If home organisation was easy, every home would be free of clutter, dust and dirt. Everything would have a place, and our children would always put their toys away after they’re done. We’d have plenty of time after work to clean out our closets, pantries and desks, and we’d never seen advice on home organisation for the time-poor.
Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in. We work; we go to football games and dance recitals. Occasionally, we have a free moment to ourselves, obviously not the time for cleaning and decluttering. So the clutter piles up, and simplicity remains out of reach.
Though it may seem like an impossible dream, easy home organisation is actually more manageable than you might think. Here are some great five-minute decluttering projects that will make for a quick home organisation project.
Organise paper clutter
Whether it’s incoming mail, homework or important bank statements and other documents, paper clutter piles up fast and it gets in the way more than any other type of clutter. With just five minutes, you can clear out a spot for all your papers and make managing them a little easier for everyone.
Pick up a few baskets or boxes from your local craft or home decor store. Label one “in” and another “out” and place them strategically around your home. If you’re using the boxes for mail, place them on or near the spot you’re mostly likely to drop off mail, whether that’s on the kitchen benchtop or near the front door. Seeing the inbox literally full will remind you to go through your mail either everyday or every few days.
This can also help keep kids organised with their homework or permission slips. Again, place your boxes near the spot where they are most likely to do their homework or drop off their backpacks when they get home from school. Any newsletters or permission slips can go in the inbox, and they can pick up their papers in the outbox the next day.
Clear off one benchtop or shelf
Benchtops and bookshelves might not always seem like they have a lot of clutter on them, but if you look at them objectively, you might see them differently. While tackling the whole kitchen or lounge room might be time consuming, doing one at a time is much more manageable.
Take everything off a section of your benchtop or bookshelf and evaluate how useful everything on it is. If your benchtop has a toaster on it, think of how often your family uses the toaster. If the answer isn’t “daily,” put it away in a cupboard. The same goes for blenders and mixers.
For bookshelves, take a hard look at what’s on the shelf and how much of it is actually serving a purpose. You might not even read the books on the shelf any more or perhaps your children simply grew out of them. Picture frames can be hung on the wall where they won’t take up as much space, and knickknacks just collect dust. Place everything you don’t want in a donate box and put the box in your car. Next time you’re out, drop off the box.
Pick up five things
Each night before you crawl into bed, pick up five items that never seem to have a place, such as keys, sunglasses, exercise equipment or dog toys. These are items that you or someone else in your home uses everyday, but you never have one designated spot for them. Now find one spot for them and make that their permanent home.
You can pick up a few plastic bins or boxes from a craft or home decor store to help you here. Once you give these items a spot, you’ll be more inclined to put them away after you’re done with them.
Start a “maybe” box
When you’re organising, it’s sometimes easy to know which things you want to keep and which things are destined for the “donate” box, but what about the stuff in the middle? You know, the items that you aren’t sure if you’ll ever really need, but for some reason, you just can’t get rid of them?
For these items, start a “maybe” box and place these items inside. Now put the box away somewhere where you won’t ever see it and mark your calendar six months from now. Once those six months are up, go back to the box and look at the items once more. Did you ever need them?
If yes, create a spot for the item. If not, donate or throw it out. This is a great way to visualise how often you use certain items and will make getting rid of items much easier.
Tackle the medicine cabinet
If you don’t already have a place for medicines, ointments and bandages, create one. If you already have one, it’s time to clean it out. We tend to keep old medicines and ointments “just in case,” but what we don’t realise is that most of these are outdated. Toss them.
Consolidate any bottles if possible, such as multiple bottles of the same painkillers (don’t mix pills!). Get rid of the medications you know you’ll never use again or the ones that caused adverse effects, such as an allergic reaction.
Reevaluate the bandages you have. Combine boxes of bandages and throw out any that look dirty. If you have small children, consider splitting your medicine cabinet into two bins or places. Put bandages, gummy vitamins and other non-harmful items in a bin where your children can reach them. Put the painkillers and other pills on a higher shelf. Your kids will be able to help themselves, and you won’t have to worry about them getting into pill bottles and such.
Appreciate the declutter
After you’ve finished one of these five-minute projects, take a minute and appreciate the work you did and how much cleaner the room feels. You begin to love the uncluttered look and you’ll be motivated to put things away at the end of the day and stress the importance of doing to to your spouse and children. Once everyone pitches in, your clutter will find a place for itself, and your how will be a model of simplicity.