Many of us can barely keep up with each day's activities, let alone find time to take on a big organizational project or complete the tasks on our never-ending to-do lists. But don't make the mistake of waiting until you have a whole day to take care of all of your projects, because that day might never arrive. And if it does, chances are you won't want to spend it organizing your house. Instead, do one small task each day. Use these tips and spend just 10, 30 or 60 minutes organizing.
. Spend a few minutes each day sorting through your incoming mail. Recycle any unwanted items and place items that need action in their proper places. And if you still have a couple of minutes, go ahead and pay a few bills. This will eliminate the need to spend an hour on them each month.
. Gather catalogs, magazines and newspapers that are floating around your living room, office and entry hall, and sort them. Recycle anything that is a month old and divide the items you're keeping into the categories "To Read," "To File" or "To Buy."
. Spend 10 minutes each day deleting and electronically filing emails. Many of us receive hundreds each day, and just keeping our inboxes in order can seem like a full-time job. Just 10 minutes a day of deleting and filing is not only satisfying, it will help improve your overall efficiency.
. De-clutter your bulletin or magnetic board. Everyone's "normal" schedules change during the summer, and as a result, there are a lot of new activities to track. Take down the old pictures, invitations and reminders and replace them.
. Throw in a load of laundry or fold and put it away. Doing a load or two during the week means less work on the weekend.
. Pick one or two drawers to clean and organize. Take everything out and clean the inside of the drawer. Move misplaced items to their proper place and toss unneeded items. Put things back neatly.
. Clean out your refrigerator or freezer. Take everything out and clean out the shelves and drawers. As you put items back inside, organize them into categories. This will make it easier to find things and also to keep track of what you need to buy.
. Sort through your spice rack and discard any old spices. This is a relatively easy task that is made challenging because none of us knows how long to keep spices or how to tell whether they expired. Fortunately, spice manufacturer McCormick has a helpful guide at www.mccormickgourmet.com.
. Spend a half-hour updating your work and personal calendars. Fill in summer travel and camp dates, birthdays, and other events. Taking time to plan ahead will make the transition to a summer schedule more relaxing.
. Remove everything from your medicine cabinet. Discard expired medications and old cosmetics and wipe down the shelves. Make a list of items you need to replenish.
. As the end of the school year approaches, file report cards, school pictures and projects as well as artwork. Recycle unwanted papers and art projects. You don't want this stuff hanging around all summer. Create new files for the next school year.
. Sort through your clothing and shoes; set aside items for donation. This is a good project to do between seasons, particularly before the heat and humidity of summer arrive. Clearing out the old will provide room for the new and will also help refine your shopping list. If you have another free hour and have children, do the same with their clothes.
. Clean up and organize toys. Put stray game and puzzle pieces back in their boxes.
. Throw away broken toys. Separate toys that your kids have outgrown to give to a friend or to donate.
. Spend an hour clearing off your desk. It's hard to believe, but we're nearly halfway through the year. This is the perfect time to spend an hour filing papers and discarding or shredding anything you no longer need. Organize and replenish office supplies.
. Midyear is also a good time to back up computer files and organize digital photos. Back up important documents and emails to an external hard drive or a cloud program. Clear the pictures off your camera and phone so you have ample space to record all of those summer memories.