You know that feeling when you walk into your home after a long day and the first thing that greets you is clutter. It feels like there are too many things in your house that don’t have a place. Your kids leave their toys everywhere, the laundry baskets overflow with clothes, and dishes pile up in the sink.
The idea of tackling any of it seems so overwhelming. It doesn’t matter how messy your house is right now, because these 10-minute decluttering tasks are the perfect way to kick off, making a small difference with just a small pocket of time!
Even on the busiest day, most of us can fit in a quick 5 or 10 minutes to clear some unwanted clutter!
Easy 10-Minute Decluttering Tasks That Make A Big Impact
When it comes to decluttering your home, just getting started is almost always the hardest step, but once you do start, often the motivation kicks into gear and you want to keep going!
But it’s finding the time to get started with decluttering that can be the challenge.
When the job seems huge, we overestimate how much time we need, but in fact, there is a whole lot of impact you can make in just 10 minutes when it comes to decluttering!
These 10-minute decluttering tasks may be simple and easy to do, yet they yield big results and show just how much you can achieve in short bursts of focused time.
These quick win decluttering tasks will typically take you somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes.
Some are recurring clutter hot spots that might need a weekly 10-minute clutter refresh, while others are long-neglected spaces that are in need of a little extra attention.
So, grab your timer or put on your favourite short and sweet podcast episode, grab a rubbish bag and get into action!
1 – Kitchen Counters
If your household is anything like ours, the kitchen bench is one of the worst declutter hotspots in the house.
It happens to be near our internal garage entrance, so we have a bad habit of dropping things on the countertop on the way past, and there they may stay for much longer than they should!
Not only does this make it look messy, but it is also inconvenient for prepping food and using your kitchen counters for their actual purpose!
Use your 10-minute declutter to first throw out any trash and move any recycling to the correct place.
For everything else that does not belong on your kitchen counter, put it in the correct place. Finish with a wipe down at the end if you have time and enjoy your clean surfaces!
Clearing the kitchen bench is such an impactful quick declutter task and one that I try and fit into every day, using our 5-minute daily pick up routine at the end of the day if it hasn’t been done earlier in the day.
There is something about having a clean kitchen that creates an instant feeling of calmness, which is why this is top of the list.
If you do find yourself dumping a lot of stuff on your counters each day, it might be worthwhile adding a small basket in one corner, as a collection hub for these items. Keep it small though, otherwise, you will be tempted to dump loads of items in there and rarely sort them!
2 – Dining Table
The second worst clutter hotspot in our home is definitely the dining table. Our kids love bringing random toys, art supplies and school items to the table, then leaving them there.
It’s not easy eating dinner at a cluttered dining table though! (And it has lead to a few dinners in front of the couch when the thought of clearing the mess seems like far too much effort after a long day! Shhh).
Take a similar approach to clearing the clutter from your dining table as you do to your kitchen countertops.
Throw out the trash and put things back into their proper home.
A great deterrent for the dining table becoming a repeat clutter pile is keeping the table set with a nice tablecloth, placemats and something decorative in the centre.
It isn’t fail-proof but it definitely makes my kids more reluctant to turn it into their own personal dumping ground!
We also use an Ikea Raskog cart to store the art supplies nearby so they have a home in easy reach of the dining table when the kids want to work on something creative between meals.
3 – A Single Drawer
If you only have 10 minutes to make some impact, a drawer is the perfect small space to tackle. And most homes have a lot of drawers to keep you busy with. You might even find yourself on a roll and moving onto another drawer if your first is an easy win!
Choose a drawer in your home, whether it be a junk drawer, kitchen utensils, bathroom drawer, bedside table, or even a clothing drawer and get to work.
Remove any trash – broken items, unidentifiable items, unwanted items with no value and damaged clothing.
Remove anything that doesn’t belong and put it where it does go.
Organise what remains in the drawer, ensuring everything is tidy and easy to find. Sometimes you can make a huge difference in keeping your drawers organised by adding a drawer divider, a small container or even a recycled box or jar to hold small collections of items.
Small stationery such as paperclips, loose screws and nails, bag ties or rubber bands, bobby pins or hair bands. These items are perfect for storing in jars within your drawers!
4 – Bedside Table and Dressing Table Tops
Bedside tables can be a great little space to organise when you only have a few minutes of action time.
You might have a number of things living on top of your bedside table, such as electronic devices, books, fashion accessories you might have put down instead of in their place and other random items that seem to accumulate.
They also seem to attract dust so it’s a great time to give them a wipe over as you declutter your bedside table and the dressing table surface.
Having minimal decoration on your bedside table and dresser will often help you keep them tidy. When the brain sees a clear surface, with minimalist decor, it can work to want to keep it tidy for longer.
It can also help to clear out a drawer to store many of the items you may have typically just left on top. This puts the clutter out of sight and keeps it organised instead.
5 – Bathroom Surfaces
If you only have a few minutes to declutter, the bathroom can be one zone that looks much better in a short time frame.
Since bathrooms are used multiple times a day, they attract a lot of items that don’t necessarily belong.
If you dedicate your 10-minute declutter challenge to removing anything that does not belong from the visible bathroom surfaces, it can make a big difference to the overall tidiness.
For this task, focus on areas such as the sink top, visible shelves, the shower and the floor.
If you have time, you can add a drawer or cupboard to your quick declutter project.
Look for empty shampoo and conditioner bottles or toothpaste tubes, packaging from new products, and any other visible rubbish that can be removed.
Put clothing, accessories and any other items that don’t belong into their correct places and any dirty laundry or towels into the hamper for washing.
Need more motivation? Check out these transformational books about decluttering to get you inspired!
6 – Cleaning Supplies
If you have 10 minutes to spare, take the opportunity to sort your cleaning supplies.
You might be surprised at just how many cleaning products you accumulate over time – but if you do these 10-minute decluttering tasks regularly, it shouldn’t take too long.
Dispose of any rubbish or empty bottles.
If there are products with use-by dates or that look like they have gone bad, throw them away too.
If you find multiples of the same product. organise them together, putting the item with the less remaining product at the front so you will use it first. Or if isn’t a toxic product, you may even be able to combine it into one container to save space.
Old, ratty sponges or heavily-stained cleaning cloths can go straight in the bin too.
This is a great time to assess if you could utilise some sort of under the sink organisation system too.
7 – Medication & First Aid Supplies
Add your medicine cabinet to your 10-minute declutter list, as this can be a super quick task and an important one!
If your household is anything like ours, there are often old scripts and expired medications that need cleaning out semi-regularly. My husband likes to hoard these things as he suffers from significant sinus infections seasonally.
But he always forgets what he has and gets a new over the counter remedy almost every time!
Remove any expired or unused items that might be lurking in the back of the cupboard.
Throw away any medicine that may have leaked and clean up any mess. Sometimes those bottles seem to randomly start leaking no matter how well you think the lid is sealed.
Organise and rearrange all the remaining products, keeping any multiples of items together with the most used packet or earlier expiry date at the front.
Find more tips on how to declutter your medicine cabinet.
8 – A Single Clothing Drawer, Shelf Or Hanging Area
Decluttering your wardrobe as a whole is a huge task and one that is downright overwhelming to start. If you’ve tried the KonMari method of decluttering on your wardrobe, you will know it’s essentially a full day job – taking every single item out. Urgh, no thanks!
Instead, you can easily tackle this huge area 10 minutes at a time, over a few weeks or months. It’s one of those areas that you will need to come back to again at least annually, so doing it in 10-minute declutter challenges is definitely a great way to get through it.
Depending on the size of your hanging spaces, these might be longer declutter tasks for when you have a little extra time.
But a single drawer or shelf can easily be sorted through in a few quick minutes.
Say goodbye to anything that doesn’t fit, anything you don’t wear, anything torn, stretched, faded or broken. And of course, anything you hate!
For large hanging spaces, try the clothes hanger wardrobe hack, so you can easily know what to part with without having to pull your wardrobe apart if that’s something you’d rather avoid!
9 – A Pantry Shelf
The pantry is a big job that needs regular maintenance. Depending on the style of pantry your kitchen has, some are harder to keep clutter-free than others, depending on shelf depth and pantry storage systems.
This is definitely an area that can use regular 10-minute decluttering and organising sessions. But don’t tackle the entire pantry if it’s your first time doing this in a long while.
If your most recent full pantry declutter was only recent, you might have time to do each shelf. Otherwise, pick just one!
Start with removing anything that is empty or expired, damaged or that you know you will never use.
Check for short-dated items and put them in the front or create a space just for items you know you need to use soon so you can meal plan around using up those ingredients before they spoil.
If you need any tips for keeping your pantry stocked, you can get my pantry stock checklist to help keep track of your inventory as well.
Find inspiration for organising your pantry.
10 – A Kitchen Drawer Or Cupboard
Does anyone else have that one cupboard in the kitchen that you open at your own risk in case everything falls out? You know the one!
Okay, let’s eliminate those kitchen surprises with a quick kitchen cull! Choose a single drawer, shelf or cupboard in your kitchen (or a shelf within a cupboard if it has a lot of items to sort through) and get to work.
Remove any duplicate items, then remove anything that is damaged, anything that you will never use or that doesn’t work.
Don’t keep items for one day unless you know for sure you will be using them.
Yeah, that means the crepe maker you got as a wedding present 10 years ago that is still in the box is probably ready for a new home!
Think of how much easier your life will be when you don’t have to play Tetris with your kitchen storage each time you try and put something away.
Check out these tips for decluttering your kitchen utensils.
11 – Desk
If you have a home office, a study or have kids who have a desk in their rooms, this is a space that could definitely use a little attention.
A clear space is optimal for a clear and focused mind so this is an area of your home that you want to keep clutter-free with regular tidy ups.
Throw out any rubbish, sort your paperwork and stationery. Give your desk a wipe down with a damp cloth. Don’t forget to clean your mouse and keyboard while you’re at it. These are places that are often forgotten during our regular cleaning routines!
If you have a craft room that is often in a state of chaos, you might need some craft storage ideas to get it organised.
12 – Paperwork
Paperwork is one of those much-disliked decluttering tasks that many of us avoid… often until tax time rolls around or we simply can’t fit any more pieces of paper in our drawer or shelf and have no choice but to deal with it!
To declutter paperwork, it’s a matter of setting up multiple piles for the different types of paperwork so you can make quick work of it.
Here are some examples:
- Junk mail, sales flyers, catalogues – Recycle or discard
- Bills – Date and pay bills online (or scan and upload into your accounting software) then file for record-keeping purposes.
- Important documents – File for safekeeping.
If you have paperwork you don’t need to keep for records, shred and dispose of securely if your personal details are listed.
13 – Back Patio & Outdoor Area
Outdoor areas can be surprising clutter hotspots at times. Especially if like us, you have young kids who take toys outside or have activities that wear out over time and get left in pieces after too long in the Queensland sun!
Usually, it doesn’t take too long to clear the unnecessary items and put back the ones that do have a proper home.
Do a quick walk around your back patio and backyard, collecting any trash, broken toys, random branches and sticks (don’t go full gardening mode though) until you’ve cleared some of the visible surface clutter.
This is the perfect quick declutter for when the weather is warming up and you’re ready to spend more time outdoors together!
14 – Living Room
We each use our spaces a little differently. If you have young children in the home, your living room may have a little extra clutter than some other parts of the house, with toys and activities.
Otherwise, it is often a great space to add to your quick declutter task list!
Remove anything from the living room area that doesn’t belong and put it in its proper place – toys, clothing, shoes, media, etc.
Dispose of anything that belongs in the trash, including broken items or unwanted items you can donate. Tidy up surfaces and cushions. Dust off furniture and electronics.
Be selective about the decor items you have on display. If you don’t absolutely love them, consider donating them!
After all, extra decor items do make our cleaning tasks take longer when it comes to dusting and decluttering so always make sure you love the decor you have in your home.
15 – Your Phone Or Computer
Don’t forget your devices! You can make a big impact on organising your online life in just 10 minutes.
Choose a task to focus on for your 10-minute declutter session, such as deleting unwanted photos and videos, or clearing out your inbox, updating or removing outdated contacts, deleting apps you no longer use, creating folders for photos or files to make them easy to find.
On your computer, you can also clean out your junk folder, remove bookmarks you no longer need to be saved, sort through personal folders for anything you no longer need, update storage and start photo or file backups.
Having an organised digital space such as your mobile phone, laptop and computer will save you time for the things you would rather be doing and make life a lot less stressful when you next need to find that important email amongst the 300000 unread emails in your inbox!
Other 10 Minute Tasks That Have A Big Impact
Sometimes it isn’t so much clutter that is our issue, but instead our lack of organisation in place.
If you have discovered some areas of your home that are continuously becoming cluttered and untidy, dedicating 10 minutes instead to organisation systems can have a huge impact!
This can be as simple as sorting small collections of items such as stationery, accessories, batteries etc into small containers or jars.
Or upcycling boxes and bags to keep items together.
There are also many items within the home that can often be decluttered quickly. Check out this list of 150 items to declutter or donate to get you moving.
I know the challenge of decluttering can seem overwhelming, but you don’t need to tackle your whole house all at once. These 10-minute tasks will help get you started and keep that momentum going!
If you need a little extra motivation to keep going, this guide to where to start when decluttering will help you plan your projects, without wanting to quit on day 1!
You can also get my 30-day decluttering challenge workbook if you want a complete guide to help you go clutter-free for good at home!
For more decluttering inspiration;
- The 1 box decluttering hack
- 35 ways to declutter that make a big difference
- How decluttering can save you money
- The 5 minute daily habit to keep your home tidy
- 150 things to throw away or donate
- How to organise your linen closet
- Pantry organisation ideas
- Toy storage ideas
- Is the minimalist approach to toys right for you?
For cleaning tips and hacks: