Quick Tips for Decluttering

How’s that New Year’s resolution coming? The one you made about having a clean and organized house. Have you stuck to your plan or was the project just so overwhelming that you kept putting it off? Or maybe you just got so caught up in daily life that anytime you made progress, the clutter found its way back. Don’t despair. You still have plenty of time left  in the year for decluttering and to get organized!

Sometimes the best way to approach a disorganized home is a massive de-clutter project like you see on those “messy home” shows. Just remember those folks have experts helping them make decisions, access to a budget for buying/making storage solutions, and lots of assistants and interns available to haul stuff around. Does that sound like you? Then maybe you need to think in smaller chunks.

Five Minute De-clutter Plan

One of the most popular tricks to tackling clutter is to break the work down into five minute chunks. That means setting a timer for five minutes and taking care of one area or type of clutter. When the time buzzes, you stop and enjoy the satisfaction of what you accomplished.

The appeal of this plan is two-fold. Firstly, virtually everyone can find five minutes in their day to devote to clearing and organizing. After just one week, you will have completed 35 minutes of de-cluttering and you will start to notice a difference in how you handle stuff and how you feel about your home.

Secondly, there is no rule that says once you finish your five minutes, you can’t tackle another five minute chunk of organizing. If you find yourself on a roll when that first time goes off, take a few minutes to breathe, drink some water, and appreciate what you did, then reset the timer and go again. Even if you can’t do multiple sessions in a row, you may be able to squeeze three or four blocks of time into your day, which multiplies the amount you can get done in a week without making you feel overwhelmed.

Quick Clearing Tasks

So, what can you actually accomplish in five minutes of clearing? More than you think. Start with one simple task and you’ll quickly realize that you can do more in a short, focused burst of time than you thought. Then you can move on to more creative uses of those sessions and in a few short weeks, your home will seem like a whole new place.

Here’s some ideas to get you started:

  1. Clear one counter or table
  2. Sort and organize one drawer (in any room)
  3. De-clutter one shelf (could be a bookshelf, shelf in a closet, kitchen shelf, etc.)
  4. Designate one area of your house as your ‘clear zone’ and remove it of all clutter.
  5. Choose five things that you can never seem to put away and find a permanent home for them.
  6. Clear out your car (it is, after all, an extension of your home). If you have a huge, messy car, focus on one section at a time.
  7. Set up a system for handling mail and incoming paperwork
  8. Do a quick “keep, donate, trash” sweep of your clothing. Just focus on one section at a time and at the end of one week you’ll have a bag or two to donate.
  9. Clean out the medicine cabinet/drawer
  10. Sort through your cleaning supplies

As you incorporate this five-minute routine into your day, you’ll soon find new ways to clear and organize in just a few minutes a day, plus you’ll become more efficient at sorting and decision-making. You’ll find yourself creating your own systems that fit your life rather than some cookie cutter solution. And, eventually, you’ll have the organized, clean home you desire.

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