30 Easy 10-Minute Organizing Tasks
Even though many of us are not returning to school, this time of year represents a new beginning for us too. We are leaving behind the more relaxed days of summer and preparing to get ourselves and our family back into normal school and work routines. Right around now I always find myself torn between trying to squeeze every last drop of fun out of the summer or getting organized for the fall. There are only so many hours in the day and sometimes tough decisions have to be made, right?
Summer Fun OR Get Organized?
I’m happy to tell you that you absolutely can get some organizing done AND still have plenty of time left to enjoy the last days of summer. How do you accomplish this seemingly impossible feat? By doing the following 30 organizing tasks that can each be completed in 10 minutes. That’s right, take 10 or 20 minutes a day, do 1 or 2 tasks and still have time to enjoy the rest of the summer day or evening. No tough decisions between summer fun and practical planning required. Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too!
To be clear, completing these 10-minute tasks won’t provide the same type of transformation that spending hours and days decluttering and organizing does. However, it will make the individual spaces you tackle better organized, and the cumulative effect of the tasks WILL have a big impact. So, complete a couple of tasks every day or so and go enjoy what’s left of the summer, happy with the knowledge you have not sacrificed getting organized!
Office & Phone/Computer
1) Desk Drawer: Test pens/sharpies/highlighters and toss dried up ones. Purge excess “free” note pads and stubby pencils.
2) Delete Old Emails.
TIP: Start with the oldest ones first as they are less likely to be current/relevant and easiest to make decisions about.
3) Phone Screen: Reduce the visual clutter and keep only the apps you actually use; delete the rest.
4) Photos On Phone: Please tell me I’m not the only one who has to take 20 pictures to get one good one? Delete the 19 bad ones!
TIP: You can complete #2-4 anytime you have a few minutes, like waiting in line at the store or for a doctor’s appointment.
5) Spices: Go through and toss expired spices and spices that aren’t used.
6) Fridge: Toss leftovers past their prime, expired condiments and anything else that is past its best before date.
7) Travel Mugs/Water Bottles: You got a free one at some function, brought it home and put it in the cupboard. Good job on putting it in the cupboard, but before you know it you have 15. Keep your favourites and donate the rest.
8) Coffee Mugs: See above.
9) 1 Kitchen Drawer: Purge items that are never used, duplicates or broken, sort like with like, and return to drawer. Repeat for each drawer in future sessions.
10) Tupperware: Purge containers that are no longer in good condition or missing lids.
11) Cookbooks: Recycle or donate ones you no longer use. Remember, you can find almost any recipe online now!
12) Mail/Paper: Tackle that pile of paper and mail by sorting it with the RAFT system: READ, ACT FILE, TOSS.
TIP: This is not the time to actually read or act. The goal is to get it sorted into categories and recycle/shred and file what you can. When you have more time, go back and deal with the read and act items, which will be easier now that they are sorted.
13) Magazines: Recycle any edition older than 2 months. You probably aren’t going to get to it and if you do, the content won’t be current.
14) Bedside Drawer: Notorious for becoming a catchall, remove items that aren’t part of your nighttime or morning routines and return them to their appropriate homes.
15) One Category Of Clothing: PJs, t-shirts, sweaters, underwear, socks, shorts, sweatshirts, jeans, tops, exercise clothes etc. Tackle one category per session, purge items no longer in good condition and dontae items you no longer wear/use.
TIP: Fold and store clothes with file folding to instantly create more storage without spending any money! Click here to read about the many benefits of file folding and a video demonstration.
TIP: Create a donation box/basket for your home where you can immediately put clothes and other items you are donating. When it gets full, it is time for a run to your favourite charity.
16) Dresser Surfaces: Another location that becomes a catchall, remove items that don’t belong in the bedroom and put clothes that are on top of dressers away.
17) Shoes/Heels: Look at each pair to determine 1) their condition; and 2) whether you still like/wear them. Donate those you no longer wear.
TIP: For those pairs you love, but that need some TLC, put them in a bag at the door so you will remember to grab them on your way out and take them to get repaired.
18) Belts, Scarves & Wraps: Tackle one category per session, purge items no longer in good condition and donate items you no longer wear/use.
19) Medicine Cabinet: Get rid of expired medications and unused prescriptions.
TIP: You can take these to your pharmacy for safe disposal.
20) Makeup: Toss expired makeup, toiletries and old nail polish.
TIP: You can often donate toiletry samples to local shelters.
TIP: Click here for a link to a Makeup Expiry Guide.
21) Linens: Remove worn towels, sheets and blankets.
TIP: Check with your local animal shelter and vet clinic. Many take donations of these items to line pet cages, clean messes and dry wet animals. Just be sure there is no stuffing.
22) Books Kids Have Outgrown.
TIP: Check to see if your local school or library will accept donations of gently used books.
23) Craft Supplies: Toss dried up glue, markers, paint and play-doh
24) Footwear: Check to see if shoes are still in wearable condition (and for kids, whether they still fit). If there are any you have not worn in a year, consider donating them.
25) Hats: Check to see if still in wearable condition (and for kids, whether they still fit).
26) Mitts: Get rid of mitts that are too small, have no mate or have holes that can’t be repaired.
27) Jackets: Check to see if jackets are still in wearable condition (and for kids, whether they still fit). If there are any you have not worn in a year, consider donating them.
28) Reusable Shopping Bags: Re-useable shopping bags are great, but they do age and become tattered. Purge excess bags and ones that are no longer in good condition.
29) Purse/Wallet: Toss old receipts, gum wrappers, snack wrappers from being on the go with your kids, empty lip balms, excess pens, expired or empty gift cards, expired coupons, business cards you do not need and cards for stores/services you no longer frequent.
30) Take 10 Minutes At The End Of Each Day And Return Things To Their “Home”: I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, this is one of the best things you can do, not only to stay organized but to begin each day on the right foot.
And there you have it, 30 10-minute organizing tasks to help you get and stay organized AND still have time to make the most of what’s left of the summer. Of course, these are great organizing tasks to take on at any time when, for whatever reason, you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to organizing. Small things really do add up to make a big difference! Do you have any fast organizing tasks that help you stay organized when you don’t have a lot of time? Let me know in the comments below. And if you liked this post, please share it!