Simply put, a system is a routine that you carry out to get something done. Do you have any systems that are working for you currently?
My husband loves the idea of his things being easy-to-find. When we work together to organize his home office, our garage, or his clothing, for example, he has no problem agreeing with what needs to be discarded and enthusiastically accepts whatever I set up for him.
What he does not have is the natural ability to create a system that is tailored to his own habits. If this describes you too, then what is the solution? Well, I have a few questions that I would like you to ask yourself: where, how, and when.
Where do you naturally want to plop down your keys and your phone?
Where would you look for your shoes?
Where do you shed your coat when you get home?
Where do you keep your account numbers (power company, mortgage, credit cards)?
How: How will you retrieve these when you need them next? The key is to match where you naturally put something with where you will retrieve it again when you need it. If I tell you that your keys should be put on your desk, but your desk is upstairs and you will never to bother going up there when you arrive home, then your system does not suit you.
When: When is the best time to put something away? This is a real key to success! My philosophy is that your everyday items should be almost as easy to put away as they are to temporarily “plop” down by the door. If you have a system set up that is truly simple to follow, then over time you can retrain yourself to put them in their chosen spot. Items that you use less frequently (a large platter for entertaining, gift wrap, off-season clothes, your safe deposit box key), can be stored in harder-to-reach places. Those are placed on the top shelf, underneath the bed, or in the furthest corner of your clothes closet.
Next, make a conscious effort to follow your new system. Over time, putting away your everyday items can become second nature so that you always know where they go, and where to find them. The takeaway here is to set up your system to make it easy on yourself and make easy to live with every day.
Now, that is a system!