How to declutter in 10 mins - the cheat's guide to an organised home

Mammoth decluttering sessions are out, and short and sweet bursts of organisation are in

White ribbed chest of drawers with lamp, mirror and vase
(Image credit: Future PLC/Carolyn Barber)

With work to complete, kids to look after, a social life to maintain, and a crazy world to contend with, keeping your house in check can take a back seat. But we’re here to tell you that decluttering and organising your home doesn’t have to take hours. 

Yes, it's important to know that what you see on Instagram is often smoke and mirrors. Behind every swoon-worthy home set-up is someone who has had to remove their kids’ toys from the shot, clean muddy paw prints from their sofa, and pick up the mountain of clean clothes they’ve yet to put away. 

That’s exactly why we wanted to put together a list of realistic storage and organisation tips and tricks to help you clean and organise your home without having to sell your soul for motivation. And the best part? Every single one of the decluttering hacks on this list takes less than 10 minutes to complete. So, boil the kettle, and you’ll be done by the time your tea is ready to drink!

10 things to declutter in 10 minutes 

'Declutter in manageable chunks rather than trying to tackle a whole cupboard or room,' advises Laura Mountford, AKA Laura Cleanaholic. And who wants to spend their whole day cleaning and organising, anyway? 

By setting aside just 10 minutes per day to organise one small area of your home, you can work towards the bigger picture. And it’s even better when you can fit this in while you’re waiting for your kettle to boil or your Zoom meeting to start. Then, it doesn’t feel like a chore. 

1. Organise a kitchen cupboard

Corner of white kitchen with glass fronted cabinets

(Image credit: Future PLC/Matthew Williams)

Sometimes clutter doesn’t have to be outright visible for it to affect your life, and anyone who has cluttered kitchen cupboards will know what we mean. 

But if you have kitchen cupboards that result in an eruption of Tupperware every time you open the door, it might be an idea to spend 10 minutes organising one cupboard at a time. For this, it’s best to use cupboard organisers - there's just about every style and size available on Amazon

‘Using storage boxes inside cupboards can facilitate the decluttering process by providing a structured and efficient system,' says Jonathan Clark, space saving expert and creative director at Shelved

‘Opting for a modular unit to fit neatly into the cupboard allows you to create distinct compartments, providing an area to organise items by category, size, or purpose. The compartments also prevent items from becoming jumbled together, making it easier to find and access what you need.'

2. Switch out your hangers

Inside wardrobe with drawers, shelves and hangers

(Image credit: Future PLC/Katie Lee)

Hands up if you have chunky wooden hangers or the plastic ones you get for free from the shop? Well, using the wrong hangers can actually damage your clothes if you’re not careful. 

And if you want a quick decluttering tip that will take you less than 10 minutes, swapping out these hangers for a slimmer alternative can instantly freshen up your wardrobe, make it look tidier, and give you more space to work with. 

‘Slimline hangers in your wardrobe take up less space,’ says Laura. And we can’t get enough of this 50-pack of Slim Velvet Non-Slip Hangers from Amazon

3. Organise drawers with dividers

Pink chest of drawers in green room with mirror and plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

If you’re looking to tick things off your decluttering checklist, your drawers are a good place to start. Whether your kitchen drawers are filled with utensils that can get stuck on a regular basis or your underwear drawer is bursting at the seams, the best way to organise drawers is by using dividers. 

Drawer dividers come in all shapes and sizes and for all different purposes, and the Marie Kondo-approved idea is based on the idea that you should give everything its own home. 

'The simplest method is to empty the contents of the drawer,' says organising expert Joyce French at HomeHow. 'Be honest about what you really need and use. If there’s something that can go, let it go. Put the dividers into the drawer and return the contents, sorting them according to size, use or whatever system you prefer and works for you.'

By taking 10 minutes to tackle one drawer like this every day, every week, or even every month, you can start making sense of the chaos in your drawers.

4. Declutter your desk

Wooden desk with metal desk chair and clipboards on wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Carolyn Barber)

A tidy desk is a tidy mind, right? And if you're still working from home, putting aside 10 minutes to declutter your desk will work wonders for your productivity. 

However, this doesn’t need to be a military mission. You could focus on sorting through the paperwork that has piled up on your desk or tidying up the wires that make your workspace look like a space station. 

As your desk is a small space, this shouldn’t take too long at all. You’ll definitely appreciate the 10 minutes you set aside to do it, though.

5. Pick up your shoes

Green and white hallway with shoe storage, mirrors and basket

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

No matter whether you have a busy household or you live solo, we’re going to go ahead and assume that somewhere in your house right now is at least one pair of shoes on the floor. And there’s a high chance that this pair of shoes is located in your hallway or right by your front or back door. 

But if you have 10 minutes to spare, why not spend it organising your shoes? Clutter on the floor can make your house look way more chaotic than you’d think, and the simple act of picking those shoes up and placing them back on the shoe rack or in your cupboard won’t take long at all. 

6. Clean a refrigerator shelf

Inside of fridge with produce organised in plastic boxes

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Sometimes you just don’t have the time to organise your fridge, and we get that. But next time you’re waiting for your dinner to cook, it could be a good chance to clean just one shelf in your refrigerator. 

How you clean this shelf is completely up to you. You could go down the conventional route and whip out your disinfectant, or you could choose to throw out (or compost) old food that’s no longer edible, re-arrange your jars, or invest in fridge organisers like these KICHLY Stackable Fridge Organisers from Amazon.

'Pick a different section or shelf to clean each day, repeating the same process until you’ve succeeded in cleaning the entire fridge,' recommends organising expert Joyce.

Plus, a clean and organised fridge will also help you with another fridge-based chore. 'When it’s clean, check what items you need to buy for your next food shop and list them,' says Nicola Rodriguez, AKA Essex House Dolly

7. Organise your junk drawer

White ribbed chest of drawers with lamp, mirror and vase

(Image credit: Future PLC/Carolyn Barber)

Let’s be honest; we all have them. Whether you call it the “drawer of doom” or “the drawer that shall not be named,” the junk drawer has a way of taking over our minds and cluttering up our house whether we like it or not. 

However, organising a junk drawer is one of the best things to declutter in 10 minutes. That’s because most of it is, well, junk! As you organise the junk in this drawer, you’ll probably find that you don’t need to keep it. 

'Tip everything out onto a table, grab the bin and while you’re at it stick a drawer divider in the drawer,' advises organising expert Joyce. 'Go through the contents discarding what you don’t need and organising what you want to keep in your new ‘useful’ drawer.'

So, you can spend 10 minutes throwing out the things you don’t need and then using drawer dividers to organise the rest.

8. Declutter your bathroom

White bathroom with bathtub and black rolling storage

(Image credit: Future PLC/Carolyn Barber)

We know that cleaning a bathroom isn’t something you can do in 10 minutes unless you’re a speed cleaner. Nevertheless, it is possible to declutter a bathroom in that time. 

Whether you finally get around to throwing out the multiple old shampoo bottles that have been lying around or you decide to declutter your bathroom cabinets or vanity area, these small bursts of organisation can really make a difference. 

9. Put away the washing

Utility room with washing machine, sink and storage

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

Washing and drying clothes seems like a never-ending cycle, and we wouldn’t blame you if you were fed up. But take this as your sign to take 10 minutes out of your day to fold and put away the clean washing that’s been sitting in a pile on the floor in your utility room for the past four days! 

Although it may seem like the longest 10 minutes of your life, you’ll be able to rest easy when your utility room is free from clutter and chaos.

While you’re at it, why not tackle the chair in the corner of your room where you throw the clothes you’ve worn once but don’t necessarily need a wash? Take this as another sign to hang or fold them back up.

10. Fake it until you make it

White living room with fireplace, L-shaped sofa and bean bag

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

While the idea of having a completely clutter-free house sounds like a dream to some, it’s not always possible. If you have a big family with limited storage but lots of items that you need to keep, sometimes it’s better to just fake it until you make it. 

The best way to do this is to invest in furnishings that offer multi-functional, so you can at least hide the clutter that doesn’t need to be on show. And hiding these things will take way less than 10 minutes.

'For those who find it hard to keep on top of accumulated clutter, consider opting for furnishings that double up as storage solutions,' advises Dani Burroughs, Head of Snug.

'A sumptuous sofa with a storage compartment underneath is a great way to hide any essential living room belongings. Homeowners can store anything from blankets or extra cushions, leaving the space neat and tidy in minutes.'


How to declutter in 10 minutes?

The best way to declutter in 10 minutes is to realize that 10 minutes isn’t a huge amount of time. Manage your expectations, and aim to tackle a small section of your house at a time - whether that be a single drawer or a quick sweep of a larger room in the house. Then, focus on one particular area of decluttering. Aim to throw out things you no longer need, organise what you have to make it easily accessible, or give something a good clean. 

What is the fastest way to declutter?

Many decluttering experts swear by the “five-second rule” when it comes to organising your house. To use this rule yourself, pick up an item in your home and try to remember when you last used it. If you can’t remember when you last used it within five seconds, then it's obviously not something you need in your life. So, you can either throw it away or donate it. By doing this, you should be able to declutter extremely quickly, ridding your home of unnecessary items. 

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.