Would it be possible to take a very long shower, and have it be good for the next week or month? Of course not. Could you eat enough at one dinner to take you through the next few days so you just didn’t have to bother with it? Of course not.

Yet that’s what you try to do with clutter-control around the house, isn’t it? One marathon Saturday every once in a while.

I bet when I mention the word ‘decluttering’, you want to change the channel - er, turn the page. I’ll bet that you consider decluttering as hateful a once-a year task as paying taxes.

Today, I want ask you to re-program yourself to understand that decluttering your home, and keeping it decluttered, is a simple once-a-day 15 minute habit.

And I know what you’re thinking: Exactly how does the “adding hours to my week” part happen when I’m asking you to contribute 15 minutes extra?

Here’s the secret: When it becomes as much a part of your day as eating lunch or taking a shower (both which coincidentally only take about 15 minutes), you’ll find your home - your life! -- will be less covered up with things you don’t want there, and have much more effective use of the things you do want there.

Viola! You’ll have more *time* to do what you actually want to do! Yes, it really is that simple.

Ready to try the 15 minutes a day habit? Good, let’s roll!

First, set up some boxes or bags. One should be a trash can. Mark the others:
(1) Return -- basically anything that belongs somewhere besides this home;
(2) Donate/Give Away - anything that you are ready to release to someone you know, or donate to charity;
(3) Put Away -- anything that goes into another room, (no, don’t go put it there now, use this 15 minutes for decluttering only);
(4) Store - anything that needs long-term storage.

Now, choose a time that you can stick to everyday, like while dinner is cooking, or before work each day, or just before your shower each evening. Call a buddy, and make it phone organizing together. Do whatever will work for you, but remember - it’s just 15 minutes!

Next, choose a room. Stick with that room until you feel it’s decluttered, returning to it each day for 15 minutes. (Note: I didn’t say perfectly decorated, I said decluttered.) I suggest starting with what you perceive to be the easiest room, to build your motivation.

Now you’re ready. Set a timer for 15 minutes. Stand in the door of that room. You’ll be working your way around the room, up to down, right to left. Scan all items, and put anything that doesn’t belong in that room in one of the bags you created previously. If it does belong in that room, make sure it has a “home”.

When the timer goes off, stop. Repeat the next day.

When a room is completed, take out the garbage, put the “donate/give away” box in the car for dropoff or call for a pickup depending on what you’ve gathered. I strongly suggest that you do not save your clutter and have a garage sale. The object here is to get completely rid of the clutter, not stack it up to just deal with again. Take whatever is in the “put-away” box and put it where it belongs. If it doesn’t have a home, put it in the room that it should be used in.

As you progress, take 1 minute each day to check on the room(s) you’ve completed as maintenance. That will help you get in the habit of keeping the rooms decluttered, not just doing it as a yearly disagreeable task.

By the time you have finished you will have a place for everything and everything will be in its place. If you’ll focus just 15 minutes each day, not thinking about it, not whining about it, not worrying about it - just DOING it - in one month, you’ll feel like you’ve moved into a different house!

Author's Bio: 

Professional Life Coach Kathy Gates specializes in helping people who are ready to create a simpler, less stressful, more joyful and meaningful lifestyle. Visit www.reallifecoach.com for information, products and services, and sign up for a free newsletter.