How to Make Time to Declutter

Things don’t happen unless we do them on purpose. If it’s important to you, then you have to plan the time to do it. Most people want to declutter, but they say:

“Oh, I don’t have time.”

What they are really saying is:

“It’s not a priority to me.”

If caring for yourself and your home is important, then you have to set aside time to get it done. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you have to spend time decluttering your home every day for the rest of your life.

Setting aside time to declutter will help you have much more time to do other things in the long run.

The time you invest now, doubles or triples the amount of free time it will give you after you are done.

Think about it: how much time have you spent looking for things, trying to find certain papers, the checkbook, or even keys and purses?

When your home is simple and everything has a place, you will not spend time searching- you will be able to retrieve things right away as soon as you need it.

Ok, great… but how do I find the time to declutter?

  1. Put it on the calendar. Plan out activities for your children and let everyone in the family know what is going on and what is needing to be accomplished.

Easier said than done right? So, to prove to me that you are simply too busy,  you write me an email saying:

“Aside from being married, I homeschool 8 kids, I’m in school for my masters, we have a homestead with 15 cows and run a business where all the product has to be stored in our garage.”

Um, say what??

Ok- I’m going to tell you up front that there are just times in life when you are stretched so thin, perhaps it is impossible for you to find time to declutter. So start with decluttering your schedule.

Do you have to do all those things?

Sit down and list out what is really important and absolutely have to keep:

  1. Have to keep the kids.
  2. Have to keep income coming in.

But seriously look at everything else. Do you have to homeschool? Do you have to get your masters? Do you have to have 15 cows? Do you have to have the business? Is this how you want to live your life?

If you come back with “I absolutely can’t cut anything out” Well, that’s ok. It just means that simplifying isn’t the top priority in your life right now, and that is O.K., Yes, I know simplifying can help you, but I’m not going to try to convince you, I’m only here wanting to help the people who absolutely want to commit to this. If you’re not there yet, it’s fine, don’t beat yourself up. When you are ready, you can come back to it.

If you aren’t ready to simplify your life, I would encourage you to stop reading about it (for now) and just focus on the things that are a priority. Single focus helps get things done much faster.

If you are ready to devote some time to decluttering and need to simplify your schedule, then sit down and write about what you do. Write it all down- and write out what you do in your downtime as well. You know, the time when you pick up for your phone to see what’s going on because you have time to kill. 

Whatever doesn’t get on the calendar doesn’t happen.

If it doesn’t get put on the calendar, it doesn’t get done. Life itself is busy and things will come up. You have to view this as a commitment, like a job, or school. If you are in college and have to a have a paper done, you have to sit at home and get it written. Decide for yourself how much you are capable of getting done in a day or a week and put it on the calendar. Make a commitment to work a bit each day (10-30 minutes is fine) and to make time to get your simple routines done.

Your routines are so key in getting it done. When the dishes are done the rest of the house feels more under control. Knowing that you don’t have that hanging over your head makes a huge difference.

What if kids are around?

You can either get them involved in the process, get them involved in something that distracts them while you work, or you can arrange for help from your spouse, neighbors, family or friends. If you pay for a babysitter to declutter, don’t view it as a waste,  you are investing in this and it may spur you one to work more effectively.

Click here for how to declutter even with kids in the house.

About Rachel Jones

Hi there! I’m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, I created a FREE Facebook Group - feel free to join me there: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group and I share videos each week on YouTube


  1. Bethany @ CuteCapsuleLife on 09/12/2017 at 5:37 pm

    True stuff! And why I declutter more in the summer when school doesn’t have us going crazy.

  2. Julie on 09/18/2017 at 3:51 pm

    i agree, i have 5 kids (age 8 and under) and prioritized decluttering in the spring when the house was getting renovated and i was 5-6 months pregnant (and we homeschool). Yes i still found the time! However the basement didnt get finished and being in my final week of pregnancy i feel this is something that will have to be down-prioritised (again, like you said – priorities!!) until i feel i have the motivation and energy to finish. There can be seasons in life when decluttering really isnt a priority (rather than a possibility) but this doesnt have to mean it always will be so 😊 😊 thank you for this website, i have found so much help and motivation here to declutter and focus! ( and i am so glad i got most of it done before nr.6 comes along!)

  3. Patsy Schneider on 07/26/2021 at 2:52 pm

    Hello Rachel! Good ideas on how to declutter. But I’m a caregiver for my husband and have only a large German Shepherd, no children. She won’t help!
    What does help me is to use the egg timer for 5-15 minutes at a time! And I just donated last Thursday to a church rummage sale 6 boxes household items plus 2 bags clothing. So I’m trying larger projects this summer 2021.
    I love your You Tube shows!! You are inspiring!
    Pat in Colorado

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