Small ways to avoid a big mess: 9 quick steps to getting organized.


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Small ways to avoid a big mess: 9 quick steps to getting organized.

By emily.bailey

Friday, January 8, 2021

Quick organization routines | Schlage

Instead of getting bogged down by the magnitude of the job, trying breaking your organizational goals into bite-sized tasks.



Declaring that this is the year you finally get organized can suddenly feel overwhelming. The intention is good, but now you have to make it happen. Instead of getting bogged down by the magnitude of the job, trying breaking your organizational goals into bite-sized tasks. Tackle smaller messes in just a few minutes every day to avoid more time-consuming deep cleaning sessions. These nine quick steps to organization can get you started.
Dog watching man put clothes in drawer.

Create a daily to-do list

At the end of each day, make a checklist of what you need to accomplish tomorrow. This will help you remember those small jobs, plus keep your mind decluttered while you’re balancing all the other responsibilities. If it’s a larger task, list the smaller steps you need to take to be successful. Not only will the project seem less daunting, but you’ll also feel better about the progress you make along the way and be more likely to actually complete it.

Find a home for everything – and put it there

If you don’t want to be surrounded by clutter, you need a designated spot for your belongings. And then you need to actually put them there. Bills won’t get misplaced, your keys won’t go missing and kids’ homework will (maybe) get turned in on time when they’re stored in the right place.


Your home will also look cleaner when everything is in its designated place. Throw blankets and pillows should go in a basket or back on the appropriate chair or couch. Coats should go in the closet or on a hook. Shoes should go in the boot tray or rack in the closet. Small kitchen appliances can be stored after use to keep counters clear. Each of these tasks can be completed in a few minutes, but the result will look like you put in a lot more effort.


If you aren’t sure where something’s “home” is, think about grouping like items together where you use them most often. This might mean toiletries in a bin for the bathroom linen closet, or you might give each person in the family their own basket for hats, gloves, sunglasses or umbrellas in the entryway.


There are plenty of simple DIY organization solutions if you don’t already have what you. Try creating a landing strip for items you need to get out of the house quickly in the mornings, install a command center or repurpose items from around the house to work better with your new, cleaner lifestyle.

Clear off surfaces

One surefire way to feel like you’re constantly surrounded by clutter is to always see things on tables, countertops and desks. When you get up in the morning, remove anything that’s not immediately needed from your nightstand. Especially if you work from home, tidy up your desktop when you call it quits for the day. It’s hard to unwind and disconnect from work if you can still see those files when you should be relaxing. And of course, there’s the coffee table. Magazines that are more than a month or two old, dishes, the kids’ craft projects should all be cleared off regularly to keep your home looking and feeling sharp.

Organize one drawer at a time

Our gut reaction when it comes to getting organized is often one of being overwhelmed. Try not to fall into the trap of thinking you have to KonMari every closet in one night. Organize one drawer at a time. You might start with one dresser drawer. Once you’re through those, tackle each kitchen drawer individually, then each desk drawer and each file cabinet drawer. In most cases, you’ll finish the one-drawer job within a few minutes, maybe even while you’re waiting for the kids to finish brushing their teeth.

Clean one bag

Just like you’re going to tackle one drawer at a time, do the same with your bags. It could be a purse, backpack, computer bag or gym bag. Take out items you don’t need, restock things you use regularly like breath mints, wipe out any crumbs or lint, and deodorize as needed. Because we said gym bags.

Take notes

It’s a good idea to carry a small notebook or use a note-taking app on your phone. Use it to track your to-do and shopping lists, errands you need to run, people you need to call or email, and random ideas you get throughout the day. Most of us can’t remember all that information reliably and we feel less cluttered mentally when we have a backup.


Just as importantly, keep these notes stored in one place. If you rely on scribbles on the back of a receipt or post-its throughout the house, you’re likely to feel disorganized as you endlessly search for that one note … I swear it was right here!

Manage your calendar

The benefits here are twofold. First, when you learn to budget your time better and can see what’s coming down the pike, you’ll be more likely to schedule and stick to your new organization routines. Second, you’ll be better able to spend time where it matters most.


Use your calendar to RSVP to invites as soon as possible. That doesn’t mean always saying yes, though. Knowing when to turn down an opportunity can free you for more time with the family or recharge for your own health.

Clean out your wallet

If you keep receipts, ticket stubs or other scraps of paper your kids hand you throughout the day, you’ll want to declutter your wallet before it gets too unwieldly. File your receipts or scan them if you need them for future reference or reimbursements. If you still carry cash, make sure you didn’t spend the last of it and remove the heavy collection of coins. You might also clean and disinfect the wallet itself occasionally, too. We’re guessing it doesn’t happen often enough.

Pick one thing and put it away

If it’s all getting to be just too much, go for the easy win. Pick one thing and put it away. It could be tossing out that one piece of junk mail or putting the dirty bowl in the dishwasher instead of leaving it on the counter. Low-hanging fruit still tastes sweet.


When you’re looking for more tips for getting – and staying – organized, the Schlage blog has you covered. We share not only how to keep your home clean and healthy, but also DIY projects to help make your organizational goals a success. Find us at or on Pinterest and Instagram.