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A professional organiser's 4 steps to declutter in 20 minutes

As a professional organiser, I sometimes work with online clients who struggle with traditional decluttering methods. They feel overwhelmed by the idea of spending an entire day working on their home and the mess that can ensue midway through the process.


If you can relate to this feeling, I have a solution that might interest you: the 20-minute method.


Step 1: Pick a small space


Selecting a small, manageable space. It's essential to focus on just this area and ignore for that period of time that there may be other places to tackle in the future.

Here are some potential areas to consider:

  • Sock drawer: Get rid of any odd socks and only keep the socks you will wear.

  • Bathroom cupboard: Create a clear space for daily essentials and remove unused or expired products.

  • Mug cupboard: Have only the mugs that you absolutely love and are used daily.

  • Shoe collection: Quickly find matching pairs of shoes I adore and donate the rest.


Step 2: Remove everything


This step is straightforward; empty out the space completely and transfer the items to a new location where you can work on them with a fresh perspective. By physically removing the items from their usual surroundings, you'll be able to view them with a new set of eyes and gain a clearer understanding of what you're dealing with.

Once you've emptied out the space, it's time to sort through the items and group them into categories. If you're tackling a cluttered bathroom cupboard, for example, group all the shampoos together, all the hairbrushes together, all the moisturizers together, and so on. Categorizing your items in this way will enable you to take stock of how much you have in each group and help you make more informed decisions about what to keep and what to let go of.




Step 3: Declutter


To declutter effectively, it's crucial to be honest with yourself and have a clear vision of your end goal. Consider the example of a cluttered bathroom cupboard, where locating essential products in the morning is a hassle amidst the chaos of bottles, tubes, and medication. In such a scenario, keeping six different shampoos only adds to the confusion and doesn't serve the ultimate purpose of finding things quickly.

The key is to evaluate each item and ask yourself whether you need it, use it, or love it. If the answer isn't an immediate and resounding 'YES!', it's likely a 'No'. Trust your intuition!

Create three piles for donation, keeping, and throwing away. This process will streamline your space and make your daily routine much more manageable.


Step 4: Organise


Congratulations on completing the challenging task of decluttering! Now, it's time to restore the remaining items to their designated space.

To make the most of your newly cleared-out space, it's essential to be mindful of what you require easy access to and what you only use or wear on occasion. Consider utilising containers to keep items organised, and if possible, begin by using storage you already own. For instance, do you have any old iPhone boxes lying around? These make excellent small drawer compartments since they come in two parts.

If you find that you can't fit everything neatly into the space, it's time to revisit step three and reevaluate how much you've kept. Remember that a clutter-free space is an ongoing process, and it's vital to continue monitoring and organising your belongings regularly to maintain a tidy, functional living environment.



Be curious and kind to yourself throughout this experiment. You might be surprised at how much you don't miss what you've removed. You deserve to live in a comfortable space without feeling overwhelmed by disorganised clutter. Give this method a try!


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