Now is a great time to knock out a few of these easy home organizing tasks to keep busy.
Whether you’ve found yourself among the millions cooped up at home, or you’re just trying to keep your distance from social activities for a bit, these organizing tasks can help take your mind off of what’s going on in the world.
Plus, when life returns to normal, you’ll be glad you used the downtime to tackle a few pesky spots.
Easy Home Organizing Tasks
1. Sort Out Your Spices
Organizing spices speeds up cooking time. Move them all to a countertop and clean their usual space. Alphabetize the containers before putting them back, wiping each one as you go. Note any you’re running low on so you can replace them.
2. Straighten Your Linen Closet
Pull everything out, setting aside any ratty towels. (Pet shelters and veterinarians need them.) Do the same with old sheets, but turn those into cleaning rags. Fold what’s left. Tuck sheets into one of the set’s pillowcases to keep them tidy. Dust and vacuum the closet before putting things back on the shelves. (Related: 6 Great Ways to Store Fabrics.)
3. Swap Out of Season Clothing
Put anything you no longer want or never wear into a box for charity if it’s still in good shape. Don’t donate ratty stuff, though — check out this list of what to do with old sweaters instead. Also, remember to launder everything before putting it away for the season, so it’s fresh and ready to wear months from now.
4. Declutter That Junk Drawer
Every home has a junk drawer. Dump it on the kitchen table and throw away the trash. Pick what belongs elsewhere and put it away. Sort what’s left by function. Store it in plastic bags or food containers that don’t have lids. (See Easy Organizing Tasks #10)
5. Delete Old Documents From Your Computer
Sort the contents of folders on your computer by name and get rid of duplicates. Sort them by date to see which files you haven’t needed to access for a couple of years, and delete the ones you know you’ll never need. Do the same with old photos, videos, and emails. You might be surprised at how much space you free on your hard drive with this easy home organizing task.
6. Sort Home Paperwork
Collect un-filed paperwork in a heap on one side of the kitchen table. Sort it into categories: tax-related papers, warranties, receipts, etc. Toss trash and use a shredder for documents with sensitive information. (I like this one.) Repeat with documents in your home office files. Then, file the papers you’ve sorted. Boom. Done.
7. Straighten Under-Bed Storage
Stashing things under the bed is a great way to maximize storage, especially if you use good, sturdy containers with lids. But if you’ve forgotten what’s down there, it’s really just clutter. For this easy home organizing task, go through your under-bed containers and get rid of anything you haven’t used in the past year or two. Wipe containers inside and out before putting them back under the bed.
8. Put Everyone’s Shoes in Their Closet
Chances are good shoes are scattered throughout your home. Near the front door. Near the back door. Maybe in the family room. Grab a laundry basket, collect the shoes, and put them in the appropriate closet. Oh, and here’s how to deodorize smelly shoes if you happen to find any.
9. Purge Your Clothing
Start with your dresser then move onto your closets. Pull out anything you haven’t worn in a year. If it’s in good shape, donate it or sell it on eBay. If it’s ratty, turn it into cleaning rags or use it to stuff saggy sofa pillows. Here’s a closet-cleaning checklist if you’re up to it.
10. Match Food Storage Containers and Lids
Like socks that lose their mates in the wash, food storage containers and their lids seem to part ways without warning. Pull yours out of the cupboard and pair them up. Use containers without lids to organize drawers or hold small items in the pantry. Spare covers make great drip-catchers in the fridge or laundry room.
11. Make a Food Inventory
Knowing what’s in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry at all times is an excellent help in planning a weekly menu. Lately, stores are reducing their hours and running low on supplies, so knowing what you’ve got in stock is key to feeding your family. Prioritize the use of perishables and other foods that are about to expire. (By the way, here’s what those expiration dates really mean.)
12. Toss Expired Coupons
You may have already purged a few old coupons while cleaning out your junk drawer. (Easy Home Organizing Task #4) Go through your coupon organizer and get rid of others that have expired, too. You might also want to pull ones that lapse in the next week or so and plan to use them if you make a grocery run soon.
13. Alphabetize Your Media Collections
Make sure DVDs are in their case and alphabetize them. Do the same with video games and CDs. Set aside ones you no longer watch, play, or listen to. Donate or sell them. As for books, whether to alphabetize them is a matter of personal preference. I sort by subject matter then alphabetize within the categories, but you do you.
14. Toss Expired Cosmetics
Staying home means many of us are skipping our usual makeup routines. Toss anything you haven’t worn in a year as well as stuff that looks or smells “off.” Discard mascaras older than 6 months, liquids older than 1 year, and powders that are more than 3 years old. Tidy up what’s left, and don’t forget to clean your makeup brushes.
15. Organize Your Jewelry
Like makeup, jewelry is something you probably don’t bother wearing if you’re not leaving the house. Take this chance to pair up earrings, untangle necklaces, and set aside for donation anything that no longer suits your taste.
16. Collect Old Toys for Donation
If your local schools are closed, your kids’ toys are probably starting to take over the house. That makes it easy to figure out the toys they’re no longer attached to — they’re the ones left in the toy-box or on the shelves. Gather them up (wait until your child is asleep if necessary) and put them in a box for donation. Hide that box, though!
17. Organize Your Refrigerator’s Contents
You made a list of everything in your refrigerator while doing Easy Home Organizing Task #11. Now put the stuff that’s about to expire where you’ll see to use it, so it doesn’t go to waste. Move condiments to the doors, fresh produce to the crisper, and raw meats to the lowest shelf. If you have little kids at home, store healthy snacks in a see-thru container at their eye-level to encourage good food choices.
18. Clean Out Your Purse and Wallet
Did you know your purse and wallet are among the germiest places in your home? Empty yours on a newspaper and toss the trash. Give everything a thorough cleaning inside and out with a disinfecting wipe and let it air dry. Don’t forget to disinfect the handles and bottom of your purse while you’re at it, and repeat that every time you return from leaving the house.
19. Organize Your Nightstand
A lot of times, we don’t think about cluttered nightstands are until we’re hunting for something at bedtime. If you have free time, take a few minutes to dump your nightstand drawers, throw away the trash, and put things that belong elsewhere away. Wipe the drawers before returning their contents. (This is a great spot to use the lidless food containers you found in Easy Home Organizing Task #10.)
20. Pair Up Socks
Make sure each sock has a mate. Hold solos in the laundry room for a week or two to see if their match turns up. If they stay single, use them as cleaning rags. (A sock slipped over your hand makes dusting a breeze.) Here are more ways to use lonely socks around the house.
21. Clean Out Your Desk
Keeping your personal stuff and business stuff separate is essential when you’re working remotely from home. So, clean out a drawer in your desk to hold only work-related things. No spare drawer? I use these in my home office to hold files, and they’re fantastic.
22. Tidy Up Those Craft Supplies
Who hasn’t gone a little crazy at the craft supply store? Now’s a great time to tidy up. Use lidless food containers to hold small items. Wrap short lengths of extra yarn around spare food container lids. Repurpose old jars, washed food cans, and empty boxes to keep the rest. Then get crafting!
23. Unsubscribe From Annoying Emails
Your inbox is probably full of messages from every company to which you’ve given your email address, all informing you about how they’re responding to the current global health situation. Look for and click on the unsubscribe or preferences link to opt-out of ones that don’t interest you. (Except mine. You should totally subscribe to my newsletter because it’s just once a week, and it’s helpful.)
BONUS: Get Your Home Clean AND Organized
Want a little more structure to your days at home? Use this time to completely transform every room, every cupboard, and every closet with my book, 30 Days to a Clean and Organized House.
Readers say it’s “life-changing,” a “game-changer,” and “deserves all the accolades.”
Why? Because I walk you through a day-by-day plan to clean one space at a time, get it decluttered and organized, and maintain what you’ve already accomplished on previous days.
Oh, and there are a dozen awesome homemade cleaner recipes, too!