15 Productive Things to Do With Your Extra Hour
This Sunday, at 2 a.m. local daylight time, clocks will fall back an hour, and we’ll all get those lovely 60 minutes tacked onto our day. Whether you want to spend them snoozin’ or killin’ it is totally up to you (and maybe your kids’ sleeping schedule). I’m equal parts sleep lover and productivity junkie, so it’s a toss-up for me. But to weigh my options, I’ve gathered 15 ultra-productive things I — and you — could do with that precious hour. Check out my list to finalize your Sunday plans.
Organize Your Kitchen
Intuitive, Organized Storage is Fundamental in Communal Kitchen Design
Being a communal space, ease of access and organized storage plays a big part in this design. Open shelving on either side of the vent-a-hood provides stylish storage of mugs and spices, while cabinets and shelves below add functional, stylish storage, putting kitchen necessities within a fingertip's reach.
Colin Price Photography
Preparing Thanksgiving dinner is hectic enough without throwing an unorganized kitchen in the mix. Dedicate one hour to organizing your kitchen to ensure the holidays run smoothly.
Let’s Do It: The Ultimate 1-Hour Kitchen Cleanse
Clean Your Bakeware
Bakeware looking worse for wear? Mix 1/4 cup baking soda with enough hydrogen peroxide to form a paste, and scrub stained pans, so they're ready for cookie season. Note: This method is not for coated or nonstick bakeware, as baking soda will remove the coating.
Try This Microwave Cleaning Hack
One too many frozen dinner mishaps can leave your microwave in rough shape. Wipe it all away in 15 minutes with this clever hack. Bonus: You have 45 minutes to tackle another task.
Organize Your Refrigerator
You can’t truly understand the beauty of an organized refrigerator until that organized refrigerator is yours. I’m telling you — it’s SO worth it.
Let’s Do It: Fridge Organization 101
Clean a Major Appliance
When's the last time you cleaned your dishwasher, refrigerator or washing machine? Fix it in a snap with this helpful tutorial.
Clean Your Drains With a DIY Solution
Unclog Slow Drains
Before you go the chemical route to clear a slow drain, try baking soda and vinegar! Shake a cup of baking soda into the drain, then heat up a cup of vinegar and pour it into the drain. After several minutes, flush with lots of hot water. Repeat as needed. *do not use on a clogged drain
Flynnside Out Productions
Don’t expose your holiday guests to your drain issues (ew!). Spend your hour whipping those drains into shape with one of these DIY drain cleaners you can make at home.
Let's Do It: 5 DIY Drain Cleaners
Clean Your Stainless Steel Cookware
Every now and then, stainless steel pots and pans need special attention. Consider treating your cookware to some pre-holiday pampering.
Declutter Your Home
Ah, clutter — the enemy of the modern minimalist. Start ridding your home of unnecessary things with our helpful throw-it-out list.
Let’s Do It: 50 Things to Get Rid of Right Now
Organize With Dollar Store Hacks
Organize all the things on the cheap with these genius dollar store hacks.
Deodorize Your Car or Home (With More Thrifty Hacks!)
Deal with those unpleasant smelly spots in your home or car using a budget-friendly, DIY solution.
Clean a Major Dust Collector in Your Home
Cut down the number of allergy-induced sneezes by cleaning a major dust collector in your home.
Make Your Own Household Cleaners
These homemade cleaners are so quick and easy to make, you can whip ‘em up and clean with them all in one hour.
Let's Do It: Three-ingredient Cleaners You Can Make in Seconds
Clean Out Your Closet
This one-hour closet cleanse is for the focused and dedicated. I’m truly impressed by all you decisive people.
Let’s Do This: The Ultimate 1-Hour Closet Cleanse
Or, Just Organize Your Closet
If cleaning out your closet in an hour sounds daunting (read: impossible), consider a solid hour of organization, instead. An organized closet will get you one step closer to that closet cleanse.
Let's Do This: Closet Organization 101
Try This Showerhead Cleaning Hack
Renew Shower Fixtures
Mineral deposits and calcium build up can cause your shower head to clog up and look spotty. Go the extra mile and submerge them in a plastic bag filled with warm white vinegar. Just be sure to fill the bag so that the fixture is completely submerged, then secure the bag with a zip tie or extra strong
Flynnside Out Productions
Hey, I don’t blame you if your showerhead’s a bit spotty. I consistently avoided cleaning mine until I found this genius hack. Simply submerge the entire showerhead into a zipper storage bag filled with warm, white vinegar. Secure the bag with rubber bands or a zip tie for about 30 minutes.
The Mistake: Confusing "Clean" and "Organized"
"Having piles neatly lined up on the counter doesn't mean you're organized," says professional organizer Linda Rothschild. If you find your flat surfaces filling with clutter, it's time to designate a spot for everything coming into your home. Once you get the hang of it, the piles will disappear. Design by Anastasia Faiella
The Mistake: Keeping Counters Too Clear
Once you've cleared off what doesn't belong on the kitchen counter, don't forget to leave room for things you use every day. If you make daily smoothies, make a spot for the blender. It's easier to keep the surfaces clean and organized if you have what you need at hand and everything has a designated spot. Design by Gina Samarotto
The Mistake: A Full Refrigerator
"A big, messy focal point is a refrigerator tacked with magnets and reminders and notes and letters and photos and wedding invitations and art projects and shopping lists," says professional organizer Jeni Aron. "Instead, keep one clipboard on your kitchen wall with all of the reminders and lists you need. When the clipboard is full, that's your maximum number of papers you can keep."
The Mistake: Using the Fridge as a Message Center
Another reason to skip the note-filled refrigerator? No one will read it! "You think everyone will see it, but actually no one does. They're just going for a drink," says professional organizer Linda Rothschild. "Households need a place where people go for messages or mail or permission slips...an area where everyone knows things are kept." A built-in bulletin board, like this one designed by Nar Bustamante, is the perfect solution.
The Mistake: Disorganized Kitchen Shelving
Glass-front cabinets or open shelving can look messy if dishes are piled at random. "The solution? Add fabric or contact paper inside the glass cabinets. A better solution: Setting up a way to keep dishes organized," says professional organizer Alejandra Costello.
The Mistake: Stuffing Kitchen Cabinets
Getting organized means making good decisions about what to keep and what to let go of, starting on the inside of the cabinets," says professional organizer Linda Rothschild. Take everything out and take stock. If you're not using it, let it go. Image courtesy Mullet Cabinetry
The Mistake: A Non-Functional Entryway
An entryway offers a home's first impression, but it's often covered with coats, backbacks, shoes and more. The solution? "Rearrange the coat closet in the entryway where kids can hang things," offers professional organizer Alejandra Costello. "Or put a basket by the door to toss shoes inside. If the shoes can just make it inside, it can make a huge difference." Design by Traci Zeller
The Mistake: Skipping By-the-Door Paper Storage
Give everything a home, even the mail. "Even stacks of mail need a place to live. Find a crate, box or door or wall pockets where you can place the mail when you get home. Then later when you have 10 minutes, sort it out," says professional organizer Alejandra Costello. Design by Toni Hammersley
The Mistake: Choosing Closet Form Over Daily Function
We all dream of a chic walk-in closet, but think about what you really use before devoting tons of space to baubles and high heels. "Things you wear on a regular basis need to be accessible," says professional organizer Linda Rothschild. "If you go running everyday, those shoes should be in the front," she says. Wear boots to work? Keep those out and stow away heels. Being realistic about your real-life closet needs makes it easier to keep the space neat. Image courtesy Rakku Designs
The Mistake: Out-of-Order Containers
Throwing your stuff in a box or drawer doesn't make it organized. "Every drawer, cabinet and shelf is a container, but consider taking it a step further by using additional containers within those storage areas to organize your things even more. Use bins, baskets, cups, tin cans, stackable bins and dividers to help keep your items better contained and visually appealing," says professional organizer Vanessa Hayes. Photo courtesy of California Closets
The Mistake: Stocking Up on Storage Bins
Professional organizer Nancy Heller's top pet peeve? Too many storage bins! "They don't use the space efficiently, so they end up sitting in the corner, collecting dust," she says. Instead, search your home for containers you already have. "Use salad bowls...put dog's toys in one, some Tupperware in another. Put shoeboxes in your drawers and tidy up the shoeboxes when you have a chance." Bonus: You'll save money, too! Design by Junk Gypsies
The Mistake: Shopping First, Organizing Second
"The biggest mistake I see is that people think buying a bunch of organizing products will solve their clutter nightmares, but it usually just adds to the frustration," says professional organizer Vanessa Hayes. "Instead, you need to edit your stuff first, then decide on products to help you organize what's left." That way, you'll buy only what you need.
The Mistake: Skipping Labels
"Bins are fine, but they need to be space-efficient, properly labeled and specific," says professional organizer Nancy Heller. "Leave a little extra space, but don't throw a mismatched glove in there because there's room. A label helps you halt and say, 'oh, this doesn't go here.'" Design by Cas Aarsen
The Mistake: Too Many Family Photos
"Knick knacks and picture frames can be horrible forms of clutter. I love my family, honestly, I do, but I have a total of two tiny framed photos of them in my home," says professional organizer Jeni Aron. "Picture frames and little doo-dads and figurines collect dust, they look outdated and they don't add to any style direction or decor in your home. If you want to do a gallery wall of all same-sized prints with simple frames leading up a stairway or an artfully hung collection over an entryway console, go for it." Design by Andreas Charalambous
The Mistake: Too Many Toys
"For families with kids, many fall victim to every room becoming a toy room and the entire home becoming toy-centric," says professional organizer Vanessa Hayes. "You'd be amazed at how much cleaner your home will look if you limit the toys you have, and keep them in only 1-2 places in your home." Design by Brian Patrick Flynn
The Mistake: Not Corralling Cords
"This bothers me like crazy," says professional organizer Alejandra Costello. "Wires on the wall or floor are a complete eyesore. Make your own backing with black foam board, or whatever you have. Or, actually detangle the wires and use a cord organizer to line them around the furniture." Boom: A neat entertainment center, desk or nightstand. Design by Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott
The Mistake: Scattered Collections
When styling bookshelves, small pieces look more dramatic (and less cluttered) when grouped with like items. "Collections of vases showcase what you love, versus having one on the coffee table and two on the end table. It doesn't look cohesive," says professional organizer Nancy Heller. Design by Brian Patrick Flynn
The Mistake: Packed Bookshelves
Displaying only books you love leaves breathing room and space for decorative accessories. "I always go for balance. I'm fond of telling people when your bookshelf is 80 percent full, it's really full," says professional organizer Nancy Heller. Design by Jennifer and Kitty O'Neil
The Mistake: Letting Laundry Linger
When the laundry room is downstairs, piles of un-folded clothes can accumulate. "It's all about just doing it right away," says professional organizer Alejandra Costello. "Don't do laundry unless you have enough time to finish it. When you're ready to fold it, take it out of the dryer and put it away right then." Design by Toni Hammersley
The Mistake: Packed-Full Rooms
"Too many chairs, couches, tables and decorative items can quickly make a room look cluttered and feel closed-in," says professional organizer Vanessa Hayes. "Selecting just a few pieces can open up a space and make it feel more relaxing and peaceful." Design by Laura Umansky
The Mistake: Messy Under-Bed Boxes
Under-bed storage is a great space-saver, but exposed boxes and bins can make a bedroom look cluttered. The fix? "Add a bedskirt, or make the stuff on the edges of the bed look more contained or organized," says professional organizer Alejandra Costello. Or, opt for a bed with built-in under-bed storage like blogger Erin Hiemstra did here.
The Mistake: Getting Used to Clutter
"Clutter actually becomes invisible," says professional organizer Linda Rothschild. "When things are in piles, they become like wallpaper. Things get dumped and they get ignored." Devote a few minutes a day to ditching the piles one by one — you'll be amazed how much different your space will feel. Design by Debbie Talianko
The Mistake: Too Much Stuff
"People love staying in hotels because it's such an escape. You can have that in your home, you just have to have less stuff," says professional organizer Kendra Stanley. Design by Design Development
The Mistake: Stuffing Small Spaces
"Be realistic about the space you have and how you use it," says professional organizer Nancy Heller. "If you are in a small home, you really have to be realistic about how much you can really have there without it being cluttered and overwhelming." Opt for hidden storage under the bed or stairs, but know when to minimize your stuff, too. Image courtesy Matroshka Furniture
The Mistake: Being Spontaneous
When it comes to organization, predictability rules. "I am a firm believe of putting things in the same place all the time," says professional organizer Kendra Stanley. "My checkbook is in the same place. My wallet's in the same place. Flashlights, tools, everything in the kitchen — put things back in the same place every time. You'll condition yourself to be organized." Design by Brian Patrick Flynn
The Mistake: Waiting Until Tomorrow
Staying organized is easy if you do something every day. "It's continuous maintenance. For every hour we spend organizing we save 3-4 hours," says professional organizer Nancy Heller. "Spend 5 minutes tidying up your junk drawer...just 20 minutes here, 10 minutes there will make all the difference." Image courtesy Jennifer and Kitty O'Neil