Over many years, I have worked with clients from various backgrounds and walks of life. Though different in many respects, I noticed small organizing projects they had in common. Believe it or not, whether you are 80 years old living alone, or 30 with five kids and four dogs, you likely have a medicine cabinet and/or a junk drawer that needs some TLC. The following is a list I compiled of these organization projects virtually everyone could stand to tackle. It would be great to make a goal of conquering some of these over the summer when it is just too hot to go outside and you need things to keep you busy.
1. Clean out that infamous junk drawer. I realize it’s called a “junk” drawer for a reason but come on, the point of organization is to minimize and categorize all the junk you have. I’m not suggesting giving up your junk drawer, just giving it some attention once in a while.
2. Go through the glove box in your car. No, you don’t need 70 napkins and the stuff from your junk drawer that made it to your car.
3. Clean your car – vacuum it out, sort through the trunk, get all the wrappers and trash your kids have thrown in the back despite your pleas for them not to.
4. Gather up the recipes you’ve clipped and take the time to read them to decide if you are really going to use them. That ten cheese bacon cheeseburger dip that sounded appealing six months ago might need to get tossed since your new diet has taken effect.
5. Tackle the cabinet under the sink in your bathroom. Organize those cleaning supplies and maybe even put them to use, wiping down the cabinet.
6. Clean out the medicine cabinet – ditch those empty and expired pill bottles.
7. Take all the wire hangers from your closet back to the dry cleaner so they can be reused.
8. Look at all of your winter shoes and donate the ones you did not wear last season. Do not lie to yourself here – if you didn’t wear them last season, you’re not going to wear them next season.
9. Sort your food containers and toss the ones that do not have lids. No lid, no love.
10. Go through the cans in your pantry. If you haven’t come up with a reason to use the can of “cream of asparagus” within the last year, chances are you aren’t going to in the future – give it to an organization that will use it, like a food pantry.
11. You probably have more mugs than you need — take a peek into that cabinet and part ways with any extras you find.
12. Corral the clutter on your coffee table.
13. Clean out your purse. Get rid of or file receipts, toss old make-up and pens that don’t work. Almost everyone can stand to do this.
14. Donate any handbags that you haven’t used in the past six months.
15. Clean out your night stand drawer(s). If this is where you hide the condoms, remember they expire. 😉
16. Trash empty bottles in your shower – five empty shampoos are not going to do you any good.
17. Toss old make-up that you keep passing over day after day or that is expired. Use this link to see how long make-up lasts.
18. Add some hooks to your closet – you can always use extra hooks.
19. Clean out your linen closet.
20. Clean and organize the spice drawer in your kitchen. Are there spilled red pepper flakes at the bottom? Do you have multiples of certain spices? Clean it, organize it.
21. Sort through that big pile of mail – recycle the junk, cherish the checks, reluctantly open the bills.
22. Group pantry items by category (i.e. snacks, cans, pasta, etc.).
23. Label the containers in the pantry.
24. Get rid of old undergarments. It’s something not a lot of people talk about, but your underwear and bras do reach the end of their lives eventually.
25. Make a list of things that need to be replenished or replaced.
This list may seem overwhelming – it is not meant to be. Instead of taking it in as a whole, look at individual projects and focus on those. You do not have to do all of these, just the ones that apply or those for which you have the time. Organization is all about small steps adding up to big results. Set a summer goal for yourself, whether it involves these small projects, or a project of your own. You can do it. All it takes is a determination and dedication to the cause. Go forth and organize!