Ladies and gentlemen, I stand before you to make a case for organization. By this I mean if you find yourself living with someone who has the mistaken notion that the expensive Henkels paring knife belongs with the tools, it’s time you and your home-mate have a heart-to-heart discussion of where certain items belong. This was something that was important to me. Everyone has personal needs and preferences that must be respected in a home-mate situation.
I open this post tongue-in-cheek because my late partner always used my expensive cutlery as substitute screwdrivers. This typically happened when he couldn’t find the appropriate tool because he had misplaced it.
Felix Unger versus Oscar Madison
Remember the film and TV series The Odd Couple? Fastidious Felix Unger always cleaned up after Slovenly Oscar Madison. Their arguments over Felix’s obsessive-compulsive cleaning and organizing made for good laughs, but in the real world it’s not very funny and in some cases it can be dangerous if an item is misplaced. For example, a grease fire that needs to be put out quickly and the fire extinguisher (or the salt) isn’t in its usual spot and can’t be found.
The best way to overcome any mishaps and arguments with your future or current home-mate is to be clear where items belong. Once again, we strongly recommend a friendly chat plus a tour of the house. Be clear that if something is taken from its shelf or cabinet that it needs to be put away in that same spot. On the other hand, listen to what your home-mate has to offer because she might be a whiz at organization. Keeping with our kitchen fire example, a fire extinguisher that might be located by the back entry to the house might be too far away if there’s a grease fire. Reconsider locating it to the kitchen.
Put Away and Not Hide
My father always complained that when my mother went on her mad cleaning sprees that she never put away items in their appropriate places. Instead, she would hide them. Her counterattack was that he always left a trail of shoes, books, magazines and coffee cups throughout the house. From her perspective, out of sight equated a neat home.
If you plan to share certain items, be respectful and not leave them strewn all over the house or the back yard. On one occasion, I spent an entire afternoon searching for the dictionary. I finally found it near the swimming pool–one of the dogs had chewed part of its spine.
If there are certain items that you don’t want to be moved or touched, let your home-mate know that the delicate, antique crystal decanter is only for show and not for use, or move it to your private space.
It’s not that hard….
In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, don’t make it so hard on yourself or your home-mate. We can’t stress this enough, but speak openly to how you both can come to an amicable agreement on keeping common household items organized and in their proper place.