Clutter can make any room feel smaller, overwhelming, and stressful. It can prevent us from truly relaxing and feeling at home. But the thought of tidying up can sometimes seem just as overwhelming as the mess itself. Luckily, decluttering doesn’t have to be a gargantuan task that takes all day. With the right techniques, you can declutter any room in as little as 15 minutes. Here’s how:

1. Set a Timer

First things first, set a timer for 15 minutes. This not only gives you a manageable window to focus on the task, but it also creates a sense of urgency that can keep you from getting distracted.

2. Start with a Clear Focal Point

Choose one specific area or piece of furniture as your starting point, whether it’s a desk, a bookshelf, or a coffee table. Starting small will give you a sense of achievement early on and motivate you to keep going.

3. Grab Two Bags or Boxes

Before you start decluttering, have two bags or boxes on hand. One will be for trash and the other for items to donate or sell. As you declutter, immediately put items you no longer need or want into the appropriate container.

4. Use the “One-Touch” Rule

The “one-touch” rule is a simple but effective decluttering technique. It means that once you touch an item, you must make a decision about it then and there – no setting things aside to decide later. Ask yourself: Do I need this? Do I use this? Do I love this? If the answer to all three is “no,” it’s time for the item to go.

5. Put Away Items Not Belonging to the Room

As you encounter items that belong in another room, resist the urge to go put them away immediately as it’s a common way to get sidetracked. Instead, create a separate pile for these items. Once your 15 minutes are up, take a few extra minutes to return these items to their rightful places.

6. Keep Like with Like

Group similar items together as you go along. Keeping like with like helps identify duplicates or unneeded items, which can then be removed. Plus, it makes it easier to organize and find things later on.

7. Make Quick Decisions

One of the keys to decluttering quickly is to make decisions rapidly. It might be tough at first, but the more you practice, the easier it gets. Remember, the goal here is progress, not perfection.

8. Clean as You Go

Wipe down surfaces as you declutter them. This will leave the room looking tidier instantly and reduce the amount of cleaning you’ll have to do later.

9. Plan a Future Session if Needed

If you’re decluttering a particularly cluttered room, 15 minutes might not be enough to get through everything. That’s okay. The point of this exercise is to make a noticeable difference, not to reach perfection. If necessary, plan another 15-minute session for another day.

10. Celebrate Your Achievement

Finally, don’t forget to celebrate your success! Taking time to recognize the progress you’ve made will boost your motivation for future decluttering sessions.

Decluttering doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process. With the right approach, you can make a noticeable difference in just 15 minutes. So set that timer, make quick decisions, and watch as your space transforms from chaotic to calm.

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