Keeping Your Things
in Their Proper Place

Tidy Up

When spaces are shared, as most spaces are, having your things in their proper place not only maintains order, but creates a welcoming environment for everyone.  

This mindful order-keeping is where etiquette abides.  Not only do orderly spaces provide positive feelings, they foster trust and appreciation.

An Orderly Home

Maintaining order is a guiding principle for life.  Most of us were taught, and teach our own children, to pick up after ourselves.

And with good reason.  A chaotic home is not only uncomfortable, it brings into question the level of cleanliness maintained.  There is an underlying tension when things are out of order.

But an orderly home looks clean at a glance – whether it actually is or not.  It provides a positive environment for all, as well as a sense of security.  You know where things are, and you can trust they’ll be in their proper place when you need them.

Orderly Shared Spaces

There’s often a fine line between your personal space and shared or common space.  Roommates may keep personal items on different shelves in the bathroom, kitchen, or refrigerator.  Coworkers may only have a cubicle barrier between desks.

Keeping your things in their proper place within your small but visible space not only helps you keep track of your things, it sets an example of what you expect from others.

Tidying up common living and work spaces signals a productive habit mastered and shows that you respect your roommates and colleagues.  Your habit will be most appreciated when visitors come around!

A place for everything, everything in its place.
~ Benjamin Franklin

Returning Things to Their Proper Place

Once, when visiting a friend, I saw a list of household rules posted on her refrigerator.  The one that stood out for me – because every mother has to remind her children – was “If you take it, move it, or borrow it, put it back!”

This is the golden rule of keeping things in their proper place. 

  • If you borrow your coworker’s stapler, return it to the place where you found it.
  • If you move the coffee table to do your workout dance video, move it back when you’re done.
  • If you’re grocery shopping and have an item in your cart you decide you don’t want, return it to the shelf where you found it.
  • If you’re shopping and take the cart to your car to unload it, place it in a designated cart receptacle area.

Another friend recently shared that he wished he had a way to check whether a future employee returned his or her shopping cart to its proper place.  My friend explained he would then be able to determine if he should hire the person, having that glimpse of their character.

Some Advantages of Order

Keeping your spaces orderly not only shows respect and courtesy for other people who enter your space, it makes situations easier for yourself.

  • Accidents are avoided since you’re not likely to run into or trip over something – like the dishwasher door left open, or backpacks and shoes left on the floor.
  • When you need something, you know exactly where to find it!  This frees up brain space and lowers anxiety.
  • You create a positive environment.  One that you’re proud to live in and that feeds your energy level rather than being an energy vampire.

Deciding what is purposeful action or distracting action is part of deciding what is of value.  When putting things away is habitual, it’s easier to decide what comes next in your interesting life.  Knowing that others respect your respectfulness is a nice bonus.

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