The Easy/Hard Way

Organizing Closets - Organized By Choice

The other day I went into my office to put some folders away. They belong in a bin on the top shelf of the closet. They didn't land there. I stuck them on a lower shelf so I wouldn't have to get the step stool. I blew off my "if it takes less than two minutes, do it now" mantra and rationalized that I was saving time and energy because I'd do it when I had more to put up there. But, will I remember those folders waiting below? Probably not. 
One of my clients calls this the Easy/Hard Way. It'seasy to put stuff where you can reach, or cram, or on the nearest flat surface, but it transforms to hard when later, you can't find it because it's not where it belongs, or it's buried under a pile.

Maybe you've taken the Easy/Hard route before. Today's Timely Tips offer some common scenarios and practical strategies to eliminate them. The Hard/Easy way may not be as hard as you think!

TIMELY TIPS - Remedies for Easy/Hard scenarios 

Scenario #1 - The Car: Your kids are snacking while you drive them home from soccer. Everyone's tired and you choose not to add stress by making them clean up their car mess before going inside (easy). After a week of similar car trips, the car is trashed (hard). You lose your cool and yell at the kids for being such pigs... and then apologize (harder).

The Hard/Easy car scenario would look something like this. You purchase a car trash bin (not too hard). You explain and demonstrate to the family how to use it. You don't let them out of the car until all the trash is in the bin (kinda hard). You add "empty the car trash" to one of the kids' chore list with a regular routine and follow through with accountability (ok, that's hard). But, the next time you're picking up friends for a girls' night out, you get in the car and go-- without having to clean out the car first (easy)!

Scenario #2 - The Mail: You come in from work, fling the mail on the pile of papers on the counter and turn on the news (easy). A few nights and handfuls of mail later, you get company. The pile is shoved into a closet (easy). The next month, with the pile forgotten, you spend an hour looking for tickets you know were on the kitchen counter (hard). You receive two statements that include late fees for bills that were in the pile (hard). 

The Hard/Easy answer starts with processing the mail nightly (harder than watching TV, but not as hard as you might think!). Designate folders,  stacking trays, or wall pockets for bills to pay, events, and other papers that need some type of action. Discard or shred junk mail immediately. Now it's easy to find things and be prompt with your payments. Not to mention, your counter is always ready for company!

Scenario #3 - The Closet: You're in a hurry to change clothes and get to an event. You leave what you were wearing on the floor (easy). When you get home you're really tired so you kick your shoes into the closet and add the clothes to the pile (easy). The next day you do a load of laundry and dump the clean pile next to the dirty pile (easy). After a couple weeks like this, you can't find the shoes you want and have to reach over piles of dirty/clean clothes to get the the hung up clothes (hard). You buy another belt because yours has disappeared. 

The Hard/Easy way starts with timing how long it actually takes to hang up a pair of pants and a shirt. I bet you can do it in under 30 seconds! Now, decide that for one week, you're going to hang up or put in the dirty clothes hamper everything you wear. Now... follow through and do it (hard).  Do it for a second week (not as hard), and a third week (easier). By the end of the month you'll be enjoying the ease of walking into your closet and easily finding and reaching what you need!

Wise Words

"Small targets lead to small victories, and small victories can often trigger a positive spiral of behavior." --Chip and Dan Heath