As tedious as it sounds, the best way to organize a cupboard, drawer, or closet is to take everything out and put it back in again.

Not only are you putting things back in a tidy manner, but it gives you the chance to reassess the importance of the items inside. What’s worth keeping? What should you toss? Is there a better place for it?

This method of decluttering helps ensure you find the most important items you need them.

But what about your to-do lists?

How do we account for the many things in our minds? Our to-dos aren’t tangible like items in a linen closet or a desk.

It’s like that cluttered drawer in your kitchen—the one that’s tough to open—tasks tend to get pushed to the back. Subsequent to them surfacing again comes the dreaded ah, shit moment.

Much like that catch-all drawer, you can take inventory of your to-do list and decide what stays and what goes. Here’s how.

1. Write Down All of Your To-Dos

To start, anything you need to do that’s not a daily habit, like checking your emails, brushing your teeth, or doing the dishes — write it down all in one place.

Ensure items on your list hold some weight and aren’t something you do naturally, like cleaning the dishes or responding to an email. For example, you might write that you need to organize the hall closet, but not list wipe the kitchen counters because you do that automatically, plus doing so takes about ten seconds.

Include tasks that are top of mind, events, and occasions. Try your best to think of anything you may be forgetting and everything you’ve been meaning to do.

You’re creating an exhaustive list at this point, so you need not worry about prioritizing, assigning, breaking down, or sorting your items.

This may resemble a warehouse inventory for some, but don’t get overwhelmed as you’re soon going to take action.

2. Sort Your To-Dos

Now that you’ve written them all out, avoid tackling the items at random in an effort to get them done as soon as possible. It can be tempting to pick one and go, especially if you’re impulsive, but sorting them will help you develop a more effective plan.

Create four categories to write out your tasks: backlog, project or event-specific, revisit, and recommendations. Grab your day planner as well.

Backlog: This is where all your general items will go. Basically, a list of tasks you intend to do at some point, but not right now. They’ll live here in the meantime, so you don’t forget them, but also so they’re not nagging you.

Project or event-specific: Place items with the same goal together and title them accordingly. For example, a lofty list of creative projects you want separate from your need-to-dos or tasks related to an event you’re planning.

Revisit: This list gives all your ideas a place to go. Think items that aren’t the highest priority, but you want to do them at some point. It’s helpful to park these ideas here to prevent them from becoming a distraction or forgotten.

Recommendations: Another non-priority list. Stash items others want you to look into or check out here. Sometimes they’re worth it and sometimes not so much, but once you list them, they’re less likely to be distracting. When trying to recall that website your colleague told you about, it’s on the list.

Appointments, reminders, events, and due dates: put these right into your day planner under the correct date to avoid forgetting them.

Go through your task inventory and move items into their respective category. Scratch out any tasks you don’t need or want to do—like those items in the junk drawer that you really never use.

Keep in mind these new lists are living documents for you to reference. Each time something new comes up, add it to the right one.

3. Plan Your To-Dos

Pull items from your lists and add them to your day planner. You can do this however you’d like. The Ivy Lee method takes a lot of stress out of writing a to-do list.

To summarize what that is, you write six tasks in order of priority and work your way through the list from top to bottom. By doing this the evening before, you know exactly where to start. Any incomplete tasks move to the next day.

You might also find it helpful to keep a rough list of about seven weekly items — you know the ones you want to get done, but you’re not sure when yet.

Tackle Your To-do List

After taking inventory of your to-do list, it will be one that’s filled with only the most important and meaningful tasks and a plan for tackling them. Like your freshly organized closet, you’ll be able to stay on top of what’s in there—and if it gets messy, you can do it all again.

Keep in mind, that tasks don’t always need to be productive to make it on your list.