When I was a kid, I would sometimes tag along with my mother when she went to work. I would sit off to the side in a big, comfortable chair and listen to the friendly but hushed conversations as patrons came and went, the gentle thud of books being put on the counter, and the light swishing sound as they were slid along the table, checked out, & gathered up to go out the door.
My mom was a librarian at our local library, a wonderful place to spend time, get some inspiration, open your mind to new ideas, and a building that was the epitome of "a place for everything, and everything in its place...." Libraries are so good at that!
I have been thinking a lot about this lately--this where everything goes thing--and it seems that whenever we have persistent messes around our house that annoy us, it is because one of the two following statements is true:
- We don't have a set place where those things belong.
- We know where they belong, but it is a pain to put them there.
Now, you may want to roll your eyes at me because this seems overly simplistic, but from time to time we all need to get back to basics. So, here are some things to consider:
- Your belongings need--ahem--a place to BELONG. Things have a way of sitting around simply because we haven't made a decision about where they go. The place something is stored should not be elaborate or fancy, it just needs to be convenient to where the item is used, and make sense to you so you know where to find it.
- It needs to be easy to put something away, or it will never be put there. YOU may like putting your children's backpacks neatly on the hook way down the hall, around the corner, behind the kitchen door, but you aren't going to get much enthusiasm from them for this. Making it as easy as possible for those other people we live with to comply with our wishes makes for a happy (and neater) household.
- Your enthusiasm will wane....I know those other people I just mentioned can really be a pain, but, trust me, we are a part of the problem, too. After a few weeks, when the shine is off the penny, you will tire of filing papers in your new, meticulous, oh sooooo organized filing system with each folder color-coordinated and carefully labeled. UGH. (Do you know how many of these things I have decluttered from people's houses??) Keep it simple or it ain't gonna happen.
- Remember, having less stuff is easier to manage. Carefully evaluate all of that STUFF laying about your house. If we are honest with ourselves, most of it probably doesn't need any further attention other than loading it in the car and taking it to Goodwill.
Straightening up a space in which everything in it has a home--a place it belongs--is a snap, takes only minutes to do, and everyone in the household can be a part of keeping things neat since it is so easy to implement...even easier than using the Dewey Decimal System!