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The 15 minute organizing challenge

Thanks to Cindy Bernstein of Aim4Order for this month’s Tips from the Pros about ways to reduce clutter.

aim 4 order tips from the prosInstead of trying to organize your entire home in one afternoon, break bigger tasks into smaller ones and start organizing little by little. The clutter didn’t happen in a day and reducing it doesn’t either. Take the challenge and try to do 15 minutes of organizing every day for a week.

Here are some thing you can do in around 15 minutes:

Go through a stack of mail.

Recycle what you can, and keep current bills in a folder or drawer. Or pay the bills and file whatever you need to save for tax purposes. If you haven’t read an article in a few months, toss the magazines. If you really want to save it, cut out the article you want and recycle the rest. Make a file folder of magazine articles to be read. Get rid of catalogs and grocery store circulars.

Lonely socks.

How long do you keep a sock that has a missing mate? First, see if you can find the mates. If not, let them go. Then take a look at all your socks and take out any that have holes. Either fix the holes immediately, or get rid of the socks.

Remove expired items from the pantry.

Canned and other dry goods have expiration dates. Take a look through the pantry and get rid of anything that has expired. Organize the pantry with taller things in the back of shelves and shorter things in front so you can see everything at a glance.

Entryway closet cleanup.

Mismatched gloves will be of no use this winter. Go through accessories and coats the kids may have outgrown and start a donation pile. Drop off the donations at your favorite charity the same day. Waiting around to donate a box will add to the clutter.

Toy roundup.

Grab all of the toys laying around the house and put them away. Kids can help with this task if they are old enough. If you don’t have a toy box, a plastic laundry basket will do. All toys need to have a home where they can be put away after use.

Jeans toss.

We all have jeans we love, but some are either no longer in style, don’t fit any more or are falling apart. Go through your jeans and pull out what you know you’ll never wear again. You can repeat this exercise with T-shirts, other clothing and shoes.

Check through sheets and towels.

Go through your sheets and make sure they are in good condition. If not, they must be repaired the same day or tossed. Like the mismatched socks, if you have a fitted sheet that has no flat sheet, it might be time to say goodbye. Towels get ratty on the edges and get holes in the middle. Relegate those towels to cleaning rags or toss them. Many animal rescue groups are happy to get donations of towels and don’t mind the holes one bit.

You can probably think of other organizing tasks around your home that can take about 15 minutes. Take off small chunks of your total organizing job instead of trying to do the whole thing at once. It’s much easier and less stressful to organize this way. You will feel better afterward and might want to take on a second 15 minute challenge.

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