5 Things You Can Simplify in 20 Minutes or Less

There's a lot you can simplify around your home, even if you just have 5-minute snatches here and there! Love this list!

This post is part of the Monday series on simplifying that inspired my book, Your Simple Home Handbook. The series began with 10 Reasons to Start Simplifying Now.

You’re busy. I get it. Honestly, I do.

I’m right there with you.

But I also know how deeply satisfying it is to bring order to chaos. And even if you’re too swamped to go through your whole wardrobe right now, or brave the bathroom cabinets, you CAN bring peace to one small, mundane area of your life.

Or five areas. These projects take only about twenty minutes each, so you could do one every weekday this week.

That’s doable, right? 

Here are five simplifying projects to make your life just a little easier:

1. Wallet

Pull everything out. Throw away receipts (or file them, if you keep them for budgeting purposes). Toss old business cards, movie tickets, etc. Sort plastic cards; only keep in your wallet what you actually use. Never use the Qdoba reward card you signed up for? Toss it. Have a library card in your wallet and on your keychain? Toss the wallet version. Keep a few coin varieties and put the rest of the change in your piggybank.

2. Bookshelf clutter

Don’t worry, you’re not simplifying your entire library today, just the extra items that collect on those tempting horizontal spaces. Let’s see…for us that often means keys, library DVDs, junk mail, and outdated birthday or thank you cards. Take items off one at a time, putting each item away in its proper place. If an item doesn’t have a place, quickly make one (i.e., designate actual shelf space to line up the library DVDs, rather than stacking them in front of books). If you have time left over, dust the shelf.

3. Car glove box

Pull everything out and spread on the car seat. Put back the items that actually belong (registration, car jack, roadmap). Toss the random stuff (extra Chick-fil-A napkins, dried-up pen, heat-damaged lotion tube). Carry in any items that live inside the house and put them away in their proper places.

4. Nightstand

Remove everything and dust the surface. Only replace the the items you use on a nightly basis, plus one decorative item. Nightly basis items might be: lamp, clock, lotion, one current book or magazine. Decorative items might be: candle, sculpture, flowers.

5. Bulletin board

Your bulletin board should be a snapshot of what’s current, not a display of month-old clutter. Pull your trashcan over and get rid of anything that’s not with the times: expired coupons, old receipts, to-do lists that no longer matter. Deal with stuff that needs to be dealt with. (If you’ve scrawled down a phone number, put it in your phone and throw the post-it note away.) Finishing touch: find a good pen that works and attach it to the board with a piece of twine, in an envelope, etc. Pens help you deal with things.

Do time constraints ever hold you back from simplifying? What can you simplify in 20 minutes or less?

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Do you want lots more simple living ideas? Check out my brand new book! Your Simple Home Handbook is a 100+ page guide to decluttering your home and simplifying your stuff. Work through 30 different areas of your home–at your own pace–and enjoy the benefits of a space that breathesClick here to learn about my book!


  1. I am currently away from home, but thought this might be a good post to read ‘for later’,I was pleasantly surprised that I can do 2/5 tasks while ‘on the road’ so to speak! Thanks for the motivating post!

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