Picture your dream home. I bet it’s not filled with clutter. (tweet that)
Uncluttered spaces are life-giving. They promote calm, peace, freedom.
But sometimes, uncluttered spaces are difficult to realize. For any number of reasons, homes fill up with more and more things. Existing clutter attracts more clutter. And as a result, imagining decluttered spaces in our home becomes more and more difficult.
Minimizing all the clutter in our house over the course of one weekend is not reasonable for most people. However, taking a few small steps in the right direction is possible for everyone.
Here are seven 5-minute decluttering projects you can accomplish today:
1. Clean out your car/vehicle. Too often our vehicles fill up with unnecessary things: old CDs, sunglasses, Happy Meal toys, receipts, coins, empty water bottles, paper trash. Grab two bags: one for garbage and one for items to relocate. Fill them quickly with everything in your car that doesn’t need to be there. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can empty your vehicle of unneeded clutter.
2. Clear off the top of your bedroom dresser. Bedrooms should promote rest, relaxation, and intimacy—not upheaval and unrest. With focused attention, it will take you less than five minutes to clear off the top of your dresser. And it will change the entire mood in your bedroom.
3. Clean out a bathroom medicine chest. If empty containers, expired products, and dozens of items no longer used are cluttering up your medicine chest (and probably the cupboards under your sink), take a few minutes and remove everything that can go. Then, dispose of it wisely.
4. Return toys to the toy room or bedroom where they belong. If you have young children (or even older ones), you know that toys routinely get strewn around the house. Grab a few minutes with your child this evening before bed and make sure all the toys get taken back to the room or space they belong. If this task seems overwhelming, consider some of the benefits of owning fewer toys. But in the meantime, do your best to teach your children the importance of returning items when finished using them.
5. Declutter your plates or cups cupboard. Many modern homes are filled with duplicate items. One of the places this can be easily noticed is in our kitchen cupboards. Realistically, how many cups, mugs, bowls, and plates does your family need? Have you slowly accumulated an entire cupboard full of them? Maybe. Reach in the back, grab those that are never used, and minimize them forever from your life and valuable kitchen space.
6. Tackle a junk drawer. Some junk drawers may take longer than five minutes, I admit. If you’ve got the extra time, declutter it completely. However, for a strict five-minute task, set a timer on your watch and see how much of the junk you can remove from the drawer. You may be surprised how much you can remove in that time frame—and how quickly you can accomplish something when you put your mind to it.
7. Sort through a pile of mail or paper. Junk mail piling up on your kitchen counter? Is there a stack of paper files on your home office desk? First, look for piles of paper in places they don’t belong (kitchen counters, dining room tables, coffee tables) and tackle those piles first. You’ll get through them quickly and easily. If you’re feeling motivated, move on to tackle a larger pile—sometimes taking the first step is the hardest.
I realize, of course, everyone’s living arrangement looks a little bit different than others. Specifically, for you, one of the projects listed above may take longer than five minutes. But for the most part, they can be completed quickly. And whether you accomplish one or all seven, you’ll be thankful you did. They might not solve all your clutter issues, but they’ll definitely get you moving in the right direction.
Happy decluttering. You’ll love owning less!
I love your content o FB and YouTube. You’ve been instrumental in bringing some order to our home. I started with a junk drawer and about 2 years later, things are better, but still a work in progress. I homeschool, teach outside the home and work a corporate job. There’s a lot of stuff. The car – I’ve never been able to keep it under control. Thanks for the motivation. I think may work on cleaning the car tomorrow if the weather permits.
I sort my mail as I walk back from the mailbox. By the time I get to the garage I have junk mail in one hand and the important mail in the other. Junk mail goes into the recycling bin in the garage – and I enter the house with only the important stuff!
Maria Pinto says
To me making the bed brings a sense of calm. As far as junk mail,
I toss it out the moment I get it. There is no logic to setting it aside to deal with it later. Out of Sight Out of Mind.
Guilty of all the above ! Lesson learned. Thanks, Josh.
Noelle Bruccoleri says
These r great! One thing at a time, one day at a time.
I’m happy I knew this group and receiving articles regularly helps me a lot to be always mindful in decluttering. You are a blessing.
We have 3 dogs, a toddler, and a baby on the way. How do we keep all the species and age appropriate toys separate in a shared space?!!
Are you concerned about the babies chewing on the dog toys?
Never have more dogs than kids!!
We quit having a junk drawer. We call it a utility drawer and it contains items we like having handy. It’s a mini office in a drawer – since I do most deskwork at the kitchen table, Post-it notes, tape, a few writing instruments, envelopes, address labels, postage stamps,glue, scissors, stapler, ruler, paper clips, tacks, lighter and rubber ponytail holders – used for everything except hair.
Amanda of My Life, I Guess says
I keep telling myself (and my husband) that we need to tackle our out-of-control storage room. I keep saying if we just tackle one item a day (use it, donate it, sell it or toss it) that it’ll eventually get done without it becoming a big chore. But of course, each day passes and we don’t even open the door to the room. Maybe an approach more like this will do the trick?
Absolutely. I’ve had varying levels of depression over the years, and even I can set a timer and tackle something for 5 minutes. Thankfully, for reasons unknown, my depression has gotten much better over the past year, and I am steadily moving through the house, decluttering and deep cleaning. It is such a wonderful feeling to go from feeling overwhelmed and helpless to in control. I keep a cardboard box in the dining room, and as I find stuff to donate, I toss it in. Once it’s full, I take it to Goodwill and drop it off, get another box from the liquor store, and do it again. You CAN tackle that storage room. Don’t feel like you have to wait for your husband to do it with you. If he doesn’t want to be part of the solution, tell him to get out of your way. Nicely, of course.
It’s the best 5 min spend on car, but I never thought of extending it to the dresser top. Sounds like a good new habit to do end of everyday.
Money Beagle says
Just cleaned out the junk drawer yesterday. It took about 30 minutes, but my kids fill it up with pencils so I went through pencil by pencil and put all theirs in an old coffee can, as well as cleaning through all the rest of the buildup.
Steve @ Think Save Retire says
One thing I might add is uncluttering your email inbox as well. Go through that inbox and delete emails that you don’t need, or move emails into different folders, respond to emails that need a response, so on.
#InboxZero, baby. :)
Clearing email is part of my morning daily routine. I take a minute to unsubscribe from things also. A few months ago I cleared photos from my iPhone and now I clear photos when I clear email. Keepers are uploaded to Dropbox, Walgreens or Facebook – depending on the subject.
I do the same and it is a very good habit
All very well, but there are two people in most relationships and after 48yrs together it’s almost akin to being bullied when the non-minimilist half suddenly find things they treasure disposed of without discussion. You obviously don’t care about the consequences for the other half. Is minimalisms ultimate goal one person in a empty space?
Relationships are hard! Especially when topics come up that are hard to see eye-to-eye. This blog has addressed this topic several times with good ideas – none of which are to throw away another person’s belongings.
Frustrated in San Diego says
What are another person’s belongings when they hang on to every book they read, have too many of the same clothes and store in plastic bins in your master closet, buy tools and never open boxes, build a gym in garage they never use… it is a awful, he is 65.
I suggest getting to it first before it gets thrown out. You should be mad at your spouse not this website
CONGRATULATIONS on 48 years together!!
no, dont discard it if it’s not yours.
but just think how good you will feel when YOUR unnecessary, unwanted possessions are gone.
Great list! To this I would add clean out fridge of anything past it’s use-by-date and the pantry if you have the time. Always a work in progress!
Pam Marvin says
AAAhhh so perfect, a minimalist approach to just getting started! Im going to do them all this weekend.. thank you !!
Excellent post! I try to keep the thought each time I open a drawer, pantry etc to ask, “What can I get rid of?”. Been working the minimalist journey and when I see open space it gives me calm and joy. Thanks so much! You are making such a difference in our lives.
Tony W says
I love your suggestions. So much so I believe most should be part of a weekly if not daily routine. Cleaning the car is a big one for me. I am afraid of what I may find in my minivan. LOL.
Yes! I try to do all of these regularly – probably not weekly – and it maintains the (mostly) decluttered state of my life!
I’m not sure if this qualifies as “decluttering”, but making your bed first thing each day goes well with number 2 (clearing off your bedroom dresser). A Navy Seal admiral wrote a best selling book titled “Make Your Bed.” But beyond his leadership lessons, I’ve found that a nearly made bed adds to a sense of serenity and order in the bedroom!
Whoops, I meant to type “NEATLY made bed” and not “nearly made bed.”
Is he the one who also gave a graduation speech about it? Very inspirational! (And that isn’t often a compliment coming from me.)
I also make my bed every morning. Changes my day.
Willette Bagwell says
I heard the same gentleman asks grads to make their bed every morning. Since I heard him say that, I’ve only skipped one morning. I got a late start babysitting my youngest grand daughter, & let it go that day. My hubby noticed.
My routine is make the bed. Wash my face & do my hair, then get dressed. It all takes less than 7 minutes. Thank you for the inspiration.
I must be mis-wired. Making my bed doesn’t do anything for me, except take up time. Same thing with shining my kitchen sink(from a different website). Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to do either one daily…
make your bed daily for a month.
see if you feel better just knowing & seeing it.
if not (after a month), stop doing it.
that’s ok. being a minimalist does not have to be a “one-size-fits-all” situation.
laura ann says
These tasks should be done at least monthly, except for paper clutter do as mail comes in, and most can be recycled for weekly pick up. After checking bank statement online, toss debit receipts from weekly activity. Several of us took clothing items, shoes in good cond. to low income housing as it is just down the road.
Austin Thompson says
These are perfect. Often, we set our goals too high at first and burn out. It is better to start small and grow from there.
Excellent points. I’m still a work in progress but it’s so good to know I will get there one day soon.
I went right past numbers 1-5 because I don’t keep clutter in those areas, and number 7 doesn’t exist for me at the moment. But number 6 (tackling a junk drawer), good heavens . . . thanks for the reminder! I just cleaned out the junk drawer in the kitchen, and it does feel good.:-)
These are really nice suggestions to start with. People should start with these simple tasks to declutter things.
I’ve had boxes of stuff sitting in my hall closet waiting for the right time to call the VVA to pick them up. As I was pulling them out of the closet, I couldn’t even remember what was in the boxes. There were a couple of them that were not taped up yet, so I hurried and taped them shut before I could change my mind about anything. There was one small box that was heavy and I thought it must be books. I came close to ripping the tape off just to see what they were. Thanks for your inspiration, Josh. I didn’t do it.
Some time later…. “Honey, have you seen my gold bullion collection? I put it in that small box, in the closet….”
thanks for writing your blog. I really like reading your posts, I m living a minimalist lifestyle for a year now and it improved my life in so many ways, when I started to declutter I didn’t really know what an impact it would have and after a while I started reading your blog and it just clicked, I didn’t just want to declutter my stuff, I wanted to declutter my life. your blog gave me tips and a form of direction in the minimalistjungle. thank you