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A Place For Everything

People often say “Your house must be perfectly organized!” and I say “No. Not usually.” But my trick is that I can get it looking pretty organized within about 15 minutes.

Clutter happens when we don’t know what to do with something so we just set it down. The next day we do the same until the pile becomes unsightly. We might move it into the guest room, a closet, or the basement when the sight get annoying. The challenge is that every item requires that you make a decision. “Where should this go?” And making that decision on every item in a pile of stuff can be exhausting and is usually the last way you want to spend a free Saturday afternoon.

I try to take the brain work out of organizing. I don’t want my clients to always be asking themselves where they should put something. Instead, we have systems so we already know the answer. Sometimes we can remember where things should be, other times we need labels to remind us. Sometimes we remember everything perfectly but others in our household won’t, so we need labels. We also need to make the homes for every item practical for its use. We don’t store our socks in the top of the kitchen cabinet because that isn’t where we use them (and I need to pull out a step stool to reach that area in my house.)

Recently, my office hit rock bottom. It had been too many days of rushing around and being too tired to do anything when I wasn’t running around. That is life. This happens, but when it starts to nag at us, it is time to deal with it. This is what it had become:

It took me longer than 15 minutes to get it into shape, but not more than 30. Starting with the things on the shelf:

  • Black bag goes on the hook

  • Blue and white stripped bag goes in the cabinet under the printer

  • Eiffel Tower bag was filled with donations and goes to the garage for donation

  • Camera bag simply goes in the cabinet below

  • Box was a birthday gift for my sister, so it needed to go to the car so I would get it to the post office

Most of the items on my desk go in the drawers – stapler, post-its, stamps, etc.

  • Battery charger goes with other electronics

  • Orange box had to be mailed so went with the other box to go to the car

Papers took a little longer. They needed to be processed (maybe a bill paid, etc.) then filed, shredded, or recycled. I keep as little as possible because I prefer the simplicity, but everyone needs to find their own comfort level with that. Once you have identified what you want to keep, you might consider having a list very accessible. Again, this is trying to take the thought process out of it. Do you need to save your Excel bill? Look at your list and you have your answer without needing to think about it every month.

Lastly, and perhaps most important, is the fake greenery gracing the lamp shade. A client had purchased a number of these but they did work for her, so she was getting rid of them. I happened to notice that it would fit perfectly on my head and it would be a wonderful Halloween costume! Thus, my Chia Pet costume was lovingly put in the basement where I will find it waiting next October.


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