OK, so I know I don’t need to tell you how much the world has changed over the last few weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic. Your day to day life has likely changed dramatically as has mine. My day job has changed from being a Professional Organizer and Productivity Consultant to being an unpaid, inexperienced elementary school teacher who is also training to become a LEGO Master Builder. My kid’s school is closed and I’ve had to stop working on site with my clients. My husband is also home so now we are all here 24/7. Our county along with many others in my area is under a stay at home order. These changes have likely brought about a bit of anxiety and stress in your life as it has for me and my family.
Organizing calms me and it makes me feel like I have control of my world even when everything around me is chaotic. When I get stressed or overwhelmed with things, you will usually find me in the middle of a mini organizing task. I will clear out my closet, get rid of things I no longer want or need, and make my space functional and organized.
Many of us want to get our homes and our lives organized but never seem to have the time. We are usually too busy with work, shuttling our kids to and from activities, and running errands. Now that life has changed in such a huge way for many of us (at least in the short term), it likely means that you have more time at home. In addition, most (if not all) of your immediate family members are at home all day, every day.
What this means is that it’s the best time to focus on getting your home organized. All the decision makers are available to answer questions, you have the time, and you likely would get a boost from improving upon your home environment. Imagine what your organized home would look like and how much better you would feel about yourself and your extended time at home.
I’ve compiled a list of mini organizing tasks you and your family members can do in the weeks to follow to make the most of your time together at home.
Organizing the Fridge & Pantry
Now that we are staying home and making fewer trips to the grocery store, it’s more important than ever to have an organized pantry and refrigerator. Go through your pantry and organize the shelves. Group like items together such as breakfast, snacks, and beverages. Toss expired food and make a list of meals you can make with the items you have on hand. Do the same thing with your fridge and be sure to wipe down surfaces as you go. Create zones for items such as leftovers, condiments, and beverages.
Organizing Your Medications
Now is a great time to organize your family’s medications so you know what you need in the event that someone gets sick. It’s ideal if you can have most of your medications in one spot such as the kitchen. This makes it easy to keep a handle on your inventory and you limit the number of open and expired medications. Once you have all the medication together, group them by type (pain relievers, cold & flu, allergy, etc.) in labeled bins. Be sure to toss any expired medications. Find a medicine disposal site near you by clicking here that you can use once everything is back to normal.
Organizing the Coat Closet
Since it’s now officially Spring, it’s a great time for a mini organization of your coat closet. Pull out everything and sort the coats, shoes, and accessories by person. Get everyone involved and have them empty out the pockets of their outerwear (see who finds the most money or the oddest item!) and get rid of any items that no longer fit or that you no longer want. Since most donation centers are currently closed, bag up these items and either put them aside to donate later or try dropping them off at a Planet Aid donation bin if you are able to get out.
Organizing Your Games & Puzzles
Now that you likely have more family time on your hands, it’s a great time to do this mini organizing task together. Gather all of the games and puzzles you own into one area and determine what’s worth keeping. Bag up anything you want to donate and find a home for those you love. If you aren’t sure if a game is worth keeping, get your family members together and play when you all have a free moment. You might just find some new favorites and create some great memories in the meantime!
Organizing Your Clothing
Empty out your dresser drawers sorting items into categories as you go. Keep what you love, try on things as needed and let go of things you don’t need anymore. Carefully fold items and organize them by type back into your drawers. Once you finish your dresser, move along to your closet using the same process. If you have young children, help them go through their clothing too. You may only be able to do a few drawers at a time depending upon their age, but if you keep at it, you can get this done in no time.
Organizing Your Books
Depending upon the number of books you have in your home, this could be a quick process or a very involved one. Go through all of your books and determine which ones are worth keeping and what you can let go of. If possible, remove books from any bookshelves, clean each shelf, and arrange the books you are keeping by fiction/non-fiction, topic, author or even the spine color (do a “ROYGBIV books” image search online to learn more). Find a Better World Books Drop Box near you for any books you are willing to donate.
Organizing Purses & Bags
Now that most of us are home, our purses, work bags, and backpacks aren’t accessed as much as usual. That makes this a perfect time for a mini organizing task where you clean out and organize these items. Organize each bag or purse separately. First, take everything out of the purse or bag making sure that every pocket and area is empty. If the bag can be washed, wiped down or even vacuumed out be sure to do that. Next, group like items together (receipts, money, papers, personal care items, etc.) and determine what should stay in the bag. Toss anything you no longer need. Zippered pouches like these can be helpful to corral like items.
OK, so I could go on and on with ideas for mini organizing projects you can tackle during your forced time at home, but you get the gist! Check out my previous blog posts about decluttering electronics, organizing papers, opting out of unwanted mail and eMail and organizing kids school papers for more detailed instructions on how to tackle these organizing projects.
If you feel overwhelmed with starting these or any other organizing projects, I’d love to help you. I offer virtual organizing sessions where I use a combination of video calls, e-mails and texts to give you step-by-step guidance and accountability to accomplish your goals. I will also be creating videos that I will be posting on social media showing you how I do these things at my home with my kids helping out! Follow me on Facebook or Instagram or reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope you all are staying healthy and sane at home!