Don't put it down, Put it away
I once heard a fellow organizer say that one of her mother’s mottos was “don’t put it down, put it away.” I immediately fell in love with it and began applying this saying to my own life, and the difference has been notable.
Clutter tends to accumulate when we do not put things back into their designated spot or they do not have a spot to live in to begin with. Items start to pile up and it can begin to seem overwhelming to tackle. More accumulation leads to more anxiety and procrastination about putting things away.
By putting items away instead of putting them down wherever it is convenient at the time, we nip clutter in the bud. This prevents clutter from even starting.
Getting Things Done by David Alan is my favorite book on productivity. One of his rules is that if a task takes less than two minutes, you should do it now. Combining these two mottos has really helped me to effectively and efficiently keep my living space clutter free. Most items take less than two minutes to put away!
A few strategies to make putting items away instead of down easier.
1. A place for everything and everything in its place.
In order to be able to put everything away, each item needs to have a home. It is very important to designate a proper place for each item in your home so that when it is time to put things away, they have a place to go. A place for everything and everything in its place.
2. Store items where you use them
This concept seems simple, but sometimes we store items in a place that makes sense in some aspects but is not necessarily where we use them. One example from my own life: nail polish. I always stored nail polish in my bathroom because it is a personal care item, but I NEVER paint my nails in the bathroom. I always paint my nails while sitting on the couch and watching TV. When I stored my nail polish in the bathroom, the box would often sit on my coffee table for days. Now, I store my nail polish in my living room because that is where I use it and guess what? I always put the box back on the shelf because it is extremely convenient.
If we store items where we use them, we are much more likely to put them back in their place. We do not have to travel far or put much effort into putting them away. It makes us much less likely to put them down instead of putting them away.