How To Homeschool My Child

Organize Your Home in 15 Minutes a Day

Before Christmas I started using a strategy to organize my home.  Each afternoon I set the timer for 15 minutes and started working on a project.

  • Why 15 minutes?
  • Why in the afternoon?

I am often tired & “brain-dead” in the afternoon and don’t have the “thinking” capacity to work or create.  So, the afternoon is a perfect time to do some mindless  activity…like organize a room, clean a closet, sort through stacks of papers.

kitchen timer

Each afternoon I set the kitchen timer for 15 minutes and head to my project.  By setting the time, I have a deadline and work as quickly as possible to finish my task.  It’s a race to beat the clock & finish my task.

I don’t wait until I have a spare 15 minutes, I schedule it into my day so I get a “little bit” done each & every day.  How can you do this when you have a bunch of young kids running around the house? When the weather is good, send them outside.  When it’s not good, I had my kids read silently or watch a fun, educational DVD or pull out an activity that is not available at any other time.  These might be puzzles, special coloring books, special toys…  Or, include your kids in getting organized, like some of the comments below.

Discover 50 things you can do in 15 minutes to organize your home! Check out www.HowToHomeschoolMyChild.com

What have I done in 15 minutes?
What can “you” do in 15 minutes?

  1. File, using whatever filing system you use. We have 4 drawer filing cabinets with manila folders.  Each folder has year-category of expenses or other records we save annually.
  2. Organize a guest bedroom, clearing out all boxes and putting all stacks of paper in its proper place
  3. Clean the kitchen counters.  Put all papers (coupons, mail, school work) in it’s proper place.
  4. Clean my desk
  5. Organize sock drawers. Have all kids do this with you.  Put matching socks together. Find ones with holes to either mend or throw away.  Put all strays into craft box to make puppets
  6. Fold the laundry. Stack in basket for each child to put away properly.
  7. Clean the shelf above our staircase
  8. Organize my fabric by color-into rubbermaid boxes
  9. Organize stacks of magazines around the house into crates. I found empty crates in our garage & put them in our extra room upstairs. I have baskets & stacks of old magazines & sorted through them, keeping some & giving away others to our public library.
  10. Organize wrapping paper, gift bags, cards, bows.  Find specific place in your home for all of these items. I use an empty armoire. I place bows in a gift bag & hang it on a hanger on the rod inside. Shelf above rod has gift tags, cards
  11. Put the loose books around my house back on the right bookshelf
  12. Iron 2 shirts
  13. Iron napkins, placemats
  14. Reorganize my cloth napkins & tablecloths
  15. Move all my old videos into an old dresser in our TV room (Yes, I still have a VCR so I can watch some old videos)
  16. Collect all cassettes & videos we need to take to Half Price Books
  17. Clean the drawer under the kitchen telephone…I know you have one of those drawers :-)
  18. Put all my rolls of ribbon on a dowel and hang
  19. Organize my kid books so I can loan them to young homeschooling moms
  20. Organize old curriculum that I’m saving for my kids or can loan
  21. Dust all picture frames
  22. Dust living room & dining room
  23. Collect all single sheets of scrapbooking paper and put in file according to color
  24. Clean desk drawer and use silverware tray to put back everything in an organized fashion.
  25. Collect office supplies and put in rubbermaid box with label of what’s inside.
  26. Collect all miscellaneous candles and put in rubbermaid boxes according to size or color.  Store in cabinet
  27. Organize drawer of kitchen towels, washcloths &/or hot mitts
  28. Organize kitchen cabinets of cups, glasses, mugs. Throw away old plastic cups.
  29. Organize kitchen cabinet of party serving dishes
  30. Clean my bedroom dresser top (yes, mine is the messiest in our house)
  31. Clean Steve’s dresser & bedside tables
  32. Clean my closet shelves
  33. Organize my shoes into shoe boxes
  34. Find all clothes hanging in my closet that I haven’t worn the last year. Put in bag to donate.
  35. Put clean sheets on all beds
  36. Organize all video games
  37. Clean shelves above washer/dryer
  38. Clean utility room shelves
  39. Organize shelves in utility room closet
  40. Organize shelves in guest bedroom closet
  41. Organize tupperware drawer in kitchen. Stack similar containers.  Take all tops and stand together.
  42. Sort through medicine bottles. Throw away expired bottles and those you don’t use any more.
  43. Unload the dishwasher, Reload the dishwasher
  44. Clean a bathroom
  45. Gather credit card receipts and organize by category
  46. Enter credit card charges into Quicken
  47. Put digital photos into folders by year & category.  2011-Christmas, 2011-Charleston trip, 2011-Graduation, etc
  48. Plan your menu for next week
  49. Send 3-5 thank you cards.  Use Send Out Cards to mail them for you
  50. Clean & organize your refrigerator door, taking down old photos & unwanted papers

What project can you do in 15 minutes?

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56 Responses to Organize Your Home in 15 Minutes a Day

  1. Julie Walker (@JuliannW) says:

    Love your ideas! May have to wait until the summer to get started, especially since it would take much longer than 15 minutes to clean my desk! :)

    • Kerry Beck says:

      Julie,
      When I have a job that will take longer than 15 minutes a day, I still work in 15 minute increments. Start on your desk and work until the timer goes off. The next day work on it for 15 minutes. By the end of the week, your desk should be clean.

  2. April says:

    This sounds great. I am always looking for great ideas about keeping organized. Thank you.

  3. Katrina says:

    Love your ideas. Thanks for sharing! When I have 15 minutes, I try to clear off our homeschool/computer/living room desk area..with 4 children..well, you get the idea!

  4. Kristi says:

    what great ideas!

    I set the timer for 10 min. to clean my 5 yo son’s room with his help; then it takes 5 min to clean my 2 yo daughter’s room (fewer toys!).

  5. Patty says:

    My 11 year old daughter is old enough to clean her room, but is overwhelmed with where to start. I set the timer for 5 min., and tell her to pick up all her books. Trying to beat the timer becomes a fun challenge. The next five minutes is for clothes, the last five minutes for toys. After 15 min., the room looks much better, and we’re both happy!

  6. Jennifer says:

    Great list! Always helpful to have a list to look at when you have an extra 15 minutes, but don’t know what to do with it. I’m going to print this list out and use it. Thanks! When I have an extra 15 minutes, I usually default to checking the sink and doing any stray dishes and then wiping down the counter. Makes the kitchen look so much better!

  7. Michele says:

    Great ideas. I like the 15 minute idea. Thanks for sharing. Would love to win a copy of your book.
    Thanks,

  8. Cheri says:

    An inspiring list! I’d love to read more ideas… especially related to how to carve out the time for the 15 minutes – daily – during a very busy school year.

  9. This is 15 minutes of magic. We have some special considerations for our son who has epilepsy and needs us especially at bedtime. I would let the house go at bedtime because everything had to be dropped and the house has to be very quiet for him to sleep. I decided to send the kids to be just 15 minutes earlier and take five minutes each in the three rooms on the main floor of our house. I now wake up to a house that doesn’t depress me in the morning! I never realized how much of a difference 15 minutes can make!

    • Kerry Beck says:

      Sandra,
      Thanks for sharing how you work through special needs of one of your kids. What a great idea and way to keep your sanity! :-) :-)

  10. renita t says:

    Great ideas!! Thank you for posting this. I set the timer for 15 minutes and then we all scramble to clean the room as quickly as possible!

  11. Sheri says:

    Great ideas!

  12. I love all the great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Kim Green says:

    I love your 15 minute organizational tips.
    another 15 minute tip could be learning scripture. Read it, write it, say it. It is amazing what the mind can do in 15 minutes. Place a 3×5 index card on the mirror after you clean the mirror and sweep up the bathroom or wipe down the sink

  14. Julia says:

    Use 15 minutes to clip/organize coupons.
    The first week of each month I spend clearing out expired coupons. Sometimes this is 15 minutes at a time, requiring 1 or 2 times to complete. Alternatively, I can watch a 30 min tv show while clearing out all the expired coupons in my binder.

  15. Jo says:

    Thank you for the helpful ideas to get me started!

  16. Rosemary says:

    I am overwhelmed with the mess I have right now. Maybe 15 minutes is something I could do. I’m going to try that tomorrow. I don’t have a timer, but I can just go by the clock. Thanks for the idea. Maybe this will help.

  17. Gidget says:

    I can empty and fill the dishwasher *and* vacuum the den. It’s amazing how much less time these tasks take than our mind builds them up to be. Thanks!

  18. Suzanne says:

    Great idea, I never thought of working in 15 minute increments on a big project. Thank you.

  19. Mary Moses says:

    These are all great ideas. I did this with giving my pups there baths. I had been putting it off and then I though hey it really only takes about 15 minutes. So I do one a day. I also do this when grading my childrens school work. Great post!

  20. Wanita says:

    This is great — I am going to print out the list for ideas to get decluttered and hopefully more organized.

  21. Laurie says:

    Thanks for reminding me how simple it is to start with baby steps. started today. Bless you

  22. Xiomara says:

    I’m going to set my timer and see if I can finally get my pictures of 19 years (since my daughter was born and now I have a 10 year old son) organized at least in special picture boxes by year. Oh, and give grandparents all those pictures I took but missed giving them! Thanks for the ideas!!!

    • Kerry Beck says:

      Great idea. I need to add that to list. In the late 90’s I got caught up on each child’s scrapbook. Then I started our homeschool business & website. Haven’t been caught up since. I guess it’s a trade.

  23. Tammie says:

    This week, I’ve been catching up on Quicken. Baby steps work!

  24. Stephanie says:

    Such great ideas! Thanks so much for sharing things that work for you and your family! 15 minutes and so many ideas…what to tackle first in my little home?? Very manageable idea for kids , also. Today we tackled a paint project:) and some laundry…

  25. Linda says:

    At first I thought the 15 minutes may be similar to the “Fly Lady” method….but it’s not – and I really love your list. It gives me ideas on chores to give my tween daughter. Organizing paper is big problem for me – I use zip lock bags so I can see easily what’s in it. I can see how 15 minutes a day will make a difference to having a clear desk at the end of the week. I would really love to have a copy of your book.

    • Kerry Beck says:

      Linda,
      I’ve never actually read the Fly Lady method. I wondered if this was similar. All I know is it helps me get small tasks done without feeling overwhelmed. In fact, I’m off to set the timer right now :-(

  26. Orilla Crider says:

    Love these ideas and suggestions!!!! I can hardly wait to get started on the projects around our home!!!

  27. Barbara says:

    My son absolutely loves to be timed and just when I think he should be able to do the task in the same amount of time without the timer, he reverts back to his original slow motion and then I get frustrated. Thank you for the encouragement to think of the timer as my ally. :)

  28. Michele says:

    Thank you – this is a good motivation for a perfectionist who tends to look at the big picture and become overwhelmed.

  29. Becky says:

    Great ideas! I think it’s a good daily family tradition. With nine blessings things can get overwhelming. My oldest seven should be able to help without getting distracted in that amount of time.

  30. katrina says:

    Thank you for the opportunity.

  31. Katherine Petty says:

    I know this works. I’ve done it in the past. I’m at that place where I have a lot of organizing to do and the task is so large it seems too daunting to even start. I did agree with my husband to declutter at least one “space” most weekends this new year.

  32. Karen Blodgett says:

    Thank you for the great ideas. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one brain dead in the afternoon. This will definitely get me motivated.

  33. Linda says:

    Thanks for the encouragement. I have tried requiring 2 hours per week and it seem to not always be able to accomplish that. So now we will try just 15 at a time. Think we will try that with getting exercise also, another important activity at which we need to be more disciplined.

  34. Joyce says:

    Great list of ideas! Fifeen minutes can make a dent in clipping coupons.

  35. Ashley says:

    In 15 minutes I could:

    Change sheets and throw them in the wash

    Unload and reload the dishwasher

    Clean a bathroom (sinks, toilet, mirror)

    Vacuum one floor of the house

    Collect trash and recycling and take out

    Prep meat into 1 lb freezer bags

    Clean and chop veggies for a salad

  36. Reda says:

    Great ideas! One of the things that helps me the most is getting rid of things I do not need. Just look around for 15 minutes and toss all the excess into a box or bag to take to Goodwill or have ARC pick it up at your door.You will bless and be blessed!

  37. Renata says:

    Oh I love this idea ~ and your list is wonderful! Thank you for sharing!
    Blessings
    Renata:)

  38. Kimberly says:

    In 15 minutes, I can organize my homeschool file folders on my computer :)

  39. Kelly Johnson says:

    Thanks for the great ideas!!!!!

  40. Desiree says:

    This is similar to Flylady – which I love! But the 15 min. declutter doesn’t come with a list (although the missions do). I keep thinking I will sit down and come up with my own list, which I still need to do, but I really like your list – it’s a great place to start! I am one of those ALWAYS in need of organizing tips . . ..

  41. Melinda says:

    Thanks for you encouragement. It is keep me focused on a single task instead of being overwhelmed with too many tasks.

  42. Lynnette says:

    This is a great list. I like the idea of 15 minutes a day to get yourself organized. If I think about there being 24 hours in a day, 15 minutes really isn’t much. Thank you!

  43. Gaye S. says:

    I’m new, just browsing your site and found this…..LOVE these ideas! I tend to think…”oh, I don’t have enough time”. Hubby will be amazed when he sees he actually has a couple shirts ironed and ready! Thanks for all the ideas, I’ going to print and put on themfrig!!

    • Kerry Beck says:

      Gaye,
      So glad to have you here. I’m off to do a 15 min task right now. Need to check my list to see what it will be.
      Kerry

  44. […] CommentsLast weekend I realized I had failed at something I shared here on this blog.  Remember my Organize Your Home in 15 Minutes a Day post.  Set the timer for 15 minutes each day – to clean your home in small […]

  45. lNasonFruitshzg says:

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog. An excellent read. I will definitely be back.

  46. allyall says:

    15 minutes can accomplish a lot. I think scheduling it in is the most important part because otherwise it doesn’t happen! I can get the whole house vacuumed in 15 minutes if we aren’t counting edging (which I rarely do).

    • Kerry Beck says:

      I wish I could get my whole house vacuumed in 15 minutes…more like 30 minutes.
      I agree..you MUST schedule it or it doesn’t get done. Just last week I realized I wasn’t doing my 15 min/day so I scheduled a time in the afternoon to clean. Got my desk organized after a month of chaos. Next is my dresser, AGAIN!

  47. Shonda says:

    I love 15 min projects. Very doable. One thing I do is make a pile at the bottom of the stairs of things that need to go upstairs and whenever I make the trip I take them up.

  48. […] Get Organized in 15 Minutes a Day […]

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