It’s unexpected guests calling. They’ll just be popping over to drop something off and chat in about an hour or so.
Everyone’s shoes are piled up at the front door, the heap of holiday mail is all over the dining room table, your three teenagers’ stuff is crammed in the half bath upstairs, a science project is strewn around the kitchen and you’re apparently coaching a professional sports team in the garage.
Don’t worry. If you’ve got a few minutes before people arrive, you can get all of that looking decluttered in no time.
1. The Entrance Area
The front door or entrance area can be a major clutter spot. When everyone comes in from a long day the first thing they do is plop down bags, coats, shoes and other junk right there.
Stow Away Shoes and Boots: Put a basket, bin or low shelf near the doorway for everyone’s shoes, bags, coats, mittens and hats. Just go ahead and dump them all in. Then fold up a winter blanket and place it on top, covering the clutter.
If you don’t have any bins or baskets sitting around, take two minutes to pair up shoes (instead of just lumping them in a pile) and line them against the wall. Good enough.
Tip: On rainy days, avoid muddy or wet footprints by using a boot storage system you can make yourself! Take a large, high-edged cookie tray and place it by the front door. Attach some pebble sheeting you can get at any home improvement store inside the tray and have the kids put their wet rain boots right on top.
Grab some manila folders from the office and quickly make a pass at organizing the mail. Stick letters in one folder, magazines in another, etc. Then, throw all the sorted folders in a cabinet or drawer. You can go through them after the guests leave – and you may have the beginnings of a long-term solution.
3. The Bathroom
Most bathrooms are quite small, yet we keep a lot of important things in there. Make the most of the space with our de-cluttering ideas.
Take a Makeup Inventory: There’s probably a ton of makeup cluttering the bathroom sink and vanity. Quickly assign a drawer to each family member and stuff their items in there. Who cares if it’s wrong – you can sort it all out later.
Organize Items Based on Frequency of Use: Keep things you use daily – like toothpaste, makeup, lotion and razors – and move them to the easy-to-reach spots on the shelves and cabinets.
4. The Kitchen
They say the kitchen is the heart of the home. That usually means it's the most cluttered too.
Those Darn Dishes: If you’re going to tackle one thing, make it the dishes. Just corralling them all from the various countertops and getting them into the sink (or in the oven, assuming you’re not baking) should be enough. Wipe the counters and the stove, push in the chairs and you’re good to go.
5. The Living Room
A stack of magazines looks better than having them all strewn about. Put stray dishes in the sink. Put smaller toys in bins or drawers, but bigger ones you can get away with just putting in a corner. If there’s a stray cheese puff on the carpet, go ahead and throw it away. But you can get away with not vacuuming. Run a Swiffer Duster along the TV, shelves and decorations and call it good.
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