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Organizing Beyond the Toothbrush

Organizing Beyond the Toothbrush

IMG_2371 To reliably access what you want, when you want it and to manage quantities, I have written about the showroom vs. stockroom model. I have thought of another way to demonstrate the same concept using the example of something most of are able to keep organized without any effort: the toothbrush.

For good dental health, we need to be able to access our toothbrushes reliably at least twice a day. Frequency merits facility. We know it doesn’t make sense to keep all the toothbrushes we own on the limited sink surface, so we keep a back up supply more remotely. It could be in a nearby linen closet,IMG_2374supply closet, or under the sink, like I have here. You keep a limited supply (one each) accessible and a larger back-up supply reliably findable, but a little more remote.

I am choosing this model because it seems so obvious for the toothbrush, but we often find it less obvious for other items. Regular areas of activity need as much space freed up as possible, but none more so than the work surface. Your work surface is your number one organizing tool because it allows for processing.  Here are some other examples.

Desk

Perhaps the most obvious example is your desk. Many papers and supplies will pass across this surface, but none should rest in the middle of it. Keep that surface clear by only keeping minimal supplies on the edge of the surface: one blue pen, one black pen, one highlighter, etc. Keep the back up supply more remote, maybe in a drawer or in a box on a shelf. You only need to go to that remote location when the pen dries up. However, you need that valuable work surface constantly. I even take my phone off my surface at the end of the work day. In the morning, my clear desk greets me open to new possibilities.

Kitchen counter

Keep only the utensils you use all the time next to the stove and store the less-used and doubles more remotely. Cooking can be a lot like surgery. Speed and timing is important, so you want to have the right tools quickly accessible, not excessive and confusing. That ladle takes up a lot of space. How often do you use it?

Dining table

Our clients seem to struggle with this one the most. The dining table can have many purposes. None of them should be storage. Maybe salt and pepper shakers can live there, but that’s about it. We just keep a vase of flowers on the dining table. The table is too valuable to leave more. On a regular basis we using it for processing mail, folding laundry, and yes, dining. In many households, I see the dining table used for homework. That’s fine as long as the homework doesn’t live there. Supplies can go in a slightly remote closet or a tower of drawers on wheels. Current homework, of course, should get into something portable like a backpack and old homework should definitely be stored more remotely.

Are there areas in your home that benefit from the toothbrush model? Are there areas that could?

2 Comments
  1. Do most people really have a “larger backup supply” of toothbrushes? We just buy them as we need to replace them.

    I get the idea behind what you wrote, but I’d challenge that most of the “backup” stuff could be eliminated completely. Not AS MUCH in the case of consumables (I like backup toilet paper), but with things like excess spatulas? Sure!

  2. Yes. Dentists often give away toothbrushes and toothpastes with every visit and they accumulate. A favorite toothpaste can lead to stockpiling, when it’s on sale. Maybe that leads to excess so yes, it may make sense to look at the quantity in back-up area, but the first challenge is to remove the excess from the most actionable area. That’s the real point.

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