Monday, September 6, 2010

In Easy Reach

Key idea: Keep things as close as possible to the place where they are used.

Several years ago, our family had the 'opportunity' to clean out a farmhouse owned by then-deceased relatives. The home had been lived in by generations of the same family for at least 100 continuous years. Imagine the things that we found!

Many of the items that we found were amusing, not the least of which was an attractive serving platter buried in a drawer of undergarments. Yes, china in a drawer of underwear. Why those elder relatives determined a second-floor bedroom was the right place for dinnerware is beyond me, but I am willing to bet that you probably have something similar happening in your home. Some less extreme examples:
  • My husband and I have an office in a spare bedroom, and we each have our own desk. Yet on any given day you'll find both our laptops on the dining room table.
  • I know a lot of people who keep spare toilet paper in a hall linen closet. Not exactly convenient if you run out.
  • A relative (who shall remain nameless) stores dish cloths and towels on the far side of the dining room.
Am I being picky? Possibly, but hear me out.

I'm sure that in your ideal world there is "a place for everything and everything in its place." But I want to know: have you identified the best place? In other words, I'm asking to step back and be thoughtful about where things are located in your home or office.

A couple questions to get you thinking:
  • How do you use your kitchen? Do you have the utensils you need in proximity to the stove and table, but also handy when unloading the dishwasher? Or are they just at the same place you put them when you first moved in?
  • Do you find yourself going up and down steps, or crossing from room to room when cleaning or completing routine tasks? If so, maybe you need to reorganize for efficiency.
  • Would it make sense to have multiple sets of cleaning supplies, so that you don't have to cart the Windex from room to room?
  • Are you frequently pushing things out of the way when you are trying to get to items in the pantry, closet or cabinet?
I hope this offers you some food for thought. I think I'm going to find time to reorganize my kitchen utensils soon, so I'll post some photos!

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