Random memory from high school: a girl slides an orange-coloured folder into her perfectly and pristinely organised locker (between a red folder and a yellow folder, of course). She catches me looking and says: "A place for everything and everything in its place!" At the time I thought she was a narc, and honestly for a 14-year-old to have habits like that, she probably was a narc.
But the worse part is, she was right. If you anything you own doesn't have a home, it will end up on the floor or your dining table. What I've learned recently is that the things that cause the most trouble are greyspace items (grey as in, neither one thing nor the other). They are sort of homeless by nature.
- Clothes that aren't clean enough to go back in the drawer, but not dirty enough to go in the laundry basket. If you don't have a chair or basket assigned for them, they'll end up on the floor.
- People's stuff that you need to return; gifts you haven't yet given, online shopping you want to return.
- Unpaid bills, unsigned contracts, uncashed cheques, anything that you can't put away but can't turf.
- I bet you have other greyspace examples specific to your life.
If you struggle with clutter, I bet you a billion dollars you don't have proper solutions for your greyspace stuff. Maybe you need a To Do box, a 'still in rotation' clothes basket or chair, an 'other's people's stuff' shelf, etc. Also, this means when the person comes over and you want to give them their book back, you don't have to go searching through your whole house for wherever you randomly stashed it, you just go to your Outbox or whatever you're calling it.
To ward off any accusations of smugness, I've had a To Do box as of only a couple of weeks ago; it's been eye-opening what a difference it makes, which is why I'm sharing.
(Another possibility is that your homes for things are bad, like annoying and difficult to reach)
This piece was originally published in The Whippet #58 – subscribe to get the next one in your inbox!
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