My Favorite Organizing Rule

My favorite organizing rule is “don’t put it down, put it away.” The idea is to set up your home or office so that you easily know where something goes. That way, you can find it when you want it, and put it away when you’re finished with it. It’s really a mindset, to get to the point where this becomes automatic.

My husband still needs to practice this.

SAM_1518_editedThis morning, I watched him take something out of the medicine cabinet, finish using it, and leave it on the counter. I said nothing, waiting to find out how long it took him to put it back. Fortunately for me, he did so a few minutes later. For me, I would rather put it away the first time.

My bathroom drawer (see photo) is now organized just the way I want it. I can open the drawer, stand beside it, and work directly from the drawer. There is no need to take things out and place them on the counter, with the intention of straightening up later. It took some work to get to this point, but now it is truly easy to maintain.

This principle applies to your daily, frequent-use spaces. The top drawer of your desk, your phone charging station, the place where you keep your shoes, or your laundry hamper. Create a system where you can easily put something away when you are finished, without having to think about it.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What items do I frequently find scattered about the house?
  • Where do I find them?
  • What system could I set up to store these items where I naturally tend to leave them?

You can change your space by re-thinking how you use your home. Let me know how it goes, OK?

4 thoughts on “My Favorite Organizing Rule

  1. Janet Barclay

    I’m pretty good about doing this, but i used to have a tray where I kept my filing until there was enough to make it worth doing. Usually that meant when the tray was full to the top. Even when I did my filing, there were always a few stray items that stayed in the tray because I didn’t know where to file them. Eventually I got sick of playing this game, so I dealt with the strays by finding them homes or getting rid of them once and for all, and then I removed the tray from my desk, forcing me to file everything immediately. I wish I’d done that years ago!


  2. Janet, I totally understand the filing thing! Thanks for sharing.


  3. Great post, Maureen. I also follow this rule, and put things away throughout the day. I’ve created homes for my everyday items (trays, baskets, drawers, etc.), so they all have a place. I find that not having “homes” for things is the reason why most things don’t get put away.


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