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Ready to start decluttering your house but not sure where to start? You’re in the right place–you want to start simple! Here’s your quick start guide to decluttering: 5 areas in your home to conquer today in 10 minutes or less.
The key to doing each of these decluttering tasks in 10 minutes or less is going in with a practical mindset. You’re looking objectively at material goods and deciding, quickly, if you currently use and need them, or if they are just adding to the clutter.
Your goal here is to make progress and get rid of items you don’t need. If you get stuck on something sentimental or unclear, set it aside. Now is not the time to analyze–you can do that later (and dig into how to get rid of the tough, guilt-filled items here).
Set a timer, challenge yourself and conquer these spaces today!
#1 – Bathroom Counter
Look at all the stuff on your counter and decide what is not being used anymore, has expired, or is empty. Old toothbrushes, empty toothpaste containers, lotions, mirrors–the clutter adds up quick. Toss, recycle or donate anything you no longer need.
With trash gone, evaluate what’s left on the counter and decide what needs to stay. Toothbrushes and soap? What else absolutely has to stay out?
Look at drawers, cabinets and storage areas nearby for easy access places to store daily use items like makeup, hair care, razors, etc., without keeping them in sight.
#2 – Kitchen Utensil Drawer (and holder if you have one on your countertop)
Everyone has excess kitchen utensils they don’t use. I repeat–everyone!! Take everything out of the drawer and lay it on a counter or table. Pick up each item and ask yourself when the last time you used it was.
Do you like it? Do you need it? Is there another item you have that you like better that also does the same job?
Consider keeping only one or two of each kind (serving spoons, stirring spoon, spatulas, etc.) and if you choose to keep any on the countertop, keep this collection the most minimal (no more than 5-10 depending on your container size–less is better!).
Donate anything that doesn’t get used regularly, is not needed, or that you don’t like. If you really aren’t sure about something, put “maybe” items in a box and set them in storage for a few months. If you don’t need to pull it out in that time, donate it.
For further kitchen instruction, see 5 Simple Ways to Minimize your Kitchen Today.
#3 – Dining Room Table (if you haven’t seen it for years)
Dining room tables, kitchen islands and kitchen counters all serve multiple purposes. None of which should be a clutter-catch all dumping ground! Pick one surface that attracts clutter and attack it with focus.
Quickly sort everything into bins, laundry baskets or piles on the floor in these categories:
- Re-Locate (aka, put away somewhere else in the house where it belongs)
- Keep & Find a Place For
Once everything is in a pile, start with the trash/recycle pile. This is junk mail, old papers you don’t need, broken items and things you might be hoping to fix one day (will you?). Discard these immediately.
If there are items that have been left behind, outgrown, unwanted and unneeded, place them in a box or bag for donation and put it in the trunk of your car to be dropped off.
You may run across items that are newly purchased or obtained, or that have never had a place to begin with. Try to find a suitable place for them as soon as you can.
The items to re-locate to their real home throughout the house can be put back now or during the day as you are able (if it’s your kids’ stuff–have them take care of it).
Finally, wipe down your clean table and inform the family that it’s to be kept clear!
#4 – Bedroom Dresser Surface/Vanity
If you have a dresser or vanity in your bedroom that collects clutter, it’s time to clean it off. You’ll start by sorting everything into a designated pile: trash/recycle, donate, keep, re-locate.
Start by discarding any trash–empty containers, old receipts, food remnants and wrappers, etc.
Wipe down the clean surface and evaluate your keep items. Which ones should remain on the surface, if any? Are there keepsakes or pictures with great meaning? Select one or two of your favorites to remain on display.
If you have daily use items (jewelry, makeup, hair care, etc.), consider if there is a convenient drawer or cabinet where they could be stored instead of out in the open. The less visual clutter, the less stress you will have!
Place only the most important items on the surface, the rest will need to find a new home.
If you have items you are no longer using, place them in a bag or box to donate and put them in the trunk of your car to drop off.
Re-locate items that belong in other places around the house.
Enjoy your newly clear space, take a moment to breathe deeply and take in the mental and physical relief you feel from less clutter.
Ready to tackle the bedroom in depth? Check out 5 Stumbling Blocks to an Organized Bedroom (and how to fix them!)
#5 – Desktop
Depending on the size and location of your desk, this might be a task that takes longer than 10 minutes, however, I would encourage you to start with at least a surface level clean sweep to get started!
Take everything off your desk (pile it on the floor if you have to). Wipe off your desktop.
Set up your essentials: computer, lamp, mouse, keyboard, speakers, etc.
A full sort of your items may take awhile, so you can either take the time and sort the piles (trash/recycle, donate, keep, re-locate), or only deal with the large items and leave the papers for another time.
Start with putting only your most needed items back on the desktop. All other items (pens, office supplies, etc.) should be in drawers or cabinets.
If you have time, start sorting through the papers. If not, stack them neatly and leave them for another day. We’ll get to that soon. Progress over perfection!
Focus on the Little Wins
Decluttering can be mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting. As a professional organizer, the best way I have found to cope with this fatigue is breaking up the tasks into small chunks. Focus on one space, one shelf, one drawer, one surface at a time.
Looking at your larger spaces will quickly lead to overwhelm, and ultimately quitting before you even start. Instead, start simple. Conquer the small spaces and take some time to sit and appreciate how that breathing room literally changes the way you feel in your home.
Maybe your chest doesn’t tighten when you walk into your office. Maybe you don’t feel like crying when you walk in the front door. Maybe you can go to sleep at night with a little less frustration. Those are all so worth the effort!
A simple, harmonious home is worth it, I promise. Get started today and celebrate a little win. Have 10 minutes? Pick one area above and jump in! Let me know in the comments how it went and I’ll be here to cheer you on!
I believe in you. You can simplify your life. You can cut the clutter chaos!
Related Articles on Decluttering
- Clearing Clutter from Your Life Using the Quick Win Principle
- 5 Ways to Minimize Your Kitchen Today
- 6 Life-Changing Lessons from Marie Kondo