When your days are filled to the brim, it can be hard to find time to get to all of the decorating and organizing projects you want to finish. But what if you didn’t have to carve out an entire morning to tick something off your list? The truth is, we can accomplish quite a lot in a short amount of time with the right focus. You can fit these 15 bite-size projects into spare pockets of time — so the next time you are on hold or waiting for clothes to come out of the dryer, you can probably complete one of these projects and make your home a neater, more beautiful place to be.
1. Arrange a bunch of flowers. Make that little bouquet you treated yourself to at the market go further by divvying it up among several small containers. Try Moroccan tea glasses, stemless wineglasses or teacups — just cut the stems short and plunk them in. Cluster at least three small vases together for the best effect.
2. Create a collection. Take a spin through your house, grabbing like items to create a quick collection — look for items all in the same color and cluster them on a shelf or on your mantel.
3. Line a cabinet with pretty paper. Not wallpaper — that would definitely take more than 15 minutes. But you can use pretty wrapping paper and double-sided tape to create a similar look in a fraction of the time. Remove the shelves, measure, cut and tape up paper, then replace the shelves. The really great thing about using wrapping paper is that you can change it out whenever the mood strikes.
4. Clean the porch. Grab a stiff-bristled outdoor broom and head outside. Starting up high, use your broom to brush away cobwebs and dust from the porch ceiling, the walls and, finally, the floor. Use the last few minutes to clear away any clutter that has accumulated near the front door, shake out your doormat and test your porch light.
5. Consider a color scheme. Do you have a bunch of fabric samples and paint chips lying around, just waiting for you to make a decision? Set a timer and spend 15 minutes putting together a few combinations that catch your eye. Sometimes we come up with our best ideas when we don’t have time to overthink.
6. Style your coffee table. Go grab a tray, a few books with pretty covers, a small vase or candle, and a few small decorative objects. Place the tray on your coffee table or ottoman. Stack the books on the tray, place the vase or candle next to the books, and set one small decorative object atop the stack of books and another beside the stack.Voilà, your coffee table is styled!
7. Make your bed … really nicely. Be honest — how are your daily bed-making skills? If you peeked into my bedroom on any given day, you’d see it probably would be thrown together. But coming home to a really beautifully made bed is so heartening, and it doesn’t take much extra time. Plump your pillows, smooth your sheets (tuck in the top sheet so it’s not dangling) and place a blanket folded in thirds at the foot. You could also “borrow” a decorative pillow or two from the living room for extra oomph.
8. Put together a chic bar tray. Place a tray atop a console table. Cluster two to five bottles of liquor and flavor additions (bitters etc.) in one back corner of the tray. Plunk a handful of lemons or limes in a bowl in a front corner and line up four to six glasses of your choice front and center. Fill in the gaps with a bud vase, a bottle opener and decorative objects.
(I’m trying this one tomorrow!)
9. Clean glass and mirrors. Arm yourself with a stack of fresh microfiber cloths and water, or your glass cleanser of choice. Set the timer and make your way from room to room, swiping mirrors, glass tables and windows until the bell rings.
10. Organize accessories. Depending on how many accessories you have, this could take longer than 15 minutes, but it should at least give you a good start. Take out bags and purses and completely empty them, then line them up neatly on shelves or hang them on hooks. Sort through that tangle of scarves and belts, placing frequently used ones in an accessible spot.
11. Streamline toiletries. Sorting out your toiletries can make for smoother mornings, and it will probably take you a lot less time than you think. Toss toiletries that are expired, look funky or are never used. Sort what’s left according to the order you use the products in each morning, then wipe off grungy bottles and clean the shelves.
12. Fancify your bathroom. Take everything off your sink and wipe it down; put back only your prettiest soap, a candle or two, and a small vase of flowers. Go grab a stack of fresh washcloths and bath towels, and roll them before placing them in a basket or on a tray.
13. Ready your guest room for surprise guest! Prepare fresh linen and towels, and a few mini toiletries, so the next time you find out your getting some last minute guest, your fully prepared!
14. Write an inspiring quote on your chalkboard. Have a message board or chalkboard wall? Take a few minutes to look up a quote that inspires you, either in a book of quotations or online, and write it as neatly as possible on your chalkboard.
15. Care for your houseplants. Houseplants with large leaves (like rubber plants) get dusty; wiping them down with a soft cloth will make them look much more vibrant. Pull off dead leaves and water plants as needed. If you tend to be neglectful of your houseplants, take a moment to write “Water plants” in your calendar each week.