Welcome to the Family Handyman 7-Day Organizing Challenge!

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Give us 30 minutes a day for one week and we’ll show you how to give your home the reset you crave. Your weeklong organizing challenge starts — and ends — here.

Want to show your home a little love by setting it up for a fresh start?

Take Family Handyman’s Home Organizing Challenge, by pro organizer and author of Keep This, Toss That Jamie Novak, designed to tackle seven of your home’s major problem areas — kitchen, garage, family room, bedroom, bathroom, laundry room and entryway. Do it with a friend to keep each other motivated. You’ll control clutter and create real change in just one week, 30 minutes per day.

Ready? Let’s start organizing!

Want to learn your organizing personality, to help your decluttering efforts? Take this quiz!

Day 1: Kitchen

Kitchen Organizing Challenge 1080pxFamily Handyman

Today’s Assignment

Match up and pare down your collection of food storage containers.

What You’ll Need

Set Your Timer for 20 Minutes and …

Take every last container out of wherever you’re storing them. Place them on the countertop, grouping them into three broad categories: large, medium and small. Now, match lids to containers. Recycle anything without a match, as well as those that are warped, cracked, melted, stained, peeling or won’t seal properly.

Wipe down the cabinet or drawer, then return only those containers that you reach for every day — about three of each size; large, medium and small. (If you pack lunches, you’ll likely need at least one additional container per person.) Save space by nesting the containers and storing all the lids upright (one of your lidless containers may be the perfect holder for these). Now relocate those few you use only occasionally, such as that extra-large one for toting salads to large gatherings, to an out of the way cabinet.

Did you free up some prime kitchen real estate? If so, use it to hold something typically kept on your countertop.

10-Minute Quick-Toss

Fill a donations bag with as many kitchen items as you can in 10 minutes. Think: duplicate kitchen utensils, small appliances gathering dust, gadgets you never reach for, multiple vases and extra water bottles and travel mugs.

Need More?

A few more kitchen-organizing options for overachievers and quick workers:

  • De-junk the junk drawer. Toss the trash, then group and return, neater than before. Separate like items with a drawer organizer or lidless containers.
  • Sort the spices. Toss what’s expired, then alphabetize the keepers, for easy access.
  • Create your own cabinet pull-outs. This Family Handyman DIYU Quick Class teaches you how to convert a static kitchen cupboard into a useful rollout storage space in a weekend.
  • Straighten out the under-sink space. Pull everything out and return only what truly belongs there.

Product Spotlight: A proper plasticware lid organizer keeps your container’s top ready and waiting.

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You Did It! Now Share Your Success.

No more daily sessions of Container Matching Game for you. Share your progress on Instagram — a before-and-after, or just a final beauty shot of your quick work. Tag us @familyhandyman and use #FamilyHandymanOrganizingChallenge, too, and so we can admire your new neat container setup!

Day 2: Garage

Garage Organizing Challenge 1080pxFamily Handyman

Today’s Assignment

Organize your outdoor gear.

What You’ll Need

  • Cleaning cloth,
  • Multipurpose cleaner,
  • Air pump (as needed),
  • Donation-collection box or bag.

Set Your Timer for 20 Minutes and …

Sort through your outdoorsy things — beach chairs, picnic coolers and sports equipment. Group similar items, such as gardening with gardening, pool gear with pool gear — wiping down as necessary and weeding out duplicates, wrongly sized, unused or damaged items as you go.

Make note of any bins, hooks or simple shelving that might make your garage more usable. Rethink storage locations and swap any that don’t make sense, keeping in mind that the things you use most often right now should be the easiest to reach. (If that changes by season, consider trading locations seasonally, too.)

Finally, refill deflated sports balls so they’re ready when needed.

10-Minute Quick-Toss

Any part of the garage is fair game! Think: rusty tools, cracked ice scrapers, outgrown toys, partially used cleaners, broken home décor and those items that found a home here because you didn’t know where else to put them. Time to donate what you can — and toss the rest.

Need More?

A few more garage organizing options for overachievers and quick workers:

  • Tidy the garbage and recycling station. Break down boxes and wipe down the bins.
  • Sweep up! See where additional well-placed floor mats might help, too.
  • Customize your garage space. This Family Handyman DIYU Quick Class provides tips for every type of garage storage space — small, large, flexible and more.

Product Spotlight: No more stacking and unstacking bins or worries about damaging items: This inexpensive bin warehouse makes it easy to slide each one away into its own cubby. We have lots of DIY garage storage ideas, too, including both overhead bin and pegboard systems.

Shop Now

You Did It! Now Share Your Success.

You just made sense of the garage and maybe even freed up a little wiggle room. Share your progress on Instagram — a before-and-after, or just a final beauty shot of your quick work. Tag us @familyhandyman and use #FamilyHandymanOrganizingChallenge, too, so we can cheer you on!

Day 3: Family Room

Living Room Organizing Challenge 1080pxFamily Handyman

Today’s Assignment

Organize the media and entertainment center.

What You’ll Need

  • Dusting cloth,
  • Donation-collection box or bag.

Set Your Timer for 20 Minutes and …

Remove everything from the entertainment center shelves, cubbies and cabinets. Dust the whole unit before replacing only the items you still need and love, grouping similar things together — games with games, media with media — and leaving space to display any treasured items or collectables.

If your unit doesn’t have closed storage, make note of anything you’d prefer to conceal (think: the gaming console and accessories). Take measurements and find a pretty right-sized bin that fits.

10-Minute Quick-Toss

Look for quick-decision items to recycle or donate, such as old magazines, unfilled photo frames, DVDs you won’t watch or extra decks of playing cards.

Need More?

A few more family room organizing options for overachievers and quick workers:

  • Tackle the family room’s mess magnet. It’s that one place (a corner chair or coffee table, maybe?) that tends to get covered by clutter.
  • Sort through coffee or end table drawers. Remove anything you no longer need or want.
  • Dust and straighten up the bookcase. Tidy and re-arrange everything to your liking.

Product Spotlight: A remote caddy keeps the controller stylishly contained someplace other than under the couch cushions.

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You Did It! Now Share Your Success.

You now have more room to being a family together. Share your progress on Instagram — a before-and-after, or just a final beauty shot of your quick work. Tag us @familyhandyman and use #FamilyHandymanOrganizingChallenge, too, so we can check out that tidy entertainment center!

Day 4: Bedroom

Bedroom Organizing Challenge 1080pxFamily Handyman

Today’s Assignment

Clearing the nightstands.

What You’ll Need

  • Dusting cloth,
  • Donation-collection box or bag.

Set Your Timer for 20 Minutes and …

Visible clutter has no place in a space made for rest. Remove everything, dust, then replace only the essentials you use on a nightly basis. Things that should live on or in the nightstand include a good book or two, a coaster for your water glass, a notepad with pen, an eye mask, a flashlight (in the event of a power outage), tissues and moisturizers for your hands, body and lips. Use any freed-up drawer space for any items living on the top of the nightstand that would be better tucked away (hint: that means most things).

Consider trading your bedside phone charger for an alarm clock, so you can remove that sleeptime distraction. At the very least, set your phone alarm and charge it across the room, out of immediate reach.

10-Minute Quick-Toss

Fill a bag with as many things as you can to donate in 10 minutes. Think: clothes that don’t fit your body or style, extra toss pillows and hangers, book you won’t read.

Need More?

A few more bedroom organizing options for overachievers and quick workers:

  • Clean out what’s under the bed. This is an all-too-common place to shove things and forget them.
  • Clear all surfaces. The dresser top, especially, tends to become a dumping ground for random stuff. Take note of what items piles up here and create dedicated nearby storage for them.
  • Face all hanging clothes the same way. When you return items after wearing and washing, face them the opposite way. After a few months, you’ll easily i.d. clothes you could potentially part with.

Product Spotlight: A sunrise-simulation alarm clock helps break the bedside phone habit and delivers a nice, gentle morning wake-up. Some come with multiple light colors and natural “alarm” sounds.

Shop Now

You Did It! Now Share Your Success.

You carved out a relaxing space primed for a good night’s sleep. Share your progress on Instagram — a before-and-after, or just a final beauty shot of your quick work. Tag us @familyhandyman and use #FamilyHandymanOrganizingChallenge, too, so we can take inspiration from your clutter-free sleep space!

Day 5: Bathroom

Bathroom Organizing Challenge 1080pxFamily Handyman

Today’s Assignment

Declutter the medicine cabinet.

What You’ll Need:

  • Cleaning cloth,
  • Multipurpose cleaner,
  • Donation-collection box or bag.

Set Your Timer for 20 Minutes and …

Take everything out and wipe down the shelves. Toss old makeup, gunky toiletries, expired medications, dull nail clippers and those almost-empty bottles taking up space. Replace the keepers, setting daily-use items front-and-center and grouping similar items together — all face care or manicure items, for example. Use any freed-up space to store items taking up space on your vanity top.

10-Minute Quick-Toss

Let go of things like outdated makeup, old shower loofahs, ratty towels, unused bath salts, shower products you never touch and hair appliances you never reach for.

Need More?

A few more bathroom organizing options for overachievers and quick workers:

  • Deal with all outdated medications and supplements. Find a local dropoff option. Alternatively, the FDA advises removing drugs from their original container and mixing them with something undesirable, such as used coffee grounds or cat litter. To prevent leakage, put the mixture in a sealable storage bag or coffee can, then toss it in the trash.
  • Pare down your bath towels. Keep just two per person in the house, plus an extra two for overnight guests.
  • Sort out trouble spots. Think: under the sink or vanity drawers. Group like items in shallow containers to prevent small things from getting misplaced.

Product Spotlight: These small, clear compartmental organizers are slim enough to fit in the medicine cabinet, short enough to tuck into drawers and pretty enough to leave out on the vanity.

Shop Now

You Did It! Now Share Your Success.

You just created a bathroom that won’t add stress to your morning and evening routines. Share your progress on Instagram — a before-and-after, or just a final beauty shot of your quick work. Tag us @familyhandyman and use #FamilyHandymanOrganizingChallenge, too, so we can see that clutter-free cabinet!

Day 6: Laundry Room

Laundry Room Organizing Challenge 1080pxFamily Handyman

Today’s Assignment

Tidy the laundry room.

What You’ll Need

  • Cleaning cloth,
  • Multipurpose cleaner,
  • Distilled vinegar,
  • Bucket,
  • Scrub brush,
  • Donation-collection box or bag.

Set Your Timer for 20 Minutes and …

Remove laundry detergents, bottles and boxes from cabinets and/or shelves. Wipe the shelves  down, removing any stubborn detergent drips. Then replace only the items you use, grouping like items together. Consider corralling them in a plastic bin, to contain inevitable drips.

Next up: the machines. Remove the detergent dispenser and soak it in warm water. Meanwhile, wipe down the machines, inside and out, using a 50/50 solution of warm water and distilled white vinegar. (Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines first, to ensure they don’t require a different, specific cleaning solution.) Scrub the dispenser clean, then replace.

10-Minute Quick-Toss

Discard dried-up stain sticks and broken hangers, recycle empty detergent bottles and boxes from fabric softener sheets. Finally donate any clothes that never seem to make it out of the laundry room and toss those socks forever waiting for their long-lost mates to show up. Also: Pet shelters are typically happy to receive half-empty detergent donations.

Need More?

A few more laundry room organizing options for overachievers and quick workers:

  • Round up two key containers: A small basket, to neatly collect all the random items that come out of pockets before the clothes hit the wash; and a small trash can, for lint and laundry refuse.
  • Deep clean the lint trap with a rag and a paint stir stick.

Product Spotlight:  This super inexpensive dryer lint-cleaning combo pack includes a vacuum attachment and a brush, for a deep and thorough cleaning.

Shop Now

You Did It! Now Share Your Success.

You streamlined and cleaned your laundry space, which is sure make laundry time a little less stressful. Share your progress on Instagram — a before-and-after, or just a final beauty shot of your quick work. Tag us @familyhandyman and use #FamilyHandymanOrganizingChallenge, too, so we can admire your neat laundry room!

Day 7: Entryway

Entryway Organizing Challenge 1080pxFamily Handyman

Today’s Assignment

Straighten up the entryway.

What You’ll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner or broom,
  • Peel-and-stick hooks (as needed),
  • Donation-collection box or bag.

Set Your Timer for 20 Minutes and …

Empty the entryway closet. Remove the coats, shoes, umbrellas, bags — every last thing that’s stuffed in there. Vacuum or sweep the floor of the closet before returning the items you need easy access to. If the closet is really small, that means only the things you use regularly, such as daily-use outerwear, bags, shoes, etc. Things you don’t use as often can live on the upper shelf. Store off-season items elsewhere.

Add peel-and-stick hooks in or near the closet for key grab-and-go items such as a dog leash, purse or favorite sweatshirt. And if you don’t have a shoe rack, consider adding a basket to the entry or closet floor to contain shoes and prevent them from taking over the entryway.

This closet is a prime place to stash things that don’t have a home. Now’s the time to find those items a nice permanent place to live.

10-Minute Quick-Toss

Create more storage space by letting go of items like single mittens, unworn shoes, outgrown jackets (check the pockets first!) and spare tote bags.

Need More?

A few more entryway organizing options for overachievers and quick workers:

  • Start a donations bag. Tuck it into a closet corner or hang it up. Every time you find come across something you can give away, stick it in the bag. When it fills off, it’s time to donate.
  • Deal with the mail. Recycle the junk, and sort the rest. If mail is an ongoing clutter-causer for you, create a small, portable (and stashable) mail station with folders for coupons, reference items, things that need immediate attention (such as bills) and those that aren’t as urgent.

Product Spotlight: We consider an entryway landing spot a necessity that helps you keep track of things like earbuds, mail and keys, while keeping the space neat, too. There’s almost always room for one, too, whether wall-mount or freestanding. We have lots of DIY entryway ideas, too.

Shop Now

You Did It! Now Share Your Success.

No more entryway mess to greet everyone who enters. Share your progress on Instagram — a before-and-after, or just a final beauty shot of your quick work. Tag us @familyhandyman and use #FamilyHandymanOrganizingChallenge, too, so we can admire your welcoming entryway!

YOU DID IT!

Congratulations on completing the Family Handyman 7-Day Organizing Challenge! Be sure to share your biggest organizing win with us on Facebook or Instagram. Tag us @familyhandyman and use #FamilyHandymanOrganizingChallenge, too, so we can celebrate with you!

Don’t forget to deal with the week’s donations, either by dropping them off or scheduling a pickup.

And, our parting gift to you, a few household tips to help keep your home calm and clutter-free moving forward. (Download or print them here as a reminder, if you like.)

  • Find a home for everything. Return it there as soon as you are finished using it. Now you’ll always know where to find what you’re looking for.
  • Follow the one minus two rule. When you bring home one new thing, let two old things go.
  • Schedule weekly tidy-ups. Put them in your calendar! This will go a long way towards keeping the clutter under control. Remember: Organizing is not a one-time event.