bring the task to the tool.

talley_sue_nycMarch 29, 2005

I have a new trick that I'm hoping will eliminate some of the "set it down and put it away later" problems I create for myself.

Here's how I came up w/ this:

I needed to cut the tag off DD's shirt. I laid the shirt down on the DR table (my only workspace in my home), walked into the LR to get the scissors from their stash, back to the table, and cut off the tag. I handed her the shirt, tossed the tag, and went on to do something else--and later realized I'd left the scissors out.

Next time, I didn't set the shirt down--I carried it over to where the scissors are stored, cut off the tag, put the scissors back, dropped the tag in the garbage, and handed the kid the shirt.

Less walking around, true. But the biggie is, less opportunity to leave something sitting out somewhere.

now, for example, if I get a small box in the mail and need to cut through the tape, I take the box to the utility knife in the hall closet. Fewer trips, and I'm less likely (make that "completely unlikely" to leave the utility knife out.

This isn't always feasible--for example, if the box is too big to carry around, I bring the knife to the box.

I may also need to consider storing some stuff--like scissors and utility knife--somewhere near a counter or table. Maybe I can create a new "utility" drawer in the kitchen--in that 9"-wide drawer.

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That's great! I found that once I cleared a lot of the junk out of the house, it forced me to realy look at what was working and what wasn't (this is a forver ongoing process). And it is really amazing that such a simple thing as changing your habits or changing where you put something makes such a big impact on how cluttered the house is. I found that with things like taking the large flat surfaces out of the mudroom, I can't put things down as I come in the house and leave them there. By putting a shelf for water bottles in the office, less stuff gets left on the kitchen counter. There's more, but I can't think of them right now.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 1:42PM
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Good thinking! It really is the little things that make our life so much easier.

It's like when I changed my kitchen junk drawer to another area in the kitchen that is out of the way and is now used for office supplies. Since I made that change, I have not used the drawer for junk anymore. I did buy 3 cheapo plastic office shelves that I put in the cupboard above that drawer and I now have 1 shelf of To File, one for Phone Numbers I write on scratch paper and the last for notes I've made on scratch papers. I also have a large ziploc bag that I throw store receipts into.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 3:52PM
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Good idea. If I'd have brought my foot to the bandaids and antibiotic cream last night, I wouldn't have been uselessly searching for those items where they really belonged. I found the bandaids in the living room, but haven't found the cream yet, which I though was with them. I should have gone into the bathroom and used them there.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 6:35PM
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My children must have visited your house. Before I had them I just never knew bandaids and first aid cream could be spread so far afield.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 10:57PM
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my vote is to bring the tool, or better yet, have tools where you are likely to use them. so for example I have a utility knife, markers, tape scissors screwdriver etc in a mudroom drawer. And upstairs I have replicas ina drawer in the laundry room. I color code and label things for upstairs and downstairs- craft room or office or kitchen - so if things migrate they can be returned to their proper place. Of course my husband is continually undermining my excessive organizational efforts... but we have gotten so we can laugh about it.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2005 at 9:09AM
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Dayenu--I've had that thought too--esp. w/ the utility knife.

I often use it to open big boxes, and I need to set them down--usu. on the DR table, which is the apt.'s main work space.

I think I need to move the utility knife into the DR. I've thought of moving it into the kitchen, but that seems not to be far enough--I still have to go into the OTHER area, and probably won't put it away.

For me, sometimes it doesn't make sense to have duplicate items in lots of places--w/ 850 sq. feet, it can end up just creating MORE clutter. It's just not that hard to walk into the other room to get the knife or the scissors--there's no "going upstairs" or "out to the garage" or anything.

But even in my small home, duplicates can help.

I have scissors and tape in several places; it took a while to get people trained about what goes where. Labeling them helps--then when someone else sees them out of place, they know which ones goes where.

When my DS was a baby, we had an extra "changing-table" basket in the LR (for changing diapers when his big sis was asleep in their room). We ended up w/ several identical portable baby-wipe containers, so I labeled them all w/ the P-touch.

places labeled them w/ y P-touch: "living room," "bedroom," etc.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 10:10AM
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I forgot to say: I still, w/ all those scissors, need to bring the task to the tool.

Here's my example: I take the new shirt out of the closet to wear. Instead of tossing it on the bed, and walking across the room to the scissors, I CARRY the shirt across the room to the scissors.

I can't store the scissors on the bed, or the utility knife in the middle of the DR table.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 10:12AM
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ah with only 850 square feet I better understand the need to be so tightly organized. I have the indulgence of over 3300 square feet, so duplicates save steps in my house.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 2:41PM
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and actually, you still need a FEW steps even to get to those duplicates.

That was mostly my point.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 5:37PM
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