Real talk: No one actually looks forward to the big fall/spring clean. And while you can’t avoid it all together (sorry), you can cut down on the time it takes by doing a small, weekly declutter. Here’s how.
Choose Your Spot: At the end of each week, pick a different room and devote just 30 minutes to whipping it into shape. Grab a trash bag, a pencil and paper, and throw on some inspiring tunes to keep you in the organizing mood.
Then follow this easy-breezy timetable to keep you on track.
- Five Minutes: Assess the scene. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the little details. Start your declutter by taking a look at the big picture. Make a mental list of the major culprit areas (ahem, your desk). Then take a deep breath and remind yourself that decluttering is a process that can happen over an extended period of time. In 30 minutes you probably won’t get everything organized, but you will make a good-sized dent.
- Five Minutes: Grab your trash bag and toss anything in the room deemed garbage. This includes (but of course is not limited to) junk mail, circulars, menus, napkins, newspapers and boxes.
- Three Minutes: Scan for items that have seen better days. That pen that’s out of ink? Toss it. The tube of toothpaste that barely has enough left for one brushing? It’s time to say, “sayonara”. Then set your bag o’ trash outside the door.
- Two Minutes: Gather up any items that aren’t in their proper place.
- One Minute: Split the misplaced items into two piles: pile one should have items that actually belong in the room, pile two should be items that have a home somewhere else in the house. Set aside pile two – you’ll deal with those later.
- Two Minutes: Put away the items in pile one. Note to self: If there are any items that seem to constantly end up out of place (your brush is always on the bathroom counter, rather than in the drawer where it’s supposed to be) consider this as a small sign that maybe you need to find them a new permanent home.
- Seven Minutes: Organize one small area. And by small, we mean don’t attempt to take on your whole closet or organize the entire kitchen pantry — you’ll never be able to do it in the time allotted. Instead, devote these seven minutes to whipping your shoe rack into shape, organizing the pots and pans or tackling a single bathroom drawer.
- One Minute: Pick one item to donate. It could be that dress you haven’t worn since Paula Abdul was on “American Idol”. Or that New York Times bestseller you haven’t cracked open since purchasing a Kindle. Remember, this is supposed to be a quick decision. Deliberate too hard and you may talk yourself out of it.
- One minute: Make a quick list of any organizational items you may need to implement in the future. This could be drawer dividers, more file folders or a set of stackable baskets. Star the most important item, so you know what to purchase first.
- One minute: Toss the trash.
- Two minutes: Remember that second pile of misplaced items? Now is the time to put them back where they belong.
Congratulations! Your bathroom/bedroom/kitchen is 30 minutes closer to being completely organized. You deserve a major pat on the back (and maybe a small glass of vino).
Have a declutter secret you’re just dying to share? Let us know in the space below.