Iit’s not the easiest thing in the world to gather motivation right now, or to have any kind of attention to achieve things, while your phone is tilting with endless notifications and (hopefully) your job and (possibly) your kids are competing for leftovers of your attention. I experience, first of all, that my ambitious quarantine-to-do lists have gone completely undone, mostly because everything feels like a herculean effort at this moment due to a combination of overwhelm, grief, and fear.
Organizing the home, however, can bring a sense of calm to chaos, which is much needed right now. “Since we can not control what is going on in the outside world, getting things organized is a way of controlling what is going on at home,” says Rachel Rosenthal, founder of the organizing firm Rachel and Company. “And believe me, there are not only physical benefits to organization. There are really many emotional benefits – like feeling less stressed.”
To reap these benefits, your best bet might be to divide broad goals into small chunks that you can spread out over the day, week, or month. “Most people when they think of organizing their home feel so overwhelmed that they do not know where to start,” says Shira Gill, an organizer, coach and owner of Shira Gill Home. To remedy this, she likes an idea, she has the hashtag # 15minwin, where you tackle a small task for a certain amount of time. “Set an hour to 15 minutes,” she says. “It just helps to get your brain on board and out of resistance.”
Below are 20 such low-pressure projects – or hacks for home organizations – to tackle today, tomorrow or anytime the motivation strikes.
20 small projects to sprinkle with during the day for a small gain, according to 3 organizational experts
Shira Gill, organizer, trainer and owner of Shira Gill Home
1. Redesign your bedside table
Gill notes that your nightstand may be worth redoing as it is the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing you see at night. “Make a clean sweep to clear coffee mugs, old magazines, etc., wipe it well, and then replace the clutter with one or two beautiful or stylish things that are more conscious, like a candle or a plant,” she says.
2. Make room for (and then organize) your new food stores
If your fridge and freezer look like mine right now, yeah, * scream emoji. * “Remove anything that has expired, gotten bad or rough, and wipe things off,” Gill says. “Then you can put things back in broad categories, then put all the fruit together, the dairy together, the spices together.” If tackling it all at once seems overwhelming, try making one shelf at a time instead. (Need more guidance? Try these RD-approved tips to get your refrigerator ready for its shelfie.)
3. Courier your sock or underwear drawer
Gill says many people dismiss these areas as unimportant because no one sees them. However, she points out that these are the things you put on your body every single day and therefore they may be worth nurturing. “Invest in fewer, better things and clear out the clutter, like the old dingy socks and underwear that don’t feel good, and the wrong socks,” she advises. “After years in the field, I’ve seen that people typically also have lots of random things in their underwear drawer – old receipts, makeup, passports. Also spend a few minutes moving those things.”
4. Clear your medicine cabinet of anything that is not used daily
“This is one of those areas where people typically get upset if someone comes over and needs a patch and things run out in their heads,” Gill says. She recommends taking everything out and seeing what you can get rid of, reuse or move. You should throw away, for example, expired medications, supplements and beauty products. “Typically, beauty and cosmetic products expire within about a year,” she says. So reserve space for everyday things like your toothbrush, face wash, contact lens solution and deodorant. Everything else must find a new home.
5. Organize or create children’s cubbies
If you have children, organizational projects involving their stuff can be a great way to (temporarily) distract them from screen time to a productive end. “My kids always have as much nonsense in their school backpacks as old school forms, things they need to recycle, and notes from friends,” Gill says. “They dumped pretty much everything, recycled most of it and put the things back that they will eventually have to bring back to school.” You can also do the same with packed lunches.
“My kids also have a little art / homework cubby at home, which is great to dump and review,” she says. If you do not have a similar space, it might be a good time to make one. “Recycle a trash can or a box or a cube that can gather current projects, homework, and art,” Gill says. “That way, every child has a designated place to place these projects when it’s cleanup time, and they don’t end up messing with your counters,” Gill says.
6. Make small edits with your small ones
You can also help them clear their mess through micro-edits. “Make sure it is one category at a time, otherwise it can become confusing for you and your child,” she says, noting that you should narrow down a project to, for example, organize puzzles versus organizing the entire playroom. “When I do this with my kids, I’ll say, ‘Get all your tops out of your dresser.’ into that donation bag, “says Gill.” I think kids are really quick, intuitive decision makers if you set them up for success. “
7. Tackle your closet in small steps
Gill is known for her closet makeovers, and if you really want to get into the weeds, she offers a virtual closet makeover program that starts on March 30th. However, if you are more interested in a quick fix, she offers a few options. “Just removing excess braces instantly creates space,” she says. “You can also group things by type and category, so put all your formal or casual things in the back of your closet and your loungewear in front and in the middle.”
You can also, she adds, just do a quick sweep to see if there are random things you want to move to another area of your home, if there are items you can or should definitely donate, etc. ” most have only 20% of their closet, so take some time to really look at it with fresh eyes and assess what you should wear and use in the future, she says.
What you probably want to avoid, Gill says, is to try to sort everything in one go. Instead, take it category by category (e.g. shorts). “That way, you can do a quick edit and get back to work with the feeling that you’ve achieved something,” she says. “That’s my overall advice – instead of digging out an entire room or a massive project, take it one small section at a time. It should not feel like you are biting more from yourself than you can chew.”
Lisa Ruff, Director of Business Development, NEAT Method
1. Show your towels some love
“A drawer, a closet, or a pile of paperwork can give you a quick win and a sense of accomplishment,” Ruff says. “We suggest you go through your kitchen sink towel drawer. Pull out worn towels for recycling, then fold the holders.”
2. WIN down your child’s artwork
“Going through children’s art is another amazingly fast-paced project,” Ruff says. “Write the artwork in two piles: recycle and save. Then file the ‘container’.” (Maybe in the aforementioned cubby holes!)
3. Spice it up, or rather, down
“Edit your spice collection by checking expiration dates and condensing doubles,” Ruff suggests.
4. tackle the dreaded email inbox
If you are not tired of your devices yet, this might also be a good time to tackle the chaos in your digital area. “Your email inbox could use a little love right now,” Ruff says. “Archive, archive, or delete unnecessary emails, then unsubscribe from newsletters or brands you no longer wish to follow.”
5. Organize your family board games
Ruff repeats Gill by suggesting that you lead small organizational projects where the whole family can participate. “A great project to do with kids right now is organizing family board games,” she says. “Gather them all in one place, sort all the extra pieces you have lying around, find out where they belong, decide if the games are still age-appropriate – and if they are not, set them aside to donate. or give to family / friends the next time you can leave home, “she says. “Then play a game!”
6. Collect your tax documents
“Even though the tax deadlines have been extended, it is now time to gather all the necessary documents,” Ruff said. “Go through your email to make sure you have all donation receipts or bank statements sent electronically.” So, she says, start thinking about next year. “Create an envelope or folder now, label it 2020, and place it in an accessible location.”
Rachel Rosenthal, founder of the organizing company Rachel and Company
1. Clear out your water bottles
Rosenthal asks, “Do you really need the old plastic from the gift bag you never used?” (The answer is “no”).
2. Organize apps and photos on your phone
Like Ruff, Rosenthal suggests that you turn your attention to digital spaces – specifically your phone. “This is one that we always postpone, but now that you have time, it’s the perfect option,” she says. “I recommend organizing apps and photos in small chunks so you get through it all without having to throw your phone away!” Need help sorting through your billions of photos? There is one app (actually several) for it.
3. Clean your car
“Since we’re not going anywhere soon, this is a good time to clean the back seat pockets, your truck and the front console,” Rosenthal suggests. “Create an emergency kit, and [if you have children]also put together a set for when the kids are in the car. [Fill it] with things like to-go games and CDs. “
4. Get rid of depleted art supplies
“Get the kids involved and explore the house for all your art supplies,” Rosenthal suggests. “Let them help based on their age. See if the markers all work, see if all the pieces for the puzzle are there, and more.”
5. Organize your desk or where you work from home
“When you have a cluttered and cluttered desk and spend too much time looking for misplaced items, it can weigh on someone,” Rosenthal says. “The frustration and stress that comes from the physical clutter fuels other thoughts – like what you’re trying to get done – because it not only wastes your time, but also occupies your visual space and makes it difficult to focus on the current task.” Try these five desk organization hacks to get you started.
6. GET ORDER your linen closet
“Time to make sure you have all the beds you have the sheets for,” Rosenthal says. “Review bedding to see if they are stained or not in use.” If you have children, she suggests that you get them to help fold and review them.
7. Organize your party items
Even if you are not going to have any left over in the near future, now is a good time to make an inventory of the party items you have on hand. “Do you actually need five tablecloths?” asks Rosenthal. If not, you might be able to say goodbye by using it to throw one last soirée, at the home of the one who is stuck inside you (even if it’s just you).
PSA: Cleaning is not disinfectant and now it’s time to learn the difference. Plus, here’s how to make your air purifier and candles play well.