10 uncluttering things to do every day

  1. If you have pets, make your bed. You can make your bed even if you don’t have pets, but people with pets can’t miss this uncluttering step. Pets have litter, dirt, fur, dander, dust, and/or a bunch of other yucky things on them that don’t belong on your sheets. Plus, a made bed is easy on the eyes.
  2. Know where you’re going. Before taking to the road, make sure to know the travel conditions and best route possible for your destination. Getting lost or sitting in a widely-reported traffic jam is nothing but time clutter.
  3. Plan your perfect day. We’ve written quite a bit about this task, so I’ll simply direct you to our previous post.
  4. Clean out your desk’s inbox. File papers, enter items onto your to-do list or into your project management software, scan papers you don’t need in physical form, sign documents — just be sure that your inbox is clean by the time you leave work at the end of the day.
  5. Set your desk for tomorrow. Right before you head home from work, be sure to clear your desk and have it ready for tomorrow. If you have an early morning meeting with handouts, make sure that the handouts are easily accessible and ready to go. In case of an emergency, it should be simple for a co-worker to come into your office and quickly find the materials. Even if you don’t have an early meeting, your desk should be set so that when you arrive to work you can get right to work.
  6. Sort, open, and act on your mail. When you immediately walk into your home, sort through your mail. Recycle all junk mail that doesn’t include any identifying information. Shred all junk mail (like credit card applications) that someone could use to steal your identity. Open and act on all other mail. Your action may simply be to scan and then shred the information, file papers, or pay a bill — but doing it right when you come home keeps it from being clutter in your home.
  7. Load (and, if necessary, run) the dishwasher or hand-wash the dishes. Dirty dishes on the counter, sink, and anywhere else in your home are invitations to bugs, pests, and bacteria. Additionally, they clutter up your kitchen and make preparing meals a pain. You’re more likely to save a few bucks and eat at home if your kitchen is clean and ready to be used.
  8. Get ready for bed an hour before you plan to go to sleep. Doing this means that your dirty clothes are more likely to be returned to a hanger, dropped in the hamper, or put in a mesh bag for dry cleaning, hand washing, or repairing. Also, a set bedtime routine signals your brain that it’s time to relax and prepare for sleep.

If you paid careful attention, you noticed that there are only 8 items on this list even though the headline proclaims 10. I did this because I want you to add two more things that are specific to your life as the other two items. Tell us about your items #9 and #10 in the comments.

74 Comments for “10 uncluttering things to do every day”

  1. posted by Sarah on

    I definitely second the getting the essentials ready for the morning idea. It’s so nice to have the wallet and keys together in the same place to avoid the rush in the morning. Also, writing out a list of what to pack for lunch the night before is helpful even if it is impractical to make it the night before.

    Great suggestions on here!

  2. posted by 10 uncluttering things to do every day | Unclutterer | aaronaiken/blog on

    [...] 10 uncluttering things to do every day | Unclutterer Check out this article I found at unclutterer.com [...]

  3. posted by Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind » Blog Archive » 10 Daily Steps to Higher Personal Effectiveness on

    [...] list of things to add to your daily routine to make your life less cluttered that was posted at Unclutterer. A lot of the list, however, deals more with just getting things done rather than managing stuff. [...]

  4. posted by links for 2009-07-08 at Ik enzo on

    [...] 10 uncluttering things to do every day (tags: howto productivity lifehacks unclutterer tips habits) [...]

  5. posted by Amanda on

    Hooray for making the bed – my momma always told me it was the easiest way to “clean” my room because it is usually the largest item there…
    9. As said before – I start a load of laundry in the washer. That way in the morning I can transfer it to the dryer 1st thing and have at least 1 clean load when I get home from work (and soccer practice, riding lessons, PTO – the list is endless). Sometimes, if the stars align and I have “extra time” in the morning – I can actually get it all folded before I need to leave. If not – yes, they will be wrinkled but they will be clean!
    10. I do something I love. For me this includes watching today’s episode of my soap opera on the DVR or reading the latest novel to catch my eye. I used to be so busy being teacher, wife, mother, friend that I began to loose me in the “clutter” of relationships. This small bit of time that I take to indulge in something just for me helps me shed the stresses of the day and sleep better at night.

  6. posted by Twin XL on

    Throw out junk mail immediately. Put a small trash can inside the door. Want to know if someone is messy? Check out their car- it’ll give you an insight to his home.

  7. posted by Jen on

    Regarding making your bed if you have pets:

    Due to the nature of dust mites who love dark damp spaces, in the morning, you should throw off all the covers and let the bed air out. This helps keep bedding cleaner. The worst thing you can do is make the bed right away, it traps all of them in!

  8. posted by Jackie Pettus on

    Great list! Only thing I would add is don’t go to bed before the rest of the family so 1) the cat can’t get in your bed, 2) the rest of the family can’t leave reminders of things they need you to do on your desk, 3) the snack dishes don’t pile up in the sink (because the dishwasher is running! :)

  9. posted by links for 2009-07-10 at So It’s Come To This: on

    [...] 10 uncluttering things to do every day | Unclutterer (tags: life productivity organization work unclutter lists) [...]

  10. posted by EngineerMom on

    I got into the habit of making the bed every morning in college. I had a miniscule dorm room, and the bed was prime real estate for friends to sit, for me to study, etc. I washed my sheets every week, and I never had any issues with mildew, dust mites (the allergy to them runs in the family), etc.

    I do not believe in airing a bed. In my opinion, it’s an excuse to not make the bed right away. If you’re worried about dust mites, get special covers for your mattress and pillows, wash your sheets weekly on hot and dry them on hot or in the sun. Wash your pillows and other fluffy items monthly and dry on hot or in the sun. Dust mites will multiply whether your air the bed or not.

    As for the other “reasons” – mildew, mold, etc. – wash your sheets weekly and use a liquid-impermeable mattress cover. Problem solved.

  11. posted by Open Loops 8/11/2009: Articles I Think Worth Passing Along | SimpleProductivityBlog.com on

    [...] Unclutterer, “10 uncluttering things to do every day” has some good things. I do most of these things, but for different reasons. For example, number 1, [...]

  12. posted by Francesco on

    Two last things, for me:
    9) Make a daily review (yes, that’s GTD…)
    10) Choose the clothing for the next day and prepare it for the next day (if I intend to go jogging, also take out training clothes)

  13. posted by starr on

    “more likely to save a few bucks and eat at home” makes my head spin. eating out is not “a few bucks” to me; it’s a major splurge. eating out when i’m not even out already is a special occasion.

    9. take any plates/bottles/cans/cups out of my bedroom
    10. mop the kitchen floor

  14. posted by CrimsonCrow on

    “Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die.”

    Dr. Stephen Pretlove


  15. posted by #4. Tree down, Church down?, Lists down « Ready, Set, 30! on

    [...] (10 daily to-dos … I bet it doesn’t include personal hygiene : Weekly Meal [...]

  16. posted by Best of Personal Finance Roundup: 9 Secret Ways to Persuade and Influence People | Finance Blog on

    [...] 10 Uncluttering Things to Do Every Day — #1 on this list is make your bed. If you have the courage to read on, there are several other “you know you should” tasks that will truly make your life easier (especially if you have pets). Just do it! Unclutterer [...]

  17. posted by Best of Personal Finance Roundup: 9 Secret Ways to Persuade and Influence People- Financial Eyes & Ears on

    [...] 10 Uncluttering Things to Do Every Day — #1 on this list is make your bed. If you have the courage to read on, there are several other “you know you should” tasks that will truly make your life easier (especially if you have pets). Just do it! Unclutterer [...]

  18. posted by Julie @ jbuliesblog on

    9) Bring a plastic bag into the closets and drawers and push myself to choose 10 things to give to charity.

    10) Before going to sleep imagine the following day going perfectly from beginning to end.

  19. posted by Getting things sorted « The Feel Good Project on

    [...] 10 uncluttering things to do every day [...]

  20. posted by Darius on

    Make breakfast and lunch for next day. Make ahead as much of tomorrow’s dinner as I can (like put all the ingredients in the crock pot and refrigerate or take the meat out of the freezer) or at least know what tomorrow’s dinner will be.

  21. posted by anita hazell on

    If y;ou have ever seen a picture of bedmites under a microscope,you would leave the bed open during the day

  22. posted by anita hazell on

    If you leave things by the back door and still forget them put them in a grocery bag and hang it on the door knob that you have too open to get out

  23. posted by 10 more uncluttering things to do every day « Hindgrindr on

    [...] July, Erin wrote “10 uncluttering things to do every day.” I was proudly doing a few things on her list, but as usual there were a couple I hadn’t [...]

  24. posted by WilliamB on

    The most important thing for me is: get ready for work the night before!

    For me this means:
    – laying out clothes
    – packing my bag: magazine, calendar, paperwork, battery for radio, list of things to do during lunch,…
    – pack food; sometimes I forget to get it out of the fridge but at least its ready for the next day
    – if I’m driving to work (to refresh the soda stash and gym gear), load the car the night before.

    If I manage all this the night before, not only am I ready to go in the morning but it actually takes me less time to do.

    About bed making: rather than layers of sheets, blankets, and coverlets I use only a blanket bag (aka duvet cover). Because all I have to do is straighten out the blanket and plump the pillow I can have my bed made in about 20 seconds. A made bed does wonders for the look of the room.

    If I’m running errands I write my list in the order that I want to do it, and what I need with me to get the errand done. I don’t always get it right and I still forget stuff, but it helps.

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