“Another flashlight!” I announced to my client as I struck a Statue of Liberty pose holding the torch high. She laughed—at my pose and at herself. You see, during the course of our organizing adventure, we were well into double digits on flashlights. They were stashed in every closet, drawer, and shelf, often in multiples.
Sure, flashlights are a good thing to have in case of emergency. I can get on board with having one for every floor or area of the house. Maybe one for every family member. Thing is, this client lived alone in a two-bedroom apartment. She had enough flashlights for the whole building!
I know how it happens. You come across a flashlight and think, “This is useful. I’m always hunting for a flashlight when I need one. I’ll put it somewhere handy.” Then you forget where you’ve put it. At the store, you think, “I wonder if I have enough flashlights,” so you buy another. Before you know it, you are a flashlight pack rat. Just like a squirrel stashing nuts, you have caches of flashlights in every crevice of your home.
Maybe flashlights aren’t your thing. My clients find all kinds of stuff to stash: emery boards, scissors, paperclips, batteries, plastic bags…I could go on.
A place for everything and everything in its place...
I have a solution for you! As a client of mine—a scissors stasher—said,
“Kate taught me that, instead of putting lots of scissors all over my house, if I designate a permanent home for scissors and always put them back in that place, then I’ll always know where they are.”
Assigning a home to your stuff is one of the main steps in getting organized. (See my blog explaining Julie Morgenstern’s SPACE method of organizing.
The benefits of assigning a home to something are:
What if I need or want more than one?
I’m not insisting that you be a minimalist and only have one flashlight, one pair of scissors, or one paper clip. It’s often desirable to have multiples and to have them in a couple of convenient places. I’m just advocating for storing a reasonable amount in logical places.
To figure out where to store something, the best question to ask yourself is:
“If I were looking for this, where would I think to look?”
Typically, the answer will be near where the thing is used. In my house, for example, I keep a pair of scissors in my top desk drawer and also in the top drawer of my sewing table. Handy and logical. If you use the thing in multiple areas of your house, then it makes sense to have multiples and to assign a couple of homes.
Now it’s your turn to fess up to your pack rat tendencies!