10 Minutes to a Clutter-Free Morning

The following post is from Joshua of Becoming Minimalist:

5 minutes to a clutter free morning
source: Michael Prince/CORBIS

Let’s face it. Mornings can be tough. In many homes, they are famous for containing too much to do and too little time.

But mornings set the mood for the rest of our day. They have the potential to energize us or drain us. They have the potential to lift our spirits or drag us down. They can start us on the right foot or the wrong foot.

Given the fact that mornings are so important, it’s wise to spend a few minutes each night preparing your house for tomorrow’s sunrise. After all, a clutter-free house in the morning means less stress, less anxiety, and less time getting prepared for the day. And that benefits everyone in the family!

Contrary to popular misconception, you don’t need to spend hours each night cleaning the house to accomplish a clutter-free morning. Instead, simply stay ahead of the clutter by tackling these ten 60-second decluttering projects every night.

1. Return shoes/coats to closets.

In the winter, add gloves, hats, and scarves to the routine.

2. Recycle junk mail and newspapers.

A new day brings new mail and new news. Keep your table or counter space clutter-free in the morning by removing today’s.

3. Put away articles of clothing.

Some go in the laundry. Some go back in the closet. But none should be left on the floor.

4. Store media out of sight.

Put back all dvd’s, cd’s, video games, and remote controls that were used during the day. The first time you walk into that room tomorrow, you’ll be glad you did.

5. Process coins and receipts.

I’m sure it was your husband who left the contents of his pockets on your dresser, but either way, it’ll take you only 60 seconds to put those items where they actually belong.

6. Clear all bathroom surfaces.

The first place you’ll go in the morning is the bathroom. It’s also a surprisingly easy room to keep clutter free. Invest the 60 seconds every night to make it happen.

7. Clean-up homework.

Get your kids into the habit of putting away their schoolwork each night before bed rather than scrambling around each morning to find it.

8. Put kitchen items away.

Granted, I’m assuming you’ve done some cleaning up already after dinner. And if you have, it’ll only take you another 60 seconds to tidy up anything that got left out.

9. Put back toys.

Realistically, life doesn’t allow a clean toy room every evening. But if you have a toy room apart from your living room, spend 60 seconds returning toys to the room where they belong. Or better yet, get your kids into the practice of doing it themselves. And if you figure how to do that, send me an email…

10. File paperwork.

Stay on top of paper and office clutter by handling it the day it arrives.

If you are not in the habit of doing these things, it’ll definitely take longer than 10 minutes the first time. But once you get a handle on each area, the entire project will take you less than 10 minutes… and your morning you will thank you!

What 60-second projects do you recommend to help promote a clutter-free morning?

Joshua Becker inspires and encourages others to live with less on his blog, Becoming Minimalist. He has also authored two e-books, Simplify and Inside-Out Simplicity. But more importantly, he loves his wife and two small children.