That moment when you re-enter your home from a day out defines how organized your home will be and how organized it will remain (or not). That is the defining moment.
From groceries and mail to a briefcase or your children’s school and sports gear, chances are you are carrying things into your home each time you come back from a day of errands, work, or a trip.
So, what do you do at that moment? Do you put things down, or do you put things away?
There is a big difference between putting things down and putting things away. If you needed to put everything away in your home right now, could you?
The answer depends on whether everything in your house has a specific place to belong. Everything in your home should have a single, designated, permanent space where that item or category lives. Recognizing and following this principle may make daily life easier and more efficient.
You find everything easily when items have a permanent, specific storage place. It also facilitates putting things away since objects have a known space where they should go.
But if anything can go anywhere in your house, everything will go everywhere. So, day after day, this way of going about your environment will yield undesirable results.
When you “put things down for later” instead of taking the time to put things away, several things happen:
- “Later” never seems to arrive (it is not an actual date on the calendar!). Every day’s residue accumulates all over the house day after day.
- Your home becomes cluttered because clutter invites more clutter. It’s a vicious cycle.
- You can’t find what you need when you need it since nothing is where it belongs.
- Looking for things, you waste lots of time. Also, you spend money buying replacements for items you have but can’t find.
Then, one random Saturday morning, when the sun is shining and you feel great, you decide to clean up your place. You spend hours sorting through the clutter and finally putting things away.
When finished, your home is manageable again, but you’ve spent the whole day cleaning up instead of being outside, enjoying the possibilities that await you.
You are tired, sore, and frustrated. Yet, ironically, you conclude that being organized is a drag that intrudes on your life, preventing you from living your life.
As a result, you put off “organizing” or “cleaning up” again for as long as possible. The senseless circle of events repeats itself.
What if you took a moment or two to put everything away (as in “where everything should permanently go’) instead of “putting things down until later” every time you come home? Your home would remain organized.
If your home remains organized, there is no need to spend an entire day organizing later. Yes, it takes a few minutes every day, and it might take some time to make the practice a habit, but it pays off significantly.
Besides, spending a few minutes daily to keep our environment organized is more manageable and less time-consuming than spending hours cleaning up or trying to find what we need.
The next time you enter through that door carrying all that “stuff,” think about it – It is a defining moment.