Stuck at home for the next couple of weeks with nothing to do?
Make the most of the situation by tackling a small organizing project each day.
“In some cases, an initial, intensive few hours of decluttering and proper arrangements are necessary to get the space under control, but once done, the area will stay in perfect order if maintained with minutes a day,” says Caralyn Kempner, author of Top-To-Bottom Home Organizing: A Complete Guide to Organizing Every Room in the House.
To make the most of your extra time, here are 9 storage areas you can organize while you practice social-distancing or follow local shelter in place orders.
1. Junk Drawer
How many years have you been saying you need to clean out that junk drawer? It’s time to get ruthless. Take everything out of the drawer, throwing away anything you don’t need and sorting the rest to donate, recycle or reuse.
2. Under the Sink
Is the storage space beneath the kitchen sink full of empty dish soap bottles, old pairs of rubber gloves and a million cleaning products? If so, it’s time to gross yourself out and get space organized. Take every item out and clean the storage area. Then put back what you keep, grouping like products together. Use under-sink shelving and cleaning product organizers for a neater look.
Take an hour and go through your pantry. Go shelf-by-shelf, tossing expired food, grouping foods for easy location. For example, you could devote one shelf for canned goods and pasta and another shelf for baking products. You might use an inside door hanger for spices or a lazy Susan to maximize shelf space. This is a good way to make room for bulk supplies of food you may have bought to feed yourself while you are staying in place.
4. Kitchen Storage
“In the kitchen, you can choose a particular area to organize each day, such as the pantry, refrigerator or base cabinets,” says Kempner. “Desktops, kitchen, and bathroom countertops are small areas in the home which are easier to declutter quickly than most people anticipate. About 10-15 minutes every day at the end of the day will do the trick. ”
For example, one day you might drag pots, pans and plastic storage containers out of cabinets and drawers to put back neatly organized. Another day you could take 10 minutes to throw away expired medications and over-the-counter medicines. Spend 30 minutes one-afternoon removing glasses and mugs you never use.
5. Bathroom Cabinets
Take everything out of your medicine cabinet, getting rid of what you don’t need and transferring certain items to other bathroom storage options to create more space, Clean the shelves and organize cosmetic products, toiletries, medications, tweezers, and other items by a group for easy access.
6. Clothes Closet
Nobody wants to spend the day tackling a closet but you can do a little at a time. For example, one day, simply go through and pull items to donate. The next day, you might organize one shelf or an inside-the-door shoe organizer. Spending even 10 minutes on each task will have your closet organized before you know it.
7. Linen Closet
If you just stuff towels and sheets in the linen closet and close the door, it may time to revisit this storage space. Take out everything and refold for a better fit. You’ll probably also find plenty in there to donate or toss.
It’s time to be brave and dig into refrigerator shelves of expired condiments that you haven’t organized since last summer. Take all food out shelf by shelf and give the shelving, walls, drawers and the outside door a good cleaning.
First, take everything out and throw away freezer-burned and expired foods. Transfer foods you may want to use for meals in the upcoming week to the refrigerator. Store like items in group categories such as meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, soups, sauces, and breakfast foods, recommends Kempner.
Hold on to Your Stuff
As you organize, gather all of the items you plan to get rid of in a designated area such as your garage or basement. Separate items by their final destination, such as a donation center or your personal self-storage unit. That way your items are ready to go once your period of self-isolation is over.
About Deb Hipp
Deb Hipp is a freelance writer who lives in Kansas City, MO. She writes about organizing, moving, personal finance and legal issues. When Deb isn’t writing, she’s traveling or cheering on the Kansas City Royals.