Back in June, I did a short series called “10 Minutes, 10 Days.” I wanted to share provide a variety of tips that crossed over various parts of life that aren’t very time consuming. “Organizing takes too much time” is a phrase I’ve heard more times than I can count. Yes, organizing can be time intensive, but if you do not have a lot of time to devote to a huge project all at once, don’t let that stop you. There are plenty of things you can spend a few minutes on each day that will help you reach your goals. The following are a few more suggestions for things you can do in 10 minutes to clear a little more clutter from your life:
- Clean up your cell phone or PDA contact list. If you’re the kind of person who adds the number of everyone you’ve said “hello” to, then this might take more than 10 minutes. Most of us, however, should be able to scroll through our rolodex and do some quick editing. Remove information from old clients or business contacts that you no longer need to keep close at hand. Delete the information of people you simply don’t want to communicate with anymore. Add people whose numbers are jotted down on Post-it notes. Update or add additional information that contacts have given you.
- While you are cooking in the kitchen, clear one drawer. If you have a junk drawer in the kitchen, try starting there. Get rid of things that are clearly junk. Put a few items in their proper places. If you keep take out menus, toss duplicate copies or menus from restaurants that have gone out of business. Throw out old soy sauce packets.
- While filling the tub for your bath or for the bath of one of your kids, clean out a drawer in the bathroom, or toss a few outdated products (please don’t do this if your kid is sitting in the bathtub, unattended).
- Sort through the mail that has been piling up. Create a pile for unpaid bills. Toss the ones that have been (or will be) paid automatically. Recycle the junk mail.
- Return stray CDs and/or DVDs to their rightful homes.
- Pre-sort your laundry. This is great for families that accumulate lots of dirty clothes each day. I live alone and I still find this handy. Have three hampers or purchase a hamper that has three sections in it. I like this idea because as I shed clothes each day and simply toss them in the right section, it is easy to tell, without spending time to sort, whether the whites, mediums, or darks are ready to be washed ASAP.
- Clean out your purse, briefcase, messenger bag, backpack, man bag (or “murse” as I heard recently), etc.
- Clean out under the kitchen sink. If you keep plastic grocery bags, stuff them all into one, or corral them in a plastic bag holder. Throw out cleaning products that have lost their effectiveness. If two bottles of Windex are down there, take one bottle upstairs so you’ll have one handy when your bathroom mirror needs a quick cleaning. Cut down on the space your cleaning supplies take up by using products that can be used on a variety of surfaces.
- Match your socks.
- Clean up your computer desktop. Remove shortcuts you don’t use frequently. Place documents in folders to clean the clutter from your screen and improve boot up time.
- Toss out pens, highlighters, and permanent markers that no longer work. Why would you need them?
- Clean out your glove compartment. I had to do this regularly because my glove box would be stuffed to the gills with napkins, straws, plastic utensils, coupons, car repair receipts, hand wipes, salt and pepper packets, and who knows what else.
If you know you need to get organized, don’t procrastinate by waiting until you can “find more time.” Do what you can with the time you have. I’m sure you have a little wiggle room somewhere. Many of the suggestions above save you time in the long run. Conserving energy by washing clothes when you have a full loads is a responsible thing to do – and also cuts down on how often you have to spend your time doing laundry! When you have five minutes to get out the door to work, being able to grab a pair of socks instead of having to look for a match gives you time to take yourself a quick lunch. And when a police officer pulls you over for speeding, you won’t be embarrassed when a bunch of stuff comes tumbling out of your glove box as you search for your insurance papers. I’ve had a speeding ticket and an avalanche of napkins. I don’t judge – this is a safe place.