So my massive kitchen reorganization inspired by Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is done at last. The pantry is neat and tidy, the cupboards have a place for everything and everything is in its place, and I can actually find what I’m looking for when I open my kitchen drawers.
How long will it last? Well, Marie Kondo says if I followed her method correctly, my kitchen will remain organized forever. However, if we believe the old adage that past behavior predicts future performance, then I’ve got a couple of months before everything is back to its old disorganized state.
But this time, I’m more hopeful that I can keep things going. Evaluating everything in my kitchen also gave me time to evaluate myself and by doing so, I came up with a few reasons why I have a hard time staying on track and what I can do to overcome these tendencies. Perhaps a few will resonate with you.
1. I haven’t adjusted to changes in my life.
Did you look at this pantry and think, “Doesn’t she just live alone with her husband?”
I sure did. At heart, I still feel like the mom of three young children and I still buy as if I need to cook for a family every night. There’s just no need for me to keep this much stuff on hand. It’s time to simplify and buy according to my actual living situation. If my kids come over unexpectedly at dinnertime (and sometimes they do), we will order pizza.
My pantry contents also contain some other clues about why it can be hard for me to be organized.
2. I buy things for Imaginary Katy.
Have you met Imaginary Katy? She is the most amazing person. She’s a gourmet cook who makes her own bread with whole wheat bread flour that she bought in 2014. She alway has expired yeast on hand. She wakes her large family (see point #1) with homemade muffins. When it snows in Atlanta, which it rarely does, she always bakes cupcakes! I like to buy things for Imaginary Katy because it makes me happy to have her around. Only the problem is – and I know you’re way ahead of me here – Imaginary Katy doesn’t exist. In real life, I rarely have time to bake and when I do it’s never an impulse project where I go into the pantry and cook up something fabulous with whatever’s around. In the end, the things I buy for Imaginary Katy bring me joy only when I finally get rid of them during a reorganization purge. Imaginary Katy is costing me too much money and physical space and so I need to stop buying things for her.
3. I operate too much by the seat of my pants.
Multiple boxes of broth? Multiple cans of tomatoes? That’s because I walked by that section in the grocery store and thought, “Do I need this? I don’t know. I’ll go ahead and buy some.” It’s ok to intentionally stock up if there’s a great sale and there’s space available, but from now on, I live and die by the power of the list. I use the app Grocery IQ on my phone and it’s a simple matter to notice when we’re running low on something like broth or tomatoes (both of which I actually do use a lot and so like to keep on hand) and make a note then and there. If there’s no note, I won’t buy.
4. I’m thinking about other things.
I became so aware during this whole reorganization effort of how many times I would get a glass out of the cupboard and walk away without closing the door. That’s a basic part of living in a house! And yet, I would be so distracted with my thoughts that I would forget. This may be the hardest thing for me to change because I tend to live in my head, but I’m making a big effort to be more present in life and to pay attention to what I’m doing.
5. I deviate from my plan “just this once.”
I’m putting the dishes away while my favorite show is on and I want to get back to the action. The pan I’m holding belongs in the cabinet five feet away. Or I could turn to my immediate left and cram the pan into the already overflowing cabinet next to me and get to my show 10 seconds faster. What should I do? I know what I would have done in the past and those types of decisions have not served me well. In the future, I’ll take the 10 seconds and put the pan away in its correct space.
So those are my weaknesses and my plan for overcoming each of them. I’ve read before that greatest success comes from anticipating where you might fail and creating a strategy to overcome your weak spots before the situation arises. This is certainly the first time I’ve undertaken any time of reorganization project and given any thought at all to maintenance so I’m hopeful.
What are your weak spots when it comes to organization and how do you overcome them? I’d love to hear from you.