How much time every day do you spend looking for misplaced items such as keys, cell phones, homework, remotes, socks etc.? Studies show at least 30 minutes a day. That’s six full days out of your year spent searching for your stuff. 1 2
Yikes. The single most important idea I’ve discovered to keep things neat in the house and find what I’m looking for is this: “Everything has a home”. It’s a simple but powerful concept. Every single item you own needs to have a place in your house that it belongs.
The second part of this concept is equally important: Everyone needs to put items back in their home. I will admit that this part can be tricky and require some practice. But I promise you that having a spot for each item is crucial to having people put things back where they go. Even if you have to put things back that others have left lying around, (you know, whileyour training them…) that task is so much quicker if you know exactly where it goes.
The biggest problem with keeping things orderly is that many things do not have an official place they belong. Or that you keep several types of the same thing in different spots. If everyone knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the tape measure goes in the top drawer on the left in the kitchen, with just a little practice and follow through, you’ll find that it can indeed end up there more times than not!
Organized Home Pointers
Here’s a basic list to simplify things and get you started on your way to a neater home and most importantly being able to find your stuff when you need it.
- Take an afternoon and spend time assigning a spot for everything in your home that does not seem to have one. (Or tackle it one room at a time.) Try to make the location logical and group like things together.
- If there are particular things that get left around a lot, focus on those to begin with.
- Explain to the family that everything in your house has its own home just like they do and it needs to be placed back there when they are done with it.
- Be consistent.
- If things get too out of hand have a “take everything home” party where everyone is assigned a room to find items that are “lost” and takes them back home.
- Make sure to set an example. Kids follow your lead.
When very young kids forget to put something back simply ask “Where does it live?” The same goes for adults though asking a grown man “Where does it live?” might not be seen as helpful as a gentle reminder.
Putting things where they go is a habit, pure and simple and habits can be changed. But it’s a lot easier when you set yourself up for success. So find homes for all your things and you’ll quickly see how this tiny concept can have big results! Then you too can experience the joy of going to the drawer for a pair of scissors… and low and behold… there they are!
Looking for Added Incentive?
Check out the New York Times Bestseller on this exact topic.
Free Printable Reminders
Print these small reminders out and hang them where they can be seen or in places where putting things back might be a problem.