Sometimes, it’s the simplest of things that can have the biggest impact on our lives. I know in my own life, in this fast-paced world we live in, it seems like there is never a time when something isn’t disorganized and out of place. Our homes, our cars, our offices, even our computers – they all have stacks, piles, bags and bits sitting around and cluttering things up with stuff that doesn’t belong.

And yet I’ve found one simple and proven way to take a powerful step toward streamlining your spaces and tackling your mess before it tackles you. And that is to never leave a space empty-handed.

Decluttering and simplifying is yet another activity where we want it all done and we want it all done right now. While this may seem like a pretty easy thing to do at first, it really isn’t. You’ll inevitably become overwhelmed, stressed and make decisions you’ll later regret. However, by incorporating this deliberate action into the way you live, you’ll find that sooner than you know you’ll be living in a more spacious and organized space.

When you are in your home, take the time to look around you when you move from room to room. Are there things that don’t belong? When you leave the room, for whatever reason, be sure to grab a glass and return it to the kitchen, take a book back to the office, or whatever else needs to be organized or cleared.

Never leaving a space empty-handed can be applied to more than just your house as well. For example:

Office: You may not be “leaving the room” but as you move from one project to another, take the time to move something to its rightful place. This can include filing some of the receipts from that big stack, shredding documents, etc.

Car: Is your backseat full of overdue library books, coupons and flyers for the store, sports equipment and even a few diapers (even though they are now tweens!)? Each time you get out of the car, take something with you. Put sports equipment in special bins in the garage. Add a run to the library to you next errand-running safari – or ask Daddy to take care of them on his way to work tomorrow. When the whole family pitches in, never leaving a space empty-handed takes on a whole new level of power and results.

Online/digital/home computer: Are you done reading your email? As you “leave” this space, take the opportunity to delete ones you’ve read and don’t really need to keep. Assign ones you need to follow up with categories, due dates, tasks and more. Create folders and a filing system in your computer for your projects and take the time to move files there for safekeeping. And last, but not least, start the update process for your virus protection right before you go to a coffee refill.

The bottom line here for you to take away from this is that the power of small actions shouldn’t be overlooked. While it may not seem like you’re making much progress or that what you’re doing is even worth it, in the end given enough time the changes can – and will – be huge.

Author's Bio: 

Carmen Coker is a former U.S. Air Force officer turned professional organizer and productivity expert. She provides organizing resources for small business at and for home life at