As 2010 winds to a close, I thought it fitting to write about my weekly process of cleaning and organizing, think about this post not only in the context of a week, but also in the context of a year. Time to start off 2011 with a clean slate!

I’ve notice over the past few weeks that my room’s cleanliness is cyclical, it grows messier over the course of a week and then becomes clean again on the weekends. If only this happened naturally! I find that at the end of a long week of work, play and errands, that Sunday is the perfect day to refocus and clean your slate.

If you feel overwhelmed by your to-do list or your next week as often I am, try first looking at your surroundings for clutter that can cloud your mental state. By first cleaning my room, I am able to clear my mind of everything and once I have both a physical and mental blank page, then it feels effortless to plow through all those little items that have been piling up.

Try these steps every Sunday:

  1. Do a once over for all outright trash: bottles, food containers, wrappers, scraps of paper, and your wastebasket.
  2. Create a pile of all those things that belong elsewhere. With me it is often a few items from the rest of the apartment and a bunch of drinking glasses.
  3. In one swoop relocate these offending items!
  4. Put all of the clothes you have lying around in one area, say your bed or the corner, this will help you tidy the rest of the room.
  5. In one sitting sort your clothes pile into “Clean, needs to be hung up”, “Worn, could be worn again”, and “Dirty!” put the dirty clothes into the wash and put away the rest.
  6. Anything else put into a big pile or drawer; with me it’s usually a stack of mail, bills, books, receipts, scraps of notes, my phone, kindle, pens, etc.
  7. Vacuum!

At this point you should notice that your room(s) are clean and clear of any clutter. It should feel calming to know that everything is in its proper place. It is at this point that my physical work is mostly at an end and for the most part I can spend the next bit of time processing that large drawer/pile from step 6 above.

With a clear mind I can whip through all of the items, enter the bills, toss the trash, add any future to-dos to my list. This is also a good time to process your outstanding email (I use the Inbox Zero method, which means you strive for no mail in your inbox, but rather sort it into archive, to-do, and waiting).

It’s great to start the week with a fresh clean room, a clean inbox, and an organized list of things that need to get done this week.