Heard of the 15 minute declutter? It can transform any room in your home

The 15 minute declutter is the tidying method everyone is talking about – here's how to do it, according to decluttering experts

a wardrobe system with clothes and accessories put in order using the 15 minute declutter
(Image credit: Ikea)

The 15 minute declutter method is transforming the way we're tidying our homes. If you thought that nothing could be more revolutionary than the Marie Kondo tidying up method, you will want to give this super-quick tidying routine a go. It might just have an edge over anything else you've tried, it's that easy. 

The best thing about the 15 minute method is in the name. All you really need is 15 minutes of your time, several times a week. And of course, the best cleaning products to help you get started with a fresh slate.

Doing this five days a week is ideal, according to decluttering experts, but start with whatever you can manage. Here's how to do the 15 minute declutter method...

White bedroom with Tyssedal wardrobe by Ikea

(Image credit: Ikea)

Decluttering experts are giving the 15 minute declutter a full thumbs-up, but do recommend you commit to doing it regularly. Yvonne Pratt, of Stone Gable blog (opens in new tab), says that this method will especially suit those who aren't keen on 'an overnight, bring in the forklift and dig out' decluttering. 'The 15-minute tidy is gentler and kinder and actually works much better in the long run!' she said.

This is not to say that 'gentler' means that you won't be throwing stuff away – on the contrary. For any declutter to be effective, you have to 'be ruthless' with things that you no longer need. In fact, being ruthless is even more important when doing the 15 minute declutter, because when you have so little time, you don't have too much time to think and have to make quick decisions. 

How to do the 15 minute declutter

Shoe storage idea on the back of a wardrobe door

(Image credit: Ikea/Chris Court)

1. Tackle your closet first

One thing is certain: trying to do a quick declutter of your cherished sentimental items will be tough, so make it easy instead – by tackling your closet before anything else. As decluttering expert Suzanne Roynon (opens in new tab) says (as part of a Love Your Home collaboration with Homebase (opens in new tab)), 'If you’re itching to get going and ready to power through, tackle the wardrobe first! It’s an easy win because there will be clothes which you either don’t feel good wearing or remind you of sad or uncomfortable situations.'

Learning how to declutter your wardrobe is a good start 'because your clothes are personal to you, so it’s easier to let them go and build up your decluttering muscle to deal with other parts of the home.' And don't forget to look at some clothes storage ideas if your closet needs complete reorganizing. 

A spacious neutral walk-in closet in a hallway area

(Image credit: Neatsmith)

2. Put it in your diary

Yes, really. This may sound like the boring bit, but for some people even committing to 15 minutes is difficult. So, pick a date (a public holiday or weekend may be better to begin with), and make sure you stick to the allocated time. As Ontario-based  professional organizer Kathleen (opens in new tab) puts it, 'urgency can be a great motivator. Striving towards a due date can help you stay focused.'

3. Get a timer 

Timers are great motivators, as many people who have trouble sticking to deadlines have found. It may be as simple as setting an alarm on your phone, or you could invest in a separate timer. Some of them are shaped like old-fashioned clocks, which adds to the fun of the whole routine. You can also use an egg timer, which will come in equally handy in the kitchen. 

4. Decide what you'll do with the unwanted stuff

This is worth thinking about before you've started your 15 minute declutter. Will you give your unwanted items to charity, or perhaps you have specialist recycling nearby? What you don't want to happen is fill bags with your stuff and then not know what to do with it. If you have a clear goal, e.g. 'donate to charity', you won't have time to hesitate and just put it in the attic 'for the time being.'

We're off to do some decluttering right now – that closet definitely could do with some fast and ruthless tidying. Simply set the timer for 15 minutes, and go! No excuses.

Anna is Content Editor at Real Homes. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. At Real Homes, she covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design. 

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