Friday, June 17, 2016

Rule #7 Have a place for "extras" and "errands"

This rule is a direct result of Rule #1 Learn to Love Empty which you can read about here as well as one of the most important organizing principles Space Priorities which you can read about here.

The problem we have, in dealing with stuff and spaces is that
we might LOVE empty but have a hard time achieving it.
We might really WANT to protect our prime spaces but have a hard time doing it.

Rule #7 is going to really help you with both of those.

Let me explain.

As you go about your day to day life, things are constantly coming into your home (and hopefully going out too :) And when you are protecting your PRIME SPACES and wanting them to be EMPTY, it is hard to do with so much in between stuff coming and going. What I mean by that is the stuff that really doesn't deserve to be in your prime spaces but can't be gotten rid of and needs a semi-permanent place to reside...sometimes for a while and sometimes for only a few days.

Let me show you what I mean

Do you have any of these things in the prime spaces in your bathroom?

In my post about space priorities, I specifically talked about the bathroom's prime spaces.
Remember these pictures of my master bathroom?
Remember how we talked about that the counter tops and even the drawers are your prime spaces. Only things that you use every single day deserve to be in those spaces, right?  But those aren't the only things you own and want to keep, right?

Consider these things again and ask yourself:

What do you do when you buy a pack of combs and only need ONE in your drawer?
What do you do when you buy extra razor blades in a pack of 5 and you only need ONE?
What do you do when you buy a package of emery boards,
or an extra pack or two or teeth flossers?
or a package of 2 pairs of shoe laces and you ONLY NEED ONE?

Do you know what most people do? They put all of them in their prime spaces.
Because they don't know any better.
And then their prime spaces fill up and they get grumpy and overwhelmed and embarrassed.

What's the solution?  Have an "extras" container. Have a specific place, kept fairly close to your bathroom (not a total necessity but it is nice) to keep your extras that don't deserve to be in your prime spaces.

My extras container for the bathroom is in the closet in my shower/toilet part of the master bathroom. It's down on a lower shelf, kind of out of the way, and having it has helped a lot with keeping only the things we use every day in our prime spaces.

The job of this "extras" container is to simply hold those things that do need to be kept and keep them away from the prime spaces in the bathroom.

 If you are wondering what is on the floor in that closet, it is another container of what you might call "extras" which are our travel supplies. There is a time and place when it's nice to have travel size toothpastes, deodorants and shaving cream. There is a time and place where it is nice to have toothbrush covers and toiletry bags and travel size shampoo and conditioner containers. But they DEFINITELY don't deserve to be in your prime spaces. That's why I strongly encourage anyone who is trying to get control of their spaces and stuff to consider having an "extras" container. It's the best way to protect your prime spaces.

Ready for another example?
How about the kitchen? Perhaps my most favorite place to try to protect prime spaces and one that I think, in my kitchens, is housing way too many things that don't deserve to be there.  Let's talk about it by looking at the example from my kitchen extras box.

In trying to run a household and be a frugal, responsible, happy homemaker, I find it completely necessary to buy some things in bulk or from yard sales. There are just some great deals out there! So, one of the things that I keep in my kitchen extras box is things like extra Bosch Mixer parts that I randomly/luckily find at yard sales or thrift stores. Do you see the metal whips in the middle of the box? That is a $25-30 part that I found at a yard sale for $1. 

How about the Pampered Chef corn butterer you can see in the bottom left?  During the summer months (June-September) we love to eat corn on the cob and I think this invention makes buttering your corn amazingly convenient and mess free. But during all the other months of the year (this picture was taken back in March 2016) my corn butterer does not deserve to be in my prime spaces.

What about the bag of chop sticks you can see in the top right area?  This big bag was a funny gift from a brother to his little sister who LOVES eating with chopsticks. Before Christmas, she would get my shish-ka-bob sticks out in order to eat her Ramen noodles with them. So one of her brothers bought her a package of her own wooden chopsticks as a Christmas gift. I thought it was so sweet! And she was thrilled! But there were 50 pairs of chopsticks in that bag. And she uses one pair at a time, usually more than once, before they get thrown away. What am I am going to do? Well, I'm certainly not gong to keep all 50 pairs in my prime space in my kitchen. I will keep 1 or 2 but not 50. So they get to reside in my kitchen extras box too.

I hope these three examples help give you an idea about what I'm talking about when I say a box for extras is really helpful in protecting your prime spaces.

Another way to protect your prime spaces is to have a specific "out of the way" space to keep things that need to go somewhere else soon.  A couple of specific examples of what I am talking about are things that need to be returned to a store or things that need to be returned to a specific person. Maybe you borrowed something and need to return it or maybe a friend was over and left something at your home that needs to be returned.  In most cases, I try to put the item right in my car and take to them right away but occasionally there are extenuating circumstances that make that impossible. And it is really nice to have a place to put it that you know where it will be and that is still a bit out of the way.

This is what I'm talking about. I call these hooks that are in the front entry closet "the errands hook" and sometimes refer to them when someone in my family says something like "Mom, do you know where that swimming towel is that Bailey left here? She's here to pick it up." And I answer "It's hanging in a bag on the errands hook."  Boom. They know where that is and the item is easily retrieved. Hope that makes sense.

In the end, having spaces that hold things for you away from your prime spaces and that help you protect those spaces is a real help. Take advantage of it and have a place for "extras" and "errands" in your home too!

Next blog post:  Rule #8 Organize into categories and then use clear, labeled containers to hold smaller things

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