Put It Away
->Choose a room or project
->Go to work
So many of us live in halfway houses. Yes, our homes are full of items which are half way home. They have been put down, but not put away. A magazine is lost because it never made it back to its magazine “home.” A pair of shoes is useless because one shoe is missing (and your son remembers getting them in the door, but not where he decided to take them off). The milk is soured because it was left next to the refrigerator instead of inside. And on and on goes the list.
When this principle rises to the surface of my life, I begin to look at others who might be the offenders, only to discover that I have many places where I would prefer to put down instead of putting away. And it also seems when I begin to “put away” instead of putting down, others follow my example. Here are several principles which have helped me.
Designate “homes” which are well-known to all family members. “The extra package of toilet paper is to be kept inside the right hand door under the sink in the bathroom.” “The milk goes on the top shelf on the right hand side. No other frig items go in this area.” “Empty soda cans are to be put in this family room wastebasket which will be emptied once a week into the recycling bin.” “All garden shoes are to be put on the garage shelves next to the back door when you come into the house.”
More wastebaskets make it easier to “put away” trash instead of cluttering up a room. Where people sit, where you stand, where trash is “made” are all good places for another wastebasket. A wastebasket in the laundry room for the dryer lint, a wastebasket in each bedroom, wastebaskets in the garage, the backyard, and in the unfinished basement storage room all keep those areas neater.
If someone consistently puts something down instead of putting it away, that usually becomes the new “home” where the item is looked for when it is needed next. Therefore, it is important to keep things in the first convenient place whenever possible. For instance, keys are going to be “found” easier next to an exit then anywhere else in the home because the farther you get into the home, the more places there will be “to put down” the keys instead of putting them away.
As you go about life, look for putting away opportunities. Try to change one habit for seven straight days and watch order increase in your routines!
Find more helpful ideas in my House of Order Handbook.
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Photos from sxc.hu. Used with permission.