Have you seen my?
Pretty much anything you can think of can and will get lost in the course of a day.
That, my friend, is exactly why you need to get organized.
According to statistics, the average person spends an hour a day looking for things. If you are a parent, then you spend your hour looking for your things and another chunk of time looking for someone else’s things. Imagine what you could do with an extra 7 hours in your week.
I haven’t forgotten the days of crawling around and peering under the car’s seats trying to find my screaming daughter’s pacifier. Nor have I forgotten the frantic call from the soccer field where the missing cleats needed to appear instantly.
Now not only do I keep up with my own things but I always leave an organizing client with these parting words “Call me if you get stuck and can’t find something.”
So how do I find my own things and manage to remember all kinds of things for other people. It is a combination of routine and logic ….
Yes, you can do it to.
Here are some tips for maintaining order.
Make a spot, near the door you use the most, for all the items that must go with you when you launch out the door the next morning. You might install shelves, cubbies or just coat hooks on the wall. The actual storage product is not as important as having a special place for your items. As you come in the door, the keys, purse, briefcase, backpack and so on go into the launch pad area so they can be found the next day…and found fast.
Kids and Responsibility
What motivation do your children have to keep up with their belongings if they can just call you to find things? Certainly you must do so sometimes in order to get out the door but you can stop the incessant looking for things by shifting the responsibility to them.
• Add a wipe-off board to each child’s door.
• Assist them in listing everything they need the next day.
• Instead of asking them ‘do you have your cleats,’ instead ask ‘have you checked your board.’ This teaches them to make and check lists.
• Make it a family rule to pack backpacks and check the list before bed.
Odds, Ends and Clutter
Have a place for everything. Begin today. Even if you home looks like someone stirred it with a big spoon, you can organize your things so that you can find them. Begin today by having every item that you use go back to the spot WHERE YOU WANT THEM TO BE. Notice I did not say back to where it was before. I want you to think about where you would go to find item A and then put it there. Often you need to rethink your storage areas if you keep losing things.
Pay attention to what is being lost repeatedly. That way you can come up with the solution. For instance, does the remote get lost all of the time? Create a “home” for the remote- place a wooden box or ceramic bowl on the table and let everyone know that is the home for the remote.
Share the News
Part of the problem in a family is that more than one person uses an item. Sometimes you put it one place and the next time you want it, someone has put it in another place. This means you need to label. Label. Label. Label. Put lots of labels everywhere. People respond to the printed word. There is more chance of something being put away correctly if there is a sign as to where it belongs.
Like Items Together
As they used to sing on Sesame Street, think how each of these things belongs together. When you put something away, think of what kinds of things it belongs with. Grouping like items together makes a mental catalog for you to retrieve things.
Have a hand trowel in the back of your car? Wouldn’t it be logical for you to look for it next to the stack of flower pots you want to plant this spring? Since you don’t have but one hand trowel, so it is not like you can put it with the others. Nor do you have a hand trowel file to drop it in to. But, you can put it with the other gardening items.
Did you buy some Christmas cards on sale for next year and now they are in the guest bedroom closet? Think you will forget? Put them with like items. That means take the cards and put them with your Christmas decorations. They will turn up when you get down the things for decorating.
Think in Groups.
Figure out the why behind the lost item.
You can reduce the amount of time you spend looking for things. It just takes a bit of time thinking about the cause and solution.
You can stop losing things now.
Professional Organizer Lea Schneider’s advice has been seen in Woman’s Day, Natural Health and Better Homes and Gardens Kids’ Rooms magazines. She is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and the Association of Food Journalists. You’ll find her e-book, Growing Up Organized: A Mom-to-Mom Guide" and other organizing tips at her website www.organizerightnow.com