The Messy Minimalist

Most people are surprised to learn that I’m not a neat freak. I’m actually a little bit messy. My goal is to be as efficient as possible. Doing something efficiently is not always the fastest way to accomplish a task, but it is the most complete. This means I spend less time and effort on redoing things. While studying business process management I learned that reworks, basically having to do the same thing twice because of mistakes, takes at least twice as long as doing it correctly the first time. Who has time for that?

Sometimes being organized takes too much time and it slows me down. For example, I place all my kitchen utensils in a couple of buckets. I don’t separate the large spoons from the spatulas and can opener.

I’m always trying to be balanced about this – organized enough that I can find what I need when I need it, but not to the point it would slow me down to put something in its proper place.

Here are two of my favorite strategies:

#1: Have less stuff. Maintain only what I need, basically one of everything and purge regularly. With less stuff to worry about crowding up drawers and closet spaces, it’s a lot easier to throw things in and find them quickly later.

Then when I go to put stuff away (see #2), I just throw it in. I don’t take time to organize it. My bookshelf is loosely arranged by size and type (fiction, professional, photo albums, and cookbooks). But beyond that I just throw them on the shelves wherever there is space. However, I only have 4 small shelves of books so it doesn’t take me that long to find something. All my kitchen utensils live together, but I also only have one of everything I need making it easier to locate something.

Same goes for my bathroom. My toiletries are spread out in individual drawers and tubs to minimize the amount in any one place. I can throw stuff in the proper place and find what I need in seconds. (Read more here.)

#2: Have a “home” for everything. This means dedicating a space to store items. One of my favorite places to create is a “use me first” spot. This method works well in places like the fridge and bathroom where products/groceries tend to expire.

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