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15 Minute Decluttering Tips for the Busy Mom


I’ll be honest, I hate cleaning. But I love when my house is clean. Can you relate? A cluttered and messy home can be stressful and overwhelming. Luckily, there are some quick and easy ways to declutter your home in just 15 minutes.

Woman decluttering her home by putting things where they go.
Straightening up is my favorite mom hack!

It’s next to impossible to keep your home tidy all the time. Mom life is busy and it’s easy for things to pile up.

When I don’t have a lot of time but want to feel a little more organized, I set out to clear the clutter. It’s one of my favorite hacks for making the home feel less chaotic without taking tons of time.

What is Decluttering

The definition of decluttering is removing unnecessary items from an untidy or overcrowded place.

Since our home is really small if I don’t keep the clutter to a minimum the house feels really tight. Getting rid of the things that don’t belong where they were left, instantly makes the house feel cleaner and helps my mind feel at ease too.

Decluttering doesn’t have to mean doing a deep clean where you give things away and fully organize your home. I mean, it CAN mean that. But my favorite way to declutter is to tidy up or straighten the house.

It’s like the botox of cleaning. At first glance, it gives the appearance of a clean home even if you haven’t pulled out the cleaning cloth. It doesn’t have to take much time but you get the most bang for your buck!

Decluttering is my favorite! And tidying up can be done in under 15 minutes!

You won’t get very far into my favorite cleaning playlist in that amount of time!

Decluttering, cleaning and organizing are different things. And together they can make your home feel like a sanctuary (or at the very least more spa-like). But we don’t always have time to do all three.

Decluttering is a great first step. And will make the next two steps even easier. Other posts I’ve read sort of combine decluttering and organizing. And that’s great! But for me, decluttering is a quick win.

Printable pages on top of an image of kitchen gadgets with text next to it.

How to Declutter Your Home Quickly

Woman putting dishes away in the cupboard.

What is your goal

If you’re feeling stressed, you may choose to declutter the area that you spend more time in. For me, that’s the kitchen. It’s where our laundry is and it’s where I cook dinner every night.

But if you are expecting guests, you may want to start in the most visible spaces. I use a more targeted approach if I’m expecting company. I start with the rooms that the guests will most likely be in, like the living room or bathroom, and then ignore the rest (unless I have plenty of time).

When you’re short on time, it’s best to focus on the areas that will matter most to help you achieve your goal. And you’ll be able to make a big impact in a short amount of time.

TIP: I like to keep cleaning wipes and window wipes under the sink for super quick touch-ups before a guest comes over. This will also help to make the house smell clean! 

Make a Strategy

Once you get started with straightening up, you’ll be able to create a strategy that you can employ each time. When you have a plan and are focusing on one area at a time, it will keep things under 15 minutes.

For me, I like to clean from the front door to the back of the house. If I do it this way every time, it’s easy to get started and I don’t have to expend any extra energy deciding on how to tackle it. 

This is why some people like capsule wardrobes. It cuts some decision-making out of the process and you get to the end result faster.

Others may work from the outer corners of the house, (bedrooms, kitchen and living room) and work their way in (halls, bathrooms). But you can do it any way you want!

No matter where you start you will work quickly and systematically to declutter the area and then move on to the next.

Set a Timer

One of the best ways to stay focused when aiming for a clutter-free home is to set a timer for 15 minutes and work until it goes off. Straightening up gives a sense of calm, and it’s really only helpful to me if it doesn’t drag out for an extended period of time.

If your home is in really bad shape, setting a timer can help break down the tasks into bite-sized pieces and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. Once the timer goes off, take a quick break and then start again if you have time.

By following these simple tips, you can quickly declutter your home in just 15 minutes!

Make Piles

As you’re clearing the clutter, I like to be as efficient as possible. I like to make piles of things that need to be put away. This allows me to grab anything that is out of place but not walk back and forth all over the house needlessly.

For example, our dining table and kitchen counters get buried under things. Right on the table, I can sort the items into piles with the end destination in mind. When the sorting is done, I take one trip to each location instead of several. It’s so much quicker this way.

It also keeps you from getting sucked into cleaning another room before you’ve finished with the first room.

I also make a “trash” pile for items to be thrown away so I’m just taking one final trip to the garbage before I move on to the next task or room.

A clean and decluttered kitchen counter.

Give Everything a Spot

Once you know where your piles get distributed, you’ll be able to see that everything has a spot. One of the biggest causes of home clutter is not having a designated spot for everything. When things don’t have a specific place to go, they tend to end up in piles on counters, tables, and floors.

Although it’s not totally realistic to think that you and your family will put things where they go immediately every single time, it will make straightening up faster when you don’t have to decide where things will be stored.

If things are more organized, it will make it easier to tidy up when things start to get messy. And everyone will know where things go! So if you need to enlist extra help before a party, you shouldn’t have to explain where to put things.

We keep art supplies in a cabinet in the front room, and electronics and computer items go in the cabinet under the TV. The garage is for anything sporty, including helmets and skateboards.

Enlist Help

The decluttering and straightening up process doesn’t have to be done just by you. While I may tackle the most visible areas of the home, that is usually because it’s where I spend my time. When I’m creating piles, I will always have one pile for each kid’s room.

I put the pile in their rooms but then it’s up to them to put it all away where it goes. This will teach them good habits and help instill a sense of ownership in their own things. Plus, it makes the front of the house look more put together.

They can break their main pile into smaller piles and make it seem less overwhelming. It gets it out of site and doesn’t require hours of my time.

Just 15 minutes of straightening up can make a big difference, but it will go even faster with more people working on it.

Woman carrying a laundry basket down a hallway.

Hide it Temporarily

If you just don’t have time to declutter and put things away properly, you can always hide it temporarily.

Grab a laundry basket and pick up everything that doesn’t belong in that room and move it somewhere out of the way. When you have time, you can take things to their rightful place. But when you need to tidy up quickly, this is a great hack! 

I only do this when I’m in a pinch because really it’s just moving the decluttering to a later time. But it works when you need to make the house look clutter-free, FAST.

And truly who cares if the kid’s rooms are a mess, right? If I couldn’t get the kids to tidy up their rooms, I just shut the doors.

Look for Quick Wins

Quick wins have a lot of impact but are super quick and easy to do. Like dumping the trash. No one wants to walk into the kitchen to an overflowing can. That one task can instantly make the room feel more welcoming.

Sometimes a quick vacuum or Swiffer of the floors can make all the difference in the look and feel of a room. And it only takes minutes.

If I don’t feel like taking even 15 minutes to straighten up the house, I just look for a few quick wins to help me make a room feel less chaotic.

Ready for More?

Straightening up is the first step to creating an overall clean and organized home. If you have tackled your clutter in 15 minutes and have more time, decide what you want to do next.

With counters cleaned off and out-of-place items put away, it’s easy to grab the cleaning supplies and tackle the dust and grime.

Or if you have set aside time to really get organized, you can use these tips to help you level up your piles and thin out your possessions. Make a “trash”, “keep” and “donate” pile and declutter that closet or junk drawer that bothers you.

We’ve all got busy lives so remember you never have to do all the things at one time. Spread it out and take breaks. I’m certain that people who come into your home love you whether there’s a little dust or not.

Learn More About Decluttering

By following these simple tips, you can quickly and easily straighten up your home in just 15 minutes. So next time your home starts to look a little cluttered, don’t panic! Just set a timer and get to work!

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