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Things "Earning" Their Space

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  • Things "Earning" Their Space

    You probably have a stapler out on your desk. Based on frequency of use, it has "earned" a space on your desk. I like this concept. If I am not using it often, it doesn't need to be sitting out close to hand.

    Here's another example: I have on my kitchen counter one of those utensil caddies. The thing was so full of utensils, I often couldn't find what I wanted, defeating the whole purpose. I dumped all of the utensils into a drawer and washed the caddy. Now the only utensils going in there are ones coming out of the dishwasher, i.e. utensils we use regularly. The ones remaining in the drawer aren't used that often, and don't need to be out.

    BTW, before GTD I never would have even had time to think about things like this. Just another benefit...

  • #2
    That's a great idea! The time you save having the items you use right on hand more than makes up for the time spent searching for the odd tool once a month. Of course if you have young kids or a spouse who doesn't GTD, any attempt to organize your way is doomed to fail. I still have to search 3 draws, the dishwasher, the drying rack, and the kids play kitchen for the big mixing spoon every day when I cook supper.

    Any advice for GTDing around, or in spite of, others?


    • #3
      Is the mixing spoon large & heavy enough to deliver a solid whack on the noggin of the offending party? A couple of reminders might change some behavior...


      • #4
        GTDing at home/around/in life

        Any advice for GTDing around, or in spite of, others?
        Eric Mack is a guru of "fathering" and using GTD.

        I've heard him tell stories of asking the FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS of his twin daughters, and even he was surprised at the level of confidence and sophistication they answered with. My favorite story - to date - that Eric told me was planning a vacation with the family using the Natural Planning Model and a white board! Thanks, Eric, for the inspiration.


        • #5
          I try to keep everything in it's own place. This is typically quite near where I usually need it. My wife, on the other hand usually just leaves things near wherever she used it last. For example I keep a pair of scissors in my top desk drawer at home. She knows this so if she needs a pair of scissors she will use those (instead of one of a half-dozen other pair that we own, which she can't find). Since she know where mine are, she always goes there first, but for some reason doesn't think ahead to know to put them back there. I don't use scissors very often, butwhen I do need them I don't want to spend any time looking for them. It's just not worth it. I'll just write an item on my next actions list to "Buy a new pair of scissors". The same thing has been happening with my toenail clippers which I keep in my medicine cabinet. Fortunately both of these items are under a dollar. I'm curious to find out how she reacts when we have two-dozen pairs of scissors and toenail clippers laying around the house. My guess is that she will still go to my desk drawer or medicine cabinet to get what she wants becuase she can trust it. I'm hoping to use it to teach her a lesson somehow. At the worst, I'll have some fun with the idea.

          So, how much does a new big mixing spoon cost?


          • #6
            Fortunately both of these items are under a dollar. I'm curious to find out how she reacts when we have two-dozen pairs of scissors and toenail clippers laying around the house. My guess is that she will still go to my desk drawer or medicine cabinet to get what she wants becuase she can trust it. I'm hoping to use it to teach her a lesson somehow. At the worst, I'll have some fun with the idea.
            In my opinion it is not a matter of price. If you don't like your wife's behavior you should teach her but without " ". Simply ask her to put the thing in its own place. If she won't - hide it. I used this method many times without any side effects (for example my children never leave their diskettes or CD-ROMS in our Internet computer).


            • #7
              My wife is EXACTLY the same, but asking her to put things back when she has finished with them is simply the best way to provoke an argument - so I've set up a secret stash of those things which get used: scissors, pens, sellotape, stapler, wrapping paper string.

              I can then get to things when I need them, and because I put things back I always know that they will be there.

              "Ah" I hear you cry, "what if she finds them??". Easy - because I've had to buy so much extra stuff, I've got enough for two stashes. if she finds one, she thinks she has found the stash, and so I switch to the other. Then, when she leaves the stuff from the first stash lying around I collect it up and create another stash.

              You could of course argue that it would be easier to get her to try GTD, but I'm fairly certain that I'm not going to live long enough.


              • #8
                Stash - I did not know the word before . Great word and great idea . In the case of a very active wife you've got to have more than two stashes!


                • #9
                  TesTeq - She isn't a child. She's my partner and equal. Just different, that's all. We decided not to breed a long time ago (Were child-free by choice after 15 years of marriage.) If we had children I wouldn't put up with this from them.

                  I do ask her to put things back. Even when I ask her quite nicely if she has seen something that isn't where it is supposed to be she reacts as though I had attacked her personally. "Oh, I'm sorry Master. Let me put your precious XYZ back where I got it from...I'm sorry. I just forgot." The purchasing of multiple items is just my latest tactic in the game.

                  I really don't like the idea of hiding something because that will make it more difficult for me to get to when I need it. Little bit by little bit she is coming along and generally doing better but this is just part of her personality. I accept that, even though I don't always like it.


                  • #10
                    me too

                    LOL stargazer_rick as I read the OP I was thinking the exact same thing: Just buy another one! Works like a charm. Kids especially NEED big spoons, for digging in the yard and so forth. We were always running off with my mom's when we were kids.


                    • #11
                      TPorter - I love your question. I never thought of it that way....(it is so funny how some something that seems a bit mundane - a stapler for instance - can raise an interesting question.) It gets to that whole idea of "why" - why do you have a stapler? why do you have a desk? If having the purpose behind the stapler ins't giving with the purpose of the desk...then move the stapler.

                      An excellent book on organizing space is Organizing From the Inside really gets into all the questions going on in this post....what are the pyscological reasons people have clutter, assigning a home to everything.

                      The whole "I use GTD but my SIGO doesn't" sure seems to be a hot topic. If I had to guess, people who are inclind to use GTD are probably attracted to and marry people who aren't inclined to use GTD.
                      Thanks, Jason, for sharing that site.

                      I grew up in a very chaotic home and my husband is genetically programmed to be neat - he always puts everything away. So we've had our fair share of conflict over my pre-GTD day, he used to say "just keep your stacks contained to one area of each room and I'll be OK".

                      Something clicked in my head when I became pregnant with our first child and I went on a wild mission to learn to be more organized (hense GTD, Organizing from the Inside Out)....I think it is what the nesting instict looked like in me. Boy, I didn't realize how much I'd need it!!

                      So he is grateful for GTD even though doesn't use it. For some reason, I am just haven't gotten into worrying about whether or not he uses it....different strokes for different folks,

                      So I've discovered that being more organized really is a skill that can be learned.

                      When we got home last night, my three and a half year old put her shoes away yesterday without being asked AND took my shoes to my room and put them in the shoe hanger....I didn't learn to put my shoes away until I was about 28!! Did she get my husband's neatness gene, or have Iwetaught her a skill - who knows? who cares?

                      A little cheap trick for putting things back - which still isn't totally natural for me like it is for my husband - keep a basket in each room for things that belong in different room in the house and just toss it in there if you are feeling too lazy to put it completely away. It isn't put away, but at least you know where to look for it.....once you start laying things randomly on the counter tops, kitchen table, the little suckers breed and take over.


                      • #12
                        Thanks to everyone for their comments on this. I noticed when cooking dinner last night how much easier it is to find the tool I needed since culling out the utensil caddy. It appears that I don't use the soup ladle or the strawberry huller all that often, so they can stay in the drawer. I've done the same thing with the home workbench which used to be covered in tools and in my makeup drawer. I dump it all someplace else, and only transfer what I use to the proper space. At work, I am finding the opposite. There are some things in drawers that I access several times a day. These need to be moved where they are closer to hand. I guess this qualifies as thinking about my stuff!


                        • #13
                          Woodens spoons and scissors

                          In my house its hair brushes, (4 girls), and scissors, (all into craft), that keep going missing in the end I gave up and bought a pair of scissors per room, 1 extra pair for the study and 3 extra pairs for the kitchen simillar for brushes. We can always find a pair now and my stress levels have dropped considerably for only a few $.