We all know the feeling very well: too much to do, too little time. When it comes to your home, I bet you’ve often found yourself in a situation where you’ve had no time to tidy up for ages and now you’re surrounded by clutter, making you dread the time it's going to take to restore some sort of order. It's enough to make you want to pick everything up and hide it in a cupboard. There’s rarely a home organizing method behind this quick tidying-up frenzy, but home expert and minimalist Shira Gill has one up her sleeve.
Her 15-minute organizing method is all about taking just a quarter of an hour to focus on decluttering or beautifying a small area of your room that won't only have an impact on how the space looks, but on how you feel too. It's a great way to break down daunting decluttering tasks into manageable chunks or, if you’re like me with only a few minutes on any given day to tidy up, you’ll use this method to give your home a quick, minimalist-led refresh on a regular basis. If you're looking for some tips on how to declutter your home, we think this a great method to add to your roster.
What is the 15-minute organization method?
Shira Gill is a master of minimalism, so it's no surprise she has some tricks up her sleeve when it comes to sorting the home. As it turns out, adopting a minimalist mindset isn't only about living well with less but also cutting the daily clutter that accumulates in every home, minimalist or not.
In a recent conversation with the expert organizer, she told me exactly what she would do to make her home look better if she only had 15 minutes to spare. ‘I would do a quick sweep of all the surfaces, relocate all of the things that have been misplaced, and give everything a wipe down,’ she says.
‘On a functional level, I love to do a 15-minute win,' she continues. 'I love simply reducing clutter on a single surface that you see every day like your nightstand for instance, and adding something beautiful. Get rid of the coffee mugs and the piles of old newspapers and simply place something like a plant, fresh flowers, a candle, or a piece of art or photo on the tabletop so that when you wake up you see something beautiful instead of a pile of random things.'
Of course, there are other things you can do in 15 minutes that will make you feel so much better mentally while also helping you to organize your home. Take, for instance, reorganizing a single drawer. ‘I particularly love doing this,' says Shira. 'Most people have a junk drawer, especially in the kitchen. I like to turn that into a utility drawer, so instead of a place that just collects junk and receipts, have it be the hub that everyone can go to if they need a pen or something to write on, or things that are frequently used but often misplaced.
The beauty of this idea is that because we’re only talking about 15 minutes, you can go ahead and make it part of your daily routine. Set a timer, put some music on, and tackle a different area of your home each day. You’ll have a perfectly tidy home before you know it.
Are there any disadvantages of the 15-minute method?
One disadvantage of any time-constrained task is that you might feel dishearted if you can't finish it in time, or maybe you'll get distracted and 15 minutes turns into an hour. Be sure to stick to a timer to help you focus.
If you’re keen to give this method a try, Shira also advises breaking it down into a round of decluttering followed by a round of organizing. It still remains a decluttering project you can do in less than 30 minutes, but it will prevent you from simply organizing things you don't need. Start by using a 15-minute timer for decluttering before you try to do any actual organizing, and throw or give away anything that no longer brings you joy.
‘You have to declutter and reduce volume before you organize anything because otherwise, you’re just organizing clutter,' she explains. 'Reducing volume is the number one thing you can do to improve the look and feel of your home. If you’re stuck, ask yourself if you were to move tomorrow would you pack this up and take it with you.' If you want to take your decluttering a step further, use the move-out method - which uses this same ethos - to get rid of more stuff. You'll soon have the minimalist home you always hoped for.
The best organizational buys
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Keep beautiful baskets handy and store away any small, miscellaneous items that tend to clutter your space easily, such as magazines, pens, chargers...
Entryways tend to get cluttered quickly, so if you're going to try the 15-minute method anywhere in your home, this might be the best place to start.
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Raluca is Digital News Writer for Livingetc.com and passionate about all things interior and living beautifully. Coming from a background writing and styling shoots for fashion magazines such as Marie Claire Raluca’s love for design started at a very young age when her family’s favourite weekend activity was moving the furniture around the house ‘for fun’. Always happiest in creative environments in her spare time she loves designing mindful spaces and doing colour consultations. She finds the best inspiration in art, nature, and the way we live, and thinks that a home should serve our mental and emotional wellbeing as well as our lifestyle.
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