- 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.
- 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.
- Plan your perfect day. We’ve written quite a bit about this task, so I’ll simply direct you to our previous post.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.