Common knowledge has it that anyone can focus on anything if it only takes five minutes. In that spirit, here are our best tips for decluttering in five minutes or less:
- Just grab the things closest to you and find places for them.
Whether it’s one item or ten, the important part isn’t getting it out of the way. The important part is deciding where it lives, permanently. Then, whenever you use it, you know where to put it back.
- Get your kids to put things where they belong.
Getting on your kids’ case can be a strain, but the more you do it, the more they will begin to put things away by themselves. Especially if you offer them a positive reward for every time they put something away.
- Clear one counter or shelf. Or half of one.
One counter or shelf is just a drop in the bucket. But a drop is better than nothing. Even better, work hard not to let yourself clutter somewhere you’ve already cleaned. Over time, the “no-clutter” zones of the house will expand, eventually taking over your living space.
- Empty a drawer or a container.
If your house is like ours, you have a half dozen drawers just stuffed with papers that someone wanted out of sight and out of mind. Well, it’s time to bring them back into the light of day. By turning a hidden drawer into a pile, you will be more motivated to find a permanent organized home for all that clutter.
- Make a donation bin.
You might not want to throw something in the garbage, but you might still be able to commit to donating it. Start a bin or a bag in a visible location and add items to it to be donated. Ever few weeks, call a donations hotline to have it taken away.
- Choose one piece of clothing that you no longer wear.
It’s painful to give away things, especially when those things are clothes that once made us feel fabulous. That pain is quick, like ripping off a Band-aid. Five minutes is more than enough time to choose a piece of clothing to mark for donation. If you can make space in your closet, it will be much easier to control the mess in your home.
- Disrupt the stacks.
Stacks pop up like mushrooms in a house, located everywhere and made out of everything. Find out why your stacks are forming and take action. Stacks of books mean you need more shelves for them. Stacks of board games means you might need an upright rack. Stacks of kitchen gadgets might mean, well, that you have too many kitchen gadgets.
As with all tasks, the smaller and more discrete the steps, the more likely it is that you will succeed. You’ll be surprised at how good your home feels.
On the other hand, you could spend just five minutes researching junk removal options. If your time is valuable, this is often the best way to move large amounts of clutter out of your home in a fast and efficient manner.