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Homeowner Helpers: Getting organized in 20 minutes or less

Homeowner HelpersYou know what I love about 20-minute organizing? Doing 20 minutes a day adds up to over two hours a week and over 120 hours a year. That is 120 hours a year of productivity that only took 20 minutes a day. How great is that, right?

And you can make organizing fun by doing some of these tasks while watching TV, listening to music, listening to a podcast (like my Organize for Success podcast!), listening to an audible. If organizing is a challenge for you, make it more fun!

Here are 12 ways you can become more organized in 20 minutes or less.

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#1: Your medicine cabinet

  1. Take a few minutes, remove everything from your medicine cabinet and wipe down the shelves.
  2. Go through anything that has an expiry date and decide if you should discard. (Here are some tips on disposing of medicine cabinet items properly.)
  3. Let go of anything you no longer use or need.
  4. Put like items together, for example cold medicine, prescription medicine, etc., and put back in your medicine cabinet.
  5. Ta da, you are done!

#2: Your purse

  1. Take everything out of your purse.
  2. Wipe it down.
  3. Throw away any garbage.
  4. Sort like items together and keep them in a Ziploc bag, makeup bag or container to prevent loose items falling to the bottom of your purse.
  5. Bring receipts that you need to keep to the room or area where you keep receipts.
  6. Put everything back organized.
  7. If you are on a roll and want to keep going, then organize your wallet.
  8. Don’t forget to let go of anything you no longer need.

#3: Your nightstand drawer

  1. Same principle — take everything out and wipe down the drawer.
  2. Let go of anything you no longer need.
  3. Organize what you want to keep.
  4. Use drawer organizers to help prevent items from sliding around the drawer.

#4: Your dresser top

  1. Take everything off and wipe it down.
  2. Anything that belongs in another room, quickly take it to the room where it belongs.
  3. Any items that do belong in your bedroom but not on top of your dresser, put them away in the right place.
  4. Limit what you decide to keep on top of your dresser. Too many items = clutter.

#5: A dresser drawer

  1. Take everything out of the drawer and wipe it down.
  2. Edit by going through the items to decide what to keep and what to let go.
  3. Fold or organize the items you are keeping and, voilà, you are done!

#6: Clothes closet

  1. Pick one area of clothes that are hanging and go through them to decide what to keep and what not to.
  2. Let go of the items you haven’t worn in a year that may be worn out, have holes or be ripped or stained.
  3. The goal is to create space by letting go of the clothes you don’t need anymore.
  4. Having trouble deciding what to keep and what not to? Ask yourself, would I buy this today? If not, then good chance you don’t really need it.

#7: Under the bathroom sink

  1. Take everything out and wipe it down.
  2. Go through the items and throw out anything you don’t need.
  3. Organize what you are keeping.
  4. Use containers to keep your items tidy and organized.

#8: Linen closet

  1. You probably won’t be able to get a whole linen closet done in 20 minutes so tackle a shelf or two.
  2. Once again, take everything out and wipe down the shelves.
  3. Decide what to keep and what to let go.
  4. Put like items together, such as bath towels or face cloths.
  5. Fold and organize what you are keeping.

#9: Kitchen drawer

  1. You know what to do, right? Take everything out and wipe it down.
  2. Edit by keeping only what you need. For example, if you are doing a utensil drawer and you have three wooden spoons that are very similar, decide if you need all three.
  3. I highly recommend you use utensil drawer organizers because they are a great way to keep utensils organized and prevent them from sliding around the drawer.

#10: Pantry

  1. You won’t be able to do a whole pantry in 20 minutes, but you could do one or two shelves.
  2. Take everything off the shelf and wipe it down.
  3. Check for expired items and decide whether you should keep them or not. Personally, I don’t like to keep expired foods but I know of other people who do.
  4. Put like items together, such as all snacks together or breakfast items.
  5. Remove items that are individually wrapped in boxes, like granola bars. Boxes take up way too much room. Instead, put the items in containers and label them.

More on purging the pantry

#11: Computer files

  1. Take 20 minutes and delete computer files you no longer need.

#12: Your cell phone

  1. Take 20 minutes and delete any photos on your phone that you don’t need. You can also take this time to move some of your photos from your phone and onto your computer or memory stick.

Organizing supplies

Not sure what kind of organizing supplies to use? Here are some of my favourites.

Remember — baby steps is better than no steps at all. Good luck and have fun doing 20-minute organizing. You can do it!

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About the Author

Kathy McEwan Second Set of Hands home organizer

Kathy McEwan

Kathy McEwan is an organizing and productivity expert and owner of Second Set of Hands. Kathy has helped hundreds of clients clear their home or office of clutter, get organized and simplify their lives. Kathy also helps those who are moving by decluttering and organizing their home, packing, unpacking and creating organized systems in their new home.

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