Even if the item we need to save and store is not flat so that you can hole-punch it and file it away in a binder, we still need to keep it since we use it from time to time, although we do not want to look for it every time we need it. It can for instance be a bag containing a demo kit, an extra quite large roll of packing tape, an external hard drive, a special knife, a gadget of some kind, or something else. In conclusion, we all use tools and things which we cannot put in binders or folders, or whatever storage solution we have chosen for our paper materials.
When we begin to structure our workspace we will soon experience how wonderfully simplifying it is when each item gets its own designated place, and there is one place for each item. Something is put on a shelf, something else in a compartment. One paraphernalia fits perfectly in one of our drawers and another gizmo fits like a glove in a small box.
But what about ”this one”? The thing we have in our hand right now. Where does this go? ”Oh well, I’ll just put it here; on the desk or on the floor. That seems like a good place to leave it.”.
Avoid the ambiguous surface
It is not the best idea to give an item a place which is on a surface also used for other purposes than storage. If the thing goes missing it will not immediately be apparent to us that it is gone since the place you keep it in is not empty, but filled with other items as well. And when we are about to put the thing down after using it, we might have to choose another place to put it if we have already placed something else in its designated spot.
This is why we need to make things easier for ourselves and clarify where we should place things by designating specific locations for them.
- If you are currently sitting in your office, take a look around.
- Do you have an item which is important to you in your work but which just stands on a surface, and which would become much easier to keep track of if the place it is standing in was designated for this item alone?
- Choose one way to designate this particular place for the item you have in mind. You could for instance:
- paste a label to the place
- create a neat sign
- draw a box marking the spot or circle it using tape, paint, pencils or chalk
- place another material underneath it to mark the spot, such as a paper in a deviating color, or a coaster or mat which protects the surface underneath the item.
- Do what you have to do to reserve the place for the item right now, or formulate a to-do-tasks if you choose to do it later.
No more searching, but more finding
If you clearly mark the designated place for things which you tend to place on the desk or on the floor, you will be able to determine if they are missing before you need them. And when you want to use them they will be available more often than they usually are. It will feel more satisfying to clean and get your office organized when it becomes this easy to confirm that things are in their places. You spend less time looking for lost objects and do not have to waste time searching for things when it is most inconvenient to do so.
What was your method?
How did you label or mark the spot for the thing which is placed in a surface used for more than one purpose? Tell me!