One of the spots Jim and I love most in our house is a little unusual as favorite spots go: it’s our kitchen pantry. At first glance the pantry is nothing special; it’s just the oddly-shaped space under our stairs.
I can’t remember what kind of plug-in-and-turn-on lighting fixture was hanging in there when we moved in, but neither of us liked it, especially Jim. He ended up putting in a new light on a motion sensor so we don’t ever have to hit a light switch; the light goes on every time the door is opened. This is still thrilling to us and we have to show everyone who comes over. It’s the little things.
The pantry is a great size for two people, but over the past year it’s become more and more unorganized. Our bags of potato chips, pita chips, and Tostitos were getting out of hand, cluttering up the shelves and making it so we couldn’t really find anything. We never developed any kind of general system for where certain things should sit on each of the shelves, and that’s why we inadvertently found ourselves having to work too hard to reach in and grab things we always use (which were, oddly, on the bottom shelf or even in back) while the stuff we rarely use sat in a place of honor and easy accessibility. It made no sense.
Last week I had an idea to get a doll-sized net hammock for the chips. A CHIP HAMMOCK, patent pending. It came in the mail and I promptly put it up on the pantry wall. I am almost as excited about the chip hammock as I am about the motion-controlled pantry light.
On Saturday Jim and I hit the rest of the pantry, emptying it out and rearranging everything so it made sense. The stuff we use a lot is now easy to reach for, and the rarely used items are in the back, on the bottom. The sigh of relief that doing this one thirty-minute task was nothing compared to the time and irritation it will save us, moving forward.
All of this got me thinking (of course).
How many things do we just leave alone because it seems easier to do so, when taking just a little time and effort to make a tweak here or there could be such a relief? Something like this is even easier than starting a new habit. With a new habit, you have to keep remembering to do something new, and it can take about three weeks of consistency to make that permanent change. Making a tweak is generally a one-time thing that provides infinite benefits without further effort.
In order to make my life easier I have done a bunch of little things over the past year. Here are just four:
- I keep the medicine I have to take after breakfast in the kitchen so I don’t forget it.
- I use my iPhone alarms to keep myself on track, even for the small things like remembering to make steel cut oatmeal on a Monday night or making sure I remember that the trash needs to go to the curb on Tuesdays.
- I keep my boxing bag (with my gloves and wraps) in the same exact place so I never have to look for it at o’dark thirty when I need to leave.
- This year I decided to buy four pairs of sunglasses so I can remain confident that there is always at least one pair in my car. (I don’t buy expensive sunglasses! This has worked out very well.)
I have always been more organized than the average person, but these little things really make a huge difference for me. Now it’s your turn. What is one little thing you can change to make your life easier? Just one, and something that you only have to change ONCE in order to grab yourself more ease and time. Got something in mind? Great. Go do it, and report back!