The following is a post from contributing writer Angie.
I have a bad habit that I know a lot of other people also suffer from: I over estimate how long it will take me to do small tasks. You might think that this doesn’t apply to you (and it might not), but how many times have you not done a small task because you didn’t feel like you had time, but then when you actually did it, it only took you a few minutes?
In my house, folding laundry is one such task. I will ignore a load of laundry that is waiting to be folded because I’m too busy. Not only does this mean that I have a task waiting to be done, but it also means that my laundry room becomes a mess because no more laundry can be done.
However, every time that I have actually clocked myself on laundry folding, it has never taken me more than 10 minutes (and usually much less). There are many organizational tasks that can be done in a short amount of time.
15 Ways to Get Organized in 10 Minutes or Less
1. Put away laundry. If you have mountains of laundry in your laundry room, then have each family member put away their own laundry and see who does the nicest job the most quickly.
2. Scan through your camera (or the camera on your phone) and delete pictures that are blurry, bad, or images that you don’t want to keep.
3. Gather any library books that you have scattered throughout the house and put them in one location. This will not only help your family find them later, but it will make it quicker to return them (especially if your library charges overdue fees).
4. Go through a stack of papers. Make a quick decision about each piece of paper to be saved somewhere like a bulletin board, filed away, or thrown in the trash (or recycled).
5. Make a to do list for tasks that will need to be done over the next day or make a to do list for long term tasks.
6. Clear off a flat surface in your house that tends to collect clutter. Just like with number four on this list, you’ll need to make quick decisions. If your flat surfaces tend to get very cluttered (as my flat surfaces have a tendency to do), you might choose just one smaller area for your 10 minute or less task.
7. Plan a few days worth of meals. Even better, plan them from the contents of your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. (If you’re in a rut, here are some ways to find menu planning inspiration and here is a free printable weekly menu planning page.)
8. Try to make your email inbox more manageable by taking 10 minutes to answer or delete as many emails as possible. You can move through them even faster if you try to use a five sentences rule in your email writing. It can also help to organize all of the emails by sender while doing this task.
9. Unload your dishwasher, thus making it free to add more dirty dishes (and avoiding a sink full of dishes waiting for the dishwasher).
10. Make a minor clothing repair, such as sewing a button back on or fixing a ripped seam.
11. Clean out your pantry and make sure items that will expire earlier are toward the front. If you have a large pantry, you may need to pick just one shelf or area to keep this as a 10 minute or less task. However, once you’ve organized the whole pantry, maintaining it should be a 10 minute or less task.
12. Delete old text messages. If you really want to keep important text messages, that’s fine. However, you’ll probably find that you don’t mind getting rid of most of your old text messages.
13. Organize one folder in your filing cabinet or a virtual folder on your computer. This could include deleting/throwing away things you don’t need, as well as better labeling on the computer.
14. If you’re a blogger, schedule tweets or Facebook statuses to promote posts that you’ve written. Even better, don’t do anything else on Twitter and Facebook other than that specific task and then leave those sites to go do something else productive.
15. Organize any leftovers in your refrigerator and put them in one area of the appliance. If you have enough leftovers, plan to have a buffet-style meal with them.
For more ideas to help you simplify and organize one day at a time, visit the Organized in 365 Archives.
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