take a couple of minutes to put those away, too. Having all the clothes in their rightful place will give you such peace of mind.
Go through the mail and other files – 5 minutes
One thing that I personally can let pile up is the mail. While we tend to check it and go through it daily, I’ll let the important items (bills and such) sit in my mail inbox on top of my file cabinet for as long as it takes me to add “go through files” to my to-do list.
This is probably one of the quickest organization tasks I complete, though. Most of the time, I know exactly where a piece of mail needs to be filed or what needs to be done with it. I just have to make myself.
Take the time to go through each item of outlying mail. Throw away or shred anything that can be tossed. Pay any bills (or, if you’re like me, file them in your “bills” folder to be handled with your next round of bill payments. I do mine biweekly). And, last but not least, file any important documents where they belong in your file cabinet.
Do the dishes and spiff up the kitchen – 15 – 20 minutes
While my husband and I are putting away or cleaning some amount of dishes every day (it’s the chore that never quits), I also like to set apart time to completely get my kitchen in order.
(moved) Take a minute or two to look over your whole house and collect any cups or other dishes that have been left out. We always have one or two dishes that need to be picked up from either a late-night snack in bed, a cup of water while we were working at our desk, or just something we set down and forgot to bring to the kitchen.
Put away any clean dishes, and then load all the dirty dishes into the dishwasher (or hand wash).
Last but not least, and the step that brings me the most personal satisfaction, the cherry on top, wipe down the counters, the stove top, and the sink. First, I spray down my counters with multipurpose spray and wipe with a paper towel. Next, I use a soft scrub cleaner in my sink with a sponge (I have a sponge dedicated to this all-important sink cleaning duty) and dry off the surrounding area with a towel afterwards for good measure. Lastly, I either spray down my stove or gently scrub it down using a light amount of suds with my dish cleaning brush depending on the amount of residue. By the time I finish, my kitchen is sparkling, and my day is that much brighter.
Clean out your fridge and pantry – 15 – 20 minutes
A good task to couple with cleaning up the kitchen, is cleaning out the fridge and pantry.
I like to start with my fridge because it tends to be a little more involved. Starting from the top shelf all the way to the bottom, I go through and pick out the items that are no good anymore. Once I’ve gotten the old out, I like to take a disinfectant wipe or multipurpose spray cleaner and quickly wipe down the shelves of my fridge. This is also a great time to rearrange any items so the fridge is more user friendly to your family’s needs. Take an extra minute or two to go through the freezer as well for extra credit.
After cleaning out the fridge, I go through my pantry. Most of the time, this just looks like rearranging items so they make more sense. Over time, and after countless trips to the pantry, the organization in there can get a bit out of whack. But it doesn’t take long to shift items so they are more organized and are categorized in a way that makes sense to our everyday use. This is also the ideal time to check up on expiration dates, make sure no bread has gone moldy, and get anything old or any empty boxes out of there.
Organize Tupperware – 10 minutes
This task is pretty straight forward and doesn’t take too long, and, yet, for some reason, it’s another one that’s easy to avoid. Tupperware is one of the easiest items in our household to toss in the cupboard with no order about it whatsoever. It doesn’t take long for our Tupperware cabinet to look like a tornado hit it.
The nice thing is, it only takes a few minutes to get that disaster back in order, and the results are so worth that little bit of time. Stack all like Tupperware items together with the matching lids stacked next to or under them. Put containers you use most frequently toward the front for convenience with lesser used containers in the back. If you find any that are split or broken, go ahead and toss them. This is also a good time to take inventory. Back a couple of months ago when I organized our Tupperware cabinet, I realized we were lacking in midsized containers. Next time I was at the grocery store, I picked up a few, and we’ve been golden since.
Go room by room and put things left out in the places they belong – 10 minutes
Finally, organization task number 10, the icing on the cake, is going room by room and putting things where they belong. This includes backpacks, headphones, books, remote controls, glasses, chargers, pens, keys, and more.
The key to an organized home, as the saying goes, is having a place for everything and having everything in its place. As you go through the other organizational tasks on this list, many items will find their home, but there always tends to be some outliers. Keep an eye out in particular for items that have been out of place so long that their out-of-place home has become more of a permanent residence.
It’s also important to bear in mind that the best place for your stuff is the place that works best for you. Hate the way your chargers look out, but need them every night? Set up a charging station or find an outlet designated for charging that’s more out of site. Have a key hook by the door but somehow your keys always wind up on top of the kitchen counter? Add a little catch-all tray or dish on the kitchen counter and let that be your keys’ new home. Currently reading a book? Don’t feel like you have to put it back on the shelf at the end of each sitting; it’s okay to let it sit out on the side table next to your favorite reading spot.
The Key to an Organized Home
At the end of the day, I’ve found that the key to having an organized home is creating a home that works for me. I don’t want to always be fighting to keep my home a certain way. Instead, I want to create a home that serves myself and my family well.
Completing these ten quick organizational tasks helps keep my home orderly and serving my family for our daily life functions. With shoes and clothes put away, clean counters, a tidy kitchen, trash thrown away, and everything in it’s rightful place, I can go about my life with more clarity and set about my daily tasks with less stress weighing on me.
I hope you find these ten tips helpful for your life, too!