Whether you’re enjoying a snow day here on the East Coast or are somewhere with warmer weather, I thought it might be helpful to put together a list of things you can organize with a day, or even just a few hours, spent at home. Think of the following ideas as a choose your own adventure of sorts, but with each of the options resulting in a more organized and less cluttered space!
Option 1: Pantry
- Toss anything expired
- Make a bag of foods your family isn’t going to eat + put them in your car to donate to a local shelter or food bank
- BONUS: Host a ‘Chopped’ competition with your significant other, kids or roommate to use up foods that are about to spoil
Option 2: Clothes Closet
- Try everything on (or have your spouse or child do this; there may be some bribery involved if it’s not you trying the clothes on!)
- Toss, donate, or sell anything that doesn’t fit, isn’t your style, or hasn’t been worn in the last year
- Post anything you want to sell online (here’s a great article from The Everygirl on how to sell clothes on EBay)
- Put back everything that remains in an organized fashion (I prefer organizing clothing in ROYGBIV order by category, with white + tan coming before those colors and gray + black coming at the end; it makes finding a white top or a black skirt a breeze!)
Option 3: Paperwork
- Go through that pile of mail
- Pay any bills + automate them so you will have one fewer piece of mail each month
- Shred any papers with sensitive information (Don’t have a shredder? Put all of these papers into a bag or bin and research local stores that provide secure shredding or community shredding days in your town!)
- Create file folders for anything new that needs to be put away
- File everything in its place!
Option 4: Books
- Go through book by book
- Ask the following questions:
- Have you read it?
- If yes: will you read it again? When?
- If no: will you ever? When? (for both of these, if the answer isn’t very specific (i.e. next month for book club), it’s time to let it go!)
- Is there someone else who could make better use of it?
- Is it available electronically?
- Have you read it?
- For all books you’re getting rid of, decide whether to donate, sell, toss (if they’re moldy or mildewed) or recycle (best for old editions of textbooks, since most donation centers don’t accept them)
Option 5: Linens
- Take everything out of the closet/cabinet
- Sort like with like by the place they’re used (i.e. twin sheets for Jane’s room, twin sheets for Noah’s room, queen sheets for guest room, hand towels for powder room)
- Create the following categories for items:
- Donate (in good condition)
- Donate (in poor condition; these are often great for local animal shelters!)
- Rags (I’ll use old towels or cut-up fabric to clean our home)
- For each space, think critically about how many items you actually need for each space.
- Don’t host guests often? You can probably get away with having just one set of sheets + two sets of towels (depending on the amount of space you have). If you have more people, you can always give them extra towels used by you or your kids!
- For main living spaces, I think it’s perfect to have one to two sets of sheets (two for kids or if you have seasonal weights like flannel for winter), one to two sets of towels per person, and a few extra blankets that can be used when it’s chilly (we usually just grab the throw blankets from our living room when it’s particularly cold!).
- Refold everything you’re keeping neatly, keeping like with like
- If you can, keep these items where they’re used so they’re easier to find + access (i.e. extra towels in the bathroom, kid’s sheets in their bedrooms)
- Label items accordingly so you won’t have to guess what’s what in the future
The best part about all of these? They’re totally scalable! Organize your entire pantry or just one shelf. Go through all of the clothes closets in your home, or just stick to one. Go through the pile of books on your bedside table, or your entire library.
I’d love to hear: what are your plans to get more organized (snow day or not!)?