Four Questions for Deciding Where to Store Things

Remember in grade school when you were assigned a desk in the classroom?  It made the teacher’s life easier, right? 

A large part of organizing is deciding where things will “live” in your space and assigning them a particular “home”. 

This is true for everything from kitchen gadgets to computer gadgets, paper plates to paperwork, and craft supplies to first aid supplies.  Here are four questions to help you think through where to “assign homes” for all your stuff.

  1. “Where are its friends?”  Items that are similar or are used together are friends.  For example, a hammer is friends with a screwdriver but not with your extra paper towels.  Postage stamps are friends with envelopes and matches are friends with candles.  When you keep all the friends together, it’s easier and quicker to find them.
  2. “Do I use it often or infrequently?”  Not everything needs to be kept within arm’s reach.  Items you use frequently need to be accessible, but seldom-used items can be put away in a less convenient place.  Save your prime real estate storage space for the things you use the most. 
  3. “Where do I use it?”  For those things that you use frequently, keep it near where you use it.  Keep the dog leash near the door, the recycling bin near where you open the mail, and the ironing board near where you like to iron.
  4. “When it’s time to use it, where will I think to look for it?”  Our brains are wired in such a way that we actually have different neuropaths for where to “put” and where to “find.”  Since what really counts is finding what we want when we want it, it’s best to store things according to where you will look for them. 

When the above questions don’t help, think about where you would first look for something.  There’s no right or wrong place.  It just needs to make sense to YOU.

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