How to Declutter One Minute at a Time

My coat closet was bothering me.

Specifically, I kept my phone charger in one of these cubbies with a bunch of other computer-related equipment, and it was a challenge to grab it quickly because there was too much other stuff in the same cubby.

This is my before photo:

I kept it there because it was near my desk but out of sight.

But I wasn't using the other items in the cubby nearly as often as I was using the phone charger. To get the phone charger, I had to focus and separate it out from the rest of the stuff.

It slowed me down and irritated me.

I also felt irritated that my head brushed against the coats when I grabbed my dumbbells.

It was bothering me for a while but I hadn't allocated the few hours and the mental energy I felt it would take to sort everything out and come up with a new solution.

Then I decided to take my own advice, and spend just one minute every time I went into that closet, picking up one item, and thinking about what I could do with it.

If a minute elapsed and I didn't know what to do with the thing I was holding, or the area I was thinking about, I put it down and just moved on with my day.

I got a lot of opportunities for mini-changes because I went into the closet a lot. Even if only to turn off the light, I spent one minute.

Here's the closet at the end of the first day.

Kind of amazing how much change you can get in one day, just one minute at a time.

Plus, it's hard to get overwhelmed in just one minute, and if you do, you get to put the thing you are looking at down and move on!

I got inspired to move my fall and winter coats out to the garage for storage. Believe me, it's not the kind of thing I normally do! I find it tedious to swap belongings out by the season.

It's enough to keep on top of what's happening day to day, without adding seasonal tasks!

But in this case, I got on a roll and wanted clear lines of sight and to have in that closet only what was actually being used. Isn't it amazing what you can do in one day without spending more than 1-5 minutes at a time.

I was so glad I decided to get started! One by one, I made decisions about things and moved them, or just put them back where they were and walked away if I didn't come up with any bright ideas!

What a difference between the first photo at 6 am and the second one at 8 pm on the same day!

It doesn't have to take all day to lift your spirits by removing irritations with organization of your home!

The third cubby down holds the phone charger, and I hadn't dealt with it yet, but the closet was feeling so much better!

Here's the closet at the end of the second day:

Bye, bye hanging organizer, hello space!

Okay, the hanging organizer is in the garage. I might need it back during the winter to hold the warm weather gear. We'll see. An issue for another day (uh-oh! a seasonal task!)

On the second day, during one of my one-minute stints, I decided to take the rest of the stuff out of the hanging organizer and put it on the floor. Then I walked away. It was hard enough making the decision to dismantle the organizer, much less keep taxing my brain with decisions about what to do with everything on the floor. I just kept lightly focusing on one thing at a time whenever I went into the closet.

At the end of the third day:

The floor is looking better. The electronics stuff is gone. Okay, I admit it, my electronics drawer in another area is now too packed and has to be organized, full disclosure, here's a shot of that drawer:

There are two layers in this drawer, so bags have to come out to find things - not ideal! A project for another day. The coat closet is doing great.

At the end of the fourth day, I was miraculously done with the coat closet reorganization, having made a ton of decisions with a minimum of stress, and without taking a big chunk of time out of my week.

Check it out:

I even brought the vacuum cleaner back in from the porch closet to right here where it is most used and I've vacuumed twice since then. Amazing!

I know, my before picture was not so bad. Certainly not as bad as how I used to live 15 years ago.

Start where you are. Just one minute at a time keeps the stress down and the results are more noticeable than we might think.

You don't have to spend all day decluttering and organizing to see a significant improvement in your space and your mood.

Go for it!

One minute at a time.