Stop searching, start living

Mindy Jeppesen
Getting organized

There is a myth that only certain types of people are organized or can be organized. My last article sought to dispel that belief. You’ve already got what it takes to be organized within you. Without having seen your home, I am fairly certain that several parts of it are organized. These are the places in your home in which you can find things easily and retrieve them when you need them. For those of you who may not believe me, take heart — organizing is a learnable skill. It is a matter of identifying where we use our organizing skills well so that we can capitalize on them and use them in other areas of our life.

An easy way to put your organizing skills in practice is getting out the door. We’ve all had this experience: we are on our way out the door in the morning but cannot find the bill we have to mail that day … or find our keys, for that matter. We then spend 10 minutes rummaging here and looking there for our elusive items. That’s 10 minutes that we have wasted on keys, permission slips or a grocery list instead of 10 minutes invested in things that genuinely matter.

I find these experiences exhausting. It takes a lot of effort to run around the house looking for the lost letter that must be postmarked today or the library book that was “just here a moment ago.” The mad dash fills my morning (or evening, or weekend) with tension. Remember, the 10 minutes that I just spent searching for my errands were probably 10 minutes I had budgeted elsewhere.

So, to combat this in my own life, I consciously decided to be lazy. I created a staging area. Now I have a place to stick my library books when I’m done with them or my bills when I’ve finished putting stamps on them. My area is right by the door so that I can’t miss the things that have to go with me; all I have to do is carry them out with me when I leave.

A staging area should always be a high-traffic, high-visibility place. Remember, we are not truly being lazy if we have to remember to go looking somewhere — our staged items have to be in a place we can’t miss. For me, this is right in front of my door. For you, it might be the bench in the mudroom or a shelf by the door to the garage.

With your staging area in place, you only need 30 seconds to grab the things that need to go with you. Moreover, if you stick items in the staging area when you are thinking about them, you won’t have to wonder if you grabbed everything as you raced out the door — another triumph for laziness!

So stop searching and start living. Enjoy your mornings. Save on late fees, library fines and lost opportunities. Above all, make laziness work for you — start by creating that staging area!

Islander Mindy Jeppeson is a certified organizer. She can be reached at www.

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