15 Minute Decluttering Tasks That Don’t Overwhelm

We all want to declutter, but feel like we need a major chunk of time to make a difference.  I have two young kids and recently realized I had decluttered and organized 18 different areas of our house over the last year.  This was impressive.  How was I able to accomplish this with a toddler, preschooler, and two jobs?  Then I realized the secret to keeping the home tidy during a busy season of life.  Do things in small increments that don’t overwhelm.  Check out this list of over twenty-five 15-minute decluttering tasks that don’t overwhelm.

Cluttered chest of drawers with clothes hanging out of it and text 15 minute decluttering tasks that don't overwhelm

Get Started Decluttering!


Paper clutter accumulates easily in our homes.  If you have kids, there are craft projects they bring home, school paperwork, and those Scholastic flyers with the books they want you to order.  As an adult, there is junk mail, magazines, user manuals, and bills that can collect.  Each of these tasks can take as little as 15 minutes.  Note, you’ll probably have to repeat the process several times to finish the job, but that’s ok.  Our aim is progress, not perfection. Oh, and to only do decluttering tasks that don’t overwhelm. So, if this is an overwhelming place to start…go to a different category!

  1. Sort through mail
  2. Pick a pile of paper to sort through
  3. Organize books – find at least 10 to discard
  4. Clean out your magazines, recycle as many as possible
  5. Discard any user manuals or old warranties
  6. Request all bills be put on the paperless option an emailed to you instead of mailed


We outgrow clothing, styles change, socks get lost, and the fabric gets worn out.  Check out these four 15 minute decluttering tasks that don’t overwhelm.

  1. Clean out your underwear and sock drawers. Throw away, or set aside any socks that don’t have a match and any underwear that is no longer useful
  2. KonMari a Drawer or two. So, this goes against one of Marie Kondo’s primary philosophies, but it works none the less.  She encourages people to do a tidying marathon and take on a lot at once.  That didn’t work for me, BUT taking on a drawer at a time did.  I implemented her vertical filing for clothes throughout our house over the course of a few days.  It was life changing!
  3. Clean out kid’s clothes that they’ve outgrown…just tackle one or two drawers or one rod in a closet. We have to do this about every three to six months at our house.  (our kids grow fast).  Even today, I sat down and took out all of the summer clothes from last summer that my daughter had outgrown.  I did about 4 drawers in 15 minutes.
  4. Identify 5 things to get rid of from your closet. I find my closet is a little harder to declutter.  If I challenge myself to find 5 things I can part with, it makes it a whole lot easier.  Again, little by little is the principle here!


There are at least ten areas of the kitchen you can declutter and tidy in 15 minutes or less.

  1. Clean out expired food from the refrigerator
  2. Pantry – take this on one zone at a time
    1. sort through herbs and spices and throw away expired items
    2. Baking supplies
    3. Sauces and Oils
    4. Cereals, Crackers, Chips, Snacks
  3. Tidy and declutter the junk drawer
  4. Clean out the medicine cabinet by throwing away any expired medicines
  5. Get rid of plastic containers without lids
  6. Discard any cups, plates, or bowls with chips
  7. Pair down your kid’s dish collection including kid’s plates, bowls, and sippy cups.

Cosmetics and Toiletries

The bathroom can easily become a clutter trap.  Again, you can take it on one drawer at a time.  Check out these two bathroom decluttering tasks that don’t overwhelm.

  1. Declutter bathroom vanity drawers
  2. Throw away hotel toiletries and cosmetic samples you haven’t used in a year or more.


Finally, check out a few more things you can easily declutter in 15 minutes without overwhelm.

  1. Clean out the toy box – if you have young kids, this can become the land of misfit toys. Clean it out every few months and discard anything that’s broken or missing parts.
  2. Sort DVDs
  3. Clean out your wallet
  4. Clean out your purse

Stop Decluttering Overwhelm

Let’s say no to overwhelm and yes to productivity!  Doing things in small increments can be incredibly helpful as you tidy up.  This list of 25+ areas to declutter won’t overwhelm.  Start small, commit to fifteen minutes and watch as your house is transformed.  You’ll be surprised at your sense of accomplishment and empowerment as you tackle one area at a time.





Looking for more inspiration?  Check out these posts:

Clutter – What it is and How to Stop Things from Accumulating

Decluttering Tips to Deal with Clutter Traps For Good


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  1. Sue Crow says

    One thing that helped me is “Always put your kitchen to bed before you go to bed.” It is wonderful having a clean kitchen in the morning. We always had a couple of glasses or a bowl or something left undone. Thank you for all your tips.

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