Have you ever been late to an appointment because you can't find your wallet? How about being late to meet someone because your phone was not where you last remembered it? Maybe you've even gotten a late fee because you could not find a bill you've been sent in the mail? Not being able to find things can cause delays in time, but also in money.
Here at NEST Home, I've learned the importance of everything in our house having a "home." Keys? In an antique wooden box by the back door. Phone? In the charging station basket in the kitchen. Wallet? In my purse, hanging on a hook, in the laundry room.
My kids? Not so much. Although I have learned the frustration of misplaced items, my kids have not. And they are learning the hard way.
How? Well, in a couple of ways. We have some expectations about the general living areas in our house, but in their rooms, they are mostly in charge. The few things we require is no food, no drinks other than water, and clear access to the windows.
They are pretty good at "organized chaos." They seem to know where everything is, but on the few occasions they have not, they have suffered the consequences. This was demonstrated most recently when our middle child could not find her folder for band. She scoured the house, looking in the most unlikely of places (as we all do), and still could not find it. She had to chose to continue looking and be late for school, or go to school without it, knowing she'd have to explain. Because our transportations leaves at the same time every day, she knew she'd have to walk if she was late. She didn't like that choice. She chose instead to get to school on time and explain to her teacher, which resulted in a lower grade. Guess what she did, all on her own, when she got home from school? You got it, found her folder buried in her room. It was a good lesson for her to learn, and the cost wasn't too great.
Our youngest child is greedy in the best of ways...when we go to the library, she loads up one, sometimes two giant reusable bags with books, magazines, audio books, and movies. She has learned that if she doesn't keep her library check-out receipt in the same place in her room, listing when her items are due, she is likely to get a fine. After a whopping $9 fee she hadn't paid left her unable to check out any more books, she's learned to keep her unread books in her book basket in her room, the books she's finished in the return bin in the laundry room, and to make sure we hit the library before everything is due.
Establishing a "home" for an item simply takes common sense, and a pretty healthy knowledge of yourself. Keys don't have to "live" in a special box, if you know you'd never think to look there in the first place. Maybe it makes more sense for your keys to live on a hook right next to the drawer. Maybe in a bowl next to your closet. As long as you are CONSISTENT, the WHERE isn't as important.
Once you've figured out where your important items live, you need to start establishing a pattern. This takes thoughtfulness, and time. As you are walking in to your house, for example, prep your mind my thinking of setting your keys in their new home. Do this EVERY time, and soon, it will become second nature.
Here are some items that should have a HOME in your house...
important records, like birth certificates and social security cards (see last week's blog
for tips on wrangling paperwork).
basic tools (hammer, screwdriver, etc.)
basic office supplies (tape, scissors, pens, etc.)
first aid items
Now, at the end of every day, perhaps as you are winding down after dinner, take a five to ten minute stroll around your house tidying things up, and putting items in their home. This shouldn't take too long, or be stressful. Just think of this as "daily maintenance," knowing it will make tomorrow morning smoother. And it really will!
If you are struggling to maintain order, identify a home for your essential items, or want a hand with any other organizing needs, mention the word HOME for 20% off your first organizing session.
Thanks for reading!