I was working with a client, and I told her to toss her clothes toward the laundry basket. “Um, huh?” you might be thinking to yourself. The point I was making was that we don’t need to be stodgy and particular about how we do something. We can try to have fun with what we need to do – not unlike my entire blog post about “Make It Fun.”
When we’re looking at people not getting things to where they belong – there’s two situations we might be in:
- we’re leaving things wherever we’re at when we’re finished with them or
- we’re getting them close by, or near their “home.”
Therefore, in dealing with things that don’t move from where they were last used – we can toss things towards where they belong. Of course, you’re not going to throw your CDs at the shelf! The other way is to start baskets/bins of things that belong in other rooms. I’ll admit that I will often drop that bin off in the other room where it will sit ignored for a few days sometimes. At least it’s in the right room, if not it’s “home.”
The situation I described was with a pre-teen girl and I talked about acting like it was basketball. The truth is I’m not into sports and neither was she, but it’s intended as a way to get the items closer to where they belong – making it easier. She had been dropping her clothes on the floor and leaving them there, which isn’t unusual. Yet trying to make a game of getting the clothes closer to the laundry basket makes it interesting. To some extent, it’s also about retraining ourselves to new habits.
Often, I’ll do similar things with paper trash – throwing them towards the basket. I find myself curious about how close, or not, I’ll be. Or whether if I bounce it off the wall just so, will it make it in.
Sometimes we know what we need to do – that item needs to go there, but we still don’t quite get to happen. Right now, I’m not talking about the things we’re undecided on or are still active. You’ve made a home of various things, yet there are still piles. Is there a way to make it more fun – like tossing them?
Unfortunately, we still need some discipline. If you toss things towards a basket – you’ll still need to take some time to put the things where they into the basket. If you move things into the room where they belong, you still need to take some time to put them away within the room.
This is the time when your perceptions of time are likely to be exaggerated – it will take much less time than you anticipate to put them away. Could you time yourself to see how fast you can put all the desk supplies away (once you’ve got them all piled on the desk)? Or set your timer for 10 minutes and put everything away that you can before it goes off?
It takes time and practice to make sure things make it back into their “homes” after you’ve used them. I know my suitcases are notorious for sitting out after a trip – yet we can find ways to improve our behavior in returning things to where they belong. After you’ve identified where you falter – are things left where they “fall” or do they make it partway? From here, you can begin to find ways to get them the rest of the way home.