10 Minutes is All You Need!

Do you have a drawer that looks like this?

How about your closet, nightstand, purse, or even your spices? Even spaces that may have been organized need a spruce up sometimes. All you need is 10 minutes! Really, just 10 minutes to get it back in tip-top shape.

I often feature 10 Minute Tuesday Projects here on the blog, and today I am encouraging you to try one of your very own. If you are new to the blog and need some convincing about what a difference 10 minutes can make here are super simple steps plus a break down of time to get you started. Today is the day! In only 10 minutes, we can make a cluttered space functional again. Set your timer and let’s get started.

1. Collect Supplies (1-2 minutes)

  • trash can
  • cleaning rag
  • containers collected from around the house if needed (no need to buy new, see my favorite budget friendly options here)

2. Sort & Purge (3-4 minutes)

  • like with like
  • throw away trash, items you don’t use any more and even the items you are trying squeeze the last drop out of but you already bought a new one.
  • include a put elsewhere pile for items to put away after your space is organized. (This little pile will keep your project from turning into an hour long event!)

A few in action shots of the sorting process-

3. Clean (1-2 Minutes)

hint– You don’t have to take everything out of the space while sorting. For this quickie clean-up, save time by keeping some items in their home.

4. Organize! (3-4 minutes)

  • Sorted piles go back into containers
  • If you have an extra 5 minutes you can label your containers so items can find their way back to home again.

Sit back and enjoy your space. Marvel at what just 10 minutes can do! In just 10 minutes this drawer went from a cluttered mess, to tidy and containerized.

What have you organized in only 10 minutes? Here at Space for Living we’re looking for your 10 minute makeover projects to share right here on the blog. Email Autumn@SpaceforLivingOrganizing.com with a description of your area and clear before and after shots. Please include a link to your website if you’d like it to be included with your pictures.

10 Minute Tuesday: Jewelry


What do I do when the Grandparents take the kids for the day? Wanna guess? If you guessed organize, you’d be right. Today’s quest was to organize my jewelry, believe me, it is more fun then it sounds.  Plus it has been a long time coming.

Anyone else out there adoring some of the fabulous jewelry organization floating around Pinterest?

Well let’s just look at a few, shall we.

1. Apartment Therapy  / 2. Better Homes & Gardens  / 3. Better Homes & Gardens  / 4. Martha Stewart  / 5. Young House Love  / 6. Perfectly Pretty

I decided to take some inspiration from these beauties and stop neglecting my messy pile of jewelry.  Here’s a peek at the ongoing disarray of my collection. I typically try to keep it contained, but each time I search for something, it all winds up in a pile. The night before I took this picture, I’d been searching for a particular bracelet (I eventually realized it had been taken by my little one who decided to use it for dress-up).

In the name of 10 Minute Tuesday (only spending 10 minutes on a mini organizing project), I decided to spruce up my jewelry space. I set my timer for 10 minutes and let the fun begin.

Well, 10 minutes later and an attempt at being creative with an already owned 3-tier stand, here is what I came up with.

Honestly, this is really outside my comfort zone. I am not a huge fan of having things out i.e. visual clutter.  Plus the idea of everything getting dusty just sitting out there is not my favorite.

I think I might tuck it away in the drawer below, hidden from sight and dust. I already started collecting containers like image #4 above.

My final project will have to wait until another day, my 10 minutes are up!

Side note: If you notice, my dresser completely matches my wall. It wasn’t even planned, just stupid luck– well, if you can call it that, I don’t think having your dresser blend into the wall is a part of Decor 101.

How about you? Do you display your jewelry? Or do you like your little treasures tucked away out of sight? Do you like things out in the open and hate that “out of sight, out of mind” type of feeling? Do have 10 minutes to tidy up your jewelry?


Find More Time in your Day in only 10 Minutes

I know I often say a 10 minutes Tuesday project (only 10 minutes!) can make such a huge difference in a space or in your mood.  But 10 minutes of planning can also make a huge impact in the direction of your day.  Anyone who has dashed out of the door only to forget that important piece of paper, your jacket, umbrella, video to return… can attest to that.  “If only I had woken up 10 minutes earlier or prepared 10 minutes the night before…”

Just 10 minutes spent making choices about what you will do at the beginning and end of the day can make a huge impact on the flow of your overall day. Less time spent fretting about what to do next, leaves you with more time for the things that matter most; and isn’t that what we all want?

This is where I sing the praises of routines. They are such an important part of organizing.  I explained a little about my own morning routine in this earlier post, but today let’s spend 10 minutes planning your own daily routines by following these simple steps.

Are you ready? Do you have pen and paper on hand? Set that timer for 10 minutes and let’s get started.

Brainstorm (3 minutes)

Write or type a list of all the things you would like to get done in a day. Include simple items as well as preventative “maintenance tasks”. Take these 3 minutes to empty your brain. And be sure to use the full-time here, don’t stop early, more ideas may come. No really, humor me and write it all down. There is something about writing things down that really lets your mind relax and get everything out. Remember there are no wrong answers in brainstorming! Ready, go.

Here are a few samples to get your creative juices flowing-

  • Make bed
  • Shower/freshen up
  • Get dressed
  • Pick up bedroom
  • Unload-load dishwasher
  • Put in a load of laundry
  • Prep dinner
  • Prepare lunches
  • 15-minute/5-minute pick up
  • Process mail
  • Lay out clothes for tomorrow
  • Wipe down bathroom
  • Fold laundry
  • Wipe counters
  • Wipe down kitchen sink
  • Quiet time/Stretches

If you are like most of us, your list might be huge and overwhelming! Don’t worry, this is only the brainstorming phase. Your ideas and visions of productivity can be as lofty as you like during this part.


Divide and Conquer (2 minutes)

Spend another 2 minutes labeling each task with either:

  • morning/pre-breakfast
  • afternoon/after lunch or before dinner prep
  • evening/before bed

As you categorize each task, you can began to see a skeleton of your daily routine forming.

Also as you sort through your list, there may be tasks that are better suited as weekly tasks instead of daily to-dos.  Label those for sorting later, so you can be sure to limit this list to your daily tasks.


Keep it Simple (3 minutes)

Now is the part where you get realistic. Your brainstormed list could have dozens of to-dos in each group. As difficult as it may seem, weed through these items and choose what is most important to you. Try to limit your routine to 4-5 tasks for each period of the day.  This keeps the routine manageable and repeatable which provides a quick transition to the rest of your day. Be ruthless if you need to drop tasks. There will always be maintenance items to get done, focus on only the most importance tasks.

For example, you could have a long evening list that includes: mail processing, cleaning, laundry, craft time, catching up on reading, etc. If your routine looks overwhelming you won’t want to actually do it. The goal is to pick what’s most important now. You can always rework your routine as your priorities shift. 10 minutes a day of paper sorting means that soon that monstrous pile of paper will be gone and you can change it to 5 minutes of paper maintenance and add in another element to your routine to mix things up.

Also, stay motion minded and order your tasks by area of the home.  For instance, for the morning routine list your bedroom tasks first and then all your kitchen tasks to avoid wasting time pacing throughout your home.


Stay Realistic (1 minute)

Look at your list of 4-5 tasks for each period of the day and then try to let go of perfection! Things don’t always go smoothly. Sometimes no matter how much you plan, things will go wrong.  But having a plan in place will give you a landing pad to go back to and prevent you from doing non-essentials or completely losing track.

Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day or two. One or two off-days will not decrease your chances of making your routines a daily habit (as long as you return to it right after those few bumps in the road).


Repeat, Repeat, Repeat (daily)

Experts say that it takes somewhere between 21 to 66 days for an activity to become a habit depending on how difficult the new habit is.  It can become even easier to form a habit if good rewards go along with it, like more time in the day to do what you really want to do.

If you stay focused on the positive rewards of your daily routines it can make it easy to continue to repeat them during the month or two before they become an ingrained habit. That is exactly what we want; mindless, productive habits! (this doesn’t mean no work went into creating them, but it does mean that once they are a part of your day, you won’t have to spend unnecessary energy getting through them.) Especially as you are getting the rhythm of your new routines, don’t be afraid to post them on a wall nearby, or keep the list on hand. Soon, you’ll have the routine memorized.

An empty sink is part of my daily routine.

As your repeat your daily routines, remember you can adapt them as you discover what works best. Is it missing something? Set a timer and get a sense of how long it takes. Is it too long, can you remove a task? (It’s also fun to look back after a month or two and see how much faster you are able to get through your routine).

Once your routines are established there will be more time in your day to get back to what matters most. If you would like to see some more examples, you can check out my morning routine here , or Money Saving Mom has a printable reference sheet to get you started (there is a customizable form too).  Simple Organized Living also has a printable daily task sheet that shares her daily routines.

I would love to hear what you do to keep your day flowing as smoothly as possible. Is there one thing that you feel can make or break your day, like a made bed? Do you have daily routines already? Or do you fly by the seat of your pants? Share any questions or where you are in the process in the comments section. Happy planning!

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