Have you ever gotten up in the middle of the night with this urge for a drink of water or milk or juice or that last chicken wing? Maybe a mouthful of yogurt?

Have you then stumbled through the dark of your apartment or house to the fridge?

How did you know where the fridge was?

You knew because it was exactly where you left it.

Might be a different story though, when you open the fridge door. Do you stand there with the fridge’s light gleaming into your eyes to fully waken you from your semi-sleep state so you can hunt around for the orange juice?

What if you had put the orange juice back where it was the last time you used it? What if you always put the orange juice in the same spot in the fridge?

I know exactly where my milk is because I use it in my coffee. Often.

I make a morning’s worth of coffee (half a pot?*) because I don’t want to waste time waiting for the water in one of those one-at-a-time machines to heat up again; and run through two little pods’ worth: one caffeinated and the other not. (I drink my coffee half and half. Decaf isn’t worth the water; and if I drink pure caf, it causes my patience to pack up and leave me stranded.)

Plus, I use big coffee mugs so I would need two pods—or maybe one and a half… umm… divided three-quarters and three-quarters… Or maybe three-ish pods? umm… (Who ever said that girls of our time didn’t need to learn arithmetic?) Is it going to overflow my mug this time? (Or geometry and physics.) I have to stand there (waste time) and watch…


Nope. As soon the coffee finishes running through, I remove it from the machine and cover it. Covering it is important; there’s not much that’s worse than stale coffee. Ew. I cover it with a folded dish cloth but I add folded paper towels between it and the pot. Coffee “smoke” stains. (More to wash, more to dry, more to fold = time wasted.)

I heat up my refills in the microwave and while this goes on, I walk around, stretch, look out the window… Because I work. I write books. For my business, Crowe Creations, I edit and design books for Indie authors. I do volunteer work. This means I am sitting at my computer for long stretches of time. I need to get up and walk around and adjust my poor eyeballs and the rest of my body.

It’s Not Always Easy But…

I know it’s not easy to know exactly where everything is in your home if you have offspring, a spouse, or the equivalent. Even those you hire to clean your house can put something somewhere else. Kitties can flick unattended objects under furniture.

Do you know exactly where your microwave is? Your toaster oven? Why do you know where they are but not your orange juice?

Where are your keys? Could you close your eyes and go put your hand on them right this minute?

Where’s your favorite sweater or blankie that you like to use when you’re watching TV? Same question: Could you close your eyes and go put your hand on it right this minute?

“One thousand and one. One thousand and two. One thousand and three.” Those are wasted seconds if you can’t put your hand on your keys or your sweater.

“My keys are in my purse. Where’s my stupid purse? Where did I leave it?”

Tick, tick, tick, tick…

We could be watching TV. Reading. Napping. Playing solitaire. Going for a walk/run/bike ride. Shopping (fun-shopping). Lunching or coffee-ing with a friend. Laughing our heads off while sharing jokes on Facebook. Knitting. Crocheting. Sculpting. Drawing. Painting.

I could be writing a book. Gardening. (Even in an apartment, one can garden.) Doing my volunteer work. Writing a blog…

Instead, I’m wandering around in a panic—bringing unhealthy stress into my life—looking for something when I could be having fun.

Someone might say, “C’mon, Sherrill. That’s really weird that you always keep everything in the exact same place and always return it to the exact same place. Doesn’t that indicate a mental disorder?”

I might respond with, “So… You’re saying I should be trying to make sure I put everything in a different place?”

If you want to s/h/ave time, stop wasting time looking for things.

Where Do I Keep Things?

I do my best to keep things in the most logical place for them. The handiest spot. If I use them often, they will be at the forefront of the shelf, drawer or cabinet. As Mr. Spock would say, “It’s only logical.”

My keys are on top of a small bookcase in the hall near the door. Why would I want to bring them to the living room and put them on the coffee table? Where the cat (when I had a cat) might see them when my back was turned and flick them onto the floor and under the couch?

If you leave something in a place long enough, a cat won’t assume it’s something new and get the urge to flick it to see what it ends up doing. Curiosity, eh?

And yes. My herbs and spices are in alphabetical order. I have dozens of them so if I don’t want to spend ages looking for what goes into the recipe I’m currently working on, I have to set them up that way. This also helps me from purchasing extra packages/bottles of stuff I already had but couldn’t find. Like about forty years’ worth, now, of rarely used marjoram. Sigh.

Oops. I see that my little glass teapot with its accompanying glass cup under it is in need of dusting. It’s on the shelf below the herbs and spices and between the big silver-colored teapot and the colorful, artistic cups and saucers. See?

(Excuse me… There. Done. Took about 45 seconds to dust that off. So 45 seconds shaved off my spring cleaning when it comes up. Well, maybe 47 seconds if you count opening and closing the cupboard door. [*insert smiley face rolling its eyes*])

Speaking of Cooking and Baking

When I cook or bake anything, I always go through the recipe, get out everything I’ll need from my cupboards and have it ready before I start. I measure out the flour ahead of time into a bowl; the herbs/spices go into a small bowl or dish together (if they are called for at the same time in the recipe); the eggs get pre-beaten (at the last moment, eh?); the baking pans are prepared as per instructions…

Then as soon as I use it, back the bottle or package or container or bowl goes to its space.

I clean up as I go. I made bread this morning. Albeit in a bread maker, but still, I had everything lined up.

As I added each ingredient (with a bread maker, one MUST do things in order so the yeast touches neither the sugar nor the water), I washed the utensils/bowls/measuring spoons and popped these things back where they belong.

Then I put the baking pan into its chamber, locked it in, closed the lid, tapped the required button to choose crust color (I had set the time when I plugged it in; why not? I was right there leaning over it anyway), stepped to the sink and washed the little bowl I’d measured the yeast into and the big bowl I’d measured the flour into…

Tada! The elves must have been around. I had nothing more to do, so back to the book I’m writing = having fun. Then on to editing this blog post = having fun.

This week’s tip: Always put everything back EXACTLY where it came from.

Until next time.

*I have recently taken a liking to drinking iced coffee year round so make a whole pot. And this is another reason why one of those one-at-a-time machines don’t work for me: I’d have to wait too long for it to cool off, even with milk and ice in it.