So here we are! You probably have some time on your hands right about now, and I would love to help fill those hours with motivation and productivity! I am going to give you 10 daily assignments that are common problem areas for many clients- I'm giving you next weekend off, or you can use it as a chance to wrap up projects from the week! Each day I will give you a choice- a quick assignment or a larger task for those in need of a major overhaul. I will also list choices for Kids or No Kids and Pets or No Pets. I will post each day's assignment on FB and Instagram with more photos and how to's and I would LOVE to hear and see how it's going.
Print this out and let's jump in!
Kids- Wash all the kid's coats, backpacks, lunch boxes, diaper bags, etc.
Ok, the schools are going to be completely disinfecting everything, so I am sure they would appreciate you getting those items cleaned before they are brought back. (And you really don't want those grimy, germy things sitting around your house anyway, so throw them in the wash!) Pretty much all coats can go in the wash, and you will find that most backpacks and lunch boxes can be thrown right in as well! Seriously, even if you think it can't, it can! (I do this regularly with my own kids' school things.) If you have a hard plastic or metal lunch box, if it can't go in the dishwasher, wipe it clean with a disinfecting wipe.
Of course you must first dump out the contents of said gear and empty the pockets...so this a great chance for the kids to help! Throw out the trash, put away things that don't belong, and have them organize the rest neatly back inside.
No Kids- Clean out all of your handbags.
Put every single purse, handbag, clutch, and work bag in a pile and empty them. Decide if there are any you want to sell or donate, and store the rest. Throw out the trash, put away things that don't belong, and organize the rest neatly back inside the bags you use on a daily basis. The rest should be stored empty.
Intensive: Clean out the entire mudroom, drop zone, or area where coats, shoes, bags, etc. are dropped when you come into the house.
Make this area work hard for you and your family. Keep it super simple so it is easy to get out the door in the morning and easy to maintain. If possible, only store items that are used everyday. Everyone's most often worn coat, most often worn shoes, most often used bag, etc. Extras can be stored in each individual's room, or another space.
You will see as you get further into this post that the procedure is usually the same. - Empty the space.
- Bring anything into the space that you want stored there.
- Remove items that should not be there.
- Clean the space.
- Sort items by category.
- Organize items that belong back into the space.
Every space is different of course, but I always recommend keeping just the basics here. Think about what will help you get out the door. Kids always searching for socks at the last minute? Keep socks here. Do you fix the kids hair right before you walk out the door? Keep hair fixing supplies here.
Also, this is often an area where mail, kid's art and school work, and paperwork can pile up. Make a simple system- recycle junk mail as soon as it comes in the door, file everything else either in a "To-Do" bin or a "To File" bin. Kid's school work- recycle or put special memories or things you want to keep in each child's memory bin. You can keep a central basket in the mudroom for these items you want to keep and when it gets full, have each child put their work in their memory bin.
Kids- Shoe clean out for the kids.
Have each child put ALL of their shoes in a pile. Make bags and sort accordingly- (donate, recycle, trash, consign, give to a friend, hand-me-down etc) and have each child organize what is left into their closet or designated space.
No Kids- Shoe clean out for you and your partner if applicable.
Put ALL of your shoes in a pile. Make bags or boxes and sort accordingly- (donate, recycle, trash, consign, give to a friend, hand-me-down, etc) and organize what is left back into your closet or designated space. If you don't wear them, be honest with yourself! Don't keep what you don't wear. Hint- there is usually a layer of dust on the shoes you don't wear! These can go!
Intensive: Full Closet Clean out.
Compile every piece of clothing (and all of your shoes)- from your closets and drawers, the laundry room, the basement, the clothes stashed in the kids room...all of it! Make one big pile and take a deep breath. Think long and hard about what you are looking at.
Start sorting into piles- a pile for pants, one for sweaters, one for jeans, one for underwear, one for socks, etc.
Make bags or boxes and sort accordingly- (donate, recycle, trash, consign, give to a friend, hand-me-down, etc.)
Go through each pile and put into appropriate bag.
Organize remaining items back into your closet and drawers by category. Keep in mind that most Americans only wear 20% of what is in their closet!
Repeat this process for every member of your family! You can finish up all of your closets over the weekend. Time investment can be 4-5 hours per closet depending on how fast you make decisions!
Quick Pick: Dental Cleanup!
Give everyone a new toothbrush! Clean the areas and containers where tooth brushes are stored- many can go right in the dishwasher. Compile all floss, brushes, toothpaste, mouth wash, etc. from the entire house and store in one location.
Intensive: Full Bathroom Clean outs
Empty the spaces. Bring anything into the space that you want stored there. Remove items that should not be there. Clean the space. Sort items by category. Organize items that belong back into the space. Don't have organizing bins? Use cardboard boxes and ziplock bags!
Depending on your situation, you can do all the bathrooms at the same time so you can best decide where things should go, or you can do them one at a time if each bathroom already has specific needs or items stored there.
Be honest- get rid of the stuff you'll never actually use, like the mostly empty bottles and the stuff you have no idea why you have! I like to keep cleaning wipes, magic erasers, and toilet cleaner in every bathroom, as well as a small stock of toilet paper. Keep daily items easily accessible and front and center and back stock stored away. This is a great chance to see what you have so you are not purchasing unnecessary items.
You can finish up all your bathrooms over the weekend.
Quick Pick: Under the Kitchen Sink
Pull everything out. Clean space. Organize back in.
Just keep one of each of your daily basics under here so it stays neat and tidy-
- box of trash bags
- dishwashing soap
- dishwasher pods
- multi-purpose spray
- paper towels (if you are like me and hate seeing them out!)
- Swiffer refill pads
- glass cleaner
- dusting supplies
- rubber gloves
- magic erasers
- carpet cleaner
Back stock, and more specific cleaning items, keep elsewhere if possible. (Basement, garage, laundry room) If this is not possible, organize back by grouping like items together and take note of the excess. Try to start streamlining what you buy and use in the future but use up what you already have first! Most cleaning projects can be tackled with very basic supplies. The above list is pretty much all that I use. And I choose to keep my back stock at the store- I can easily see when I am running low, and then I buy more. You can also use organizing containers and cardboard boxes to separate the different categories of items under the sink to help things remain organized.
Intensive: Full Cleaning Supply Clean out
Gather all the cleaning supplies from your home into one spot. Put daily usage items in the space they should belong- laundry supplies in laundry room, daily cleaning items under the kitchen sink, and put cleaning wipes, magic erasers, and toilet cleaner in every bathroom. Then try to find an out of the way spot for back stock and items you don't use very often. Those things should not be taking up the prime real-estate. That should be for what you actually use on a daily basis. Take notice of the amount of cleaning supplies you actually own- most homes I see have a huge amount of excess. Make a list. Do not buy any more cleaning supplies that you do not need.
Day 5: It's Friday! Here's an easy one!
Quick Pick: Washing high use linens and rugs.
Wash every floor rug, hand towel, dishtowel, dishcloth, and throw blanket that you can get your hands on! Pillow covers on the couch can often be washed too!
I only buy white towels, hand towels, floor rugs, and dishtowels, so that I can bleach them. Washing those throw blankets that everyone snuggles with is something that often gets forgotten, so this is a great time to start getting this into your weekly routine.
Intensive: Finish up those bathrooms and closets!
**Use the weekend for a well deserved break or to finish up anything you didn't get to.**
Quick Pick: Quick car clean out.
Empty out all of the trash from your car and bring in all the items that don't belong.
Intensive: Full car clean out.
Empty out all of the trash, bring in all the items that don't belong. Organize the items that do.
Wipe down all the surfaces and clean the windows.
This is one that always feels really good to me...it is so nice to get into a clean car each day. Get in the habit of carrying in all trash each day and things that don't belong. This is a great task for kids!
Kids- Toy clean out.
Give each child a bag, or a certain number of toys they must get rid of and have them choose the toys they want to purge. Mark for donation, consignment, or yard sale!
No Kids- Junk drawer clean out.
Dump out your drawer then decide the best use for this drawer! If its current contents are not working for you, switch it up! This is usually a good place to store things like pens, pencils, small pads of paper, rubber bands, paperclips, tape, sharpies, and scissors, but you know what you need a home for, so choose what works for you.
Find some small boxes or ziplock bags- plastic food storage containers work well- for organizers. Place them into the drawer to use as dividers and then put a FEW of each item into each spot. Get rid of the excess. Do not place things into this drawer that do not belong and instruct your family of this new rule. Clutter is simply postponed decision making- when you are faced with an item you would usually shove in this drawer- make a decision to place these items in the trash or where they actually belong!
Kids- Play Room (Area) Clean out- The kids need to participate!
This is a big one if you have kids, but it will be well worth it!
Pull all the toys from the whole house and put them all together. Sort by type- all the figurines together, all the cars, all the dolls, all the stuffed animals, all the puzzles, etc. Get all those stray game pieces and toy parts with each game or toy they belong with! Make a pile for unknowns and trash the broken parts and pieces.
Take a look at each category and decide which items are no longer played with and put in a pile for donation or however you plan to get rid of them. This is NOT easy with some children, but it is an important life skill to learn, and this is as good a time as any! This may be something you struggle with yourself as well, but you don't have to pass it on to your kids! Talk it through and make thoughtful decisions. If everything is important, nothing is important!
Use boxes and bins to sort remaining toys by category and label them. Try storing games on their sides instead of stacking them. Use ziplock bags to contain small parts and pieces. Keep out a small amount of toys that your kids can choose from each day, and store the rest out of the way or up high and rotate them out periodically. When kids have less to choose from, they play with their toys more. It's true! Make a new family habit- at the end of the day, toys go back in to each designated bin.
No Kids- Linen closet clean out.
Pull all of your linens out and purge what you don't need or use. I recommend one extra set of bedding per bed and a few extra pillow cases. One extra towel per person. A few extra pillows and blankets. If you need to keep extra bedding for things like camping, store those with the camping gear. I like to store each sheet set in one of the pillow cases so its very easy to pull out a set when you need it.
If you keep toiletry and cleaning back stock in here, sort by category and restock.
Pets- clean your pet's bedding, collar, leash, clothing, brushes, etc.
No Pets- Gather all of your reusable shopping bags, paper and plastic grocery bags and keep a small amount for use, neatly store in one spot, and recycle the excess. I like to keep the reusable ones in my car so I have them when I need them.
Pets- pull out all their supplies and get rid of the expired and no longer used, consolidate, clean, put it all in one location. Deep clean cages, aquariums and litter boxes.
No Pets- Clean out front hall closet and/or another storage closets or cabinets.
Same procedure as usual- empty the spaces. Bring anything into the space that you want stored there. Remove items that should not be there. Clean the space. Sort items by category. Organize items that belong back into the space. Think about the best use of these spaces if they are not currently working for you. Is there something different you could store there that would make more sense or make your life easier? Containment is key! Use stackable bins if you have them for things that you don't need as often and make sure you label everything so that every family member knows what belongs in each bin. Storing all like items together is always the end goal for organizing.
Quick Pick: Clean out the papers that have accumulated in your kitchen or drop zone.
The kitchen is not usually the best place for papers- unless you have a desk area that you use as a drop zone. If you did not do this earlier in the week, make a simple system- recycle junk mail as soon as it comes in the door, file everything else either in a "To-Do" bin or a "To File" bin. You can use labeled baskets, folders, or magazine files- just keep the system simple and visible, therefore maintainable.
Intensive: Full Paperwork Clean out.
Depending on the individual, this process could obviously take more than one day. If you do fully intend on tackling it, no matter what the size, put all paper work that needs to be sorted into one location.
- Put ALL papers in bags or boxes, so that you can sort as time allows. Getting it all in one spot is half the battle. Pull it out of bags, drawers, everywhere you shove papers!
- Start with a quick sort- pick up each piece of paper, envelope, etc. and if you can immediately tell it is trash, put in shred or recycle pile.
- If it is not trash, start a pile for each type of paper- bank, warranties, water bill, electric bill, save for taxes, credit card, auto, insurance, etc, and one pile for need to deal with immediately.
- After all piles are made, make a list of anything you can go paperless with, save one paper with the necessary account information and purge the rest. Put this list into your "To-Do" file.
- Each category that needs to be saved, make a file for. You do not need to save things that you can access online! If you don't have a file cabinet, this a great investment.
Quick Pick: Kitchen Counter Clutter
Kitchens often end up filled with things that don't belong! Get the family together and everyone can remove any of their personal items that should not be in the kitchen and put them where they belong. Next, tackle the other items that do not belong to any specific person that should not be in the kitchen.
Intensive: Full Pantry clean out.
I saved this one for last, because by now, your extra stock of food is probably gone and you are left with the amount you typically have on hand!
Pull everything out, placing into categories as you do, and clean space. Get rid of expired food (use common sense, some stuff may still be perfectly fine) and food that you and your family will not actually eat.
Take a look at your pantry and decide where each category will go based on frequency of use and who needs to reach what! I do many pantries without purchasing a single new product. You can use cardboard boxes and ziplock bags or any other organizing products you already have around the house. The main idea is to put all like items together so that you can easily see what you have and don't end up with 10 bottles of syrup!
Opening up boxes of snacks and putting them in baskets is great, especially for kids. It is a fabulous after grocery shopping chore too! Leave space for your typical amount of groceries and things you always have on hand. And be sure to label everything you possibly can!
You did it! You are well on your way to a very organized home! You are well adept at the process and can tackle anything! I hope that you and your family are doing well and I truly appreciate your support of my small business. If you don't already, I would love for you to follow me on Instagram and Facebook at Clean Lines Organizing and Design or leave me a FB or Google review- links only website at https://www.cleanlinesorganizinganddesign.com/my-work
Thanks so much!