If you’ve worked with me already or SPACE’d out on your own, then this blog post is for you.
If you still have a ton of stuff you don’t care for, use, or even like, come back later. I’m about to contradict myself and I don’t want to interrupt your journey to an organized home before it’s really underway.
I’m obviously all about purging objects you don’t need, giving remaining objects a specific home within your house, and returning items to that home after each use. You don’t want to store your pans in three different kitchen cabinets, or your bath towels on three different shelves. Co-locating makes sense.
That said, retrieval is key, and everything feels easier if you store things where you use them. If you need to use an object two places, then maybe, just maybe, you’ll need two of those objects. One object gets one home, and the other gets the other, and they absolutely need to respect curfew. But you get to have more than one object, and that category gets to have more than one home.
For example, I have two brooms. One lives with my cleaning supplies, and I retrieve it weekly when I clean my floors. One is a hand broom, which lives in my bathroom, and I retrieve it every few days to sweep up stray hair from my yeti-like shedding. If I had to go down the two flights of stairs for the primary broom every time I needed to sweep the bathroom floor, I’d procrastinate. So I don’t feel guilty about this redundancy-- it makes my home cleaner and my life easier.
Also, I store a secondary phone charger in my car. I never have to fret about what percentage my battery is at before leaving the house for the day, or remember to pack my primary charger before a road trip. That frees up my brain to think about other things, and makes my life easier.
Good organization helps eliminate those little sources of friction throughout the day, such as having to consciously think about something I don’t want to forget, or having to go through a couple of steps to retrieve the object I need right then and there. When used judiciously, redundancies can help my life go more smoothly.
Here are two questions to ask when trying to determine if something deserves to have a counterpart:
Do I use it quite frequently? ( Or, as was the case for purchasing my little hand broom, do I hope to use it more frequently so people don’t assume I have an unseen chocolate lab living with me?)
A pen is used frequently enough that it’s a good candidate for redundancy and multiple homes.
A watering can is probably used about once a week, so it makes less sense to double up.
A panini maker you use once a year for is definitely not a candidate for multiple homes, and might not even be a candidate for one home because of the corkscrew test.
2. Is it simpler to store a back-up in the secondary location than it is to retrieve the original from the primary location?
This is rather rare in a compact rowhome, so when it is true, we can go ahead and indulge in redundancy. Think about stairs-- if you have to use one or more flights of stairs to access something you want to use everyday, then it might be fair to double up to have one closer at hand.
And if some instagram-minimalist gives you crap, tell them to meet me in the parking lot.