Clutter is one of those things in life that seems endless. Right alongside dirty laundry and washing dishes. Even with the best intentions, clutter finds a way to creep back into our homes. Often soon after we invested a heap of time in decluttering. Instead of being overwhelmed by unrealistic plans to fix everything at once, try the 5-minute daily declutter habit instead!
This decluttering strategy is the new daily habit that will take your home from overwhelming cluttered mess to a home you can love. And keep tidier! Without dedicating hours upon hours to make it happen.
Often it’s the smallest habits that make the biggest impact!
The 5-Minute Daily Declutter Habit
The thought of decluttering an entire house from top to bottom is overwhelming at best. That is a project that can take a lot of time, motivation and effort. A lot of which you may not have right at this moment.
But what if you spent just 5 minutes a day, every day, for a whole year?
That’s 1,825 minutes of decluttering. Or just over 30 hours of your time spent decluttering your home. More than one whole day of your year to work through one of your biggest projects you’ve probably been putting off.
And since you only spent 5 minutes at a time, you barely noticed the magic happening.
See… 5 minutes a day sure does add up!
How Can I Achieve Anything in Just 5 Minutes?
5 minutes is not a lot of time. It doesn’t seem like nearly enough time to make an impact.
You won’t be able to declutter your kitchen in 5 minutes. Or a wardrobe. Or even go through your entire plastic container cupboard.
But in 5 minutes you can declutter a single shelf.
Or a single drawer.
Or sort through your 3-months of mail piled up on the bench.
Dedicating just 5 minutes a day takes away that horrible overwhelming feeling when you look at an entire room or an entire house that needs decluttering.
The daily 5 minute declutter is not an instant fix for your home. It’s a way to work through tiny bit by tiny bit, making a little bit of difference each day to your home.
Project Vs Habit
The key to making the Daily 5 Minute Declutter work is the way you approach it.
I don’t know about you, but usually, when I get ready for a major declutter, I tackle it like a project. This is not a sustainable method for most of us.
When we get the big idea to declutter a room – or an entire house – the task becomes too big. We get overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. Or we get distracted and leave it for later. Except we don’t come back later.
Instead of turning decluttering your home into a major project, turn it into a daily habit.
All you need is 5 minutes a day for this new habit and after a while, it really will become part of your daily routine. By making decluttering a lifelong habit instead of a started and abandoned project, over and over again, you will start to see actual results!
How To Make The Daily 5 Minute Declutter Work
Like any new habit, it takes time to make it stick!
For the first few days, you might be full of motivation and excitement. You might even be tempted to spend longer than 5 minutes. But don’t!
Make it 5 minutes a day and stick to that time! This is the only way your decluttering becomes a habit rather than a bigger project. And when you spend half an hour instead of 30 minutes, you will likely find yourself becoming burnt out from the effort and your motivation might fizzle quickly.
It is said to take 30 days to make a habit really stick, so do what you can to make those first 30 days count.
I love the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. There is a very good reason it is a best seller!
His approach to creating habits, rather than goals, is right in line with becoming a lifelong decluttering rockstar! By creating a small, achievable daily habit, you have a far better chance of not letting your habit fail.
And most of us can spare 5 minutes a day for a habit that will help simplify our life!
What If I Forget?
The best way to ensure the success of your new decluttering habit is to make it easy. And you can do this in 3 easy steps:
- Choose a time
- Set a reminder
- Set a 5-minute timer & get started
First, decide on a time of day that will suit you most days. This is a time when you are typically home and not already busy doing something else.
For me, while my kids are getting ready for school is a great time as we have a fairly smooth morning routine and doing my daily 5-minute declutter before we leave the house always makes me feel like I am starting the day strong. I usually do it as they are dressing, brushing teeth and getting themselves organised. And on weekends, it’s before breakfast to get it out of the way early.
For you, the best time might be just before you put the kids to bed. Or a set time of the day when you know you will likely be motivated and ready.
Now that you’ve planned for a time of day, set yourself a reminder. Trust me, early on this helps A LOT!
The reminder might not be necessary after a few weeks, but just in case, humour me for now. Use your phone to set a reminder or if you have a home device, like Google Home or Alexa, ask them to remind you at your nominated time.
When it’s time, set yourself a 5-minute timer. Yes, this is important. This stops you from going too deep and turning it into a project.
When that timer stops, so do you!
Where Do I Start?
By creating a daily 5-minute habit of decluttering your house, you don’t need to have any big plan set, as you do with a project!
Your 5-minute tasks should not involve whole rooms, whole spaces or large areas. Start small. On your first few days, simply start by walking around your main living spaces and removing obvious rubbish. Put it straight in the bin!
Over the next few days, start returning out of place items to their proper home. This isn’t decluttering in the way you usually think of it, but it is removing surface clutter from your home by putting it back in its right place!
A few days in, you will already be feeling better about how your home is looking, by dealing with the obvious stuff that you’ve been putting off.
Don’t overthink it!
What Can I Declutter In 5 Minutes?
Once you’ve worked your way through the really obvious stuff, start digging a little deeper during your daily 5 minute blocks.
Remember, each area should only take you 5 minutes to declutter, organise and sort. If there is no possible way that area will be sorted in 5 minutes, come back tomorrow and the next day, and finish it until it is done.
However, most areas of your home can be split into very small zones that you can get through quickly.
Here are some 5-minute declutter zones you can tackle over the coming months:
- A drawer
- A shelf
- A section of your wardrobe
- Mail pile
- Kitchen bench
- Bathroom sink
- Bedside table
- On top of the dressing table
- A box of craft supplies
- A bookshelf section
- Makeup case
- Medicine cabinet
- Hair accessories
- Junk drawer
- Colouring books
- Pencil case
- Coffee table
- Kitchen utensils
- Cleaning supplies
Find more ideas for quick declutter tasks and zones, in case you need extra inspiration.
If you feel like a 5-minute daily habit is still too much for you right now, try 5 days a week or do my one-box declutter hack just to get started.
When The Decluttering Is Done
When you’ve worked your way through every drawer, cupboard and container in your house and you’ve culled the random stuff from under your bed, you can stop, right?
Well, you could.
If you feel like your house is adequately clutter-free and you find yourself struggling to find new spaces to declutter, you can pat yourself on your back and consider it a job well done.
But I have a better idea!
Keep your daily 5-minute habit because new clutter will find its way into your home. Especially if you have kids. Or you like stuff. I like stuff. And it doesn’t take long for things to end up out of place or no longer needed, so use this time to clear the surfaces, put things away and keep your home under control.
This means your chances of needed an epic full-house declutter in future is unlikely and you can enjoy your home being mostly tidy and organised!
Now that you’ve got your decluttering habits sorted, what about your cleaning routines? Create a cleaning schedule that works and stay on top of regular deep cleaning tasks. Don’t forget these often grubby places.