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How to organize in just 60, 30 or even 10 minutes

| Sunday, July 14, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

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. You will feel satisfied that you have accomplished something and less overwhelmed by the prospect of needing to organize everything at once.

10 minutes

• Spend a few minutes each day sorting through your incoming mail. Recycle 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.

• 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. Just 10 minutes a day of deleting and filing will help improve your overall efficiency.

• Declutter your bulletin or magnetic board.

• Throw in a load of laundry or fold and put away a load of laundry. Doing a load or two during the week means less work on the weekend.

30 minutes

• 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.

• Sort through your spice rack and discard old spices.

• Spend a half-hour updating your work and personal calendars. Fill in travel dates, birthdays, and other events.

• 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.

60 minutes

• 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 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.

• 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.

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