One would think that having a lot of time available would mean great efficiency in living one's life. Not true. With my COVID 10 Self-Quarantine in its 57th day, recently I came to a re-realization that I experienced many, many years ago while I was still teaching and administrating the Gifted Education Program for Glenview District 34 schools: "Handle each item only once!"
At that time, I came across an article that dealt with the efficient handling of tasks in the office. ONLY HANDLE EACH MAIL ITEM ONCE. Open it, read it, take action, ignore it, and delete or file. This was true for e-mails as well as snail-mail received.
I have found at home recently, I have been handling many mail items as well as non-mail items any number of times. And am finding this disturbing. Let me give you a few examples.
Items accumulate on my desk. I will move them from place to place, sort them, make piles, partially deal with whatever needs dealing with, and go through the process again before handling, completing, filing, or tossing. My desk is rarely empty!
Also, the items for filing go into the filing drawer before actually being filed in the filing cabinet below. There is a drawer for items I need to "hold" for future handling and a drawer for items with which I do not know what to do but do not want to toss. I go through these drawers now and then and rearrange, remove, deal with, finally file, toss, or just leave in the drawer to be handled over again.
Regarding items around the house when putting things away, whether recently having used them or having newly purchased them, I tend to leave them close to where they belong but not exactly where they belong.
For example, when returning things to the kitchen from elsewhere, I tend to leave them on the island counter corner at the entrance to the kitchen. Next, they are moved into the kitchen and placed near where they are stored. Finally, they are stored.
When emptying the dishwasher, I empty it by placing things on top of the counter across the width of the back kitchen wall near one of the six cabinets above, six cabinets below, or four drawers under the counter where the items live. From there, they eventually are put away in the place they belong.
If the item in the kitchen is dirty, it may be soaked in the sink and then put in the dishwasher where items are stored until the dishwasher is full and ready to be run or they may be hand washed and put onto the silicone mat to drain and dry before following one of the paths described above.
Items leaving the kitchen are placed on the kitchen island near the wall which leaves out into the living room and therefore headed towards the rest of the condo. From there they go in the general direction but most often not the final destination.
Groceries are emptied onto the kitchen island and the end closer to the windows. From there most are put away into the pantry in the hall which leads to the guest bathroom and laundry closet. But often some are dropped off on the guest bathroom vanity, or the pantry floor, or the laundry closet floor. Some are just left in the kitchen, pushed out of the way until I can get to them.
I put things on the guest bathroom vanity sink top if that is the general direction for which they are headed but not into the linen closet or the one cabinet or two drawers that are part of the vanity there where they belong. This happens later.
I leave things on the corner of the master bedroom vanity sink top but not placed into any one of the two cabinets or four drawers that are part of the vanity. That action is taken at another time. Sometimes I toss them into the sink if I am afraid that one of the cats might knock them off onto the floor.
I stack items coming into the bedroom and headed for the closet on the bookcase top outside my bedroom closet, next they are moved into the closet and often instead of being hung up on hooks or rods or put into one of the floor-to-ceiling cabinets or drawers that line the length of the closet, they are placed on the stool just inside the doorway.
If they are headed to the back of the closet with sports coats and more storage shelves and drawers, they are placed on the four drawer horizontal filing cabinet at the back of the closet before they end up where they are destined.
If they are headed to the bookcase just inside the bedroom and its shelves or three drawers or into one of the two bedside tables, I put the items on the leather bench between the bathroom and closet or in front of the books on one of the shelves on the bookcase itself.
I pile items leaving the bedroom on a difference shelf of the bookcase just inside the bedroom door where I also empty my pockets each night. Then they make their foray into the rest of the condo at a later time.
If the end destination is the guest bedroom with its clothes closet, five-tier shelf sored in the closet which contains excess kitchen/ cooking/ baking items, or the hobby closet and shelves above; they get tossed onto the guest bed, put on the luggage rack inside the closet, are placed on the hobby closet desk and sometimes more than one place as they make their way to find the place in which they are stored.
So what I am trying to say is that with all this additional time at home, by myself with only my two kitties, with nowhere to go and for the most part nothing urgent to do ... I am being so inefficient that I feel guilty about it!
I have been trying to get better at only handling each item one time, from pick up to delivery to destination, and am getting better but have a long way to go.
When many things have gotten out of place and living in limbo, I get the condo organized again by going in circles. Pick up an item or a few from here drop them off on the way to another place, pick up items from there and carry them to the next place in the continuing circle of the condo, etc untill everything is at least back in the correct vicinity.
If I am feeling really ambitious or if the piles of misplaced objects are beginning to tip and almost fall over, I start in one location finalizing all item placements and then move on to the next area. Sometimes this takes a few days but there are times when NOTHING IS OUT OF PLACE! Feels great when I accomplish this.
And sometimes I just say, "Fuck it!" figuring that I could also become obsessive and/or anal compulsive about how I live in the condo.
My preferred action is: Fuck it!
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