How much time is 15 minutes? I'm willing to bet that most of us would say, “Not much”. Would many people say that it is enough time to get rid of clutter? It's less than the typical TV show, even with advertising taken out of it. It's less time than we spend at lunch during a typical day. So, what can we do with 15 minutes? A lot!
What we want to do is take 15 minutes (or whatever left over amount of time you have available) and turn it into a powerful decluttering tool. If you have 30 minutes, 10 minutes, or even only 5 minutes available, using it correctly can lead to huge results in your decluttering efforts.
As I mention again and again, getting started is the first step. Let's take the case of the person that has 5 free minutes. Sitting down and planning out a decluttering schedule probably isn't the right thing to do in this case – for that matter, it really isn't the right thing to do with less than about an hour of time. So, what do we do instead? We start getting rid of clutter! For a 5 minute decluttering job pick one small area and go to work. For example, if you have 5 minutes before heading to work or heading out to run errands, pick a counter or a table top. Clear off all the items that do not permanently belong and sort these out. Throw away the trash, put the mail in the mail box or file folder (see the previous article on dealing with mail clutter), and either deal with the extra clutter right away if time permits, or put it in a box to deal with during your next quick decluttering. Voila! You now have a clean surface instead of a cluttered up area.
You can extend this idea to larger areas, or more heavily cluttered areas by using more time. If you have 15 or more minutes, you could tackle a portion of a room. Say you have 20 minutes during lunch, this would be the perfect time to pick up the entryway, sort out any clothes (jackets, hats, etc) that are laying around, get shoes put away, and sweep or vacuum out the area. While you are picking up the clothing, see if there is anything that has been laying around unused – perhaps it is time to get rid of some clothing clutter and make a donation to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.
Just using these small bits of time that we have available can start to make big differences. We just need to make time to get rid of clutter. Even once a week these quick decluttering jobs will make visible changes in your life. Consider what happens when we do this 2,3, or 4 times a week. What was once a quick job to clean a counter turns into a clutter free area which then turns into a clutter free home! This is a huge help to ourselves and our life – adding these small decluttering opportunities together can result in large changes. Ready to start? Follow these steps to help yourself make time to get rid of clutter!
- Grab a small piece of paper or a notecard
- Keep the paper or notecard somewhere visible (counter, refrigerator, wall, etc) and write down when you do any of these little decluttering jobs. Write down how long it took and what you did.
- Aim for doing this at least twice per week. Seeing what you have done and the results around you can be a tremendous help.
- If you want to go the extra mile, take a picture (before and after) as a reminder of what can be accomplished with these spare moments.
Keep up the decluttering!