While seeking simplicity, many people underestimate the effectiveness of seemingly banal daily routines. In this sense, we try to declutter our home with a wrecking ball before emptying the trash can. This is where a daily “good habits list” comes in.
At the beginning of my minimalist journey, I was determined to get rid of at least 50 % of my material possessions. It seemed like a reasonable benchmark.
I arranged a couple of boxes in my living room and started sorting. After a while, I realized that this would take more than a day. In the meantime, my trash cans were overflowing, my bathroom was dirty, and my desk was full of paper stacks. Oh yeah, I also had a gazillion of unread emails in my inbox.
I became aware of the importance of daily decluttering. Getting rid of Nintendo games and plastic travel souvenirs would be pointless without organizing everyday stuff first.
My daily minimalist “good habits list”
Before jumping into the ocean of minimalism, you should learn how to swim. A daily dose of decluttering will help you grasp the essential mechanics of minimalism.
In simple terms: you’ll develop a mindful attitude in everyday life. On this basis, here are 10 daily routines to add to your good habits list.
1. Make the bed after getting up
As self-evident as it sounds, making the bed after getting up is a powerful morning habit.
By performing this simple act, you will gain the impression of “having done something” after waking up. This will set your mind for productivity and also improve the aesthetics of your bedroom.
2. Never leave dishes uncleaned
Cleaning dishes – or putting them inside your dishwasher – is another very simple yet very effective habit. By purging your kitchen right after eating, you’ll avoid stockpiles of dirty plates. This will, in turn, render your kitchen more welcoming, more usable, and less smelly.
3. Sort emails
One of the most important components of my daily good habits list is email management.
I learned this from my time as a corporate lawyer. In that job, I received at least 50 emails per day. If I didn’t sort them in a swift and coherent manner, the flow would rapidly spin out of control.
Whether you are bombarded by emails in your job or your personal life, there are certain simple tactics to employ daily.
On this basis, here are three simple steps to boost your email management:
- Start by making well-defined folders such as “plane tickets”, “hotels/airbnbs”, “medical”, “client A”, “client B”, and so forth. Before opening an email, add it to the corresponding category.
- Check your subscriptions and decide on the ones you can scrap.
- After categorization, flag your emails by importance.
4. Immediately deal with paper mail
In our uber-efficient, highly digitalized world, paper mail is slowly becoming a thing of the past. We are, however, not quite there yet.
Consequently, dealing with paper mail in prompt and conclusive fashion should feature on any good habits list.
Sort your bills, pay them on receipt, and digitalize them as quickly as possible. Containing paper floods is a major challenge but easily doable once you commit a couple of minutes every day.
5. Clean kitchen surfaces after cooking and/or eating
Much like dishes, clean surfaces are a must in order to secure your kitchen’s welcoming feel. As you may know, humans are hungry creatures.
We tend to spend a lot of time in the kitchen and it often serves as a gathering point in our home. This is why no list of good habits would be complete without kitchen cleanups.
6. Store away shoes and slippers when entering or leaving the house
A decluttered home starts in the entryway. In this context, a look at the Japanese organizational culture is in order.
Upon returning from Japan, most Western tourists rave about the trains, the temples, and the food. While I couldn’t agree more, I am going to sing the praises of something much simpler: the Japanese genkans.
Genkans are lowered-down entryways you’ll find in almost every Japanese home. The floor next to the door is a few inches lower than the rest of the house. This creates a natural shoe storage area and always reminds visitors to take their shoes off. Many genkans are complete with drawers on the side. This technique is a brilliant illustration of the Japanese art of space-saving through simplification.
While it would be cumbersome to build one of those in a Western house, the purpose of the genkan is a worthwhile addition to your good habits list.
By immediately storing shoes and slippers away, you create a decluttered entrance that will – both literally and figuratively – lead the way for the rest of the house.
7. Deal with brimming trash cans immediately
As straightforward as it gets, a brimming trash can is a horrific sight in any situation. Emptying garbage bins in a timely manner requires minimal effort, yet so many people wait until the smell becomes unbearable.
My tip would be to put full trash bags next to the door. This way you’ll be reminded to take them out as soon as you plan on leaving the house.
8. Never leave 1-3 minute-tasks undone
Our homes are full of trivial chores. A dirty plate here, a payable invoice there, some empty cookie packages next to the couch, and so on.
Let me tell you a secret: these tasks may seem insignificant on an individual level, but once you combine them, they will quickly add up and turn into a major decluttering session.
Stop procrastinating and deal with them immediately. This way you won’t face a mountain of small chores every weekend.
9. Manage to-do lists on a daily basis
Setting goals is all well and good, but daily follow-ups pave the way to the tipping point.
As an example, you are determined to save 300 $ this month. The easiest way to achieve it will be to write down how you saved 10 $ today. If you keep track of your efforts for 30 days straight, you will see how daily reminders will lead to monthly success.
In this vein, even the most mundane to-do list – containing daily chores like ironing and washing up – is a useful addition to your good habits list.
10. Check the kitchen, the bedroom, and the bathroom before going to bed
A brief checkup of your living spaces is an ideal night routine. Not only will it help you deal with elementary tasks, it will also make you feel organized at night.
This will improve the quality of your sleep and build the foundations for a successful morning.
Useful links on my minimalist good habits list – the best daily routine