Get organized in short, frequent sprints

Tribune Media ServicesJanuary 11, 2013 

Square spice bottles are see-through and stack easily.


Exercise trainers are touting the idea of quick bursts of energy to get maximum results at the gym. The same idea can be applied to our homes. Quick, regular bursts of organization and disposal can eliminate messy spots less painfully than a major anti-clutter campaign.

Spend five or 10 minutes several times a week in the following eight spots, and you’ll create islands of order in your home.

Floors: One of the most instantly gratifying tricks is to get everything off the floor – even in the garage. Space instantly opens up and seems to expand. Do the same in your closets, laundry room, bedroom and kitchen.

Play area: Put forgotten toys in a closet. Donate those the kids no longer want or have outgrown. Throw away broken toys. Donate unused stuffed animals to a local shelter or police or fire department for the needy children they encounter.

Spices stash: Today’s cooks use spices from around the world. It’s also not uncommon for a home chef to have three or more types of salt. An easy way to organize spices is to use square glass spice bottles (examples at

The square bottles are see-through and stack easily. Another option? Put spices in food storage bags and keep them in a basket in the freezer or pantry.

Small kitchen appliances: Remember that little food chopper you just had to have but never use and the slow cooker that is too small to hold anything more than chili con queso? Pitch them. You will free up space for more practical ones.

Cookbooks: You may own two dozen cookbooks, but most likely you go back to the same dozen time after time. Relegate the others to the pantry or, dare we say it, be tough enough to get rid of them altogether.

Food storage containers: Always searching for a lid to a plastic bowl? Buy a square drawer organizer basket that keeps the lids upright. Next, stack the bowls. With the lids stacked vertically, you’ll get more of them in the drawer and find them more easily when you need them.

Sock drawer: With a set of organizing cubes for the drawer, separate your socks into athletic and dress, sorted by color.

Toss out those pesky singles and socks with holes.

Bra drawer: Use soft organizing cubes to separate bras by color, style, or how you like to wear them. Throw away bras you no longer wear. Life’s too short to tolerate an uncomfortable, annoying bra.

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