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5-Minute organizing

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Get your kids involved

I am not what you could call a neat freak. Not at all. (My friends from real life who are reading this? Stop snorting, please.) I try, really I do, but it's just not me. There is a level of organization, however, even if it's not obvious or pristine; there are limits to my clutter. When I reach them, organizing in several five-minute bursts is a great way to keep it all under more reasonable control.

Get your kids involved

When I'm feeling overwhelmed by the clutter or tasks at hand and have no time for a big cleanout or organizing push, I find that taking five minutes to do a quick cleanup in one specific area is a great way to clear out some clutter -- both the physical and that in my brain -- and refocus.

Set a time, put on some music, and just go. Throw stuff away, organize to-do piles, whatever. Just take that short bit of time to pull it all back toward center.

>> Tips for organizing the 5 messiest areas of your home

When the task feels daunting

Sometimes, when the family schedule is on overload, things can get out of whack quickly. When you are not home for three nights in a row due to sports, school events, and more sports and school events, things can go from "just fine" to "please don't let the neighbor stop by" before you even realize it.

Five-minute reorgs won't solve all your problems in this circumstance, but they will help you put a dent into the situation in the time you have -- before the next sports game or school event.

>> 15 Organizing gadgets for moms

The whole household benefits

I've started including my kids in my five-minutes reorgs, and it has made a huge difference in the house. They hate the long cleanups as much as any kid, but the five minutes is relatively manageable. The kids stay focused, and we actually get quite a bit done.

We've started extending this five-minute cleanup effort beyond the house to the yard. When all the sports equipment is all over the yard, calling a five-minute cleanup of equipment is a good way to keep track of all the stuff and make the yard safe for continued play.

Five minutes of cleaning and reorganization won't get everything perfect, but it can go a long way toward sanity.

Tell us: How do you get your kids to help with cleaning and organizing? Comment below!

How can you get your kids to help clean?

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