Habits, routines, bla, bla, bla, yadda-yadda. How many times do we hear those words and yet fail to fully understand the concept behind them?
I’m guessing these are just words that some of us don’t really take wholeheartedly (or enthusiastically) in the scheme of our daily life.
Whereas a routine is a regular course of procedure, a habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary (as defined in Merriam-Webster dictionary).
Heaven-forbid, I hope I haven’t lost you in the defining details!
Hate ’em or love ’em, habits and routines do help in managing some of our regular activities. So I’m here to give you a few guidelines that involve being organized that will help put some sanity in your life.
So I’m going to talk about one of the key rules of organizing: Put things away where they belong when done using them.
Everything should have a place, a home, in which it belongs. Our clothes belong in the closet; our books belong on a designated shelf; our kitchen dishes belong in the kitchen cabinet, and so forth.
Beyond that, dirty clothes belong in the hamper; dirty dishes go in the dishwasher or sink to be washed; and books we’re reading belong in a reading spot.
That said, the rule of putting things away applies to just about anything and everything we have around.
In bringing in the mail, for example, it should have a specific place to go (that isn’t on a dining table or end table or plopped on any piece of furniture. Tossing mail to conveniently avoid putting it in its “home” will only build up clutter and extra anxiety later on.
Then there’s the case of putting items in a certain “holding” place and not completing the action to get that item into its proper home.
I’m talking about dirty dishes in this scenario. I know some people who hate washing dishes and pile up dirty dishes in one side of the sink and on the counter for days. Although that is the spot for dirty dishes, the routine would have to include actually washing them (and putting them away) on a daily basis to avoid pile-up.
I’ve probably elaborated enough on the rule to put things away, so I’ll move on to making that habit into a routine.
Simply put, it’s a good idea to incorporate the habit of putting things away into the routine of doing it on a regular or daily basis.
When I’m done with a meal, I make it a routine to clean up the kitchen before I move on to something else. In other words, I don’t actually start something else until I’m done with kitchen cleanup.
And with laundry, when I’m done with washing and drying the clothes, I make it a routine to put my clothes away where they belong before doing something else. The clean clothes don’t sit around for hours or days to get put away – they are done as part of the laundry activity.
My life is calmer as a result of having routines that involve finishing the activities I start. That means I get some sanity in the areas I put attention on.
Get the idea?
Well, give it a try and see how your life goes. You never know how it will change your well being by following this one simple organizing rule.