A lot of us turn our attention to cleaning and reorganizing our homes around the New Year. Add the fact that Tidying Up with Marie Kondo recently premiered on Netflix, and you can understand why decluttering fever is catching right now.
I loved Marie’s book and I’m loving her show, too. She inspires people to get rid of their excess items, keeping only the things that spark joy. I spent my Christmas and New Year’s vacation days happily tidying up my house…sick, I know.
Not everyone enjoys tidying as much as I do. But even if you dread organizing and you’re not ready to declutter the whole house, you can start small.
The following one-hour tidying projects are quick and easy. You can tackle a couple this weekend and maybe even have a bit of fun.
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Purge the Fridge & Freezer
Start by emptying your fridge. Pull out and clean the shelves and drawers. Get rid of expired products and decide on the best way to organize your remaining items. You might want to change the height of some shelves to fit your favorite foods better.
I added a plate in my fridge to hold tomorrow’s dinner while it defrosts. The plate is a nice reminder to pull meat or soup out of the freezer the night before and give it time to defrost in the fridge. Plus, it can catch any leaks and make cleanup easier.
If your fridge has a freezer drawer, you know that it can turn into a black hole of buried, forgotten food, but there’s an easy fix.
Empty your freezer and add two or three canvas bags or organization bins. Then stock them with your freezer food so that you can see every item and know what you have.
Tidy Up Your Kitchen Sink With a Tray
While you’re in the kitchen, check if your sink needs a little makeover. Kitchen sinks attract clutter like towels, sponges, dish scrubbers and more scattered around. It’s not the most attractive look, but it can be improved with some tidying.
Group all of your sink necessities on a tray, with the tallest items in the middle. My tray includes a bamboo dish scrubber, hand soap and dish soap, paper towels and these handmade absorbent washcloths to help cut back on paper towel use.
I love the clean look of having everything grouped together next to the sink, no longer scattered around and blocking the window.
You might want to consider getting rid of worn out towels or dish scrubbers and replacing them. Then try to clear off the rest of your kitchen counters as much as you can. This will give your kitchen a sense of calm and make it easier to clean.
Kitchen Sink Accessories
Declutter Your Holiday Decorations
Do you hate putting away your decorations after the holidays? Part of the problem might be that you have too much, making it a big job. We tend to accrue and hang on to holiday decorations without ever giving them a purge.
Spend an hour condensing your decor down to just your favorites that you know you’ll use again, and it will be much easier to decorate (and un-decorate) next time.
Use one or two storage bins for each type of holiday decorations you have. I keep one for Halloween and two for Christmas (plus a couple of ornament organizers and a bin for the tree, but who’s counting?). When it’s time to decorate, just grab a bin and go.
It can be hard to let go of old holiday decorations, but if you know you’ll never use them again, why let them take up space and add to your stress? Give them away so another family can enjoy them.
Holiday Storage Ideas
Store Your Travel Gear in One Place
Spend an hour tracking down all of your travel gear and storing it in a single place to make it easy to pack for trips. Going camping used to be a big chore, but if you only keep the items you need, and you can find everything in one place, suddenly it’s easy to load up the car and hit the road.
I got rid of extra tents. Since Eric and I switched to a pop-up tent, there’s really no chance that we’ll be going back to a tent that takes more than a minute to set up.
I ditched a broken lantern and camping dishes I don’t use anymore. Then I rearranged some shelves to best fit my gear (lots of joy being sparked!).
Make sure all of your luggage is easy to access in one place, too.
We used to have some luggage in the guest room and some in the basement, with miscellaneous travel items in different closets and drawers. I moved all of it to a closet in my basement. Now we know where to find luggage, packing cubes, money belts and mouse ears.
And about those money belts…a few months ago I looked everywhere for my old money belt. I don’t use it very often, but I needed it for a trip. Finally I ended up buying a second one since I couldn’t find the old one, and guess what I found while decluttering my house these last few weeks? That stupid old money belt.
I also found the iron that had been missing for a few years and I JUST replaced last month. This is exactly why it pays to declutter!
Spend an Hour Tidying Your Yard (Pull Those Weeds)
Finally, give your yard a little decluttering. You can pull a lot of weeds in an hour. You might not be able to clear the whole yard (I sure couldn’t) but start with a high traffic area like the path to the front door. This will give you the biggest impact.
Keep weeding an hour here and there until your yard is back in order. You might also want to check out my favorite must-have gardening tools to help.
I hope you’ll try one of these one-hour tidying projects to brighten up your home and make it easier to find the things that spark joy. Have fun!
Find more ideas for tidying up: