Doing What Comes Naturally | Giftie Etcetera: Doing What Comes Naturally

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Doing What Comes Naturally

A friend posted a question in my facebook group about where we store salt and pepper - near the stove or near the spices?  The answers varied widely.  The answer, though, don't matter as much as the question.  How do we decide where things go?  When I unpacked my new house for the first time (6 years ago), I thought carefully about where to place each item.  (I thought about it so much, in fact, that I *might* have snapped at the kind souls who helped me move for free when they put things in other places.  {sheepish shame})  Plastic wrap and ziplocs went in the drawer in the island, and have remained there, even through Pinterest's many cool pics of storing aluminum foil in a magazine holder in your pantry.  The truth is, I store leftovers at the island, so they are convenient stored there.  Plates went near the stove (to grab and put food directly on them), while recipes went far from the stove (since I rarely actually use them for cooking).  And, yes, salt and pepper shaker when on the spice rack, not too far from the stove.

And they NEVER stayed there.

My husband would grab the salt with dinner, clear the table, do the dishes, wipe down the counters - and leave the salt right there on the counter.  I would cook a roast, throw away the onions peels, wipe away the splashed gravy, put the pot soaking in the sink - and leave the salt waiting right there on the counter.  Sometimes, I would get inspired and put the salt and pepper shakers on the stove.  They would fall behind it, so they ended up - you guessed it - on the counter next to the stove!  Clearly, they wanted to live on the counter next to the stove.  Screw visual clutter.  They were strong magnets, attracted to that same spot every time.

Now, salt and pepper shakers have a dedicated place on the counter, right in front of the can opener.  And it works for all of us.  (If it didn't work for my husband - and by not working I mean if he failed consistently to return them to that spot - I would have bought a flat plate or a container to indicate their "home.")

A simple rule that really works is to store things you use daily out on the counter/desk/table, things you use weekly in nearby drawers/easy access storage, and things you use monthly in storage cabinets and drawers.  Things used yearly can go out in the garage.  But, sometimes, you naturally put something somewhere else.  Sometimes, it's good to retrain yourself to put things away in the garage (like the Christmas decorations).  But sometimes, your natural tendencies take you in a different direction.

I'm finally surveying my house and making a dedicated spot for other things where they normally land anyway (and providing containers where necessary).  We always play with playdough in the kitchen, so I put out a crawfish tray near the homework corner full of playdough and playdough accesories.  Sure, we only use playdough about once a month.  But it's so much fun and good for my boys' fine motor control.  I have a long-term launchpad (for things like the tray I borrowed from my sister or gifts for the three parties next weekend), but it was too crowded for current stuff, so I tend to put my purse and library books and tote bag near the microwave.  I cleared everything out of that spot, and made it my short term (things going out of the house this week) launchpad.  My remote controls and cell phone keep landing next to the couch, so I bought a cheap basket to put them in.  (They are a daily use item, so it makes sense that they need to be right there.)  I used to keep folding my blanket and moving it to the linen closet, but since we always need a blanket in the living room, I just got one that matches my couch and store it on the couch.

For the next few weeks, I am going to watch where things naturally land (whenever it isn't in the "proper home").  And then, where I can, I am going to make new homes in those natural spots.  Maybe if I put things where they naturally end up anyway, but containered or with the other stuff around it moved and put away, I can minimize visual clutter while also saving my family from lots of time cleaning up.


1 comment:

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