The 15 Minute Task We Use to Cut Clutter

Today, I’m sharing our secret weapon – the 15-minute task we use to cut clutter every day – and it’s a super simple game-changer.

An Honest Question…

How many times have you just dropped everything on the dining room table the minute you walk in the door?

You have every intention of sorting through it all.

But before you know it you’re running behind with dinner, there’s a big mess to clean up, and all you want to do is leave it on the table and deal with it later.

Or maybe…

You’re hanging out with your family and everyone is having a good time in the living room.

You guys are watching movies, someone has pulled out a game, there’s a bowl of popcorn and drinks on the coffee table, socks and shoes piled up next to the couch, everyone has a blanket, there are pillows on the floor and a stack of magazines with a candy bar wrapper nesting on top of the coffee table.

Oh, and the dogs have pulled out all their toys adding to the mess!

Just a typical Friday night, right?

Or maybe…

You’re a blogger that makes a lot of creative messes for posts and photoshoots.

You’re in the zone when you finally decide to take a break only to look up and realize home decor items are spread out everywhere!

If you dread dealing with situations like these and you’re overwhelmed with the mess practicing the 15-minute task we use to cut clutter every day can help!

If this sounds like something you’re ready to try, here are the steps we take to cut clutter…

Step #1 to Cut Clutter: Gather Your Basket 

The 15-minute clutter catcher is something you can do with almost any project, on any day, no matter if you’re at home or on vacation.

The only exception is for food and/or drink-related items. You can use a compost bowl and/or the waste bin for those.

For the 15-minute clutter catcher, all you need to get started is a sturdy basket and a kitchen timer. If you don’t have a kitchen timer use the timer on your cell phone, or ask Alexa to set a 15-minute timer for you.

Step #2: Assess the Situation

On this particular day, I was changing the winter mantel to a spring one. I pulled out all sorts of items to try….books, fillers, containers, plates…and they were all from multiple rooms.

The coffee table was my staging area and it was a mess.

Instead of walking each of the items back to their rooms one by one, I placed all of the items that needed to be put away into the basket. That way, everything was contained at the same time.

As always, use caution and care if you’re working with items that are breakable.

Step #3: Set the Timer

Set the timer for 15 minutes.

Step #4: Cut Clutter by Taking Action

Carry the basket into each room and start putting the items away until the timer goes off. Remember not to pile so much stuff in the basket it becomes too heavy to carry safely.

This step is THE most important. After all, it would be super easy to leave the basket in the room, walk away and deal with it later.

Fight through the temptation to do that and take care of business!

If you find you need more time, set the timer for another 5, 10, or 15 minutes.

Step #5: Put the Basket Away 

After your basket has been completely emptied, return the clutter catcher to its designated storage spot so it will be ready to use the next day.

Step #6: Reward Yourself (if needed)

I know it’s a big deal to finally kick the habit of procrastination. It’s something I have to work at daily and sometimes hourly.

It’s totally ok to reward yourself if you need some extra motivation!

Our Experience Using this 15 Minute Task to Cut Clutter…

No playing, you guys, I used to dread having to put things away. More times than not, I would leave the mess and deal with it the following day as long as it wasn’t food-related.

But every time I did that I would wake up, see the mess, and immediately become frustrated I hadn’t made a better choice or set a better example.

Things are totally different now that we use this 15-minute task to cut clutter every day.

If I’m working from home, I’ll even use it throughout the day so the house stays tidy.

We also use this same system each night before we go to sleep as part of our nightly routine which makes a huge difference each morning.

Keep in Mind…

Keep in mind, this is something you can get the whole family involved with too!

If you have multiple people in your family, you may want to consider getting a clutter catcher basket for each person. You can store them together in a common area like the laundry room or have each family member store them in their own closets.

Depending on their ages you may have to check to make sure they actually put items away appropriately.

I’m always surprised at how much we’re able to put away and tidy in 15 minutes. Honestly, 15 minutes doesn’t seem very long.

I’ve come to realize over the years though, it’s the act of being fully focused and intentional for those 15 minutes that makes the biggest difference.

Having a clean, tidy, and organized home takes commitment but you are totally worth the effort. So, keep at it until you find a system that works for you!

Do you have a favorite organization tip and trick to cut clutter you’re excited about? We’d love to know! Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Other Home Organization Posts to Enjoy:

Spring Cleaning and Organizing Task List 

How to Meal Plan by the Month

The Best Way to Organize the Kitchen

Many blessings,


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  1. I need the clutter catcher in my life. It looks like your house is already pretty clean though. Is that a prerequisite for being able to use this system? Thanks in advance, I’ll give anything a try at this point.

    1. It’s not a perquisite, Bonnie, but I will say it does help to keep the clutter catcher system around 15-minutes. If you’re having to clean up after several days of a busy home life in addition to doing the clutter catcher, it might take a bit longer than 15 minutes. Keep in mind small progress is still progress so go at your own pace until you’re able to make this a daily habit/practice. It really does make a big difference. Hope this helps, hugs, Coco

  2. This is a great post CoCo. Actually #4 is our comfort zone…and truth be told – we’re gonna need a bigger basket LOL. And then #5 would be an excuse to reward ourselves with donuts! the answer is always donuts HAHA. We have each been making great strides in the New Year to free-up time, space, clutter and quiet. So far, so good. Implementing this post now! Hugs to you for a fabulous day!

    1. ha ha you guys crack me up! I love donuts too. Honestly the “put your items in the basket away” part is actually the hardest part but once you commit to doing it, it all really starts to change. I’m excited about the progress you guys have made so far and can’t wait to cheer you on throughout the year. Hugs, CoCo

  3. I learn so much from you CoCo! I am going to try this starting tomorrow. Wouldn’t it be great if it worked?!?!? Thanks for sharing this. I’m going to feature on my wrap-up tomorrow.

    1. So excited you’re going to try this idea, Kim, and thank you for the sweet feature too! I think the biggest thing is to *take action* once the basket is filled because it would be really easy to just leave it all in the basket, walk away and save it for another day. I always say, if I’m not willing to leave a mess like this at my sister’s house, I’m not going to flake out on myself and leave it at my house either ? Big hugs, CoCo

  4. Nancy Neumann says:

    Thanks for sharing this great post! I’m going to give it a try! 😉

    1. So exciting to hear, Nancy! We use it all the time. 15 minutes doesn’t seem like very long but it totally helps. Especially, when we’re focused ? Hope your day has been a fun one, CoCo

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