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Perform a “quick sweep” of an area. Get a basket and set a timer for five minutes (three if you’re feeling frightened by the amount of clutter). Choose a room to work in and focus only on that room while the timer is ticking. Pick up everything that is out of place, and put it in the basket. When the timer goes off, take the items to their proper places in the home.
Create a filing system. The initial time investment for this is larger than just a few minutes, but once established, it will save you hours. Your filing system should have spaces to address mail, bills, receipts, schoolwork and any other paper that comes into your home. Decide if you need it. If that piece of paper won't benefit you in a year, toss it. Each day, take a few minutes to file all the new paper that has come into the home.
Clean your dishes promptly, but take it a step further. When you’re finished with the dishes, load them directly into the dishwasher. As soon as the dishwasher is full, run it and then put the dishes away. Don’t leave them in the dishwasher until you need them again. If you don’t have a dishwasher, wash the dishes as soon as you’re finished with them. Instead of using a dish drain, take a few extra minutes to dry the dishes with a small towel before putting the dishes away.
Sort through your child’s toys quickly. Chances are, if it’s at the bottom of the toy box, your child has forgotten he even has it. To make quick work of this task, ask your child to help. Keep a trash bag and a bag for charity handy, and dump the whole toy box out on the floor. Pick up toys one at a time, and examine them to see if they are broken or missing pieces. If they are, put them in the garbage bag. If not, ask your child if he still wants the item. If he doesn’t, put it in the charity bag. If he does, place it back in the toy box.