2 weeks 5 things challenge

Up for a challenge? Every other Monday I’m going to give you 5 categories of things to edit and organize. Why not every Monday? Because for most of you, to accomplish 5 tasks in 7 days is unrealistic.

It urks me when organizers say a task should take 10 minutes when for most people it will take an hour. To make someone feel bad about how long it takes them to do something is BS. Who cares if it takes you 5x longer than the winner of a marathon to finish the marathon? Finishing is all that matters.

Tell me what you think about the challenge and how you’re progress is going… Now get started!

For those of you with a drawer full of extra keys, separate out the ones that you cannot identify, recycle the ones that are obsolete and label the ones that you know with key tags or put labels directly on the keys. For the keys you can’t identify, give yourself a certain amount of time to try them or simply toss them in the recycle bin.

If you don’t already have a specific place for your everyday keys, find a spot near the door using a bowl, or a cool hook. The rest can reside together in an accessible drawer grouped in a ziplock bag.

Gather all unwanted mail for several days. Now get the phone. Using the info on the back of the catalogs, call and ask to have your name taken off their list and any other catalogs they’re associated with. Depending on how many catalogs you have, this will take about 1/2hr – 1hr. Know that when you online shop you’ll automatically get a catalog and they may sell your name to others. If your bank or cc sends you unwanted mail call them too. Click here for more ways to get your name off mailing lists.

The best way of keeping something under control is to not have to deal with it in the first place. After you make the calls, the mail should slowly stop coming. For some of you, you may have to repeat this once or twice a year (online shoppers) to keep on top of it.

Pull all the pieces you have out so you can see them all at once. Then group them how you use them: short trips, longer trips, etc. Think realistically what you need. Discard any broken or damaged pieces and donate any usable pieces that you don’t need. Just be sure to load it up with other things to donate beforehand.

If you travel often, keep those pieces close at hand while keeping the pieces you don’t use as much in a not as convenient place. Some people nest them but for some, it’s easier not to have to deal with that every time you leave town. I do suggest keeping anything you specifically use in the luggage itself like a blanket/scarf, neck pillow, adapters, etc.


Time to check the expiration dates on your medicines. Toss any liquid or gels that have expired, you can find the date on the end of the tube in the crinkled part. The solid pills,  unless they were in a hot damp space, can be kept up to 2 years past their expiration dates but more than that the medicinal value of the pill goes down too much to be effective. Some pharmacies take prescription pills  back to be destroyed just be sure to ask before bringing them in. Otherwise DO NOT flush pills down the toilet. Group them in a ziplock bag, crush, and mix with coffee grounds or other food trash and put in the trash.

Medicines should be stored in a cool dry place so ironically the bathroom cabinet is not always best. If there is something you use often or on a regular basis it can make sense to keep it in a convenient spot like the cabinet but for the rest of the ‘just in case’ items, they can be stored in an open bin or box in the linen closet or kitchen.


There’s a difference between keeping extras of products and hoarding products you’ll never use. If you’ve had something for years and haven’t used it by now it stands to reason you’ll never use it. Toiletries have an expiration date even if it’s not easily seen on the container. Here’s a great guide on how long different items last. For those you’re things you’re not sure of keep and make it a point to start using. Otherwise, they’re just taking up space.

As a general rule, the most often used products should be in the medicine cabinet with extras and things too big to fit in the upper cabinet in the cabinet below the sink. If you have travel items, separate them out for easily retrieval when needed. Most people find it easiest to keep in their most used travel bag.

5 responses

  1. If my apartment wasn’t flooded, I would totally take on this challenge. Can you do another one next month? :)

  2. that’s terrible! hope it gets resolved soon. come back to it when you can, i’ll be here. there’s no rush to start. just when you do, try to stick to the 2 week marker…

  3. I’m taking on the challenge! I’m at home sick today, so I think I’ll start with the junk mail. Do you know how to stop receiving flyers? Like the unaddressed ones from the grocery store?

  4. that’s great kay!! not that you’re sick, hope you feel better… good question about the flyers. let me see what i can find on stopping those….

  5. This is just what I needed to help me sort out my bathroom items after a renovation. I’ve been trying to only bring back in items that I use and ditch the rest. Thanks!