Tidying Up Your Life in Tiny Steps

Tidying up is a habit that helps focus the mind to more important things in life. A little tidying here and there takes away the burden of having to commit to cleaning up and exerting a lot of energy when things get overwhelming.

I grew up always tidying. I’ve taught my kids to do the same. Tidying removes clutter, and makes room for clear thinking and peace of mind.

Here’s some tiny steps you can do each day to start tidying up your life, getting it back in order, and start pursuing the things that you’re most interested in.

DSC05057

AT HOME

  1. Make your bed every morning. This one little act not only makes your bed look better, but also helps you visualize an ordered start to the day. I never leave home without the bed being made, and I’ve made my kids start this habit of making their beds to be automatic, almost like brushing your teeth every morning. You do it without even thinking about it.
  2. Wipe down all surfaces after use. After you brush your teeth, eat a meal at the dining table, or cook in the kitchen, wipe down the surface to remove any wet spots, dirt, or trash. It’s easier to do good work on clean surfaces than dirty surfaces.
  3. Put everything away each night. Clean up the living room, bedrooms, and everywhere else by putting things in their proper place. You go to sleep without worrying things are out of order.
  4. Throw out the trash every day. Empty all trash cans in the house before you go to sleep. This is not only sanitary, but gets your mornings off to the right start with empty trash cans.
  5. Sort and fold clothes. Dirty clothes go into the hamper. Washed clothes get folded immediately and put in their proper drawers and closets.
  6. Donate unnecessary items every month. My wife and I make it a point to sort through our things every month and donate any clothes, shoes, toys, and anything else that isn’t necessary in our lives. You’d be surprised how many things you can come up with that you don’t need or use anymore.

AT WORK

  1. Clean your desk off at the end of each day. I put my bluetooth mouse and keyboard, along with my chargers and other things away in my desk drawer. When I put those away, that is the end of my day. I come back to a clean desk in the morning and get a fresh start.
  2. Get to an inbox of zero by the end of each day. I don’t let emails pile up, and address the ones I need to before the end of the day. This frees me of thinking about something that I might have missed or something that can wait until the next day.
  3. Do a purge every week. Get rid of unnecessary papers, notebooks, post-its, cups, or whatever is on your desk or in your drawers. Throw it out at the end of the week, so you come back to your desk with a fresh start every week.

Tidying up at home and work is absolutely essential to a simpler, more gratifying life. It all starts with tiny steps, which after repetition, become habits for life.

A tidying habit will make you calmer, happier, and more mindful — which you and everyone around you will appreciate.

Cliff Hsia is a writer, husband, and father, who is determined to live a better than normal life by traveling the world, slowly and purposefully, with his wife and two young daughters. His writing has been featured on MSN, TODAY, The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, and other publications. He writes about travel, parenting, and lifestyle design.

  • I was thinking how proud I was of myself for getting the “at home” list down. Then I looked at the “at work” list. I have actually started clearing off my desk daily, but the other 2 are still a challenge. Definitely worth pursuing, for the exact reasons you mention: simplicity and I would call it clarity of mind.

    • Robyn, Great to hear you went through both lists. Yes, it’s all about simplicity and clarity.