Saturday, March 15, 2008

Reader Question: Using the Storage You've Got

keys hanging from key hooks shaped like rear end of dog

Reader Michele wrote: I'd love to hear how you help people to develop the habit of using whatever storage solution they choose.

And reader Louise chimed in: I got all excited about key storage, but then remembered that we already HAVE a designated spot for keys. My hubby just doesn't use it.

So here are some ideas for how to ensure the storage solutions you set up actually get used.

1. Go with the flow. Where do things normally wind up getting tossed? Can you put a storage solution there? I worked with someone whose daughter threw her dirty clothes on the floor of her room. Adding a hamper to her room, rather than making her use the one down the hall, made things better.

2. Make it as simple as possible. This might mean containers without lids, a big enough container that it's easy to put things in it, containers (and closet clothes rods) that a child can reach, etc.

3. Use products you like. If the hook you use for your keys makes you smile, you are more likely to use it. The daughter I mentioned above got to select her own hamper, rather than having Mom pick it out.

4. Focus on building the habit. It takes a while to create a new habit, and will take some attention. I've used morning and evening checklists when I was trying to build a new habit - and now that I'm working on a second round of improvements in my eating habits, I'm keeping a food diary. People with young children often set up a specific time for putting away the toys.

5. Tweak constantly. If you find something doesn't quite work, try something else. (See if you can figure out why it's not working, so you can try a better answer, not just a different one.)

6. Look at what else has worked - what always gets put away? Is there something you can learn from that?

7. Realize that even those who are good about putting things away will sometimes let things get cluttered as our lives get hectic and take unexpected turns. Don't be overly critical of yourself about this; just set some time aside to get things back in place, and go on.

8. Whenever more than one person is involved (spouses or partners; parents and children) remember that what works for one person may not work for the other one. Let each person create answers that work for him or her, whenever possible.

[photo by BkTs / Benjamin Kints]


Louise said...

I think number 6 will be the key for us. What does get put away and why? How? Hmm.

Did you know that Cynthia at The Thoughtful Consumer wrote about Discardia today? She wrote that she first heard about it through your blog. Since I found the two blogs through completely separate paths, it was a kick to see you mentioned over there.

Oh, and the animal tail hooks are really funny!

Jeri Dansky said...

Louise, I did indeed see Cynthia's post at The Thoughtful Consumer. She and I have been reading (and commenting on) each other's blogs for quite a while now.

Michele said...

This is great information. I especially like the "look at what works" tip. Thanks, Michele (the poster of the question)

Jeri Dansky said...

Michele, I'm very glad this was helpful. Thanks for asking the question!