If you happen to be in my kitchen looking for the cinnamon, you won’t find it in the spice cabinet. It’s with the coffee. And if you reach for a water glass, you’ll also see the vitamins. I don’t keep them in the medicine cabinet.
Since our kitchen also happens to be smaller than the average elevator, I’m not organizing it for anyone else but myself, so it’s pretty rare to have anyone confused by where to find the cinnamon, or surprised by finding the vitamins – but even if we did have a kitchen that could fit more than 1.5 persons, I’d still organize it the way I do.
Staying organized in your own space means putting things where you can find them, not where they “should” be. Many of us try to work with a system we learned in our childhood, or one we’ve seen work in our friend’s home, or one that an organizing expert insisted was the best. But a lot of the time, those systems just don’t work for us.
Think of your dresser drawers or your closet – do you have clothing grouped by kind, just because that is how it is “supposed” to be? Shorts and pants in one drawer, tops in another? Long sleeve shirts hung next to one another, followed by jackets, followed by trousers?
Or maybe you have no method at all, and everything is dumped randomly wherever it fits.
Either way, the question is the same: does that way of organizing (or not organizing) actually work for you? Or are you just doing it because you haven’t thought to change it?
If you can get up in the morning and find what you need without a hassle, you probably don’t need a new method.
If, however, you are constantly annoyed by your set-up, or lack thereof, it’s time to start thinking outside the box.
One of my roommates at university was an art history major. She was a painter and she loved color. It was the most important thing to her and was directly related to her happiness levels. If you opened her closet, you’d find her clothes hanging by color, regardless of type. Every time she opened the door, it made her happy. And it suited her method as well: getting dressed meant deciding if it was a pink kind of day or green kind of day, regardless of the weather.
Her method worked for her.
Maybe you are too tired in the mornings to pull together a full outfit, sorting through tops and bottoms that match. Have you thought of organizing your closet by outfit? Or maybe you want to work out, but finding the gym clothes under piles of other shorts and t-shirts is too much of an effort. Why not keep all your workout clothes together in a designated space?
Your “method” doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else, it just has to work for you.
Not sure how to go about finding your own method? Start with your biggest frustrations. What are you annoyed about regularly when it comes to finding things, or being able to use the things you have? What do you wish were different? If you could imagine a really easy day where everything was accessible without thought, what would it entail?
Once the biggest frustrations are out of the way, things get a lot easier.
Is there anything in your home or life that could use some outside the box thinking?