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How to Declutter When You Don’t Have Time

How to Declutter When You Don’t Have Time

Decluttering can feel overwhelming or impossible when you don’t have the time. Clearing the clutter from your kitchen junk drawer can seem too much, let alone when you’re planning to declutter your entire home. In this article, I’m sharing some tips on how to declutter when you don’t have time to declutter.


Sometimes it’s very difficult to find the time.

Maybe you juggle work and family or work long hours and there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. Come the evening, perhaps you’ve got little energy left and decluttering is the last thing you feel like doing!

Perhaps you have young children who need you constantly. You can’t even find the time to drink your coffee before it’s cold, let alone consider decluttering your entire home!

If any these situations sound familiar to you and you’re wondering how to find time to clear your clutter, take heart.

Here are some little tips on how to declutter when you don’t have the time. They’re little ideas to declutter your home, the fast and easy way.


Know how much time you have available

Instead of getting hung up on thinking you don’t have any time, think about what time you do have instead. Even just a few minutes is better than nothing and small windows of time can soon add up. Keep a notebook and pen handy (or save some notes to your phone). Write down some little projects that you can do in short windows of time.

Make use of your spare odd minutes

These are small snippets of time that you can use to knock out quick decluttering projects, for example, whilst you’re zapping something in the microwave or waiting for the kettle to boil. Declutter a kitchen drawer, the bath products and toiletries sitting on your bath, the excess plastic bags. For some ideas, check out this post for 14 tiny decluttering projects.

Have a plan

I mentioned this above, but it’s such an important point that I’m mentioning it again! When you find you have a slot of time, don’t waste it wondering what to do. Have your list ready of little projects that you can get done when you have a moment. Refer to it when your mind goes blank, or deliberately create a few minutes to get something done. Tick it off your list and plan for the next project when you can.

Choose an easy or small project

If you’re pushed for time, choose an easy place to start or a simple little project that you can achieve in the time you do have. Aim to finish your project in the time you have available so that you can feel proud of yourself for a job well done and motivated to carry on when you next have some time. Check out this post for some quick decluttering projects.

Move on if you get stuck

If you start on a decluttering project but get stuck for any reason, leave it for now and come back to it another time. Perhaps it’s taking longer than expected? Maybe you don’t have the right storage or organisation solution set up (e.g. a clearly-labelled filing system for your paperwork) so you haven’t got anywhere to put, store or file your stuff when you’ve sorted through it? Perhaps you’re finding it difficult parting with your stuff? Getting stuck is natural, but don’t let it get you down. Think about why you’re getting stuck and try to resolve the problem before you tackle this project again.

Split large declutter projects into separate tasks

For larger projects, break them down into manageable chunks. Instead of doing the whole kitchen, for example, maybe focus on worktops one day, your cutlery another day, the plates and bowls on another day and so on. Five or ten minutes here or there can soon mount up and you’ll still be making progress where you can see and feel results. It may just take you a little longer.


This is one situation where multi-tasking can really help! Declutter a kitchen cupboard whilst dinner is on the boil. Declutter your bathroom when the kids are playing in the bath. Sort through your underwear whilst you’re getting dressed tomorrow morning. Be creative!

Set a timer

Instead of planning what you’re going to declutter by project, choose it by the amount of time you have available instead. Plan what time you have, even if it’s just a couple of minutes and set a timer. Declutter as much as you can until the timer goes off. Deal with your unwanted items then and there. Rinse and repeat!

Use a simple checklist

Decluttering doesn’t have to be complicated even if it feels daunting. Get used to asking yourself some simple questions. Do I love it, do I use it, does it have a purpose or add value in some way? Keep the things where you answered a ‘yes’ and clear out the stuff for which you answered a ‘no’. Check out this post on how to decide what to declutter for more help with this.

Seek help

Not all your family might be on board with what you’re trying to achieve so this tip might not be right for you just now. However, keep an open mind that you’re not the only one that can declutter your home if you have other family members who could give you a hand. Encourage your partner to declutter their own clothes, for example. Perhaps your kids can start to go through their books or toys?

Make sure you’ve got everything you need beforehand

Save a little time by making sure that you’ve got everything to hand that you need. Plan, in advance, which area or project you’re going to tackle. Do you need a laundry basket or box to gather up unwanted items or a bin bag to put them in afterwards?

Plan what you’ll do with your unwanted items

If you’ve planned which areas you’re going to declutter then you also need to allow time to deal with the items you don’t want. This might include throwing them in the rubbish, taking them to the local recycling centre or charity shop, or at the very least putting them in the boot of the car ready to drop off when you’re next out. Not having a plan for speedily dealing with your decluttered items means you run the risk of your unwanted clutter lying around the home, just in a different place!

Have some boxes handy

Keep a few boxes which you can use to put stuff in that you don’t want. Have different boxes for recycling, donating, rubbish and label them up so you know which is which. Depending on the size of your home and how often you’re going to use them, keep them in an obvious place (by your front door, for example) or in the garage to pull out when you need them. It’s a simple system for chucking things in that you don’t want to keep.

Keep an eye out for clutter as you move about your home

Decluttering doesn’t have to be a specific project as such. You could just keep in mind that you’d like to clear your clutter and as you generally go about your day and your home, put anything you don’t want to keep in a bin bag or one of those boxes we mentioned in the point above.

Decide when to stop

If time is tight, you don’t want to aim for perfection. Perfection takes time (and it doesn’t really exist anyway!). Decide on your project and get it done, but don’t get caught up on wondering if you’ve done it perfectly. You can always come back to it again if you have time, but ‘good enough’ is, well, good enough for now!

Declutter as a priority

It’s a hard truth but an important one. Wishing for something won’t make it happen. At some point you need to take action! If you want to experience the benefits of a decluttered home, then you need to declutter. Using lack of time as a reason not to declutter won’t help you with this. The best thing to do is ask yourself whether decluttering is a priority. What will you gain from having less stuff? If the benefits are worth it for you (which I’m sure they could be!) then decluttering needs to be a priority, not a source of excuses or procrastination. Making a few short sacrifices to declutter your home will repay you hugely going forward. So, instead of scrolling Facebook or doing a bit of online shopping, pick a decluttering project and get it done!

Keep up some daily habits to stay clutter-free

Busy life has a way of trying to bring clutter into our homes on a daily basis, no matter how clutter-free your home might be! Check out this post for some daily habits for a clutter-free home and some little tips on keeping the clutter away every day.

How to declutter when you don't have time to declutter


I hope this information has been helpful to you. For more articles on how to declutter and easy decluttering projects, hop over to the declutter archives.

If you’re new to decluttering, feel overwhelmed or not sure where to begin, this article on How to Declutter Your Home and Life is the best place to start. It’s the ultimate guide to decluttering your home and life with tips, advice and projects to try today!

If you have any questions, please drop me an email at [email protected] and I’d be happy to help!


I hope this article has given you some tips on how to declutter when you don’t have time. I really encourage you to do whatever you can in the time you have available. The benefits of decluttering are huge and if you’re living a life that feels busy and lacking in precious spare time, decluttering can regain you a little (maybe a lot) more time!

To help you get started, pop your details in the box below to receive my free Declutter Starter Kit. It’s packed with tips and projects to help you clear the clutter and keep it away!