Clearing the Clutter: A Simple Checklist to Get You Started

You can start clearing clutter today by following a few practical steps to manage and stay on top of disorganization.

Before being able to overcome clutter, it is important to understand how there came to be so much disorganization around you. Look at where the clutter exists – is it in your home, your office, your car? How does the clutter impact your life? Are you comfortable when there is an unannounced visit from friends or neighbors, free from embarrassment about the condition of your home? Can you easily find things you need because you are well organized? Can you take clients, friends, and co-workers in your car without having to clean it up before they can get in?

You may have a clutter problem in just one area of your life, such as your office. In this case, you can easily follow the checklist below to make immediate improvements. If the disorganization is in multiple places, you may have to develop new strategies that include helping others around you to become better organized to make the positive impact you desire.

Below is a short checklist of immediate steps you can take to reduce clutter and thereby reduce stress:

Step Helpful Hints
  • Put together a file system
  • Use a file box or drawers that allow you to hang file folders
  • Label the folders by topic and organize them alphabetically (e.g., bank statement, credit card bill, phone bill)
  • Clear away paper immediately


  • Open your mail in the same area (same desk location or room in your home or office)
  • Have a recycle bin, garbage can, and your file system near you
  • Use the “touch once” rule – once you open a piece of mail, file it, recycle/dispose of it, or put it in a to-do file folder (you’ll need to stay on top of your to-do items, so check this folder frequently)
  • Keep a bag in an obvious place, such as near your front door, for items you plan to donate
  • Periodically take a fresh look at what is surrounding you and determine if you still use it (e.g., clothes, toys, household items, etc.)
  • If the item is something that is usable but no longer needed, put it in the bag waiting at your door
  • Call your favorite charity to pick it up or drop it off yourself (make sure to get a tax donation slip)
  • Use electronic storage for as many things as you are comfortable storing
  • Rather than deal with paper statements coming into your home and taking up space, request to receive them electronically
  • Keep a copy on your computer, using password protection on the file, if necessary
  • On a frequent basis, backup your files



Jami Tucker is the founder of The Everyday Leader, a professional Life Coaching and Social Media service. You can contact her at 925-998-7838 or

Please visit her website at


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