12 Organizing Tips You Can Do in a Minute and a Half

Mug in microwaveWhile I’ve attempted to become more organized this year (emphasis on the word “attempted”), I’ve run across several blog posts and articles that have been helpful. I really appreciate the lists of quick cleaning jobs or organizing tasks you can do in a short amount of time, as it isn’t quite so overwhelming for an organizationalphobe like me. 5 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, time that for me is often frittered away playing Klondike 3 solitaire on my laptop reading Dostoyevsky or getting caught up in an episode of Dog: The Bounty Hunter a PBS documentary on the Middle East events leading up to the Arab Spring.

However, I’ve discovered that many of these lists don’t contain tasks that are relevant to my household. And as I was heating up some water for my Starbucks VIA this morning, I came up with a list of quick cleaning jobs you can do in that minute and a half while your water’s in the microwave if you live in a slovenly home of boys, like me.

1. Scrape the dried banana peel off the kitchen floor and throw it in the trash.

2. Make a quick loop of the living room, scoop up the four pairs of dirty underwear and deposit them in the nearest hamper.

3. Grab a paper towel and pick up the package the dog just left you on your bedroom floor, drop it in the toilet and flush.

4. Grab a wet washcloth and wipe down the spilled chocolate milk on the end table. Then use a rubber scraper (you know, the one that comes with the Pampered Chef Stoneware) to dislodge the envelope that has become one with the tabletop. (Helpful hint: Out of super glue? Just use chocolate syrup! Store-brand works especially well.)

5. Run the vacuum over the roll of toilet paper that the dog shredded all over the hallway.

6. Flatten the 13 empty cereal boxes that are still sitting on the counter and stash them in the designated recycling bin (or, in our case, throw them in a pile on the kitchen floor until you get so tired of seeing them, stepping over them and slipping on them that you finally take them to the recycling receptacle in the parking lot of the local grocery store).

7. Do a quick kitchen inventory and scribble down a grocery list. The fact that you will discover you have left the list at home once you get inside the supermarket later this afternoon shouldn’t deter you from completing this task. You’ll feel good that even though you weren’t able to use the list, at least you made one. (It will also serve as a good defense when your husband asks you why you went to the store and only came home with a carton of egg nog, three different varieties of Little Debbie Snack Cakes and a bag of cat food. And you don’t have a cat. If only you’d had the list…)

8. Try to mate a pair of socks. Don’t even worry about size or style. If they’re from the same color family, match ’em up!

9. Carefully reach on top of the fridge and grab the basket that holds your bread and potato chips. Throw away anything green, as well as any bags of chips that either have less than a half-inch of crumbs left or that you cannot remember purchasing. (Bonus points if you find a bag of chips you cannot remember purchasing with less than a half-inch of crumbs at the bottom.)

10. Go through your stack of mail. Throw away any postcards that say either “Ron Paul 2012” or “Warning: You may be paying too much for your car insurance!” (Bonus points if you find a postcard that says “Ron Paul 2012” AND “You may be paying too much for your car insurance” on it.) Make a pile of the bills that are overdue. Now put them somewhere you are sure not to forget about them, like on the floor of your car or underneath those magazines on the coffee table.

11. Confiscate any and all light sabers, plastic swords, toy guns or shivs your boys have fashioned from sharpened toothbrushes or recycled Popsicle sticks. To make it simple, if you find a weapon of any kind lying around the house, it’s yours.

12. Do a quick pee wipe-down in the bathroom. Along with the toilet, make sure you get the wall behind the toilet, the floor beside the toilet, the side of the vanity closest to the toilet, the ceiling directly above the toilet, the sink, the door and the shower. (Oh yeah, we’re still talking about pee.)

I hope my list has inspired you to use the time it takes to warm up your morning beverage for something a bit more productive than standing in front of the microwave and watching the timer count down. (And probably a bit less radioactive, as well.) If I can do it, folks, you can do it. So are you ready? Get set . . . Go!

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