:: Challenge yourself to get organized in 30 Days ::
The following list items are organizing supply suggestions that will come in handy for this project: - Moving boxes for donations and items you want to give to family or friends. - Garbage bags for items that are ready to go for good :). - Cleaning supplies (incl. wet wipes). - Note pad & pen to create a "To Do" list and other planning along the way. - Wall calendar with large fields to enter dates/reminders. - Baskets & plastic bins (small to large) to organize cabinets, shelves & closets. - Bins & air-tight jars for the pantry - I recommend the white plastic bins from The Container Store or Ikea as well as the jars from Ikea since they are very affordable. - Drawer dividers for dressers and other drawers.
DON'T FORGET TO GET YOUR FAMILY INVOLVED. DELEGATE THE EASIER TASKS TO YOUR CHILDREN OR WHOEVER ELSE WASN'T ABLE TO LEAVE THE HOUSE FAST ENOUGH :)
DAY 1 - KITCHEN
:: COOKWARE & KITCHEN UTENSILS
Let's get started with the kitchen. Sort through your cookware (pots, pans & lids) and kitchen utensils and pull everything that you no longer want or need. Place all of those items in a cardboard box for donation or ask around if anyone has use for them. Make sure you wipe through the cabinets/drawers before you re-organize.
IMPORTANT: BE REALISTIC! DON'T HOLD ON TO ITEMS YOU HAVEN'T USED IN OVER A YEAR OR THAT YOU HAVE MULTIPLE OF :)
DAY 2 - KITCHEN
:: DISH SETS & STORAGE CONTAINERS
Let's move on to dish sets and storage containers. Most of us have more than one dish set since we tend to hold on to them for special occasions where we could possibly have tons of guests that would justify the three sets that we collected over the years. The same goes for plastic containers in all possible shapes, sizes and colors. How many do you REALLY need? Sort through them, pull the ones that have seen better days as well as the ones that you really haven't ever touched (be honest, there are plenty of them). Toss the ones that are worn and donate or re-gift all others to someone who's moving out for the first time. Trust me, dishes and plastic containers aren't items a 20-year old wants to spend money on; they will be thankful for everything you are willing to give up.
DAY 3 - KITCHEN :: UNDER-SINK CABINETS
Under-sink cabinets tend to be used for trash cans, cleaning supplies and dish detergent. I will focus on the latter. Toss what's empty, combine bottles if you happen to have more than one open and thoroughly wipe through the cabinet. After a few weeks mine is always super sticky. Also make sure to sort through sponges and cloths; I oftentimes end up with a much larger collection than needed. This area is perfect for the use of baskets or bins, which will allow you to find your supplies much faster.
DAY 4 - KITCHEN :: REFRIGERATOR & FREEZER
Time to sort through fridge and freezer. Especially in the refrigerator we oftentimes find expired condiments, spoiled leftovers and produce but even freezer items can have freezer burn or have simply reached their expiration date. Carefully inspect all groceries, discard of old ones, whip out sponge and brush and get to work.
DAY 5 - KITCHEN :: OVEN & MICROWAVE
The stickiest areas in the kitchen and we can probably all agree that they are the hardest to keep clean. While the microwave can simply be sprayed down with any general cleaning spray, most ovens have a self-cleaning option that will take several hours but is pretty effective. There are two main types of self-cleaning ovens: traditional high temperature and steam. Before starting the cleaning process, remove all oven racks. The traditional high-temperature self-clean is typically adjustable in time from 2 to 4.5 hours and can be smelly. Temperatures get as high as 900-1000°F to burn off the food residue, which leaves ash in the bottom of the oven that can be easily wiped once the cycle has ended and the oven has completely cooled. Some ranges will offer a steam clean option, which allows homeowners to clean their ovens in less time and less smell. The idea of the steam clean feature is to clean the range more often and with less debris inside.
DAY 6 - KITCHEN :: PANTRY
Today, we are tackling the most time-consuming kitchen project by taking everything out of the pantry, tossing expired items and re-organizing all others with the help of bins, baskets, raisers and anything else you may already have in your home. As always, make sure to wipe down all shelves before you put anything back on them.
TO AVOID WEEVILS, I RECOMMEND KEEPING MOST BAKING PRODUCTS AND OTHER OF THEIR FAVORITES STORED AWAY IN AIR-TIGHT GLASS JARS. DON'T FORGET TO LABEL THEM SINCE SUGAR CAN EASILY BE MIXED UP WITH SALT :).
DAY 7 - KITCHEN :: COUNTER TOPS, DRAWER COVERS & CABINET DOORS
Today's task is a simple one to give you break from the pantry project :). Simply wipe down all counter tops, the interior and exterior of all cabinet doors as well as all drawer covers. Use hot water with a bit of vinegar, which works like magic on greasy surfaces.
DAY 8 - KITCHEN :: THE CLUTTER DRAWER
... or bin or box. We all have one and it keeps getting more and more cluttered by the day because this is the "temporary solution" for all of the items we can't immediately find a place for, the things we will take care of "later" or for items we are simply too lazy to put it in the correct place right away. It's the drawer we intend to revisit later, which actually never happens. First of all, sort through it and put everything in its place. Chances are many of our clutter drawer items may not even be needed anymore like expired coupons, random thumbtacks or keys to a bicycle lock that we no longer own. GET RID OF IT! And even more importantly, get rid of the habit altogether because just thinking of the clutter drawer causes unnecessary anxiety.
DAY 9 - KITCHEN :: MAIL STACK
Let's sort through the stack of mail that keeps accumulating just as quickly as the junk in our clutter drawer. Get rid of all of the spam mail, take care of unpaid bills and file away all important documents. Scan through any magazines you may have a subscription for and rip out the pages with recipes and workout routines that you would like to try out and keep them in a binder. Also, put some thought into how much use you actually get out of your subscription mail. Do you really ever get to reading any of it? If not, save money and trees and get rid of it.
I always recommend to go through the mail right away to not even allow it to pile up. Throw away the flyers and junk mail on the way back into the house and keep bills, magazines, invitations and other mail separated. There are lots of useful methods to sort mail, e.g. by household member, mail type or due date, which will make it much easier for you to stay on top of everything that requires action, such as bills and RSVP cards.
DAY 10 - KITCHEN :: MEAL PLANNING
This should be a fun exercise that will help you eat more consciously and facilitate your weekly/bi-weekly trip to the grocery store.
Let's sit down and create a meal plan for the entire week including breakfast, lunch, dinner, school & work snacks. Put together a grocery list before you hit your favorite store. Make a note of basic items that should never be missing, so even when you are away, your "better half" will know what to always keep stocked up.
TRY TO KEEP IT HEALTHY! 🍇🍏🍓🥕🥑
DAY 11 - LAUNDRY AREA/-ROOM
We all use the laundry area a bit differently but generally it includes laundry baskets with dirty laundry waiting to be washed and clean clothes that need to be folded, laundry detergent and softener, dryer cloths, stain remover spray, iron and ironing board and other laundry-related items. Some people also store paper towels, toilet paper and linens in this area depending on the availability of other storage areas in the house. Whatever you keep here, sort out empty bottles and use wicker or plastic bins to organize what's left.
DAY 12 - BATHROOM :: BATHROOM STORAGE
Let's raid the bathrooms... all of them. Oftentimes, we have several open bottles of shampoo, shower gel and lotion and chances are they won't ever be used again since they were pushed all the way to the back of our cabinet, drawer or shelve. I don't like to waste ANYTHING, so I always suggest to dig out all those started bottles and line them up in the front to be used BEFORE you purchase any new ones. Also, whenever I receive a heavily-perfumed lotion or gel as a gift, chances are I won't ever use it. If you also receive items you don't necessarily like, rather than holding on to them, re-gift them right away or try to sell them on eBay or Amazon. There is really no point in keeping them just because you don't want to hurt the gift giver's feelings. They most likely won't ever ask about them :). Now pull all the items that simply don't belong in the bathroom and use the baskets and bins you purchased to re-organize whatever is left.
DAY 13 - BATHROOM
:: MEDICINE CABINET
This should be a quick one, at least for us basic "drug users" :). Let's clean out the medicine cabinet and get rid off all the expired bottles and packs. Organize the remaining ones by category, e.g. headache remedies, flu, first aid, etc.
DAY 14 - BATHROOM
:: MAKE-UP DRAWER
Most of my male readers will get to skip over this one but for us females this shouldn't take too long either. Get rid of all dried out mascara, broken eye liners, hideous eye shadow samples, worn powder brushes and empty nail polish bottles. You may also store numerous skin care samples in the same drawer; either use them or lose them.
There are really stylish ways to keep your make-up organized. While some women prefer to carry it in a make-up bag, there are tons of acrylic organizers that allow easy access to all of your every-day supplies.
DAY 15 - PLAY ROOM
:: TOYS, GAMES & KIDS' BOOKS
If you have children with rooms full of toys, stuffed animals, books and games, it's time to sort through them and donate everything they have "outgrown". You will most likely also stumble over some toys that are missing pieces or were part of a kids meal from McD's... get rid of them! Toy organizing is really fun since it's fast and easy. Key is to do it WITHOUT YOUR CHILDREN AROUND because they will find use for everything they haven't touched in years the moment they realize another child may end up with it :).
Get a small book shelf for your children's remaining book collection and two or three larger size bins/baskets for all bigger toys, balls and stuffed animals. If you no longer have the packaging for (board) games, simply get a few plastic shoe boxes from a dollar store and stack them up on a shelve or in a corner of the room. Boom, so much better!
DAY 16 - THE LIBRARY
:: BOOKS, MAGAZINES, CD'S & RECORDS
Now we are moving on to your own "toys", which will make the parting process a bit harder :).
As described on day 9, look through your magazines and rip out all recipes or fitness routines you'd like to keep for later. Create a binder for each category and file them away. This is for all of you who need to have a hard copy in order to visualize things better. Me, personally, I look up recipes and other things I am interested in online and simply bookmark them on my computer. It's really up to you what you prefer to do here.
I recommend periodically sorting through your books and only holding on to those you believe you may read again one day. Then separate books your friends or mother-in-law may like from others that can be donated to a library.
CD's can be treated two different ways; you either see them as a valuable part of your music collection or like me, are perfectly fine adding them all to your iTunes library and donating them to a CD and record store after. Some stores will even pay you a few dollars per CD in exchange.
For most of us, vinyl records tend to be real collection items and I won't tell anyone to give them away. Just make sure to free them from all of the dust every now and then.
DAY 17 - PET SUPPLIES
Most of us treat our fur babies like our own children and also spoil them with just as much stuff :). Chances are you have a extensive collection of collars, leashes, crates in all sizes, dog beds, pillows and blankets, stuffed animals (with and without heads), balls in all shapes and materials, bones, more bones and other treats. Sort through them. Get rid of heavily damaged toys, throw the better ones in the wash to clean off all of the slobber and look through your inventory that could be donated to a shelter. Believe me, they will be extremely grateful for everything you can part with.
Store all remaining toys and balls in a dedicated doggy toy basket and teach them how to clean up after him-/herself. They love a good challenge and it's pretty fun to watch.
DAY 18 - BEDROOM :: SHOES
We are moving on to the bedroom and start off with the shoe collection. I personally love everything about organizing shoes since there are endless methods of doing it in style. While you are purging, make sure to also whip out the shoe polish and clean them right away. Oftentimes, we decide against wearing a certain pair simply because we don't feel like going through the hassle of cleaning them first. Also, place all shoes in a bag that need a new heel or other work done and put them in the car right away. That way they wont get forgotten again. Once they all look brand-new again, put some thought into a good way of setting them up; it's important that they are all easily accessible and not tugged away in a cardboard box.
DAY 19 - BEDROOM :: HANDBAGS & ACCESSORIES
Let's raid our handbags and other accessories such as belts and scarfs. You know the drill...simply go through them all and set aside what you no longer want/need but is still in good shape. Those items can be donated/re-gifted. You may also stumble over purses with a ripped handle or that simply look worn; why hold on to them?? Chances are they won't ever be taken on a hot date again :). Throw them out! Now move on to re-organizing the remaining items, which is always my favorite part. There are soooo many handbag and accessory organizing tools that it's hard to make a decision.
DAY 20 - BEDROOM :: JEWELRY & WATCHES
Also part of accessories is our jewelry collection. There are definitely some items that haven't seen day light in a long time (if ever) and at this point only collect dust/rust. Get rid of them and by that I don't mean throw them all out. Set aside all unwanted pieces that are still in good shape and next time a friend comes over, see if they are interested. Maybe you could even organize a jewelry swap with a small group of friends. There are also numerous online platforms (ebay, Amazon, Craigslist, etc.) that allow you to sell items in mint condition against a very small fee or even for free.
DAY 21 - BEDROOM :: DRESSER
Before we get to the biggest bedroom project, the (walk-in) closet, let's sort through the dresser. This should be a pretty easy exercise. Simply purge one drawer at a time and re-organize everything left. There are several creative folding methods that will allow you to fit a lot more in each drawer.
I also recommend hanging shirts, dresses and blouses in the closet while keeping jeans, t-shirts and shorts folded in dressers. The simple reason is that jeans are folded much quicker than a blouse. I also store all of my underwear in drawers, nicely organized with various drawer dividers from either The Container Store or really any department store.
DAY 22 - BEDROOM
:: THE (WALK-IN) CLOSET
Today is the last day of our bedroom project and we are finishing up with the (walk-in) closet. As usual, purge as much as possible and sort everything that goes by "donation", "re-gift" and "trash". Re-organize whatever is left by category and color; it will make it so much easier to put together a stylish outfit that way. Also, there are many supplies that can be used in the closet to allow for a more organized look.
DAY 23 - THE LINEN CLOSET
The linen closet usually holds linens for all rooms as well as bath towels unless there is enough storage in the bathroom to keep them there.
Please never throw old linens and towels away and instead donate them to a local shelter. They cannot have enough of those, especially when they end up with a pregnant momma dog or cat.
Simply fold all linens and towels that are still in good shape and place them back on the shelves.
DAY 25 - GENERAL AREAS :: DOOR KNOBS
Today's task is quick and easy but absolutely necessary. Take out some baby wipes or wet ones and wipe down the door handles all over your house. Be honest, when was the last time you did that? I'm quite sure they could use a good cleaning!
DAY 24 - GENERAL AREAS
:: CEILING FANS & BASE BOARDS
Another day of tedious detail cleaning but the ceiling fans and base boards need it just as desperately as the door knobs. They also tend to get ignored until a spider bungee jumps off of a fan paddle. For the ceiling fans I use the Swiffer Sweeper cloths; they work like magic.
DAY 26 - HOME OFFICE
:: E-MAIL CLEAN-UP
Today, we are moving on to some home office tasks, which are just as necessary and to give you a break from all the purging, scrubbing and organizing. It's time to clean out your E-mail account(s). Be honest, you have AT LEAST 10 unread messages and another 40 just lingering around and that's only the Inbox. Let's get to work... move, delete and respond! Also, while you get rid of all unwanted e-mails, take the extra step and unsubscribe, so you won't continue to get spammed.
DAY 27 - HOME OFFICE
:: BIRTHDAY & EVENT CALENDAR
Today, we will focus on getting all upcoming appointments, events and birthdays organized. Whip out the calendar you purchased and enter all of your family's and friends' birthdays, your kids' school events, doctor appointments and everything else that's important and make sure to hang the calendar in an area where the entire family has access to it.
DAY 28 - HOME OFFICE :: THE PUNCHLIST
As the last part of our home office project, we'll finish up with a bang. Remember this light bulb in the guest bathroom that went out about a month ago and was never attended to? Or the dark streaks on the hallway wall from carrying a large box inside? Or the curtains that are sitting in the mudroom since you bought them but are really supposed to replace the ones in the dining room? Today, we are creating a punchlist of all those items that need to get done around the house but conveniently get pushed off. Go through one room at a time and take a note of all the little (and big) things that need to be attended to. You'll see, it all will seem a lot less overwhelming once it's put on paper. Once you're done with the list, assign a date for each item to be taken care of; some can be done right away. This step is especially important to not allow these tasks to get pushed off again!!! Also, don't forget to DELEGATE. Don't let your significant other or your kids get away; this is a team effort :).
DAY 29 - THE GARAGE
This unfortunately may be more than a day's project but that really depends on the state of your garage. While purging here is almost inevitable, oftentimes a garage sale can come in very handy in order to get rid of items you no longer want or need while making a few dollars in the process. Once you are left with things only that are there to stay, sort everything by "like items", store them in large plastic bins and don't forget to label them. Oftentimes, we store seasonal decorations, tools, recreational items and car supplies in here and without the proper labeling, many things that aren't used on a regular basis will otherwise get lost or forgotten.
DAY 30 - ALL AROUND YOUR CAR(S)
This last day of our organizing challenge is all about re-claiming your car(s)! Head outside and start with the trunk. You may have a trunk organizer but if not, a larger size bin can work magic to keep your first aid kit, your reusable shopping bags and other items nice and organized. Then move on to the glove box and the rest of the interior. Once it's all cleaned out, don't forget to head to your favorite car wash or even better, wash it yourself. Now that your car is de-cluttered, vacuuming is a must as well.
I'm sure there may be a day or two where UNFORTUNATELY you aren't able to do anything because you may not have kids or pets or didn't have a need to clear out your make-up drawer. No worries, there are other areas that could certainly need some attention, such as your extensive photo collection on your laptop or your cell phone storage that would benefit from a decrease in apps or videos. Get to it :)