For many people the words, “get organized” invoke images of drudgery, overwhelm, and something they will never do. But if you realize there are a lot of things you can do when you only have a few minutes, getting clutter under control may seem more achievable.

In 15 minutes you can declutter the following areas:

Go through your unopened mail and recycle all the outer envelopes. Place your bills in a “to be paid” area and magazines/catalogues where you are likely to read them (next to your bed, in the bathroom, in your laptop bag or briefcase for reading while your waiting for a meeting or appointment). Finally check your calendar for invites you receive and respond appropriately.

Desk Drawer:
Is the top drawer of your desk a collection box for small items? If so, get rid of any obvious trash; crumpled post-its, pens that are out of ink, old receipts and coupons, etc. Put like items together: pens and pencils, paper and binder clips, items you need for mailing (envelopes, stamps, return address labels, etc.). Use old check boxes, small Tupperware containers, or drawer dividers to hold like items together.

Pare Down a Collection:
What’s your biggest clutter culprit? Too many office supplies, coffee mugs galore, or magazines from 10 years ago? Go through your collection and pull out 4 items you no longer want or need. Put the items in a box for donation and make a plan to actually drop-off the donations.

Do a Brain Dump:
Physical clutter can be distracting and frustrating, but your own thoughts can have the same effect. Take out a piece of paper and think about all the little things that have been “nagging you” or keeping you up at night. Spend 15 minutes jotting down these thoughts and then see if you can schedule them into your calendar.

When you’re inspired to spend an hour getting organized:

Go through your closet and pick three to five outfits you regularly wear. Put those to the side. Then go through the rest of your closet and choose clothes that are stained, ill-fitting, or qualify for; “why did I buy that?” Plan to get rid of the discards in an appropriate manner. Arrange the clothes you keep by season and like items together (pants, shirts, skirts, jackets, etc.).

“To Be Filed” Pile:
Not a great pile to have, but if you have one, go through it. Give some thought to the paper you are filing. Should you be saving it? Are you really going to need it or refer to it again? Do you have an easy way to locate it again? Make up new files if you need to. Make sure whatever you are filing has a home, so when something like it crosses your desk again, you can easily file it. While you’re at it, scan your file cabinet for any outdated files. Can they be moved to an archive spot, or simply tossed?

Make an Organization Plan:
It’s great to actually clear a space, but what’s the point if you’re just going to fill it with clutter again? Instead spend an hour evaluating one of your problem spaces and make a plan to keep it clutter free. Schedule time to go through the space, decide what containers you will need to keep the space clean, purchase containers, and arrange the space as needed.

Things you don’t want to do often take less time then you originally thought. Once you actually commit to 15 minutes (or one hour) of organizing and decluttering, you may realize getting organized is not the drudgery you had imagined. Bask in the success of a job well done and perhaps be inspired to tackle another space tomorrow.