When life gets overwhelming, there’s nothing worse than feeling as if you’re under a mountain of to-do’s that you can’t struggle your way out of. Thankfully, there’s little steps that you can take in order to get your physical house in order, and hopefully this helps your mental or emotional house feel a little better in the process! If you’re feeling super structured, set a timer for the 15-minute mark, and vow to quit that task once the 15-minutes are up. That way you aren’t ‘losing’ yourself in what was supposed to have been a quick project to boost your productivity, morale, and improve your sanity!
15-Minute Organizing Projects for the Kitchen
- Quick pantry purge and straighten. Stand up those pasta boxes, group baking items together, ensure chip clips are fastened to bags well, and toss that box of crackers that doesn’t even have enough remaining for a serving.
- Straighten and group like items together in freezer. I like to keep the breakfast items together, meats in one drawer, frozen fruits on one shelf and frozen veggies on another. Frozen bread and tortillas go on top.
- Purge foods past their prime from the fridge. The yogurt you cannot read the expiration date of, the lunchmeat forgotten about at the back of the deli drawer, and a can of juice lost in the back of the fridge, can all get a new home…in the trash can.
- Wet a microfiber cleaning cloth, and wipe down spice jars. Group accordingly and of course, chuck anything past it’s prime.
- Declutter kitchen counters. Clear countertops do wonders for your psyche. Your countertops don’t benefit from last week’s mail, some coupons and junk mail you probably won’t use, or your kid’s artwork. Find an appropriate place for everything that’s not essential to cooking, cleaning, or preparing food.
- Straighten food storage containers. Group lids with bases, and ensure that you don’t have any orphans without either a base or a lid (if you do, set it aside in another area of the kitchen for a month. If the other part doesn’t turn up, toss it’s partner).
- Tidy up your coffee, tea, or smoothie making area in your kitchen. Re-arrange the space so that the most used items are front and center and can help your morning flow better. While you’re at it, stock your coffee filters, fill the sugar bowl, or wipe down the sticky honey container.
- Purge your junk drawer, and organize items into rough categories. Add any items that you need to your shopping list, such as batteries or a battery tester, super glue, markers, labels, etc.
15-Minute Organizing Projects for the Home
- Do a quick blitz around the house and gather items into one box (I like to reuse boxes from my Amazon Prime shipments) that you’ve been meaning to gather to donate to your favorite charity.
- Straighten coat closet. It’s inevitable that our coat closet has a coat or sweater hanging off the hanger, or a few items that were thrown in the closet but don’t belong.
- Straighten master closet. Put shoes back in an organized fashion, make sure there aren’t forgotten socks behind the hamper, and re-fold sweaters that fell off their stack.
- Tidy your kid’s toys. Whether toys are kept in their room, a playroom, or the living room, a quick pickup of dolls, trucks, or Lego’s will help your house feel more tidy immediately.
- Take items back to other rooms. Get a basket or other container and start in the kitchen or living room. Toss things into the basket that belong elsewhere in the house. Move quickly from room to room and pickup things for your basket that belong somewhere else and deposit items into the room they should be in, when you get there.
- Straighten front door area. Shake out your doormat(s), straighten shoe collection, backpacks, purses, and dog supplies.
- Clean out your purse or workbag. Toss trash, shred receipts that don’t need to be kept, and put things back where they belong. Deposit change to a pouch or jar for savings.
- File away that stack of paperwork you’ve been meaning to get to.
15-Minute Organizing Projects for Your Technology
- Purge apps no longer used from your phone or tablet.
- Perform a backup of your computer, phone, or tablet.
- Declutter your email inbox, archiving emails accordingly and deleting those you don’t need.
- Backup photos to your favorite photo storage service. (I like Google Photos). Delete the backed-up photos from your phone.
- Declutter the music on your phone, getting rid of songs that you don’t listen to anymore, have grown out of or simply aren’t your favorite.
- Straighten up your computer desktop. Archive files to organized folders so that they are accessible but not cluttering your desktop.
- Move sensitive files, such as last year’s tax returns, copies of W-2s, or bank statements to a thumb drive or external hard drive.
15-Minute Organizing Projects for Your Finances
- Shred paperwork that’s been needing to be destroyed.
- Organize receipts relevant for tax purposes.
- Go through that stack of restaurant and shopping coupons, toss what’s expired. Brainstorm a more organized way to keep coupons handy for use.
- Download a template to keep track of your net worth. Check bank, investment, and retirement account balances, and fill in those along with approximate amounts of your liabilities to determine your net worth.
- Have a sit-down with your spouse or partner, and discuss the upcoming month’s financial outlook.
- Brainstorm some mini financial goals, such as paying for Christmas fully in cash, saving for a vacation, saving for an emergency fund, or paying off a debt. Rough out some steps or milestones it will take to reach the goal.
15-Minute Organizing Projects for Your Family
- Create a list of family-favorite meals. Write down rough categories (chicken, beef, pork, vegetarian, pasta, slow-cooker, BBQ) and fill in the meals that your family likes to eat in these categories. That’s instant dinner inspiration for you, right there.
- Make a size chart for each family member with their current clothing and shoe sizes. This helps come gift giving time. Be sure to update your children’s size charts once or twice a year.
- Make a physical features chart for each family member. List height, weight, eye and hair colors, any distinguishing features, marks, or tattoos, and if you can, include a photo. In the event of a missing persons situation, you’ll have a quick reference to show police or search parties. Update this for children once or twice a year, and change the photo for adults once a year.
- If your family doesn’t already have one, begin making plans for a first aid and/or emergency kit. There are a ton of resources online for how to develop a well-stocked emergency kit. On a sheet of paper, start making a list of the things you’ll need for your kit. When you have a little more time, you can shop your house for the items you already have (such as first aid supplies, a spare can opener, or an emergency radio). Make a list of what you still need, and a plan of action to complete the purchases. I purchased one item a week or, pricier items once a month, until our emergency kit was complete.
- Start a list of date night ideas for you and your spouse or partner, and another list for family outings. Depending on the climate where you live, you may want to separate the list of ideas into outdoor vs. indoor.
- Create a list on your phone or in your planner or journal for gift ideas. Make the list somewhere that it will not be found easily by children or your spouse. Throughout the year as they mention something they’d like to have, make a note of it. Come birthday and Christmas time, you’ll have a list of ideas you’ve developed all year long, which can help you give more thoughtful gifts and avoid impulse purchases.
- Create a master babysitting or petsitting instructions form. List mealtimes, bedtimes, medications and dosages, allergies, foods not to give, and other important information on the sheet. Next time you need a babysitter or a petsitter, you can refer your sitter to your form that should answer most of the questions they would have and give them something to refer back to.