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WWLD? No. 3: Organizing your environment
Lance Arthur | Nov 28 2007
Our great friend, Leslie Harpold, passed away in December of last year. In addition to being a swell pal and an old-school web mandarin, Leslie was an endless source of advice and opinion on
1. A place for everything.
This has been an especially valuable lesson for me. It's easy and common to toss your keys and wallet somewhere when you enter your home. If you're not tossing them in the same place every time, the next time you're about to leave and need your keys to get back inside, you may not remember where it was you tossed them -- or maybe you left them in a pocket without tossing them at all, but which pocket was it? What were you wearing, and where is that article of clothing now?
Getting organized doesn't necessarily mean stopping by the Pottery Barn and gathering up a bunch of little containers and hooks and coat racks for everything, it's more important -- and easier -- to simply designate a place for things, and keeping everything in its place.
2. Make your bed.
When we're kids, we're told to make our beds. When I was a kid, I thought this was the most supremely stupid and asinine idea I ever heard, but when you're a kid almost everything sounds stupid and asinine. When we get older and can make our own decisions about things, some of us decide that we don't want to make our beds any longer, because they'll only get messed up again later.
Now consider your last vacation. Even if you were only paying $100 a night (or, more likely, a lot more than that) for a room in a hotel, and you came back to your room and found that housekeeping had not done their duty and made your bed for you, would you have shrugged and said, "eh, whatever, I don't even make my own bed," or would you have grumbled internally at how unkempt and messy everything looked?
Making your bed has a ripple effect, believe it or not. It only takes a few extra minutes in the morning, and the benefit is that when you climb in at night, the sheets are crisp and smooth, the blanket lies where it's supposed to without a lot of rearranging, and your pillows are already fluffed and huggable. You get to have that soothing all-encompassing feeling of comfort every night just by making your bed every morning. And it's amazing how much more put-together a bedroom looks with a well-made bed.
3. Schedule the simple tasks.
On which day of the week do you water your plants? Which day is set aside for vacuuming? When do you clean your bathrooms? When do you scrub the shower? When you're doing laundry, when do you include the sheets and towels?
When you start to schedule the week-to-week or month-to-month tasks, they get done! It's amazing! But when do you need to do them, and how often?
Here are Leslie's Rules of Thumb for a few simple tasks. Adjust as necessary according to your own needs, of course.
One more tip for an awesome bed: Iron your pillow cases. Just your pillow cases. That will make your whole bed seem more tidy, and you can even spritz them with lavender water, so your nose can sleep tight, too.
4. Empty the kitchen sink.
Your kitchen can become a sloppy mess in less than a day, but you can prevent it if you just do one simple thing. Keep your kitchen sink empty. Don't pile the dirty dishes in the sink, wash them as you use them. Get a soap brush (Oxo makes an excellent one) and rinse the glass with hot water and set it in a dish rack to dry. As you cook, rinse your tools and pots. If you have a dishwasher, you lucky thing, rinse things and put them in there. But do not leave anything in the sink.
The sink is like a magnet, or the core of planet Kitchen. Everything starts there and spreads outward. If you start leaving things in the sink until it's full, you start piling on the counters. Then the stove top. Then inside the oven. You'll start to pile things on any and every surface available because, suddenly, you can't use your sink to rinse or wash anything. Keep your sink empty, and everything else tends to stay that way, too.
Lance's What Would Leslie Do? Series
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