This post may contain affiliate links. See here for full details
While browsing Pinterest the other day I realized that there are a ton of articles out there promising to help you get organized in just 10-15 minutes a day. It’s brilliant, right? I mean, most of us don’t want to spend hours upon hours at once sorting through all our stuff. So the ability to organize quickly is a game changer!
Except for one thing…
It ain’t gonna work, yo!
Correction: it will work for some, particularly those who are skilled at organization and just need to make some minor adjustments to their space. But if you’re deep in the throes of clutter and/or disorganization, listen up and let me tell you why you won’t get organized in under 30 minutes a day:
1-) You’ll end up in a marathon
Say it takes a total of 10 hours to declutter and organize your bedroom (not an unrealistic number to go through all your belongings, sort them, put items back away, and take discard items to their appropriate places). If you spend 1 hour a day doing it, then the whole process will take a week and a half. But if you spend 15 minutes (0.25 hours) a day organizing? Suddenly it takes 10 hours/(0.25 hours/day) = 40 days. Y’all, that’s over a month of daily effort just on your bedroom! Be honest with yourself: will you actually stay motivated at that pace?
2-) You won’t have the chance to get in the groove
Think about when you’ve been the most productive at anything in the past. You probably focused 100% on what you were doing, and before you knew it you looked up at the clock and a few hours have passed.
But if you limit yourself to a short period of time that just can’t happen. Not only do you not have enough time to get absorbed into the task, but your mental approach will be different. After all, when you have the next 40 days to organize a space, you can just take it easy now, right? 😉
This is especially true for those of you who work better under pressure. Are you that person who pulled an all-nighter in college to get a research paper done by 8am? Then your best way to get organized is to invite a friend who you haven’t seen in years over for dinner tomorrow, and then just get crackin’! Seriously!
3-) You will forget where you left off
If I had to invest a quarter every time I forgot what I was doing, I would be rich by now. Most of us have so much going on in our lives that once our attention turns away from something, it’s really easy to forget what we were doing. Imagine then, if you decide to organize for 15 minutes and then go make dinner, clean up, bathe the kids, get everyone ready for bed, and (hopefully) sleep before you even think about organizing again. When you finally revisit organizing tomorrow you will likely ask this question:
“Now, what was I working on yesterday in this room?”
Yea, we all do it.
4-) Half-done is messier than not done at all
I have a confession to make:
My home feels like it is in a constant state of construction.
And it sucks. We always have half-finished DIY projects floating around our house. And because we don’t have a garage, attic, or basement in our condo (see the cons of living in a condo), the DIY projects have to live in our personal space.
So let me tell you from experience, half-finished projects (DIY, organizing, or otherwise) floating around can be messier and more stressful than leaving something alone. Now think about how frustrating it would be if you had an organization project taking up your space for, I don’t know, say:
40 days. (Does the idea of taking 40 days to organize one space stress you out yet?)
I’ve probably left you with more questions than answers about how to get organized. Questions such as “what’s the minimum amount of time that you should spend organizing a day,” and “am I wasting my time organizing when I have 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there?”
Well in short, 1-) it depends, and 2-) NO!
There are a ton of factors that will affect how long you need to spend organizing daily to really be effective. For example, how disorganized is your home at the start? How much time can you actually commit to organizing? Many factors play out here, so you’ll have to feel it out. However, as a rule of thumb I recommend at least 30 minutes. It’s just enough time to get something substantial completed yet it won’t take up your entire day.
In terms of using the 10-15 minute opportunities you have during the day, you ABSOLUTELY should use them. The point of this article is not to discourage you from using time you have to be productive; it’s to prevent you from overcommitting with your time. I’ll have more on this to come, so stay tuned!
That’s my take on why you won’t get organized in under 30 minutes a day. While you wait for more ingenious organizing advice, check out How to Get Organized: 9 Attitudes You Have to Change and How to Organize a Small Pantry.
This is great advice! I can’t get much done at all in 15 min. If I set a timer for that, I’d still be organizing my approach to organizing. ? I need to commit at least an hour to get anything significant done. I’m also a last-minute crammer, and have a LOT of clutter.
Lol! I know the feeling!
Anne - Just Only Home says
Thank YOU!~ Whenever I see those posts I think “I can barely get a load of laundry folded and put away in 15 minutes.” Anyone that can do that has a much smaller house, a lot fewer things, and a much smaller family than me. But it does make you feel a little inadequate seeing those posts everywhere as if 15 minutes really should be enough. Totally sharing this. Thanks again for making me feel like a normal human tonight <3
I agree. 15 minutes may work for straightening up but not organizing a big project. Last time I tackled my home office it took 5-7 full days. I was able to keep it up for awhile but alas it’s a disaster again!
I know the feeling! Sometimes life just feels like it gets in the way of staying organized! But I know you’ll get there!
This is so true. I don’t even count the little minutes as time spent on a task like decluttering. I was left with a family home that I have been decluttering for over a year every single day and I am still not done.
The difference is huge, though, and I would have never kept going that long if I hadn’t been able to see the difference I had made every day!
Now I am putting extra effort into making sure my home never piles up to that point (having an unfinished basement makes it so hard!)
Yes! I agree! And I know the struggle! My mom struggles with clutter and just being in her house stresses me out! I don’t want to have to have my kids feel the same way so working on keeping the clutter down is an every day effort! We currently live in a condo, and not having an attic or basement can make it tricky!
Best of luck in your endeavors!