10 Organizing Hacks You Can Do in 15 Minutes or Less

Get organized without getting overwhelmed: These hacks and apps can help streamline your life—and none of them takes longer than 15 minutes to finish.

Organizing Hacks Hands Using Phone App Tara Donne

1. Corral all your digital recipes in one place...

...by downloading the Paprika app ($5 and up), suggests Parents food editor Jenna Helwig. “I love this app because it automatically syncs between my phone, tablet, and laptop and even works off line,” says Helwig, who credits the app with getting her bookmarked recipes in order.

2. Create a standing list...

...of your family’s staples and save it to your phone, suggest Joni Weiss and Kitt Fife, of Practically Perfect, a professional organization company. Parents editors love the Grocery iQ app (above), which allows you to add specific products to your list and share it with your partner.

3. Simplify and protect your passwords...

...with an app like Dashlane, which stores and manages passwords in a digital vault, so you never have to remember whether it’s pineapple2016 or fluffypuppy!5 again. Once you’re set up, the app can automatically populate itself with the passwords that it finds in your browser, saving you the trouble of having to manually import each one.

4. Clear the clutter from your voicemail box.

Leave only the messages that you still need to return. (Chances are you’ve texted them already anyway!)

5. Streamline your smartphone...

...by putting your apps into folders, suggest Ashley Murphy and Molly Graves, cofounders of NEAT Method. For example, Instagram addicts can group all their photoediting tools in one spot. Instead of scrolling through dozens of screens, you’ll be able to quickly find your tiles from your home screen. Keep your favorite apps out on their own for easy access and move your most-used ones to the lower corners.

6. Organize your leftovers.

Murphy and Graves suggest using erasable ink or labels on your leftover containers so you don’t let them sit in the refrigerator for too long. If leftovers tend to get lost in your fridge, relocate them onto one shelf together.

7. Make space (and some cash!) with the online clothing consignment shop thredUP.

Order a Clean Out Bag at thredup.com, and identify like-new shoes, garments, and accessories (yours and your kids’) to sell or donate. ThredUP will send you a prepaid shipping bag to send your clothing items in. Once you’ve filled it up, you can drop it at the post office. ThredUP will recycle or pass along any items they don’t accept.

8. Set up a “too small” bin in your child’s closet...

...suggest Katie and Kelly McMenamin, coauthors of Organize Your Way. You or your child can easily toss in clothing items as you discover that they no longer fit, then you can weed through the bin once it’s full. 

9. Fight the battle against junk mail with Unsubscriber...

...which is an inbox helper that notifies senders that you want to unsubscribe from their email list. Until then, any new emails from an unwanted sender are moved to an Unsubscribe folder, so your inbox is clear for more important messages. (Unsubscriber works across major email providers.)

10. Make a digital photo album of the paint-can labels... 

...with your smartphone, so you’ll have the color numbers and finishes, if you ever do need to repaint, suggest Weiss and Fife. (Don’t forget to make a note of which walls each color is for!) Then open up the old cans to dry out the paint before you toss them (if you have a full can, add cat litter to soak it up).