The power of 15-30 minutes per day

Do you find yourself procrastinating about items on your to-do list? Do you keep meaning to do some uncluttering, but never seem to get around to it?

I’ve recently begun a new approach to tackling this kind of thing, and it’s working well for me. Instead of trying to get everything done at once, I’m taking the slow and steady approach.

Every day, I do one small task that I’ve been procrastinating about completing.

One day I began the refund process for an expensive item that has been recalled. For some reason I had put this off for nine months! And although I feared it might be complicated, it was actually very easy, taking only about five minutes.

Another day I went to my primary care doctor’s website and asked the questions I need answers to before arranging some routine tests. This took about 10 minutes in total, because I needed to look up some information.

And on a third day I just went through a bunch of papers that had accumulated when I was dealing with my hip replacement. (I’m doing really well now.)

Every day, I see if I can find three items to offer to my freecycle group or take to my local thrift store.

My garage isn’t a disaster area by any means, but I wanted to use its storage space better. So I’m going through the garage and carefully evaluating everything I have stored out there. A lot of it makes sense: my toolbox, spare stuff (paper towels, toilet paper, cat food, and light bulbs), a small number of holiday items, etc. But I’m also finding things I definitely do not need: six dishpans (intended for sorting papers, but never used for that), an unused car trunk organizer, two hula-hoops, etc.

My freecycle group allows three offer messages per day, so I decided to look for at least three things per day that I no longer need. And it’s working very nicely. I don’t get overwhelmed with the task, and I’ve created storage space for things I do want to keep that I had no good space for before.

Several times a week, I spend 30-60 minutes helping a friend with her uncluttering efforts.

My friend’s husband died some months ago, and he was quite a packrat — so there’s a lot to go through. Although my friend wants to unclutter her home, the effort can sometimes seem overwhelming. So I’m spending a little bit of time with her as many days as I can to help keep the momentum going. Other people are helping her, too, and there’s substantial progress being made. It’s wonderful when we uncover something that had been missing for years!

This is not to say I won’t ever do any hours-long efforts, as those work well for me at times, too. But for now, doing a little bit every day has helped get me unstuck.

12 Comments for “The power of 15-30 minutes per day”

  1. posted by April E. on

    Thanks for this reminder that uncluttering doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” task!

  2. posted by Pat Reble on

    I always find that the dread of doing the task is worse than doing the task itself. I try to remind myself not to be held captive by Dr Dread.

  3. posted by Susan M. on

    Thank you for these valuable, simple tricks to ensure that clutter actually finds its way out the door. We have Rooster ( in our metro area, so I may need to join them to help me part with unwanted items.

  4. posted by Debra Helen on

    Thanks for this post. Like you I put off doing something that I think will be difficult or time consuming and it usually turns out easy to complete.

  5. posted by Happy Mum on

    Motivating post — thanks. Here’s a question (for JD or readers): What are considerations re offering via Freecycle vs donating to charity shop?

  6. posted by Debbie on

    God bless you for helping out a friend declutter. I’m sure she is so grateful for the help!

    Wonderful article 🙂

  7. posted by Cindi on

    Thanks for this – it is encouraging and practical. And doable.

  8. posted by Pat Reble on

    Happy Mum, I recycle via Freeecycle when the object in question is bulky or when my health or time is under stress. Otherwise I donate to charity.

  9. posted by Pat Reble on

    My criterion for Freecycle is if it is bulky or heavy and/or I don’t feel well/am pressed for time, otherwise it goes to charity.

  10. posted by Pat Reble on

    I meant to add that our local charity shops don’t take electrical items so those go on Freecycle. They also don’t take mattresses, and grubby couches, but some people find those perfect for their dogs.

  11. posted by G. on

    @HappyMum – thrift shops often can’t/won’t sell items that have flaws. Charity thriftshops especially don’t need the added expense of land fill fees. freecyclers often will, especially if advertised as “fabric for crafters or upcyclers”, or “needs minor repair, good candiate for repair and reselling”. Or as others said, if an item is too large for you haul away easily, freecycle is a good alternative.

  12. posted by Create Hotmail account on

    15-30 minutes per day great truth, thanks for the article, very good

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