A place for everything and everything in its place, well, for the most part

At Unclutterer, we usually support the organizing standard of “a place for everything and everything in its place.” However, there are occasions when adhering to this motto is inefficient and might best be put on hold.

For example, most of the year our family eats meals in the dining room. During the financial year-end though, the dining room table turns into a horizontal filing cabinet for a couple of days while I prepare our income tax returns. During these few days, our family eats in the kitchen or in the living room on TV trays while the paperwork stays out on the table. This is a minor inconvenience for our family compared to the time-consuming task of packing up all of the paper work and re-filing it into the filing cabinet everyday. All of this paperwork does have a long-term place, but for this period of time it has a short-term place on the dining table.

You may decide there are other times when the standard of “a place for everything and everything in its place” should be temporarily ignored or when a short-term home should be established for specific items.

From time-to-time, your children may take on projects with their toys that are too much fun to go away after just a single play session. If your child is building a space station with blocks, confine the construction to a certain area of the room and let the building continue for a few days. A doll’s excessive wardrobe and shoe collection could be out for a few days and then sent to the “dry cleaners” (cardboard box) that can be easily moved so that housekeeping can be done. If you notice the projects haven’t been worked on in awhile, that is a good indication that the toys are ready to be returned to their permanent homes.

Rather than trying to obtain one those picture perfect houses from the magazines, think about how to manage your projects efficiently. When is it a good idea for you to ignore the “a place for everything and everything in its place” motto?

6 Comments for “A place for everything and everything in its place, well, for the most part”

  1. posted by Vicki on

    In my home, one of the times that everything does not necessarily get returned to its place is when someone is sick. As another saying goes, “People are more important than things.” Taking care of them (or me) matters more than caring for our things. Thankfully, we tend to stay pretty healthy, so we don’t need to make this choice very often.

  2. posted by Laetitia on

    For a few weeks at the end of each term, the dining table becomes a marking table – DH is a teacher.

  3. posted by CJ on

    @ Vicki: I couldn’t agree more. Getting well is the priority and everything else is second fiddle. (dishes, clothes, shopping etc)

    In general terms: when you’re “out of your routine,” it’s OK to leave some things out of place, provided this is because of positive change, not laziness.

    The example that comes to mind is home renos. With projects that span multiple days, I leave my tools and materials out where I can easily access them, even if it means having to step over them.

    Once the project is done, everything gets put away and a proper clean-up done. (vacuuming, dusting etc)

    Even during such projects, I find it helpful to try to keep everything else on track – cooking, dishes, clothes etc. Don’t let a single project’s worth of clutter spill out and mess up all aspects of your life. ;)

  4. posted by Andrea on

    We have a period every March-May where a few horizontal services are taken over by seed starting trays. We have a large veggie allotment garden (20 x 30 feet!) which gives us just an amazing amount of fresh organic produce, so this is the sacrifice i make in early spring.

    i don’t love it, but, it serves a greater good!

  5. posted by Andrea on

    We have a period every March-May where a few horizontal services are taken over by seed starting trays. We have a large veggie allotment garden (20 x 30 feet!) which gives us just an amazing amount of fresh organic produce, so this is the sacrifice i make in early spring.

    i don’t love it, but, it serves a greater good!

  6. posted by Pat Reble on

    When I have someone visiting, staying on track with chores takes a back seat to enjoying their company. The guest room will have things in it that aren’t usually there, the photo albums may be left out – there’s plenty of time to clean up the clutter once they’ve gone home.

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