Tuesday, October 7, 2014

day 7: a place for everything...

Hello and welcome to my continuing series on 31 days to more order.  You can see the full list of topics and posts by going here.

Are you naturally organized?  Do you find keeping track of things easy or difficult?  Do you struggle to stay on top of important things or papers?

I have to admit, I'm naturally organized.  I love lists and I have never lost my car keys or misplaced a library book.  Is that annoying?  I'm sorry I'm not bragging.  I only point those things out to you to say that you can trust me not to steer you wrong on this topic.

One of the adages I adhere to is; Everything has a place and there is a place for everything.  I specifically use this for items that I use daily or need to be able to access easily.  Some of the things in our home that this applies to are; car keys, phones, phone chargers, flash lights, batteries, small tools (think hammer, nails and a wrench), school papers, my bible, computer and internet passwords, scissors, our checkbook, school or sports schedules, homework folders, shoes, library books, important phone numbers and that sort of stuff.  You can see it is an eclectic list of items but that is because it is made up of items that me or my family deems important enough that we don't want to loose track of it.

I don't need to tell you what having to spend 20 minutes looking for your car keys, phone, kid's shoes, homework paper, permission slip or whatever critical item when you are already late does to your entire day.  So to combat that, I have designated places for these types of things.  And, this is important, everyone in the house knows where they are kept. 

To illustrate how this looks in my house let's use my car keys.  I have a small blue bowl with white stars on it that I have literally used for the past 20 years to hold my keys.  I always, always put my keys in that spot when I come home.  I have lived in five different places in those 20 years and I have always placed this dish by the door I use to enter my home.  I place my keys in that bowl every time I enter my home.  There are no exceptions.  This system also applies to my husband and he puts his keys in this bowl.  It is a family rule - keys go in that dish.  That way, my husband and children know where to find my keys if they need to use my van.  Well, my boys can't use the van yet but they do start my van for me on cold days.

I have not gone overboard and designated a place for every last item in my home, but most things have a natural place.  For example, kitchen items go in the kitchen or bath towels go in the linen closet.  So you are most likely already doing this to a certain extent.  All I'm suggesting you do is create intentional places for critical things that trip you up.  Here's a few things to keep in mind...

1. Start with what is most important to you. If you can never find your keys, create a space in your home or purse and always put them there.  If your phone tends to wander off, pick a surface in your home and return it there at the end of the day.  This one is sometimes hard and yes I have found my phone in the fridge (I was unloading groceries and talking to my sister and when I hung up with her I put the phone in the fridge.  Thankfully, I found it pretty soon after that.).  But since we are so tied to technology, it is important to have a designated spot for these items.  Most importantly, start with what's important to you and your life.  Things that are important to me won't be for you and vice versa.

2.  Get your family to buy into this.  Once you have picked a place for something, let everyone that you live with know that you expect the item to be put back there every time.  That way, they know where to look and can put a shared item back once they are done with it.  If flash lights always go in the same cabinet, when the power goes out there will be no confusion as to where to find one.  Incidentally, we store our flashlights under our sink in the kitchen because that is where my parent's keep their flashlights.  So you don't always have to be creative with this, use whatever works for you.

This is also great if you have a child or children who loose everything.  I have one child that takes after me and one that doesn't.  The one that doesn't needed constant reminders to hang his book bag where it goes all during preschool (and I do mean ALL during preschool).  Now that he is elementary school he doesn't need to be reminded but it took several years to get here.

3. Give your kids their own space to use.  My kids each have a cabinet in our kitchen to store their stuff.  This is where they return their chargers, devices (when they have use of them) and other special items  that belong to them.  They know that it is their responsibility to put their stuff away and it is always the first place that we look for anything that they can't find.  This has been great for my disorganized child because he knows that if he wants to keep important stuff handy where to put it.

4. Be flexible.  Sometimes the home for an item needs to change.  When my kids were little, I kept all the important papers for them in one folder.  Now that they are all in elementary school, I needed a different place to store important papers. Your  designated space my change and that's okay.  This isn't rocket science, it's order and there are no wrong answers.

I believe that if you have a designated space for critical items, you will have more order in your life.  Getting out the door becomes easier and less stressful if you can always count on your car keys to be in the dish by the door or wherever you pick in your home.  Isn't it amazing how a small step of intentionally placing an important item in one spot can reduce stress and add order to our days.  

Do you have a designated place for important things or are you constantly looking for your keys?  I hope today's post will help you get started on finding a place for everything...


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