'It will revolutionize your life!' – Experts say this one-minute decluttering rule will put an end to procrastination

Maintain a tidy home by incorporating this quick and simple decluttering tip into your daily routine

Living room with curved furniture and rug
(Image credit: Susie Atkinson)

We all want our home to look its best as we host loved ones this holiday season, and having a pre-Christmas declutter will restore calm to your space amidst the holiday chaos. The task becomes an important part of our preparation as we approach the big day, but it's easy to feel lost when faced with where to start. The trick, say experts, is to implement simple habits into your daily routine, and we've found one that anyone can start using now. 

The one-minute rule promises to streamline the process of decluttering a room into manageable chunks, revolutionizing the way you approach this mundane but necessary task. Professional organizers are big fans, so we caught up with some of them to discover exactly how the idea works and how to apply it to our space. (Spoiler, I'm already a convert!) 

What is the one-minute decluttering rule?

As the name suggests, this task is a quick technique to add to your decluttering repertoire. There are many decluttering methods out there, from tricks to declutter in 10 minutes to more time-consuming ideas like the move-out method, but many of these are big tasks not to be taken on lightly. If you're looking for a super quick fix, the one-minute rule is one you can implement into your daily routine really easily.

So how does it work? 'The one-minute rule says that if an action or task takes less than a minute to accomplish, just do it,' says professional organizer at House to Home Organizing, Ben Soreff. 'Instead of writing it down for another time or putting it off you just do it.'

This shift in mindset will transform the way you look at decluttering and make the job feel so much more manageable. It won't fix the need for bigger organization missions, but it will help maintain the results in the meantime. You'll quickly realize the amount of small tasks you allow to build up and, at the end of the week, the time you'd usually take to complete them will now be regained!

How should you apply the one-minute rule?

a neutral bedroom with a nightstand in front of a window

(Image credit: Lauren Engel. Design: Victoria Holly Interiors)

The one-minute rule might seem like a pain to adopt initially but it will quickly become second nature in helping you stay on top of clutter. 'It's a tactic I employ in my everyday life and recommend to my clients,' says Amanda Wiss, Founder of NYC-based home organizing company Urban Clarity.

To achieve the full benefits of the one-minute rule you need to approach it proactively. As Amanda explains: 'Making this a consistent practice takes some dedication but it will lead to easier decluttering days in the future when you don't need to sweat the small stuff and can focus on larger, sweeping changes.' 

Every time you see a small task, ask yourself how long it would take. Remind yourself the dishwasher will sit full until you empty it, and doing it now will remove that burden later on. You may not have time to start a lengthy closet organization project, but you can put your clean clothes away. 'You'll slowly start to feel in control of your organizational systems and your home,' Amanda adds. 

Does the one-minute rule work?

living room with large windows, white accent chair and coffee table, light blue rug

(Image credit: Knots Rugs x Nat Maks)

It might not seem like the revolutionary technique that it's cracked out to be, but trust me when I say you'll be shocked at how well this method works. 'I've found this technique incredibly valuable and often recommend it to my clients,' says Michael Gottron, owner of cleaning and organizing company, Germicidal Maids. 'The one-minute rule is a game-changer for decluttering and organizing because it shifts your mindset from procrastination to immediate action.'

The rule prevents procrastination and helps prevent smaller tasks from accumulating into larger, and more overwhelming projects. This allows you to focus needed brain power on a proper declutter when you need it. 'I recommend the one-minute rule because it's an easy habit to adopt and can make a significant difference in the overall cleanliness and organization of their homes,' says Michael. 'It's particularly beneficial for those who struggle with where to start decluttering or feel overwhelmed by the prospect of cleaning. I've seen it work wonders in homes where it's embraced as a daily practice.'

Don't expect this rule to fix the mound of neglected toys building up in your living room or the endless paperwork on your kitchen island - you still need a more thorough decluttering method for that. It will however keep the space tidy once you have properly decluttered and prevent bigger chores from taking over your weekends. 

Stop allowing your to-do list to spiral out of control and adopt the one-minute rule instead. I can guarantee your home will never look so well organized.

Amy McArdle
News writer

Amy recently completed an MA in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London, with experience writing for Women’s lifestyle publications across arts, culture, and beauty. She has a particular love for the minimalist aesthetic mixed with mid-century furniture, especially combining unique vintage finds with more modern pieces. Her previous work in luxury jewellery has given her a keen eye for beautiful things and clever design, that plays into her love of interiors. As a result, Amy will often be heard justifying homeware purchases as 'an investment', wise words to live by.