We know that not everyone has ample amounts of time to engage in cleaning projects and organizing endeavors. But most of us can find 10 minutes of time on a good day. In the spirit of the season -- and in the spirit of being reasonable -- here are some tasks that realistically can be accomplished quickly and still have a significant impact on your day-to-day functioning. Happy Organizing!
1. Handbag or Backpack - It’s incredible how much stuff winds up in our everyday bags. Remove all the contents of your handbag and lay them out on a surface. Immediately discard of any trash, relocate items that aren’t your everyday essentials and restock items that you like to have on hand. Take this time to consider what you really need to carry around with you and what might be weighing you down. Here’s one of our favorite tips for a tidy handbag: contain smaller items (chapstick, nail file, pen, pill boxes) in a zipper pouch. You will be able to quickly find what you need without digging through the contents of your entire bag. For those of you who like to accessorize, this also makes switching handbags exceptionally seamless!
2. Cell Phone Apps - Do you really use all of those apps that you’ve downloaded, or are they simply digital clutter? Delete the ones that you no longer use and organize the others into folders. We like to organize our app folders by category (social media, business apps, photography). If you’re distracted by some of the apps on your phone and find yourself using them more often than you’d like, consider increasing your productivity by removing those particular apps from your home screen -- or from your phone altogether.
3. Reusable Water Bottles - In an effort to reduce waste, many of us have switched to reusable water bottles (bravo to us!) We all seem to have our favorite ones that we use over and over again and many extras that we never do. Sort all of the bottles you own into three piles… one pile for bottles that you intend to keep, one pile for bottles that you rarely ever use and can donate and one pile for bottles that are damaged or have missing parts and pieces (these can be recycled).
4. Reusable Shopping Bags - ‘Tis is the season to declutter your bags -- all of them! We’re referring to the plastic bags, the paper shopping bags and the reusable tote bags that come into our lives all of the time. We generally collect way more bags than we could ever hope to reuse. Consider how and when you use the different kinds of bags and how many you actually need to store in your home. Don’t hesitate to do a serious edit here, as many more of them will inevitably continue to enter into your home.
5. Condiments & Sauces - We suggest doing a fridge edit every week before your food shopping trip… and we also think this is the perfect time take an extra 10 minutes to take a detailed stock of all of the items in your fridge, including the ones that last far longer than by-the-week. Remove the contents from your entire fridge, including the condiments, sauces and dressings. Toss anything that’s not totally fresh and add any expired essentials to your weekly shopping list for replacement. Voila!
6. Car - The same rules apply here. Empty everything out of your car. Trash gets tossed, items that don’t belong in the car get placed back into their proper homes -- and perhaps you can begin to consider a new system for keeping your car tidy. Might you benefit from the use of a trash can -- or a large basket or cart with wheels to regularly transport items in and out of the car?
7. Entryway / Coat Closet - Do a quick scan for any items that have made their way into this area of your home that don’t belong there. It happens to the best of us. Yes -- even us. So pull out those toys you were hiding from your kids, that extra roll of gift wrap and the random bag filled with papers from your office. Make sure that the only items that live in the area now are the ones that are meant to belong in the entrance of your home.
8. Nightstand - It’s pretty amazing how much stuff can collect in and on our nightstands. Declutter the top of your bedside tables by placing finished books and reading materials away on your bookshelves. Only leave what you are currently reading. Take stock of what you really need in and on your nightstand, and remove everything else. This space should set a calm and peaceful tone for restful nights ahead.
9. Medicine Cabinet - Pull everything out (are you sensing a pattern here?) and check the expiration dates on all of your medications. Create a list of items that need to be refilled or replaced. Please be certain to dispose of medication properly! If you aren’t certain what to do, a quick internet search will help you determine the proper protocol for disposal of hazardous waste in your area.
10. Beauty Products - Superfluous beauty products and samples find their way into our bathrooms and seem to multiply! In order to maintain the optimal health of your skin, toss any products that have expired. The packaging of all beauty products should have icons indicating the lifespan of the contents. Check them all -- many don’t last nearly as long as you would think! As with anything you edit, be sure to recycle the containers responsibly. We highly recommend donating extraneous items that haven’t yet expired to a local organization that helps individuals in crisis or transition.