We already know what professional organizers do every morning. But there's something about the chores they force themselves to finish after a grueling day, and before curling up in bed, that makes us think they're some of the most important tasks on their to-do lists. Add these habits to your nighttime routine if you want your next day to be successful and clutter-free, too.
It's simple: What you leave at night is what you'll wake up to the next morning. That's why Jeffrey Phillip, Good Housekeeping's organizing expert, prioritizes his living room: "I reset the throw pillows and blanket on the couch, so when I come downstairs in the morning, I'm greeted by a clean, calm and fuss-free space that starts my day off right."
According to pro organizer Matt Baier, a clear work surface is the most important organizing tool, because it allows you to spread out, prioritize and add process to your day. "I don't go to bed without clearing my desk, dining table, and kitchen counter, that way I can always hit the ground running in the morning."
Like emptying the sink or taking out over-flowing, smelly trash bags. "I try to avoid waking up and seeing chores waiting to be done," says Phillip. "If I can clean up the kitchen before bed, then it's ready to go and waiting for me when I'm up in the morning."
The morning rush is inevitable, which is why Rachel Rosenthal, a professional organizer at Rachel and Company, always tries to think ahead: "Whether it's gym clothing, a work bag or the kid's permission slip and lunch, I always take five minutes to do it the night before." Your mornings probably won't veer into "rela" territory, but they'll hopefully have fewer hiccups.
"The last thing you want to do is to accidentally trip over something at night when you go to the kitchen for a glass of water," says Rashelle Isip, founder of The Order Expert. That's why she always makes sure her home's walkways are clear before turning off the lights, including pushing in chairs and putting shoes on the rack.
Instead of leaving them piled up on your reading chair. Or if you're too exhausted (been there), Jeni Aron, founder of Clutter Cowgirl, says even hanging garments on a hook to let them air out helps. "I love my clothes and I try to treat them as the work horses they are," she says. "Putting them away offers a clean slate for a restful night's sleep."
Amelia Meena, organizer and founder of Appleshine, knows it's tempting to strip down and hop into bed, leaving clothes on the floor — but she doesn't let herself succumb to this shortcut. "Instead, I toss them in the hamper," she says. "It's a small step towards staving off clutter and making laundry day a bit easier."
"Whether it's for work or a workout, it's helpful to pull the outfit the night before," says Meena. And she adds that it's just one less think you'll have to think about the next morning, when you feel like you have nothing to wear.
If dozing off to sleep is often clouded by stress, try Rosenthal's trick: "I like to write down five to seven important tasks that I want to accomplish the next day," she says. She also makes sure she can accomplish each item and creates "mini tasks" for larger projects to keep each chore actionable.
There are plenty of reasons to make your bedroom technology-free, including just how distracting it is when devices light up and chirp in the middle of the night (which can sometimes lead to you waking up and possibly making a mess!). That's why Isip takes the time to turn items off before going to bed: "I switch off my computer and plug my cell phone to charge in another room or area of the house."