Looking for help getting your rooms in order after the new year? Here are some simple tips and ideas to help and how to declutter a room in 20 minutes.

how to declutter a room organize

Raise your hand if you started 2024 with high hopes and dreams and plans to organize your house including all the closets and the cupboards.

Does half a hand count?

I’m almost halfway there.

Normally I’m way more squared away. Normally I’m ahead of the game. Normally I’m folding towels and taking bags of donations to Goodwill and picking out shelf paper.

But this year?

Can we still be friends if I tell you I just put away the Christmas wrapping paper from the craft room?


Just between us? I’m dragging my heels because I’m trying to figure out where to put everything. It’s a little overwhelming here at Thistlewood right now because when I started the big organization project of 2024 I took everything out and donated some of it and tossed some of it and made piles of all the stuff that didn’t have a home in the cabinets.

Now my cabinets are nice and neat and organized.

But all that stuff that I took out?

It’s looking at me expectantly for a plan.



Clutter is like that last party guest that won’t leave.

They’ve eaten your cheese dip and taken extra helpings of dessert and then ensconced themselves in a chair telling you about their trip to the Grand Canyon for the fifth time.

You look longingly at the door.

Leave clutter, leave, you tell yourself.

But it never does.

Let’s do this together.

Let’s take charge.

Let’s take control.

Let’s take our houses back twenty minutes at a time….

….and show that cheese-eating, dessert taker, grand-canyon visiting clutter to the door.

Here are my very best simple tips on how to declutter a room without getting too overwhelmed.

how to declutter your home in twenty minutes

1. Start small

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was clutter.

For one week set aside 20 minutes a day.

20 minutes. That’s easy, right?  20 simple minutes. Set a timer. Set your watch. Set your phone.

Choose the clutter pile that gets on your nerves the most. The one that makes you shudder when you walk by it.

And then?

Don’t give it any more cheese dip.

Take 10 minutes and sort through that pile. Throw away papers. Toss old magazines. Put bills in a folder in your office or workspace marked bills.

But here’s the key.


And when you are done. Walk away. Pat yourself on the back. Tell yourself how amazing you are. Call your mom and let her know she can stop by for a visit.

But return again tomorrow to show that clutter pile the door.

2. Baskets are your friend

When learning how to declutter a room, there is one basic adage of organizing. A place for everything and everything in its place. The hardest part of that whole idea is figuring out what all the places look like.

I get it.

I understand. I really, really do.

That’s where baskets come in.

First of all, baskets are cute and pretty and have sides that hold things.

Here are some ideas that I use baskets for. I use a basket for mail. I use a basket for extra take-out silverware packets. I use a basket for random coupons and business cards and tiny pieces of who-knows-what that collect on the counters. I use a basket for things I need to do.

I use a basket for items I want to donate. I use a basket for dog supplies.  I use a basket for unfinished projects.

And on and on and on.

Around here everything has a basket. It all goes in there if I don’t have time to sort through it or deal with it or think about it.

It just hangs out looking cute in a basket until I’m ready.

And then? When the basket overflows I go back to idea number one and spend 20 minutes on it.

3.  Keep the surfaces clean

In every home, there are a few surfaces that invite clutter to pull up a chair.

I don’t know why certain surfaces get cluttered.  I wish I did because I would be a zillionaire.  The key is figuring out which surfaces attract clutter and focus on keeping them clutter-free.

That’s where the baskets come in.

Every night, I check the surfaces and put the stuff from the surfaces into the baskets.

And then?

When the baskets overflow it’s back to our 20 minutes again.

4.  how to declutter a room? Donate

Our house is full of stuff.

Stuff that we don’t really use anymore.  Stuff that I walk by and wonder what I should do with it.  Stuff that stopped fitting into our life in 2017.

On the first of every month, I go through the house (some from the basket where I put it waiting to be donated) and gather up two garbage bags of stuff and donate it.

Someone else might need that stuff way more than me.

And my baskets thank me.

5.  Be kind to yourself

I think that’s where clutter defeats us.

It’s why so many have tried to show clutter to the door and fail.

We look at the clutter and it overwhelms us and we sigh and look away and tell ourselves that we’ll handle it tomorrow.

Why not make your tomorrow start today?

You got this.

You can do it.

Yes, yes you can.

All you need are 20 minutes and to discover how to declutter a room and a few cute baskets to show clutter the door.

Here’s to an amazing new year. 🙂

PS  This picture has actually nothing to do with de-cluttering.

Or surfaces.

Or cheese dip.

This picture of the twins in their Chi-O SING costumes (they are dressed as Little Red Riding Hood) made me smile.

I thought it might make you smile, too. 🙂

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Karen B. Karen B.

    Kerianne, I love this little reminder. I started strong in the new year, weeding out, organizing things. I've dropped the ball and needed this incentive to continue. Thank you. Your daughters and lovely and look so much like their mama. 😊🤍

  2. Image for Diana Clark Diana Clark

    What beautiful daughters. I use baskets and decorate with them. I have a whale basket on top of my fridge and looking at it the other day it had a kind of grease. It is in the kitchen up high so I didn't expect that. It is a very expensive piece. Any ideas of how to clean it?

    1. Image for Kim Wagner Kim Wagner

      Diana, I have an idea of how to clean it. Try Dawn dishwashing soap. If it's good enough to clean oil off of baby ducks, it should be good enough for your whale!!

    2. Image for Mary Lou Mary Lou

      My mother and Aunt were basket makers. A well made basket should stand up to water. If the basket fits in your kitchen sink; wash it with warm water and a gentle soap and scrub the grease off with a brush. Do not soak the basket in standing water; just rinse it with the sprayer in your sink. If it has glued on parts/decorations; be careful around the glue, but if something comes off, use hot glue to re-glue it. Air dry afterwards. Do not put anything in the basket until fully dry or it could affect the shape.

  3. Image for Sharon Sharon

    Thank you for reminding me to do a little everyday toward the clutter in our home. Your daughters are so precious in their costumes and they do look like you so much!

  4. Image for Sally D Sally D

    Thanks for the gentle push. I've got my first pile sitting right next to me waiting for attention. It will happen today! Your daughters know how to rock the red lipstick just like their mama.

  5. Image for PJ PJ

    KariAnne, it helps me to keep a box at the bottom of my closet. As I find things to donate, I place them in the box, and when the box is full, I tape it up and drop it off at my local charity shop. I put a note on my calendar to remind me to sort the holiday decor in November since the thrift stores do not want holiday items after the holidays.

  6. Image for Jem Jem

    Karianne, my biggest problem is clothes! If I grain a few pounds I’m going to need those pants. If I lose a few pounds, these pants will fit again. It’s overwhelming! Love the picture of your girls, a perfect way to end your writing today.

  7. Image for Tracey E Tracey E

    I needed this today KariAnne! I can do 20 minutes, even when crappy health makes it feel hard, 20 minutes is doable! I have collected a lot of baskets, but wasn’t sure what to do with them. Thanks for the tips. I dragged home a French wicker laundry basket that a neighbour had out at garbage day. It was a bit mouldy. I cleaned it, mould gone! I conditioned it, and it makes me happy! Yes, the twins made me smile! 😊

  8. Image for Linda Linda

    I'm pretty good at weeding out the "stuff", my problem is what to do with more expensive dishes and antiques I no longer use, but clutter my cabinets and haven't seen the light of day for ages. Too expensive to donate, but how do I part with them aside from selling on Ebay, etc? Suggestions? Your girls are adorable. My daughter was a Chi-O at Western Kentucky!

  9. Image for Jodena Beale Jodena Beale

    KariAnne I am with you, trying to declutter and organize for 2024. My "walk in" closet, had become a "look in" closet. Entering had come to a halt. So much stuff. Where does it all come from? So I did start small, clearing out, creating donation boxes (which I delivered as soon as I had 4). But then I got the brilliant idea to add more storage units to the closet. (YOU KNOW THE BIG WOOD KIND YOU HAVE TO BE AN ENGINEER TO ASSEMBLE). So suffice to say, my closet so far has created a bedroom mess. But just like your advice says, I give it a little time each day. I am getting there. I must remember where I put my engineering tools so I can build the much needed storage units. Oh Lord, I hope the tools aren't in my closet. 😆The girls look cute.

  10. Image for Rosemary Gtegory Rosemary Gtegory

    Genius! I have absolutely no extra storage space (even for useful baskets), but one place I could leave a basket or some sort of pretty container is a corner of the kitchen counter. All the mail I don’t have time to take care of now, etc. Thanks!

  11. Image for Diana Diana

    I'm overwhelmed I decided to take every item out of the closet and many things ended up on the floor and the rest in the closet. Now the floor items must be washed and hung up in the right place. I know it sounds crazy , but I was tired of cleaning out closets twice a year and it never ended. Same problem different year kinda thing. So I've decided to push forward and get it done. I can't wait to get that water bill. LOL

  12. Image for Cindy Vojanec Cindy Vojanec

    Karianne, You have so much wisdom! I started doing this last month and I am loving opening a drawer or cabinet and see it all clean and organized! How thrilling! I live in a house build in the early 2000’s with those stupid plant shelves that are carved out of the wall up at the ceiling. I have many family photos so in my bedroom, Ipurchased antique(is) suitcases, stored all my photos in them, and have them lining the “plant shelf”. I get allot of comments/compliments on the suitcases but little do they know, inside hold the clutter of 100’s of photos thatI will one day start sorting! Love you, Karianne!

  13. Image for Marlene Marlene

    How in the world does a person collect so much clutter, but I have just taken 3 boxes to the donation center. Maybe now I can do the twenty minutes a day. Thanks and the girls look so cute. I truly enjoy watching how your children are growing.

  14. Image for Rizae Rizae

    Great ideas on baskets and decluttering. I have donate/yard sale boxes in my laundry room. All clothing goes into donate as do shoes, linens, etc. Blankets go to animal shelter. Most other things go into sale box. I hold a spring and fall sale each year. Others can buy what I no longer use and whatever is left goes directly to my local thrift store!! A win-win for everyone. P.S. The girls look so much like their mom and dad! Cutie-Patooties.... Big Hugs,

  15. Image for julia m marshall julia m marshall

    Great post! I have a similar trick. Most every day, I decide that I'm going to just put ten things away. I could put away ten things from the kitchen counter, or the car, or my purse. Then, after the ten things, I tell myself "Great job, Julie". Then, and only if I really want to, I do another 10. This keeps things looking less chaotic. Your girls are darling! They look so much like their mom! XO, Julie


    KariAnne, that picture of your twins is so beautiful -- just like you! Thanks for the great ideas! I love baskets and always seem to have extra ones -- from items that have been donated! I have really tried to keep clutter under control! I have a basket in our den that has our "to be tended to" items which I go through every week. This works well for me -- and the basket has a lid on it! My clothes closet was a bit of a problem but I now donate 2 items for each new item I purchase! This works great and it feels so good to be able to give nice items to our Thrift Store. Have a wonderful weekend

  17. Image for Donna Soule Donna Soule

    I used to hand weave baskets so I have plenty and I love this idea! Where did you get the little houses in your photos?

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