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Clean and Declutter in 7 Minutes

Wish you could just snap your fingers and make your to-do list disappear? You can! Try these 32 tips and work magic in minutes!
Pare Down Paper

When it comes to household and family to-dos, I love to see what I can accomplish in the shortest possible time. It's so much easier to dive right in when you're only committing to a few minutes, agrees Ellen Kosloff, a time-management expert at Task Masters in New York City. "Besides, when we try to do too much at once we can feel paralyzed and overwhelmed." Her solution? Shrink big, tedious chores to a manageable size. What works best for me is spending minutes—and in some cases mere seconds—doing at least a portion of those chores. See for yourself. Try tackling any of the following tasks—each one takes less than seven minutes. You just might find you'll get lots done—and wonder how you did so much in so little time!

Pare Down Paper
Use iron-ons to organize your storage bins.
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Wendell T. Webber

  • Keep documents orderly. Don't just drop papers relating to insurance, renovations and your home business onto a common stack. File them in separate labeled folders, and you'll know just where to find the specific policy or bill of sale you need.
  • Stand next to a recycling container while opening mail. Toss in the junk items, then open everything else, chucking envelopes and the flyers inserted with bills into the bin.
  • Consolidate bill paying. If you pay each bill when it's due, you'll be handling bills several times each month. Instead, pay all bills at the same time for efficiency.
  • Organize your memories. Date-label packets of freshly processed photos. Writing, "June 15, 2005, family trip to Disney World," on the packet will make tracking easier when you're looking for the perfect photo for your family Christmas card.

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