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A 15-Minute Weekend Decluttering Challenge

Declutter plan


Dear friends,

I’ve been slowly, methodically working my way through my list of spaces on the Space Blessing Plan I wrote for our home. Because these tasks can be overwhelming as a whole project, I like to work on the spaces in short, 15-minute bursts. I use a timer, and when it goes off I stop — unless I’m having fun and feeling motivated, in which case I keep going.

Yesterday I took eight bags of treasures to the Goodwill drop-off: DVDs, clothing, books, toys and knick knacks. I’m uncluttering for Lent, and each bag that goes out the door frees up lovely open space here. I’ve now decluttered six spaces, with 19 more to go. Step by step…

What I’ve discovered is that decluttering is a lot like paying off debt. In the early stages you have to spend extra time going through everything, when you feel like you have absolutely no time to spare.

But as each space gets uncluttered, time gradually returns. As each space or closet or cabinet becomes tidy, it’s faster to find things and easier to keep clean. You may find, as I do, that walking into an uncluttered room fills your spirit with peace. What a nice feeling to cultivate at home.

Offices and Bedrooms, Oh My!

Many of you have been sharing your comments about the spaces you most want to unclutter on the free giveaway post for the book New Minimalism. (By the way, you still have time to enter. The giveaway runs through this Sunday evening, March 4.)

Here are the top spaces you want to tidy up:

  • Office/Studio – 13
  • Bedroom – 8
  • Closet – 6
  • Basement – 4
  • Garage – 2
  • Living room – 2
  • Kitchen – 2
  • Entertainment center/hutch – 2
  • Storage space – 2
  • Attic – 1
  • Laundry room – 1

How About You?

Here’s a weekend challenge:  would you like to try participating in a short, 15 minute decluttering burst (or several) between now and Sunday evening?

If so, just leave a comment on this page or on the January Money Diet Community Facebook group page and share your project, your results, your suggestions, your frustrations, or anything else you want to say about tidying up your spaces.

Like many of you, I’m going to tackle my home office. Working steadily and encouraging each other, we can do this!

Hugs and happy weekend,

The signature for Eliza Cross


15 minutes of decluttering

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is the author of 17 books, including Small Bites, 101 Things To Do With Bacon, and BERRIES. She enjoys sharing ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, and home projects. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.

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8 thoughts on “A 15-Minute Weekend Decluttering Challenge”

  1. I am definitely in. I will tackle my dresser(a total catch all) and my closet(a total catch all for anything that didn’t fit on the dresser). Maybe I will even take before and after pictures.

  2. I just tackled my jewelry and earrings: previously stored in a box, a couple of drawers and two of those hanging jewelry holders. I donated many earrings, bracelets and pins that I never wear, threw away the broken, and became reacquainted with some things I had long forgotten. Everything is now beautifully organized. The project took about two hours and was helped along by some good music.

    My big challenge now is the four boxes of china/crystal/silver that my mother in law gave me when her mother passed away. We don’t use it, but feel a guilt about getting rid of it. What to do with stuff from the 20s and 30s, that no one really wants anymore, but….?

    • Pam, thank you for sharing your specific strategies for decluttering jewelry. Good music while sorting is a great idea! 🙂

      Regarding china and crystal, I have 16 pretty cut crystal wine and champagne glasses that belonged to my grandmother. I decided to split them in 4 sets of 4 and am giving them to the young women in my family for engagement gifts along with a bottle of Champagne. The first set to my oldest niece was a huge hit and she cried happy tears. I like that the pieces will stay in the family.

      I understand the conflict with sentimental pieces. Another idea is that you could set a beautiful table with all the china and silver and crystal and take a high resolution photo to remember all the pieces. Then sell them on eBay to someone who will really enjoy them, and do something significant with the money. Good luck, and let us know what you decide to do. xo

    • I hear you , sister! You might enjoy Pam’s comment below. I have more sorting to do in this category, too. I just gave away a box of costume jewelry. They were pieces I hadn’t worn in years, and I knew it was time to say goodbye. I’m going to try and sell some of the better pieces on eBay. Good luck! Let us know how it goes. xo

  3. In. Need to declutter the entire house in 15 minute segments – had a heart attack last year and still very low energy and sleepy.

    • I’m sorry, sweet Lulu. That’s tough, and I hope your healing quickly appears and you regain your energy.

      Here’s an idea: You may wish to buy a little plastic digital timer at the Dollar Store (look in the kitchen gadget section) and just keep it set on 15 minutes. Gather some bags or boxes so you have places all ready for items to donate. Then do a 15 minute focused decluttering/cleaning on one space. Stop when the timer goes off and put the box/bag in the trunk of your car. Keep doing this process, and little by little things will start to improve. I am praying, and pulling for you. Let me know how it goes, okay? xoxo

  4. This is sooo me! I am much older that most of your replies–I can tell. So everything in the family has sifted to me. I have been “editing” my house for a month, closet by closet and shelf by shelf. It’s so rewarding–find something I once loved, give it a kiss, and take it to Pennies for Change, our domestic violence shop. So glad I found your blog!! I’m at grandmanaturediary.blogspot.com


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