Mid-summer is the perfect time to be outside enjoying the warm weather, long days, and easy-going vibe of the season, so now is probably not when you want to tackle complex, in-depth organizing projects. But when you need a respite--on a rainy or scorchingly hot day, for example--a quick and easy project can be a great way to give yourself an organizational boost without a lot of time or effort.
Here are 5 projects you can do in 30 minutes or less, leaving you free to enjoy the outdoors again when the rain lets up or the thermometer falls below the 3-digit mark again.
#1: Do a Fridge and Freezer Triage
By this point in the summer, chances are good that your fridge and freezer have played host to supplies for--and leftovers from--at least one cookout, picnic, or party. Weeding out stuff that's past its prime or that you no longer need can help declutter your fridge and prevent messier, more unpleasant clean-ups later in the season. Have a few extra minutes to spare? Consider giving the shelves and walls of your fridge a once-over with a sponge and some soapy water.
#2: Clear Out a Junk Drawer
Stop gritting your teeth each time you need to fish for something in your junk drawer! Taking 30 minutes to toss what no longer needs to be here, and to reorganize what does, can be a huge stress-buster. Weed out any outdated take-out menus, old business cards, miscellaneous scraps of paper, non-working pens or broken pencils, and anything that's truly junk. Return to their proper homes any items that belong elsewhere, then use simple containers (zip-top bags, envelopes, checkbook boxes, and so on) to corral and organize the stuff that should remain here.
#3: Go Through Your Summer Clothes
Now that we're midway through the season, you probably have a pretty accurate picture of which of your summer clothes you've worn and which you haven't, making this the perfect time to do a bit of weeding in this department. If you want to start small, pick one type of clothing (t-shirts, say) and sort through it, setting aside for donation or disposal anything that doesn't fit, is damaged beyond repair, or that you simply don't want, like, or need. On the fence about something, or keeping it because you're convinced you'll wear it before the season ends? Give it a probationary period: if you don't wear it before, say, mid-August, out it goes.
#4: Slim Down Your Toiletry Collection
What's lurking in your medicine cabinet, under your bathroom sink, or in your linen closet? Now's the time to find out, and to do some weeding while you're at it. Pull out the various bottles, jars, and containers of toiletries and personal care products you've stored throughout the house. Toss any that have expired or are otherwise unusable. Consolidate multiple containers of the same kind of product (two half-full bottles of Shampoo X, for example). Make it a point in the coming weeks to use up the last little bits of mostly empty containers. Have products you don't use or want but don't want to throw away because they're perfectly usable? Offer them to friends or family members, or bring them to a local homeless or women's shelter.
#5: Tackle Your Reading Pile
Finally, if there's a stack of newspapers, magazines, and newsletters in your life, take a few minutes this month to go through it. Recycle outdated material, especially newspapers more than a few days old and magazines more than a few months old. If you're keeping magazines because they have articles you plan to read, tear out the articles and add them to a To Read folder--and then take that folder with you on your next trip to the pool, the beach, or your backyard hammock. Want to spend some quality time with a newspaper or magazine before you recycle it? Put it in your beach bag or briefcase so it'll be easily accessible when you have time for reading, whether while relaxing in the sun or on your way to work.