A place for everything. It’s easy to think of that old adage, “A place for everything, and everything in its place,” but where to begin applying that? What if you don’t know something’s place – then what?
The first step in getting everything in its proper place is to identify where you’re going to use it. For example, don’t keep your bills in the kitchen if you have a home office. Chances are, you pay your bills at your desk, so keep the mail there. Keep clean towels in a cupboard or closet near the bathroom, not in the laundry room.
And putting everything in its place is of course the second step. Resist the urge to just drop things where you are – mail, hairbrushes, books, etc. – but instead, put them back where they belong when you’re done using them. At the very least, make it a point to put things away as part of your bedtime routine. This place for everything shouldn’t vary too much either. You should train yourself to always put your keys and purse on the shelf by the front door, the TV remote on the coffee table, the flashlight on the top shelf of the linen closet, and so on.
It’s also good to train your children to get into this routine as well. Jackets do not belong on the back of chairs, shoes do not belong in the middle of the living room floor, and so on. Of course, for them to put their things where they belong, you need to have an assigned spot for them in the first place, so be sure they have a place to put their jackets, shoes, backpacks, schoolbooks, and so on, and that these places are easily accessible to them – chances are, your five-year-old can’t reach the hangars in the closet!
Like with like. It’s helpful also to put similar items in one spot. For example, consider having one large basket with all your hair care items that you use after the shower – brushes, combs, mousse, styling gel, hairspray, and so on. Have another basket that holds everything you need to take your makeup off at night – astringent, toner, moisturizer, cotton balls, and so on.
By keeping all these things in one place or container, it makes it easier not only to keep organized, but to find them when you need them. Time to take off your makeup? Simply grab that basket.
Use this technique in the kitchen as well. A tool caddy can be kept on top of the stove for all your spoons and other gadgets. If you don’t have a spice rack, put all your spices in one box (even a covered or painted shoebox can work) so that you can grab them easily when cooking.
Be selective about what you display. It’s tempting to keep every notice from your child’s school, every memo from work, and so on, clipped to the front of your refrigerator so that you’ll remember everything, but chances are, you’ll get so overwhelmed with paperwork that nothing will stand out.