Decluttering and Organizing Tips, Decluttering Tips

Decluttering when you don’t have time

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One of the most frequently asked questions I hear from folks is “What can I declutter when I don’t have time?”  Trust me.  I get it.  Many times, there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  Things happen.  Kids have school projects they forgot to tell you about.  Spouses remind you about a dinner you are supposed to go to.  The washing machine breaks down.  You must work overtime.  Again, I get it.  Life happens to us all and sometimes it feels like it happens to us all at once.  And yet, you still have a house to run and decluttering is a priority for you.  That’s why I wanted to take some time to help answer the question about decluttering when you don’t have time.

Schedule an appointment with yourself

Make an appointment for decluttering when you don’t have time

First, make decluttering a priority.  If you must, schedule an appointment with yourself to declutter and keep that appointment. 

Create small pockets of time.  5 minutes here, 10 minutes there, is all you really need.  But where do you find the time?

  • Either while dinner is cooking, or you are waiting for the pizza to be delivered.
  • During commercial breaks when watching television.  (You can make a game of it with the kids too.)
  • Go to bed a few minutes later and do a quick 10-minute sweep of the house.
  • Get up a few minutes earlier and do a 10-minute fast and furious decluttering before anyone else gets up.
  • Save travel time and use that for decluttering.  For example:  order groceries online and have them delivered, exercise at home rather than going to the gym, or share carpooling with another parent, and when it’s not your day, use that time to declutter.

Declutter as you go.  This is something I am always doing.  If I go into a room, I clean something up.  I put something away.  Or I take an item with me to put back in its proper home.

Get your family to help with the decluttering when you don't have time

Get help with the decluttering.  Enlist the family to help.  Get them to:

  • Put things back as soon as they use them.
  • When they are finished with something, put it in the trash or recycling bin.  This is particularly important with the mail.
  • Teach them to never leave something where it doesn’t belong.
  • Declutter while watching TV.  I like to declutter my paperwork and shred while sitting watching television.

Delegate space when decluttering

Delegate a space.  If your children are anywhere over the age of 4 years old, they are old enough to help around the house.  Keep tasks to an age appropriate level, but get them to help.  You can even make it fun – Play music, dance, sing, etc.

Focus on one small task at a time.  If you are short on time, focus on just one area.  Think about what is most important.  Maybe declutter the bathroom after everyone has left for the morning and before you head off to work.  Maybe the kitchen just before you go to bed.  Load the dishwasher, clear off the counters, put things away, so when you wake up in the morning, you aren’t looking at a disaster area.

Things you can do in just 15 minutes

Decluttering when you don’t have time – Set a Timer

Set a timer.  It doesn’t have to be long.  Five minutes.  Ten minutes.  But set a timer.  Declutter in an area that is bothering you, and see how much you can get done in that short amount of time.  You’ll be surprised.

Decluttering does not have to be a chore that you dread, nor does it need to take hours.  Small amounts of time can make a big difference in your home.  I hope these ideas help the next time you are overwhelmed because there isn’t enough time in the day.

Here’s to decluttering when you don’t have time and RESETTING your life!


Organization isn’t about perfection; it’s about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time and money, and improving your overall quality of life.” – CHRISTINA SCALISE

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