Friday, January 8, 2010

#7 Get in the Zone

#7- All organized spaces have zones.  Think of a Kindergarten classroom.  There is a reading area, an art area, a play area, a math center, etc.  Everyone knows where things belong and where to go when they're looking for a certain type of item.  Also when you take something out of its place, there is an empty space left waiting for that item to be returned.  One trick to keeping your refrigerator organized, waste less food and make assembling a grocery faster and simpler is to assign zones for certain types of foods.  Most refrigerators already do some of this for you by labeling veggie and meat drawers.  Some have cheese drawers, butter keepers and assigned spaces for eggs or cans of soda but you can take it one step further by designating a specific shelf for all leftovers, prepacked lunches or snack foods.  This way your people will know where to look for the things that need to be consumed first, you'll have fewer spaces to sort through for food that is past its prime and there is less chance of items in small containers getting lost and funky behind larger bottles and jugs. 

Know this.  Your people will not automatically put food in its assigned place, but neither does a 5 year old on the first day of Kindergarten.  Once you start your system, don't keep it a secret from your people.  You must tell them where the ketchup is and where to put it when they're finished or you'll get comments like, "Mom, I didn't put it away because I didn't know where it went." or "Mom, I left it out because you're the only one who knows how to put it away correctly." You'll have to do this several times, but as long as you keep it consistent they will learn where to put stuff and where to look for it when they need it.  The teacher doesn't move the reading center every week.  Don't keep moving the yogurt or your people will keep asking you where it is.  Get a system, but don't make it a secret system.

My point.  Having zones in the refrigerator cuts minutes off the time you spend looking for things, minutes off the time you spend telling other people where to look for things, and minutes off the time you spend throwing away things that got lost and furry in the back of the fridge.  These are minutes you can use for something else.  And everyone could use a few extra minutes.

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