Saturday, May 22, 2010

How to Declutter in 15 Minutes a Day

If you've got piles of clutter everywhere, it can be quite overwhelming. But, I'm here to tell you that it really is possible to declutter in just 15 minutes a day. After a few days of 15-minute decluttering sessions, your house will feel tidier and you'll feel empowered. That overwhelming feeling will start to dissolve with every small, but effective decluttering project you tackle!

The cool thing is that you can do this no matter how busy you are. If you're homeschooling six kids, have a newborn, work full time or all of the above, it's still likely that you have 15 minutes in your day to carve out for decluttering. If you need to, you can even split the 15 minutes up into three different sessions and still make a big impact on your house.

Here's how to declutter your house in 15 minutes a day:

Gather Decluttering Supplies

Before you begin, you'll need to gather a few, essential decluttering supplies. You'll need a garbage bag, two boxes or laundry baskets, a timer and a small, but cluttered spot in your house. The garbage bag is for garbage, of course. One of the boxes is for things that can be donated and the other is for things that go somewhere else in the house. The timer is so you can work without constantly looking at the clock. That 15 minutes goes by fast when you're not clock-watching!

Pick a Good Spot to Declutter

You may have whole rooms or other large areas that need decluttering, but you need to focus on a small area to be a successful 15-minutes a day declutterer. Instead of decluttering the kitchen, pick one cupboard or one section of counter. Instead of tackling a closet, focus on the top shelf of the closet. Keep it small so that you can finish in 15 minutes. If you find the decluttering project was a breeze and you have time left over, you can use the remaining minutes to wipe down cupboard doors, sweep the floor or do dishes.

Set the Timer and GO!

Set the timer for 15 minutes and start decluttering. Pull everything out of the small space. Throw any garbage you find into the trash bag. It's surprising how many broken toys, unmatched gloves and other types of trash appear. Sort everything else into a pile to keep, the box to donate or the box to put in other parts of the house. Replace the things that go back in the decluttered area neatly. If there's a lot of dust or animal fur, you may want to quickly vacuum or wipe the area. Take the box of items that belong elsewhere in the house and put them away. Put the trash in the garbage can and set the box of items to donate in a spot where you'll remember to take it out of the house as soon as possible. That's it. Your 15 minutes should be just about over. If you went over the time, try to pick a smaller spot the next time.

Repeat Daily

Make this a daily habit or at least a several-times-a-week habit. You'll quickly be surprised at how big an impact 15-minute decluttering sessions have on your whole house.

Now that you've got the hang of it and are on your way to a tidier house, there's just one word of caution. Try not to leave a decluttering project unfinished. If, for some reason, you can't complete the 15 minutes, don't walk away from the clutter. Come back to it later and take a minute to put it back in the closet or where ever it came from. Leaving it out makes the house look worse and can deflate a resolve to declutter quickly.


  1. I Tell all of my customers that the easiest way to make a considerable difference in the cleanliness of there house, is to declutter. Great article!


  2. Great post. I especially like the idea of picking a small, defined area to declutter and actually setting a timer. Clutter Bugs are often perfectionists. Without guidelines, they will spend an entire day cleaning out a closet and then not touch anything else for six months! Your plan is doable.

  3. Thanks, cleaningproz! My husband is definitely a perfectionist and it gets in the way of his organization. He's got BIG plans for organizing tools and computer stuff, but, because the time to realize the big plans never comes around, he avoids doing even minimal organizing. He's got stuff stored in plastic bags from the hardware store everywhere! He is slowly realizing that it doesn't take much time each day to make an impact, but old habits are the hardest to conquer.