Where Does it Live? Strategies for Keeping Tidy

Where Does It Live? Strategies
for Keeping Tidy

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There is one key component to efficient organization that no one ever really talks about. Mainly because it is often inconvenient, not fun, and often something we don't feel we are responsible for. What is it? Put simply: putting things away.

For many a household, including my own, after an exceptionally busy week, by the time Friday arrives it looks like a tornado has blown through the entire house. I can retrace my steps of projects worked on, meals prepared, mail received, clothes worn, etc. In addition to the steps of my husband, and well, lets not leave the family pets out of the mix. Everyone contributes to the family whirlwind.

Good news is, like at my house, there are strategies that can help make it easier to clean up and put things away. Dare I say, even making the process fun?! The two key components are assigning “homes” for your belongings and corralling them within domestic “zones.”

Strategy #1 Every possession you own should have a place where it can be stored comfortably and easily in relation to how often you use it. And when I say every possession, I mean every possession. From your socks to your skis. Think about how you live. Think about where you use different things. Think about your ability to group like things together. Solutions to these organizing questions will greatly help you be more efficient with your time through-out the day.

Strategy #2 How you use your "stuff." I've kind of hinted at this one already in the first strategy. Part of creating a long term, successful organizing strategy is by doing some thoughtful prep work. That is, thinking about where and how often you use what you own. For example, do you do most of your computing in your home office or in your living room. If the answer is actually, you do most of your computing in your living room, then you should probably consider moving your office desk into the living room. Or, how big is your bathroom? Do you really have room for all of your make-up and toiletries on the counter? If not, maybe you should consider setting up a vanity in your bedroom. Redefining areas in your living space can dramatically help you live a more organized life. You just have to open your mind to new possibilities.

Strategy #3 Don't overstuff. Part of what makes staying organized fun and easy is the ease with which it can occur. All too often I see people get stuck in a clutter rut that eventually spills over into a larger unorganized space, and thus, life. Too much of any one thing is never a good thing. For example, if you have a kitchen cupboard full of baking pans that tumble out every time you open the door, how fun or easy is it going to be to pile them all back in, just to know the same thing will happen the next time you need one? Talk about an incentive to just leave that brownie pan on the counter. Instead of facing this reality, why not get real that you have too many baking pans for the space you are trying to store them in, and either move them to a bigger space, or pare down your collection. Overflowing drawers and doors that have to be shoved closed to keep all their contents from tumbling out are roadblocks that will keep you from putting things away as part of your daily routine.

Strategy #4 Incorporate cleaning up, a.k.a. putting things away, into your daily routine. The goal is to make it effortless. By imploring the strategies I list above, this goal can be accomplished easier than you think. The other component to this strategy is discipline. Taking that extra ten minutes to clear your desk at the end of the work day. Emptying the sink of dirty dishes so you won't have to deal with them while preparing tomorrow night's dinner. Anything you can do to clean up after yourself as you are completing your task, whatever it may be, will make a dramatically positive impact on living a more organized life that will be sustainable over the long term. They say it takes 21 days to for a new habit to stick. Why not make today Day 1?

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