Out of sight=out of mind


A funny story about one of my latest organization projects: I asked my client if she used a letter opener when she opened her mail. She had 2 so I was curious if she used them or not. She said:

“I want to use them but I can never find them when I open my mail.”

If I had a nickel for every time I asked a client if they used something and the answer was “I want to,” I’d have a lot of nickels. Wanting to and doing are 2 totally different actions: one is mental and one is physical. The physical should win when deciding whether to keep accoutrements acquired during the “wanting to” phase. I’m all for trying new activities and intellectual or physical pursuits but when you don’t commit to actually doing these things, your home becomes cluttered with all of the things you want to do instead of full of things that support what you actually do.  That can be a lot of clutter and I’m not even going to talk about the guilt associated with buying stuff that you haven’t used. You could have a house filled with guilt!

The point is to look carefully at your life and what you enjoy doing and support those efforts. Time is too short to be spent worrying about what you spent on activities you don’t participate in. Forget that you’re not going to get to that needlepointing/ ice climbing/ painting/ <insert other craft here> and give those items to someone who will use it. They’ll appreciate the contribution and you can feel better clearing out your house.

Also, you don’t use what you can’t see. You’ve probably heard the saying “of out of sight, out of mind”a few times in your life! If you can’t see or easily locate it, you won’t use it. Put a system in place so you can find what you need to easily. You should be able to tell a stranger where just about everything should be in your home if you had to.

So what happened to the letter openers?  Problem solved because now they are on top of the paper storage, in plain site where she opens her mail. I love it when a plan comes together!

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