Think about the last time you washed your dishes and put them away. What did you do with the silverware? Did you just toss it all into a drawer so everything is in one big pile? While I'm guessing there are a few people who do that, most likely you opened a drawer that is dedicated solely to silverware and separated the knives from the forks from the spoons etc. with a tray. Why do we do this? Wouldn't it make emptying the dishwasher a lot faster if we just had a big drawer to throw it all in?
Yes, it would make that part of our day faster, but what about when we need to retrieve something from that silverware pile? Assuming you don't slice your finger on a steak knife, setting the table for dinner would be an exercise in frustration, fishing through a pile of tangled silverware for just the pieces you need. Take this ridiculousness even further and let's say you don't even have a dedicated silverware drawer. Instead, when you put away the clean dishes, you just put everything in whatever drawer or cupboard you happen to have open at the time. I can't even imagine how annoying this would be when you want to find a spoon to eat your morning yogurt.
Ideally, everything in your kitchen has a specific place. Shouldn't everything else in your home? When I walk in the door, my coat and shoes go in the closet. My keys go on the key rack. My wallet has a place just above the keys. When it's time to go out the door I know where everything is. I'm not going to claim that my whole house is that way but for the most part, the items I need regularly have a home, even if that home is a particular spot on the floor in the corner of the office.
I believe that consistency is the key here. I admit that the floor is not the ideal place for the backpack I take to work every day, but I always know where it is and it's readily available. Not only that, but I keep things in exact places inside that backpack. I have a small thumb drive that I keep some important files on and use almost daily. It always lives in the same pocket inside a larger pocket of my backpack. In another specific pocket I always keep my checkbook and my badge for work. If I'm not wearing my badge or writing a check, they get put right back in the same pocket. Always.
Practice consistency. Think of something that you often find yourself looking for. Where's the first place you look for it? You know when you first decide you need that item, there's a good chance that one particular spot comes to mind where you should look first. Maybe that's the place it needs to be? If there's not room there, make room. If you really think about it and decide that's not the best place, then pick a spot and make a conscious effort to always put it there when you aren't using it. Are you tired of searching for the TV remote? Pick a spot and proudly proclaim "This is where the remote will live when it's not being used!". The trick here is with shared items like the remote control, that EVERYONE needs to know where its home is and consistently put it there when they're done. In my case, we had several remotes between the TV, stereo, DVD player, etc. that I was tired of seeing all over the living room. I put a small basket out on an end table and keep them all in it. Training the kids to put them away has been a challenge but most of the time the remotes end up back in the basket.
Now, imagine if everything you needed on a daily basis was easy to find. You can do it, and I can do it, but the first step for most of us is to free up some space so that everything we actually use has a home. I'm working toward that goal and you should too.
Copyright Dave Lubke and www.davelubke.com, 2022
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