Cutlery, the cure to your clutter
Now you can unlock the sacred secrets of organizational mastery, covertly concealed in one strategic location of your kitchen. My friends, look no further than your silverware drawer. No matter what disaster zone you’re attempting to organize, your silverware drawer is a symbolic metaphor for how to create a little order from chaos. Apply the same methodology elsewhere, and your life will be as charmingly clutterfree as your cutlery.
First things first.
1. All organization is storage. We use things, and then we put them away. That’s storage. There are two different kinds of storage: Functional storage is stuff we use all the time, and archival storage is stuff we can’t get rid of, and hardly ever use. Both functional and archival storage systems require a bit of prioritization in terms of their assigned locations, directly determined by how urgently or frequently something may be needed. I call this formula proximity = urgency. Things we reach for all the time I call primary storage. When standing in your kitchen, these things live anywhere between your knees and your shoulders and are the most convenient to reach (e.g., your silverware drawer). Secondary storage is anything from your knees to the floor and your shoulders to whatever you can reach over your head without a ladder. Tertiary storage requires you to walk down the hall, around the corner, down the stairs, and on top of the basement freezer you can only reach by standing on that wobbly stool. The less urgently we need something, the further away (and harder to get to) its assigned storage location.
Now think about your silverware drawer. It ought to be the most convenient location in your entire kitchen, centrally located between your fridge, your dishwasher, your sink, and where you do most of your counter-top food prep. Everything in that drawer is primary functional storage. Your great-grandmother’s 100-year-old silver ladle you only use once a year with the matching punch bowl for Thanksgiving should live in an archival location much further from the other items in your kitchen you reach for regularly. That’s proximity = urgency.
2. Consider my ridiculously simple three-step method: 1) Get rid of the stuff you don’t need; 2) Organize the stuff you do need; and 3) Make it gorgeous so you’re inspired to maintain the systems that keep it running smoothly. When you’re ready to organize (only after step 1), make sure to use my 4 Rules of Organization: 1) Items should be sorted like things together (forks with forks, spoons with spoons, knives with knives, chopsticks with chopsticks, etc.); 2) Everything should be easy to find (think about the visual at-a-glance convenience of your silverware drawer); 3) Everything should be easy to reach (that’s the convenience-factor of proximity = urgency); and 4) Everything should be out of the way (otherwise you’ll experience the bummer clutter-effect of things randomly scattered about.)
Think about it. When you prepare a scrumptiously nutritious meal for your family, you look inside your silverware drawer, find whatever utensils you need for that meal, use them, wash them, and put everything conveniently back in the drawer. That is the essence of organization. When you look in that drawer for the perfect implement to cut, scoop, stab, or skewer — you’re not having to look for things amidst messy piles of random junk shoved into the compartments reserved for spoons, knives, and forks. There’s no un-opened mail in there or dirty laundry, or bits of board games, VHS tapes, and workbooks from that speaker training you attended last spring. Those things aren’t allowed in your silverware drawer. And those little compartments — they’re exclusively reserved for your food-type eating implements. That space is de-cluttered, organized, and perfectly ready for immediate use — all the time.
Follow the same simple steps you use with your silverware drawer to organize anything in any space. No need to make it more complicated than cutlery.
Evan Zislis is author of the bestselling book “ClutterFree Revolution: Simplify Your Stuff, Organize Your Life & Save the World” and “Aphrodisiac: Clearing the Cluttered Path to Epic Love, Great Sex & Relationships that Last.” He is founder and principal consultant of http://www.MyIntentionalSolutions.com. For more information, like ClutterFree Revolution on Facebook, call 970-366-2532, or email Evan@MyIntentionalSolutions.com.
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