Minimalist Monday: Declutter in 15 Minutes

Isn't it funny how some days clutter can sit happily on a shelf in the background unnoticed yet on other days it can stare you in the face and fill you with fear? On these days the amount of clutter you own can feel overwhelming and too big a task to deal with. The way to conquer clutter is to not ignore it (it won't go away of its own accord) but to fight the fear, look it in the eye and attack it in stages. Like conquering any demon - one day at a time works with clutter. You will need to set aside time but it's amazing how much decluttering you can do in a short space of time. Even in 15 minutes. Short attacks on your clutter hotspots will energise you, motivate you and open your mind to the possibility of creating a calmer and more ordered living space which will need only light decluttering in the future.

In the last three years I have had to help my parents clear two homes lived in by my deceased uncle and great uncle. Both were bachelors who enjoyed life to the full and didn't worry about who would deal with the decades of clutter they had accumulated once they passed away. One had a serious newspaper/magazine hoarding problem (issues going back to the 1960s) and another had an addiction to buying identical blue cotton long sleeved shirts. Clearing both these homes was hard and at times frankly depressing. I never knew dust could be so thick. The only way we could deal with clearing these homes was to work quickly and to keep to a strict time limit. Visit by visit we decluttered both homes in stages and it got easier with each visit. However limiting our time was fundamental because any decluttering work is draining both physically and emotionally. 

In my own home clutter still accumulates. Paperwork soon mounts up in the kitchen, towels and bedlinen seem to multiply in the linen cupboard and mystery items somehow settle in my underwear drawer without my approval. A quick speedy purge in these clutter hot spots works wonders and is always easier than I anticipate. After downsizing I have edited all my possessions in the last two years but some areas (paperwork/ footwear) are still overflowing and need regular attention.

This week despite being very busy with work and family commitments I have set aside short periods of time to declutter (no longer than 30 minutes apiece). This is what I have achieved.
  • Cleared out and re-organised our kitchen drawers.
  • Decluttered and tidied our linen cupboard.
  • Emptied and decluttered my top drawer (socks, tights and underwear).
If you're feeling overwhelmed by your clutter I would try and set aside a short period of time (15-30 minutes) to declutter just one area. It will make you feel lighter, more in control and more motivated to carry on fighting your clutter. Little by little it can be done. 



  1. Incredibly sensible and practical advice. Even cleaning out one cupboard can feel very rewarding and can inspire you to carry on and declutter other cupboards or areas in your home. I feel a sudden urge to purge having read this post. Not sure what or where yet, but I'll find something.

  2. I am aiming for 2 carrier bags to the charity shop tomorrow. its a big ask. but I think I have to do 2 bags every day this week.

    I feel motivated now reading this post.


  3. That's how I do it one little bit at a time.

  4. I do this sometimes. Even just three minutes can make a difference. I also set myself a specific number of things to tidy away etc, say 100. I wrote a blog post showing the results of thing yonks back x


  5. This one seemed written for me! I've done a pile of mags and pile of paperwork yesterday, time 40 minutes.....felt much better! Top of cellar steps today.....wish me luck, this ones not great, there will be a few spiders! Good job I'm not frightened of them! :) x

  6. We are absorbing another household into our little house at the moment and it simply isn't possible without decluttering as we go. Decisions need to be made quite quickly and even my husband is getting quite good at it - fortunately he can see that there is just more than there is space available!! During the main removal we worked very hard for a couple of days but now we need to keep going in these smaller increments of time to get it finished alongside our everyday work - I love 15 minutes, it's amazing what can be done (but then I was a very early Flybaby!). Nothing of personal value needs to be thrown out, but it's a small percentage of the "stuff" that accumulates - we are regulars at the charity shop and recycling centres lately!! So far, so good...

  7. I recently tackled the airing cupboard in just the same way as you. I even have the same plastic boxes, reducing years of toiletries and medicines from a huge box to one of those. It was particularly gratifying when a valuation estate agent opened the door (I wasn't expecting him to do this) and saw tidily folded and stacked towels!

  8. Yes, it is incredible how clutter can take control back again if you are not vigilant. Your post could have been written for me as I always want to do a full afternoon of declutering and it is exhausting. Thanks for this advice.

  9. It's amazing how quickly things can accumulate, I need to do some quick decluttering again too!
    Sarah x

  10. Thank you, this is exactly what I needed to hear right now. I shall start at once!

  11. ABSOLUTELY! Can totally relate to so much in this post & indeed use the same techniques. I feel shifts too in my approach to minimalism or realise that I'm ready to let go of something and then I seek to declutter a little more. I've been meaning to write about it, but for me, each time my vision deteriorates & another challenge presents itself, I face the challenge and then also want to minimise more - less stuff is less information for my eyes to process. My husband & I speak often about how we will keep adjusting to it but must also keep a compromise that is healthy for both of us.


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