CW Tips: Organizing Projects That Take 20 Minutes or Less

Organized Mudroom

Here are some quick, easy organizing projects that you can tackle in 20 minutes or less. You’ll feel more prepared and organized by completing a few of these tiny tasks and everyone will look past the fact that you’re in your pajamas at 2pm ;)


1.     Sort the mail - You should have a dedicated spot in your home, somewhere that’s near your most frequently used door outside or to the garage, where you can drop the mail. Then, once a week or every few days, sort the mail. We love using stackable Poppin desktop components (pictured below) to set up a mail sorting station. Frequently used categories are “to be sorted,” “to be paid,” “read,” and “to be filed.” You shouldn’t need to have a “trash” or “junk” section because you can toss junk mail directly into the trash. To minimize the amount of mail you get, sign up for electronic statements and bills.


2.     Meal-planning or grocery list – Nothing makes me feel more organized than having all the groceries I need to make dinner for the week. I get so frustrated when I realize I’m missing a key ingredient and it always seems to happen on the days when I work late and am scrambling to get dinner on the table at a reasonable time. I use the “Notes” app on my phone to keep track of what I need from the store. I have a checklist of all the pantry staples and ingredients for our favorite dinner dishes. It’s super easy to check off the items when I purchase them and un-check when I’ve run out. You can share Notes with people so that a significant other or roommate can make changes and update the list.

organized home

3.     Drop zone declutter – We have some coat hooks right next to our back door and sometimes it seems like every coat and jacket that we own is hanging up. I try to take 5 minutes every week or two to clear everything off the hooks. And then, I do it all over again in two more weeks. Relocate all of those little items that have been sitting on your drop zone for who knows how long. If you have items that need to be returned, designate a place for them (coat closet near the door or on a shelf in mud room). Then, put the returns in your car the week that you know you’ll have time to do it. Hopefully, you won’t drive around with it in your trunk for the next 6 months! Have your kids clean out their cubbies once a week so that papers, clothes and books don’t accumulate.

4.     Relocate items in kitchen/den – I try to do this every 2-3 days because I can’t stand the clutter. There are always one or two pairs of shoes under the coffee table, hair clips, more pens, random papers and chargers in our den. If I have a few minutes before I leave for work, I collect everything and put it all back where it belongs. This is another great task to have kids participate in!

Organize kitchen junk drawer

5.     Junk drawer refresh – I feel like I’m the main one that uses the junk drawer at my house and somehow it always gets junked up! I don’t know where all of these pens come from! I try to spend 15-20 minutes every month (or two) editing the contents of my junk drawer. I take all of the drawer organizers out and pare down each category. In my drawer I have pens, small notepads, a handful of envelopes and stamps, batteries, sunglasses, keys, chargers and cords and a place for random parts and pieces that I’m scared to throw away.


6.     Clean out the fridge – I’m pretty good about cleaning out the fridge. I try to do it on the day that the trash gets picked up so food doesn’t sit in the trashcan for too long. Wiping down the shelves and drawers happens much less frequently in my house. But if I’m feeling motivated, I take all the food out and clean the shelves and drawers. Then, wipe down the interior and exterior and put it all back in. This is also a good time to get rid of condiments that you’ll never use. There are plastic fridge bins that you can use on your shelves to categorize items. The bins also help keep the shelves from getting sticky and gross.

Organized Laundry Room

7.     Sort the laundry or put away the laundry – If I don’t take the time to put away the laundry right after I do it on the weekends, you can bet it’s not going to get put away until the following weekend. This also means that all of my leggings and workout tops (AKA my work clothes) stay on the drying rack and I grab clothes from it all week when I’m getting dressed. 

8.     Clean out your car – Spend a few minutes on Sunday getting all of the stuff out of your car so that you feel organized and ready for your week. If you find that your car always seems to fill up with trash, put a trash can in your garage or by your back door. Make a habit of throwing away trash every time you get out of your car and train your kids to do the same. 

The next time you have a few minutes, pick one of these quick projects! Crossing one thing off of your to-do list will motivate you to get your home organized and will make your time at home less stressful. Get your family involved so that everyone learns how to keep things nice and tidy. Even younger kids can participate by putting away their laundry, cleaning out the car or tidying up their mud room cubby. Getting organized isn’t just color-coding your belongings, it is about creating systems that work for your home and it can seriously improve your mental health. When everything has a place and gets put back into its place, your home goes from chaos to calm and you can spend your valuable time doing things far more important than searching for your keys.

- Whitney + Caroline