Time-Saving Tips to Get Organized
Learn how to reclaim the time you spend waiting, whether at home or on the go.
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Let's face it: we all put off organizing our homes, purses, cars and lives because we don't think we have time. "Once you start looking at all the time you spend waiting for this or that, the minutes really add up," says Donna Smallin, the author of The One-Minute Organizer. Put those wasted minutes to work, she says; even just five minutes a day adds up to seven hours a month — plenty of time for organization.
While you're playing the waiting game, try out these quick and practical organizing tips:
Time-Saving Tip #1
While popping popcorn or if you have three minutes in the kitchen
- Organize the day's mail. Toss the outer envelopes and inserts in bill statements along with junk mail.
- Organize a drawer; if there's not a lid for a container, toss it.
- Be brave as you open the fridge to play "leftover roulette," popping open mystery containers to see what's still edible, suggests Donna. Also, check out the expiration dates on condiments and half-full jars of spaghetti sauce.
- Rifle through that overflowing coupon box and toss the expired ones. Then file new ones by category and date.
- Take out the trash, and make sure the recyclables are in order.
- Empty or load the dishwasher; wipe down a shelf while you're at it.
Time-Saving Tip #2
While cookies are baking or if you have 12 minutes in the kitchen
- Plan dinners for the week and write a grocery shopping list.
- Organize your junk drawer. Toss the stuff that's really garbage, like toys from fast-food restaurants, dusty plastic silverware and wrappers from used packs of batteries. Then use a compartmentalized plastic tray to separate loose stamps, paper clips, coins and things that aren't really junk.
- Organize your pantry: throw out expired cans, stale bread and cereal boxes with only crumbs left.
- Spruce up your spice drawer or cabinet: put the spices you use most toward the front, and throw out "mystery" spices without labels.
- "Chop up some fruit and make a fruit salad for tomorrow," suggests organizing expert Maria Gracia.
Time-Saving Tip #3
While the tub fills up or if you have three minutes in the bathroom
- Toss used towels in the laundry bin and hang up some clean ones.
- Organize your make-up drawer. A study from the College of Optometrists warns that mascara, lipstick and eye shadow more than three to six months old can be a hotbed for bacteria. Check the expiration dates in tiny print, or just toss whatever looks gunky.
- Organize the space under the vanity: toss crusty bottles of hair product, face wash/cream you haven't used in months, stray cotton balls and cotton swabs.
- Straighten your linen closet, and make a pile of threadbare washcloths and hand towels you can convert to dust rags.
- Toss expired prescriptions and over-the-counter medications; wipe down a shelf in the medicine cabinet.
- Clean the toilet. Pour in a quick-acting cleaner, then brush and flush.
- Gracia suggests organizing your hair accessories in an over-the-door shoe organizer. The pockets will help you sort everything beautifully, so you can easily find what you need.
If your seasonal celebrations could use a little more peace and joy, heed this advice from the pros.