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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Like with Like

You have enough things to remember—where your stuff is doesn’t have to be among them. Give your brain a break by grouping "like with like."

When you store similar things together, you reduce the burden on your memory. Instead of memorizing where each item has been dropped randomly throughout your house, you can group things in categories and then you only have to remember where the entire grouping is supposed to be.

Here’s an example from my house: Say you need a flat-head screwdriver. There are only a few places it could be: With the other screwdrivers in the garage, on the workbench in the basement, or in the mini-toolkit in the kitchen. It is 99% guaranteed to be in one of those places. (Not 100%—organizers are human too.) So, your search is automatically much less daunting—just three possibilities instead of an infinite number of options all around the house and yard.

Some people get the concept here but are immediately overwhelmed at the idea of choosing just one category for an object. They see multiple ways to categorize any given item, so they figure that in order to choose one item’s category, they’ll have to categorize everything else all at once. They see the need for a Grand Plan, complete with graph paper or a computer database.

Stop. It’s not that complicated. Just pick a category, put the stuff together, and if you don’t like it, change it later! Accept that you have a creative mind and you will always see more than one "right" way to organize. Then, in the interest of time, just pick one and do it!

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