Now that you've got the right stuff, it's time to put it to use in a way that will establish a working system. When it comes to matching containers to your personal and organizational styles, the goal is not only to choose the right containers, but also to use them to help you develop new routines that make the most of what you do naturally. When we organize by STYLE, we work with our habits, instead of against them.
Two simple concepts lie at the heart of working with those habits instead of against them. The first is foundational: every item must have a home. A home is where something “lives.” While the containers we've been perfecting are key to establishing homes for our items, they're only half the equation.
In order to get from a pile of random containers to an organizational system, we need to master the concept of logical and consistent homes for all of our things. A logical home is one that:
- is close to where the item is most often used;
- is the right size for the item;
- takes into account how often the item needs to be accessed.
This is the reason we store food in the pantry, toys in the playroom and holiday decorations in the attic. It’s also the reason we don’t store a single pair of socks, for example, in an empty kitchen drawer. Too much space is wasted if we dedicate an entire drawer to a pair of socks, and, since we don’t usually get dressed in the kitchen, it makes no sense to store socks there. Location is just as important in storage as it is in real estate.
Here are a few things to consider as you establish logical homes for your things:
- Store things that are used every day in places that are easy to access.
- Choose a storage solution (container and location) that makes it as easy to put things away as it is to put them down.
- Store things where you use them...or drop them...or naturally put them. That means putting their containers there in the first place so it's easy to put things where they belong.
- Store similar items together, and consider storing complementary items (things that go together or are used together) near each other as well.
I'll have more on each of these next week. For now, take a look at some of those things you put down instead of away at your house and do a little strategizing. Do those items have homes? And if so, are they logical homes? Or, when you consider your personal and organizational styles, do those items belong somewhere else?
This week's task: take charge! Make your styles the boss of your containers. Then give those perfect containers a home of their own.
Copyright 2016 Lisa Hess
About the Author
Transplanted Jersey girl Lisa Lawmaster Hess is the author of a blog compilation, three novels, and three non-fiction books, including the award-winning Know Thyself: The Imperfectionist’s Guide to Sorting Your Stuff. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is an adjunct professor of psychology at York College of Pennsylvania. She blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, Organizing by STYLE, and here at Catholicmom.com. Read all articles by Lisa Hess.