15 Minute Organizing: A Powerful Way to Get Things Done

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by Robin

15 minute organizing

It's amazing what can be accomplished in 15 minutes.  We've all got 4 of these blocks of time in every hour.  I know, that's obvious to everyone else, but to me this is a epiphany of sorts.

It is incredibly easy to blow 15 minutes: checking updates on facebook, admiring organizing ideas on Pinterest or, for me, playing Risk on my (secondhand) iPad.

We all need time to unwind, I'm the last person to knock a bit of that.  But,  an inspiring post by Rita from This Sorta Old Life got me thinking:  

What could I accomplish if I took just one of those 15 minute blocks of time each day to improve something in my home?

Well, I've tried it for a couple of weeks now and I'm hooked!  (I'm groaning at myself as I type this, on account of this post, which is about hooks.  You groaning now, too?)

My 15 Minute task today is something that has been bothering me for 5 years.  Five years of irritation gone in 15 Minutes!  

It's a little bit embarrassing, but this has been our "storage solution" for our family's lunch bags:

Yep, a big old pile on the floor.  Every single time I dropped a bag on the floor I said, "I've got to come up with something better than this."

Finally, I did.   Is it gorgeous?  Nope.  It's not going to garner a spot on anyone's "Organizing Inspiration" Pinterest board.  But it's something more important than lovely to look at.  It's done!  

Enter Command Hooks from 3M.  (They aren't a sponsor or anything.  We aren't getting anything from telling you about these products, we just think they're super-duper.)   There was a 30% off sale on these beauties at our local hardware store.  Inspiration + Opportunity = no longer kitchen slobs!

We splurged on the pretty, shiny ones.  We're all class.

Then we just followed the directions.  We cleaned the wall with rubbing alcohol and let it dry.

No cupboards were harmed in the making of this post.  Thanks to you, 3M geniuses!

I put a tiny pencil mark where I wanted the top of the hook.  

Here I'm testing out where the lunch bags will hang and marking the spot with a pencil.  Scintillating stuff!

We added the adhesive strip to the back of the hook.

Then Ed just peeled the strip off the back and held the hook in place.

DIY in a shirt and tie.  Like I said, we're all class.

Ta da!

So tidy!  I wonder if we'll miss finding stray dog hairs in our lunches?

Such a simple project.  15 minutes just erased 5 years of frustration and embarrassment.  The reason we're so dressed up in the photos is that we did this after work on a weekday while making supper.   It was that easy.

I've been inspired by 15 minute projects lately.  They are so accessible!  

It can be overwhelming to look at a whole kitchen that needs organizing.  But one drawer?  That could take only a few minutes.  It's a great place to start.  And really, isn't it usually the getting started part that is the hardest?

Here's some of the things I've done lately, and most didn't even take the whole 15:

  • Organized my son's sock, underwear and pyjama drawer.  I had been over-thinking how to section the drawer for months.  In 5 minutes I dropped 2 shoe boxes in the drawer, one for socks and one for underwear.  Jammies live free range in the open area.  Done.

  • Inspired by my underwear success, I went through my own drawer and tossed all the pairs that were begging for it.  (Too much info?) 

  • Put away our summer clothes in two 15 minute sessions: 1) summer shoes 2) summer clothes.
  • Tidied the junk drawer.  Made the commitment to stop saving bread ties.  I have never once reused one, but have saved them for years.

  • Purged some old toys.  Washed them up and added them to the Donation Station to go out with the next pick up.

15 minutes can be powerful!  Is there a project at your house that you could finish in 15 minutes? 


  1. I just love this- I've used the 15 minute timer method for keep focussed on cleaning from the infamous Flylady. And recently I'd read an article on tackling the unattended small jobs that get in the way of everyday life- small jobs that just make some aspects of daily life easier. It was a light bulb moment but I still hadn't put some of these items to the top of my list.

    This post inspires me to put the 2 together. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. I tried following Flylady in the past. We do one thing of hers: clean our sink each night. I couldn't keep up with the rest - anything too rigid and prescriptive and I rebel! But this 15 minute thing - works for me - glad it inspired you too. :)

  2. OK, now you're inspiring me! Isn't it crazy how we let things bug us for so long, and the fixes can be so quick? Thanks for linking to us. Thank you more for giving me some encouragement to keep going. (And I'm with you on FlyLady...)

  3. Your lunchbox solution is so creative! Love it!! I live & die by my timer - it really is amazing what we can do in 15 minutes. Great post! :)

    1. Thanks, Casey! You've got great ideas on your blog - gorgeous photos too!

  4. Hey, that's pretty cool! I seriously need to get some of those command hooks! I love that they don't involve nails. I could use some on the inside of some deep cupboards, lol!

    Isn't it amazing how much value just a few minutes have to making our homes run more smoothly? We used to do a whole house pickup at 7 p.m. for years when we'd all run around and pick up and put away before getting the kids ready for bed. It only took 15 minutes and was part of the kids' bedtime routine.

    Now I do something I call "Lazy Mom" cleaning and sometimes I use t.v. commercials to get something done, lol!

    1. Thanks for your comment! We're really happy with the command hooks - if we'd used regular one's with screws we would have gone right through the cupboard! So it's the perfect temporary solution. :)

  5. I used the command hooks to get my granddaughter ready for preschool for her backpack and her sweaters/jackets. I have the small ones in my bathroom to hang my necklaces on.

    1. Those are great ideas, Cheryl! I like these hooks for Christmas decorations, too!

  6. You're brilliant! I just spent half a day (with help from a friend who should have been a professional organizer) to get out of overwhelm mode--you know that one--when just looking at the mess makes you want to go crawl under the covers. Anyway, after she left I was inspired to clean out one basket where I tossed any number of different kinds of yarn. I swear it didn't take more than 15 minutes and I felt so much better. I think that 15 minutes a day could change my life! By the way, I adore Command hooks. Because of the construction here in Ecuador I can't use them on the walls but I use them to hold a sun catcher in the kitchen window, on the side of the fridge, on the back of a door, everywhere but on painted walls, and they're fabulous!

    I'm so glad I found you on Pinterest!

    1. I'm glad you found us, too, Cynthia! I continue to be amazed by what I can accomplish in little 15 minute bursts. Thanks for your comment - I checked out your blog - your Ecuador photos look amazing! Definitely a place on our travel list. :) Robin

  7. so glad I found this via pinterest! Definitely a great idea to think of tasks in 15 minute chunks. A lot less overwhelming that way! Will definitely be using the 15 minute method now! :)

    1. I'm glad you found this too, Ashley! Thanks for stopping to leave a comment - I love reading that an idea has helped someone! :) Robin


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