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Want to get organized? Take the challenge

In part one of a special four-week series on TODAY, lifestyle expert Elizabeth Mayhew offers daily tasks for tackling your home's clutter.

Getting organized is all about saving time and with simple clutter-busting assignments that you can do in bite-size chunks, it’s so easy to get going, you might actually want to get started right away! In week one of a special four-part series on TODAY, lifestyle expert Elizabeth Mayhew tackles the first set of assignments — when you walk in your door! Here are her tips:

Day 1: Manage the Mail

Your Assignment: From this day forward, you will change your patterns of behavior.

  • Pick up your mail and walk directly to a garbage can (preferably a paper recycling bin) and toss anything that you don’t need. Only bring bills, invitations, or important papers into your house. Get rid of the rest — immediately. 
  • Catalogs are one of the worst causes of paper clutter! Unless you have plans to order something from a catalog within the week, toss it. Keep a list of your favorite catalogs’ websites, so you can access their virtual pages and keep the paper build up to a minimum.
  • Establish a central dumping ground for your mail and make a habit of going through it weekly (at least). I suggest having an inbox that is only large enough to hold one week’s worth of mail; when it overflows, it is time to tackle it. Pick one day in the week (maybe Mail Mondays...You can start today!) during which you sort, pay, shred, or respond to mail.

Things you might need:

Garbage/recycling bin:From Stacks and stacksFrom the Containerstore

Letter trays:From the Container StoreFrom The Container Store

Console from Brocade HomeCasa Casa tray from Decor Craft, Inc.

Time you will save: When searching for bills or important mail in a pile of junk mail and catalogs, you can waste up to 20 minutes (even more if you misplaced the pile of mail altogether!). Those 20 minutes over one week adds up to over 1 1/2 hours…the average time of a feature film! Think of all of the Oscar hopefuls you could have watched!

For days two through five, got to iVillage and join the iGet Organized Community Challenge.