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Get Organized in 5, 15 or 30 Minutes

If You Have 30 Minutes to Organize

Plan a weekly menu and grocery list.
"This can be done in 15 minutes once a week," says Reich, "but if you like to pore over cookbooks and computer files, you'll need the extra time." Flag any recipes you plan to try that week.

Sort digital photos.
Group them in folders—such as "summer of '09" or "family reunion"—for now. "Don't get too engrossed in the snapshots or bogged down in decisions of whether they're worth keeping," recommends Mellen. Later you can assign names and dates, and discard the ones you don't like.

Tidy up the garage.
"Most garages are like dumping grounds," says Starr. Reduce clutter by getting items off the floor. Hang bicycles from hooks, and stow basketballs, bats and other sports equipment in wire ball bins. Do the same with gardening gear and tools like rakes and shovels.

Organize your jewelry box.
Spread out everything on a flat surface. Set aside for donation pieces that you no longer want. Sort what's left according to type—bracelets in one compartment, necklaces in another. Put earrings or rings into tiny boxes and place a pretty ceramic dish on your dresser as a catchall for everyday accessories.

Get rid of half your closet.
"Start with what's hanging, quickly flip through each garment and pull out anything ill-fitting or that you haven't worn in a year," recommends Wright. Toss rejects into shopping bags for future donation. Arrange the rest by category and further sort by season and color.
Pro tip: Your closet will look neater if you use one type of hanger.

Originally published in the October 2012 issue of Family Circle magazine.


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