Unclutter your Life in One Week

Unclutter Your Life in One Week
I’ve just finished reading Unclutter Your Life in One Week,by Erin Rooney Doland from

The book has lots of excellent advice and exercises to help you simplify, although I wouldn’t try and do it all in one week, not with three littles underfoot! There is nothing like uncluttering an area only to have little people discover all the “New” things that you’ve just uncovered!

Erin talks about creating routines in several sections of the book (yay), so I thought I’d have a go at setting them up in HomeRoutines.


Erin’s suggested Laundry Routine for families has a focus on a particular sort of laundry for each day of the week – adult clothes, linens, children’s clothes etc.

We do something like this, except the vast number of soggy teatowels, dishcloths and flannels that are produced by three grubby children end up being added to the wash every day – included here, politely, as “kitchen,” rather than our family term of  “wet and smellys”

The Catchup on Sunday was also my addition – Erin is much more organized and has “Rest” on Sunday.

Zone Cleaning

Erin suggests that each weeknight you spend half an hour cleaning – first 10 minutes of general pickup, and then 20 minutes focusing on a specific area.  Her schedule follows a different area of the home for each day of the week (eg Kitchen and Dining on Mondays, Bathrooms on Tuesdays etc)  This schedule is one of the most frequent feature requests for HomeRoutines, and our upcoming release will include up to 7 zones so that you can have one zone per day of the week. 🙂 I’m looking forward to it myself!

For now – here is how it would look if you arranged your rooms to Erin’s schedule. It’s really easy to arrange rooms in whichever order you like on the Setup Zones and Rooms screen, just drag them around.

General cleaning schedule from Unclutter Your Life in One Week, in the Focus Zones section of HomeRoutines App

Daily Routines

Erin encourages her readers to establish regular routines throughout the day, which we already know all about:

  • Morning Routine
  • Welcome Home Routine
  • Dinner Routine
  • Before Bed Routine

The Welcome Home Routine is an excellent idea, and hopefully if I follow it I will not end up with my bag (and car) full of receipts and cookie crumbs.

Here’s my adaptation:

Unclutter your life in 1 week - Welcome Home Routine in HomeRoutines iPhone app

Unclutter Your Life in One Week has a lot more to it than just routines – there’s something in there for everyone, whether you’re just getting started at organizing and decluttering, or you’re just looking for that little bit of extra advice.

My very favourite bit in the book is the very last sentence:

Give yourself a virtual gold star, because a real gold star would be just clutter.


Focus on the basics with your Daily 7

You can make lists and lists and lists, and have the best of intentions, but some days you can only manage the basics. Having a ready-made list of the absolute priorities can help out on those days!

Stephanie from Totally Together Journal has a great list called The Daily 7 for a Highly Successful Household

This is what it looks like in HomeRoutines:

HomeRoutines 1.7 now available

Our latest update is now available in the app store, with some cool new features.

Progressive Stars

The whole-routine stars on the home screen now fill in progressive pizza-wedges as you complete tasks.   If it just so happens that your routine is only mostly complete – you’ll get a star that is mostly filled in with gold.  We were appalled – appalled! –  when someone told us how sad it made her when she nearly completed her routine but the star was still blank like she hadn’t done anything. So we fixed that to be a bit more forgiving.

Share your accomplishments and lists

We got this request in a review from HoldiesMama:

You know what would be the cherry on top? Being able to email our accomplishments to ourselves or (for me) our Spouse. I want a running record to bask in my glory!!!!! Hmmm, what does this say about me? I don’t care! I still think it would be Great!

First we added an action button at the bottom of the Accomplishments screen, so you can share your completed tasks via email. Then we thought you might like to share other lists, so we added it to the bottom of all your routines, zones and to-dos as well.

Clever paste

You can now paste a list into any new task item in HomeRoutines, and each new line in your list will become a new task.

Plus Also

HomeRoutines 1.7 is iOS 4.0 tested and supports the flash new iOS 4.0 features:

  • Fast application switching
  • Crisp new high-res graphics for the iPhone 4
  • Timer will still sound if HomeRoutines isn’t the running app (using local notifications)

And a minor tweak to the formula that generated the zone dates, so a weekend at the start of the month doesn’t turn into a zone of its own and get the zone dates all out of whack with the FlyLady zone calendar.

Recurring tasks in HomeRoutines

One of our most common feature requests is for us to add recurring tasks that happen less frequently.

There are a couple of different sorts.

  1. A routine that only appears only in certain months of the year, or weeks of the month. For example, a holiday routine with all the tasks you only do in November and December.
  2. Tasks that are important but infrequent, and aren’t actually routines. For example;
  • changing air conditioner filters
  • giving the cat flea medicine every 6 weeks
  • putting out the recycling bin every second week
  • ensuring the cat has its once-a-year vet checkup and vaccinations in January.

The second sort are tricky. They don’t fit comfortably into routines, because they are important, time-sensitive, and not as “forgivable” as regular routines. You don’t want the reminder to change your smoke detector batteries to reset after a day or a week like the routine stars, because it’s too important for that.

We’re thinking about the best way to approach this in HomeRoutines. They don’t fit well in routines, for the reasons listed above. Perhaps they’d fit well under To Dos, but I don’t want to make the entry of To Do items more complicated by adding settings to each and every task just to enable you to make some tasks recur infrequently. Or perhaps they’re a whole new section on the home screen – or a whole new app!

What do you think? Do you want recurring tasks? How would they work best for you?

Staying on Top of Laundry Mountain

Here’s a little idea for those of us who can be *ahem* less than diligent about keeping up with their washing piles (Mt Washmore, or whatever) Make a laundry routine and you’ll really earn that home screen star – as well as being reminded to do the washing every time you lookat the app!

(Also you won’t leave other routines incomplete through not doing the laundry part of them, eh?)

PS: I did make the title of that routine “GOAL: Clean undies” but then I got all embarrassed of my screen shot and changed it to socks. They are all important.

HomeRoutines Review Roundup

Here are some more glowing reviews for HomeRoutines.  Thanks, y’all!

Highly recommended for anyone with an iphone. Even worth getting an iphone just to run it.

(Habit Hacker is a great new site, by the way, with a fresh way of looking at the value of building routines and habits for not only your housework, but also for your creative endeavours and for taking care of your body and your health.  Highly recommended for its tongue-in-check attitude and hilarious new terminology!)

Journalling Back to Joy

HomeRoutines is a great app that can change your home and your life! That might sound extreme, but with this tool, you can start making small changes to your life to make it more peaceful.  Who wouldn’t want that, right?! I HIGHLY recommend it to all!

What’s New in HomeRoutines 1.5.1

We’ve been working hard and adding a lot of the features you’ve been asking for.  We’ve also got lots of cool ideas for the future!

Here’s a quick look at the new stuff.

Schedule your Routines

You can now choose which days of the week a routine will appear, and which days it will reset.

A small box at the bottom of each routine will reflect the current schedule and reset settings, and you can touch it to access those settings to edit them.

Switch between the routines that are scheduled to appear today, and all the routines you have made, using the All toggle button at the top of the homescreen.

We’ve added more boxes to the To Do section, so you can plan ahead for this week, and tasks to do later on.  You can drag tasks freely between the boxes in ToDo, and the star on the home page will still light up when you’ve completed all the tasks in the Today box.

You can set all your Focus zone stars to clear at the start of the month.

We have added a new Help and Support section to the home screen.

You can also backup your data to your computer (highly recommended if you have littlies who like to play with your phone like me!) and directly access the help section of the website from the app.


Lovely picture we bought from Andrew at Mumblier, who is drawing them so he can buy an iPad. He very obligingly drew one with stars, despite my vague requests.

Problems with HomeRoutines 1.5.1 Upgrade

We’ve had some reports of people having problems with the app crashing  since they’ve installed the update to HomeRoutines 1.5.1, which we had hoped would stop those things happening instead of making them worse.

If this happens to you please contact us at so we can help.

We’d also appreciate it if you could use the new Send Diagnostic Data feature to send your routines and things to us for troubleshooting.  (Just go to Help and Support at the bottom of the home screen) These won’t be identifiable as belonging to you, but if you’re willing, you can put your email address as the first item in your to do list. Then we will be able to reply to you specifically regarding that file.  You can just email us without sending it through, of course, but it will help us figure this thing out.

Plan “What’s for dinner” with HomeRoutines’ Daily Reminders

Fantastic! Adrianne from Illinois told us in a comment:

I am using the Daily Reminders section to help me begin to answer that “What’s For Dinner?” question on a regular basis. I realized I could be somewhat generic and put “Crockpot meal” down for any given night or be even more specific and put down the name of a favorite recipe.

What a good idea. Thank you, Adrianne! If you have a regular pattern to how you eat throughout the week (or even if you don’t) you could plan out a week’s dinners in your HomeRoutines Daily Reminders, and you’ll see that wee note on your home screen telling you what you planned.

How do you use the HomeRoutines Daily Reminders? Leave us a comment!