By Alejandra Costello
In a world where cell phones can start cars, GPS systems can help you avoid traffic, and Google Calendar lets you sync your schedule with your husband, kids, and dog walker, it’s easy to see why the top excuse for a cluttered life is lack of time. Well, guess what – that excuse is no longer going to work! If you have 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or any time in between, there is an organization project that you can tackle. The key is to start small. Once you start to see the clutter-free results, you’ll be motivated to keep going.
“But I only have 5 minutes!”
- Start a bag for donations: This is quite possibly the easiest thing to do to in order to get the organizational ball rolling. Take a trash bag and put it in a high traffic area. When you come across items you no longer need, drop them in the bag. In a few weeks, your bag will be full and you can drop it at the nearest donation center.
- Pick up one room: Clutter doesn’t always mean junk, or trash; a lot of the time it’s just ‘stuff’. Take 5 minutes and focus on picking up just one room. Carry a basket and put anything that doesn’t belong in that room in it. If you are feeling adventurous – keep going!
- Bring in stuff from the car: It’s no surprise with our hectic lifestyles that our cars are filled with empty fast food wrappers, extra sneakers, and junk mail. Take a big bag out to your car and fill it with whatever is in the backseat, console, and glove compartment. Trash goes to the dumpster; whatever is not essential to your daily commute comes in the house.
“I have an extra 10 minutes!”
- Clean out your e-mail: According to the Radicati Group, in April 2010, the number of e-mails sent per day is approximately 294 billion! How many are sitting in your inbox? Set up e-mail folders for people, projects, or events and start moving your emails from your inbox to the folders. Aim to keep ONLY e-mails that require immediate action in your inbox, and for everything else, either file or delete.
- Organize your junk drawer: There’s good junk and there’s bad junk. Throw out broken crayons, dry pens, and dried up lip balm. Keep the flashlight, packs of pocket tissues, and rubber bands.
- Organize your wallet: A good wallet is hard to find, and if you have one that works for you, make sure it’s not overstuffed with receipts, foreign coins, or VIP cards. You should only have the essentials: ID cards, credit cards, and cash. Most stores can access your VIP card number with a phone number now, so toss (or shred) that bulky plastic!
“What can I do in 30 minutes?”
- Clean out your medicine cabinet: Medicine is easy because it’s obvious what stays and what goes. If it’s expired, it has to go. Keep your frequently used medicine in the cabinet and store the ‘occasionally used’ in the linen closet. As for toiletries, it’s one and done! Don’t keep multiples in the medicine cabinet area. The tube or bottle being currently used stays; the extra, hopefully unopened one goes under the sink or in the closet.
- Clean out your refrigerator: Just like cleaning out the medicine cabinet, the refrigerator is another quick, easy project. Pull everything out of the fridge, wipe down the shelves and doors, and then throw out all the expired items. Lots of leftovers? Designate one night a ‘mish mash’ night and serve only leftovers for dinner. Also, before you put groceries away, do a quick clean out.
- Organize a dresser drawer: Have you spent too much time in the morning searching for the matching sock? It’s time to clean out a dresser drawer! Match your socks and toss the ones that are missing a match or have holes. Refold your shirts, sweaters, or jeans so you can see what you have and determine if anything needs to be donated.
With a little bit of effort throughout each day, your clutter will soon be a thing of the past.