Set Up Your 15-Minute Basket

many baskets isolated on blue background that could be used for a 15-minute basket

Before assisting a client with the clutter that took months and years to accumulate, I tackle the clutter the family unit creates on a daily basis. Many clients envision a beautifully organized home but don’t know how to achieve it. It seems too overwhelming. Most individuals working on their own will give up before they begin. Rather than focus on the distant end state, I ask my clients to focus on the process and the incremental steps forward. Step one is to set up a 15-minute basket.

A tisket, a tasket, just start with your 15-minute basket.

Lisa Witzleben

How to Create a 15-Minute Basket

What is a 15-minute basket, you ask? It is a container (basket, box, or bin) placed in the most common traffic area of the home, typically between the living room and kitchen. In most cases, the basket is close to the hall leading to the bedrooms or the stairs if living in a multi-level home. Items that have left their “home” throughout the day are placed in the basket. Examples include hair ties, kids’ toys, books, sunglasses, scissors, hats, slippers, dog leashes, etc.

How Does the 15-Minute Basket Work?

Instead of making several trips throughout the day to put misplaced items back in their “home,” use the basket to contain the day’s clutter. At the end of each day, as a family, categorize the items, and place them back in their home. To stop the cycle of clutter, we must begin teaching our family by creating habits, so make this a family event. Everyone should participate. Ideally, complete this task before the bedtime routine. Working through the 15-minute basket teaches the family that eliminating clutter is everyone’s responsibility.

If the basket is emptied each night, the task should take less than 15 minutes. You will be amazed by how much clutter you can eliminate in only 15 minutes! Think about it. If every day, throughout the day, you collect the items that do not belong in the main living area or kitchen, you will substantially reduce clutter before the week is out.

Should I Buy a Basket?

Do not let the selection of your 15-minute basket overwhelm you. Your 15-minute basket doesn’t have to be perfect or expensive. Take a look at what you have in your home already. Even a cardboard box will do in a pinch. If you need to purchase one, think about these points:

  • Can I easily carry/move it in one hand and put things in and out of the basket with the other?
  • Is it sturdy enough?
  • Are their handles?
  • Is it the right size for the space? (In other words, you shouldn’t need a huge basket if you live in a small home.) Review the dimensions.
  • Is it functional? Will I need to clean it regularly? If so, is it easy to clean?

If you need some inspiration, here are a few of my favorite baskets:

  • Large cotton rope basket: Best for living areas and toy rooms to corral blankets, throw pillows, toys, games, etc.
  • Medium cotton rope basket: Ideal for living areas and bedrooms to contain magazines, newspapers, pet toys, etc. (Tip: If using it for pet toys, buy one the same color as your pet’s fur.)
  • Staircase Basket: Ideal for multi-level homes. Easy access for everyone to use.
  • Medium plastic basket: Easy to clean and best for bathrooms, kitchens, patios, or other areas subject to dampness.
  • Wheeled basket with handle: Great for basements, pools, patios, garages, campers, or cottages.

Not only are you eliminating the clutter, but you will also curtail chaos from developing again. Begin using your 15-minute basket now! Be intentional!

Your home should be the antidote to stress. Not the cause.

Peter Walsh

You can do this! Unclutter Me by Lisa Witzleben is here to assist you.

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