Decluttering can feel overwhelming but 10-minute decluttering projects are easy to jump into (and out of). When you are considering clearing out decades worth of stuff, you wonder if you’ll ever have the time and energy to make progress. For me, it was a slow and steady journey and even now that I’ve gotten rid of most of my stuff, I still have to watch for clutter creep.
10-minute decluttering projects are small enough that you can finish them quickly. That feeling of accomplishment will make you excited to move on to the next 10-minute decluttering project. This approach will also help you overcome procrastination. When it does feel challenging to move forward, think about the time and space you will be creating to do the things you really want to do. From taking a long walk to reading a new book, learning something or baking cupcakes, you probably have a long list of things that make you smile.
Instead of devoting hours sorting through your stuff, start with one of the following 10-minute decluttering projects. Break big decluttering projects into tiny steps.
Five 10-minute decluttering projects
Before you get started you might be wondering, what the best decluttering method is. It’s the method that works best for you. Declutter with a timer, or while watching your favorite show. Make a decluttering playlist if you like listening to music. I do recommend having water and snacks on hand too. If you are the competitive or collaborative type, send this to a friend and see if they want to do it with you on a video call. Create your own 10-minute decluttering projects too. Make a list so you can easily start decluttering without wondering what to focus on.
1. Declutter your pantry.
It’s hard to think about food as clutter, but take a look in your pantry or the cabinet where you keep food. During this 10-minute decluttering project, start by removing anything that has expired. You might think canned food and other dry food will last forever, but it does not. Toss the old stuff. Next remove what you don’t eat. You may have purchased something for a recipe you never made or perhaps you changed your mind on gluten-free pasta. Pack up any unopened, unused, unexpired food and set it aside to deliver to your local food bank or community refrigerator. These 10-minute decluttering projects can be good for you and the people in your community.
2. Declutter your medicine cabinet
Cold medicine expires as does everything else in your medicine cabinet or medicine drawer (besides band-aids). Set your timer for 10 minutes and dump anything that is expired. Also toss the stuff you’ve used before that didn’t work or made you feel bad. Check out the rules for dumping old medications or ask your doctor. Only keep items that you are going to use within their expiration dates.
3. Declutter your purse or handbag.
Declutter the thing you carry things around in. From handbags to totes, wallets, and briefcases to purses and backpacks, empty them out. Chances are, there are a few Tic Tacs, old movie stubs, pens that don’t work or a half eaten protein bar in one of them. Set your timer for 10 minutes and empty everything onto a tabletop. Wash out your purse/wallet/briefcase and then put the things that you actually use back in. Declutter as many bags as you can in 10 minutes and then decide if you really need all of those bags. Experiment with carrying less around so you can travel more lightly through your day.
4. Declutter your duplicates.
This is a fun one because you can see how many times you purchased the same (or almost the same) exact thing. During your 10 minutes, you’ll find duplicates in your kitchen (wire whisks, measuring cups, coffee cups). Then head to your closet to find that shirt you bought in several different colors even though you only wear your favorite one. Your office or desk may be home to duplicates too. What can you let go of without even missing what’s gone?
5. Declutter your inbox.
If you are overwhelmed with your email, set the timer and delete as much as you can for 10 minutes. Sometimes it’s easier to select all of your emails and deselect the ones you want to keep. You don’t have to open an email to decide you want to delete it. Very little of what’s showing up in your inbox ever needs to be opened.
If you want to tackle more small decluttering projects, try these 15 recommendations. After a few 10-minute decluttering projects, celebrate by doing something you enjoy, even if that means doing nothing at all. Repeat these projects any time you have an extra 10 minutes. Drop off what you collect at your local donation center before you change your mind. Take your time and notice the space you are creating for yourself. Remind yourself that big change is the result of hundreds of tiny steps.