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6 Things you can do to Declutter in 20 min or less

Why does decluttering have to feel so exhausting? I've been reading a lot about the benefits of minimalism the last month or so and have been inspired to start simplifying my life. But when I look at my massive book collection, or the junk we keep in the laundry closet I feel like minimalism seems so far away.

Every now and then I get inspired on a boring Saturday to completely gut my closet, or pull everything out of my kitchen for an all day decluttering fest. But if we're being honest I don't really have the time or energy to do this as often as I want to. Decluttering doesn't have to be this big event, it can be small tasks that you can knock out while waiting for dinner to finish in the oven.

So I wanted to share a list of things you can do in 20 minutes or less to declutter and simplify your life.

Clean out your sock drawer

If you do anything on this list make it this one. Buy yourself a 15 pair pack of matching socks the next time you're at Target and then throw out or donate all your old ones. This makes matching socks sooooo much easier on laundry day. It's honestly transformative to my laundry routine.

I'm about to do the same thing for my boyfriend without his consent since I'm the one always matching socks. Can you guess what his Christmas present is going to be this year?

Cull your makeup

You might think this would take more than 20 minutes but not if you're lazy like me. Fake put on your makeup and pull out things you use on a daily basis. I liked laying all these things out on the counter and asking ok did I really use eye shadow primer this past week. Anything you don't use on a day to day bag somewhere under your sink. Use only this bag for a few weeks, and anything else you pull out for special occasions or nights out tuck into a separate makeup bag to pull out when needed.

The rest of the stuff under the sink constitutes trash or giving it away if your friends aren't weird about sharing makeup.

Nail Polish

I don't buy nail polish, but for some reason I use to own like 20-30 bottles. I only occasionally paint my nails, so I picked my five favs and gave the rest to a friend. I chose to keep two neutrals, a pink, a red, and a glitter. I figured I'd want the glitter around the holidays or for special events but keep however many you'd reasonably wear at least twice a year.

Coffee Mugs & Water Bottles

I figured out what to-go drink containers are my boyfriend and my favorites and put the rest in a donate pile. If we're being honest I can use my yeti mug for both coffee and water, but like a normal water bottle for when I'm working out.

Also coffee mugs are a super common gift, so I pulled out a three or four we never use and made room in my tiny kitchen. The few cute-ish mugs I have in a gift/donate pile so the next time a coworker or friend has a birthday or I need a quick gift I can dig it out if it happens to be before I get around to making my donation.

Books & Magazines

I know, I love to read too. I'm one of those people if I read something on audible or kindle, I'll go buy a hard copy to keep on my shelf too. If books and reading are your thing, then don't feel like you have to get rid of all of them.

Take 20 minutes to go through and get rid of the books you're for sure not going to pick back up. I'm talking that Euro Lit book from sophomore year, and any diet or fitness books that haven't reference in at least a quarter. Selling these at half price or some similar store can score you an easy $20 too. Treat yourself to a drink with dinner.

p.s. Check out my post here about how to make more time for reading for pleasure in college

Clothing, Jewelry, & Shoes

Don't feel like you need to go through and try on everything or pull all your clothes out to cull your clothes. If you see something in your closet that obviously isn't your style, or that you keep bypassing in the morning when getting dressed, question if it should be in there in the first place. I've started this great habit of moving clothes that I don't wear often to the very back of my closet. This makes it easy for me when it comes time to clean out my closet.

RELATED: 7 Reasons I'm not a fashion blogger

This also counts for jewelry. I have a really cool jewelry organizer, but really I only frequently wear a set of stud pearls, a pair of high quality dangley earrings for special occasions, a bangle, a pendant necklace, and a charm bracelet. All the statement necklaces or cocktail rings are doing me no good sitting in my closet, so they, along with the snazzy jewelry holder are in the donate pile.


Decluttering is good for the mind and soul, but it doesn't have to take up your entire weekend. Focus on removing things that get in the way. But don't feel pressure to get rid of things you love for the sake of minimalism. Small habits add up to a lot, so 20 minutes of decluttering can go a long way.

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