This may be obvious to everyone else, but I have only recently realized there is a very big difference between “have a place for everything” and “find a place to put something.”
In my previous life (like, 6 months ago), I would spend all day on a weekend cleaning up, and putting things “away.” But, that really meant just stashing them in a closet, or a catch-all basket, or one of the many places I had all over our place for miscellaneous items to get them out of sight. Of course, this meant when I went to look for it next time that the item could be in any one of many many places. And, this also meant that I often had several of each item, but no way of knowing exactly where any of them might be.
Having gone through all my closets and baskets and shelves, more than once, I now have consolidated and got rid of duplicates, and found *logical* permanent homes for all the things I chose to keep. The ‘more than once’ part of that sentence is important! Until you go through everything once, you don’t really know what more you are going to find. And, you can`t go through it all in a day or two. On your second (or third!) pass, you start to see patterns and remember that you have another whatever-it-is somewhere else. This second pass allows you to either group like items together or, even better, find the right place for one and get rid of the spares.
You will be amazed that once you get rid of the excess stuff and the back ups, that you can actually find the one you really want, and that you don’t need those extras after all.
Here is an embarrassing example of having way too many of something, and not having any idea they were even there…
When I got to the kitchen uncluttering, I got a big plastic sheet and dumped *all* my kitchen drawers and storage containers on it in the middle of the floor. I started grouping like with like and discovered many redundancies. Did I really need two pasta serving spoons? It isn’t like I was ever going to use more than one at a time, right? That garlic press… well, i never use it, i always use a knife. Out it goes. And so on. But the biggest shocker was the fact that I had *fifteen* corkscrews. Fifteen. Now, before you assume that I am just a complete lush, the reality is that most of those came in gift bags from events, or attached to bottles of wine as a ‘freebie’ and because my brain saw them as something practical and perfectly useful, I just threw them in a drawer in the kitchen. Now I have just two. One I got in Paris when I was 18, and the second was most durable and strong of all the rest. I could have kept only one, but I find if you have a party, having two out on the counter is better. If you only have one, and it gets mislaid at a party, you might have a riot to deal with.
So, that is today`s tip. `A place for everything` is vastly superior to `Find a place to hide it.`