Can you relate to this? Often a weekend will seem to fold out in front of me, fresh and long and full of promise, on Friday…but when I don’t actually make a decision about how I’ll use my time (and gather the necessary supplies or know-how) ahead of time, it’s only to easy to find myself, Sunday evening, wondering where all that time went.
If home projects are on your mind this October, I thought I’d re-post a list I created last year of weekend tasks you can take care of even if you have seriously limited time. Even just knocking one or two of these off the list will help you feel a sense of accomplishment – and I often notice that getting one thing “done” leads to me doing more and more (whereas, if I start off a Saturday sitting in front of Facebook eating chips and salsa, that’s pretty much where I’m stuck until Sunday evening.) Some of the items on this list are from last year’s post, but I added a few more in each category for fresh inspiration.
If you have fifteen minutes:
- De-clutter one surface in your home. Maybe it’s the dining-room table, maybe it’s the kitchen counter, maybe it’s that table by the front door that’s turned into a dumping ground. (If you determine that any of the items on the surface are destined for donation to a charity, do yourself a favor and take that bag or box to the car RIGHT AWAY so it doesn’t turn into more clutter!)
- Find all the tools that have gone astray around the house, yard, or garage, and return them to their rightful home (bigger kids can easily help with this.) Next time you need to repair a wiggling table leg, you won’t have to go on a mad hunt for a screwdriver.
- Hang those pictures that have been sitting in the corner for weeks. It’s a crummy job, but you’ll feel so good when it’s done.
- Replace an outdated, banged-up or paint-splattered doorknob. It’s an easy and inexpensive switch that can make a big difference, and even DIY newbs can do it. Just make sure you install bathroom and bedroom doors with the lock on the inside. Don’t ask how I know this.
If you have a half-hour:
- Go through your drawers and closet and determine if you have any clothes you can pass on to a shelter or charity. I know it’s been an unseasonably warm autumn in some areas, but if you haven’t already, you might want to start planning how you’ll deal with the end-of-season clothing transition. Here’s my simple method for dealing with off-season clothes.
- Do you know where all your appliance’s warranties and owner’s manuals are? If you have to think for more than a minute, it might be time to go around the house gathering them up out of random drawers and put them in a central location.
- While you’re at it, if you have time, attend to the rest of the paper in your house and create a system! If you’re looking for ideas, here are my tips for managing paper clutter.
- Straighten up your plastic containers. This might mean tossing a few pieces, especially those who have lost their lids – are you really going to keep putting foil over the top of that flimsy cheapo container that was designed to be practically disposable? I’m working on my kitchen this October, and one of my projects is going to include throwing away almost all our cheap plastic storage containers, save a few we use for the kids’ lunches or keep on hand for sending food home with guests, and replacing them with glass or more durable plastics. EDITED TO ADD: Months after writing this, I did manage to get rid of almost all our plasticware!
If you have an hour:
- Go on a battery-changing/battery-charging spree. Smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, flashlights, remote controls, etc. If you have time left over you could also do a light bulb spree. It’s not that your eyes are going bad; your bathroom’s dim because two of the three bulbs are burned out! While you’re at it, consider switching to compact fluorescent bulbs. You’ll spend a little more up front but you won’t have to perform this task again nearly as soon.
- Pull everything out of a closet in your house. Get rid of some of it. Put the rest back…but better, this time.
- Take some serious time to consider your organizational needs in just one room of your house. Look around with a critical eye. What junk tends to pile up in here? Is there a way to contain it or corral it into another area of the house? What makes you crazy about the room? What do you love? Bring a pad of paper and a pen with you and jot down what you’d like to do to make the room more functional and whether that will require any purchases. New furniture or organizing supplies might not be in the budget right now, but when they are, you’ll know what to get.
I’d love to hear your ideas or plans for using weekend free time. What would you add to my list?