One of the most powerful pieces of advice I have gotten out of Marie Kondo’s book came in the second half. And to be perfectly honest I’m not super impressed with the second half of the book. The second half is where she describes the best ways to put everything away once you have discarded everything that does not bring you joy.
Even though I see the logic in some of the practices she advocates for. They just aren’t things I want to do or can do. For example, everything she says about folding doesn’t work for me. I personally do not have a dresser. Actually, I don’t have any drawers at all. Instead, I have a closet with shelves and one of those square cube shelves with square baskets. I can’t use a dresser because it would cover the vent so instead I just leave one of the cubes open without a basket. I keep all my socks, tights, underwear, bras, and foundation wear in one of the baskets.
Other than matching my socks together and rolling those up, (Which Marie frown upon.) I don’t fold anything. It’s great! And since I have purged my clothing I don’t have any problem finding the thing I want when I want it. Honestly, most days I don’t care what socks I wear, whether they are black grey or blue. Same with underwear, since I got rid of all the stuff I didn’t like I’ve been happy with whichever pair I happen to grab that day.
This no-folding strategy for these types of items works great for me. These items don’t really wrinkle or if they do no one notices. So, why do more work than necessary? Why expend your energy on something that doesn’t bring you value?
Fantastic Advice on How to Store Items
Anyway, back to the bit of brilliance I found in the second half of the book. When speaking generally about how to designate homes for items: they should be put away where and how they are easiest to put away not based on how easy they are to take out. Reason being because people are inherently lazy. If the storage system to so complicated that you have to be a Tetris master to put objects away correctly no one will put things away correctly and they will just stack up and become clutter.
You are more motivated to go through hassle to get something out when you want to use it. When you are done with whatever it is you have low motivation to put things away since you want to do something else. Have you ever experienced the problem of after working on a project the materials or remains lay there longer than you would like to admit?
I have been particularly guilty of being tired after grocery shopping and only putting the perishables away leaving all the dry goods in their bags to be put away later or leaving them for the husband to put away.
Accept that you are Lazy and Plan Accordingly
You will have more success if you accept that you are lazy and plan your life accordingly than if you just promise to do better or be better. Creating overly complicated systems that “should” work if only you alter your habits and personality is setting yourself up for failure.
You may not like me telling you that you are lazy. Maybe I can soften that by saying we all have inclinations towards being lazy in certain areas. I believe both are true. I also believe that there are times when we are just plain tired. Times when we aren’t at our best or with our highest levels of motivation and concentration. Exhaustion can, and often does, lead to wanting to put off doing things or in other words be lazy. That’s alright. That’s human.
Accepting this basic human fact that we are often inclined to be lazy can help you plan on how to cope with this reality. Telling yourself that you have endless energy and focus, or that you “shouldn’t” be lazy doesn’t change the reality. In my opinion it just makes you feel bad when you encounter those times when we are or want to be lazy.
Don’t plan your life according to the person you want to be. Plan your life accepting who you are, and you will become the person you want to be.
You wouldn’t throw out your entire wardrobe that fits you the day you start a diet and replace it with a wardrobe that is your target goal of being three sizes smaller, would you? No. You wouldn’t. You would have nothing to wear or you would be uncomfortably forced into something that doesn’t fit right or feel good, and you would likely end up wanting to quit and go back to your old clothing.
Have Less Stuff
As you should be aware by now based on my experiments with the KonMarie Method and simple living and minimalism, I’m all aboard the Own-Less-Stuff train. The less stuff you have the less stuff you have to maintain. The fewer items you have the easier it is to find the one you are looking for. Having less makes cleaning easier. I’m not going to go much further into this as there are hundreds of posts and books out there about the benefits of having less stuff. I’m just mentioning these three because I have experienced them in the few weeks since we began out decluttering efforts.
Have Easier Stuff
As far as laziness is concerned really consider the maintenance of items before you purchase. For example, dry-cleaning is too much effort for me and I’m not a fan of the cost involved. So, I don’t purchase clothes that are dry clean only. The same thing happened with my husband’s work shirts. When we started getting the wrinkle resistant and iron-free shirts he stopped wearing the others that needed to be ironed because we never wanted to iron them.
We almost registered for this salad dressing mixer that had this stirring gizmo. Like this but it just looks like it’s hard to clean, especially when you are talking about something that is going to be oily in particular. And it needs batteries. It’s just too much work for us. My aunt has one that is just a closeable pour spout that you shake. Like this which we are considering getting instead. It looks much easier to maintain.
Have Easier Systems
What made me want to talk about working with the fact that people are lazy was a passage in the second half of the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Paraphrasing, put things away based on how easy it is to put something away not based on how easy it is go get out.
This is based on two ideas. First people are lazy, and you are more motivated to get something out than to put it away. So, you will put more effort forth to get the thing you want. However, once you are done with the item you are less motivated to put it away correctly, especially if doing so is difficult. Second, we cause a lot of clutter by trying to make everything easy to access. It leads to lots of items on surfaces and more complicated systems because it’s hard to make everything always at the ready.
Don’t Sit Down
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have come to realize that at the end of the day my couch is a black hole. If I sprawl out on it, it is difficult, if not impossible, for me to do anything else for the rest of the night. It is difficult for my husband to get me up. I am more likely to give up on the meal plan that I had. Sitting down right away kills my motivation for so many things.
Now you may be thinking, I just had a long day I deserve to sit down and take a break. Well, first I am going to address most of you who are office and desk workers. You sit all day. Sitting has been proven to be bad for your health. You don’t need to sit down. Also, you likely just got out of the car or off the bus or train where you were probably sitting.
Instead of sitting down I try and get myself to do 2-3 tasks first. Did I leave some dishes out as we left the house this morning (or from dinner last night)? What do I need to do now to make sure the planned dinner actually happens? Could I pull aside a load of laundry to do? Just do some sort of small task.
For those of you who are indeed on your feet for at least 75% of your day, so six or more hours in a standard 8 hour shift, try to do something before you sit down. If that really isn’t possible after you have asked yourself to do even one thing, then try setting a timer. I would say 15-20 minutes. You know yourself, and perhaps after some experimenting you will know where you transition from recharging and falling into the sinkhole of “I’m not getting up until I’m going to my bed.”
If the Task Takes Less than 90 Seconds do it Now
Cleaning that hot pan just off the stove top. I’ve timed it. It took 85 seconds to wash and dry. I haven’t timed how long it takes to wash the cold dirty pan, but I do know that it is longer. The fresh heat really makes it easier to clean and the retained heat helps it dry faster too!
Walking the dishes to the kitchen and putting them in the dishwasher took 25 seconds, even with scraping away excess particles into the trash.
Putting clothing in the hamper took 12 seconds. Hanging up a sweater was only 19 seconds.
I believe we make these tasks seem longer and harder than they truly are. When I just did those things and timed them I sort of had an idea of how long each task would take even if I was sure it would be less than 90 seconds. Each time I had overestimated the time necessary. Some of my internal estimates we two or three times as long as it actually took me. I was not rushing, I was leisurely if anything, during this not very scientific experiment.
So, try to recognize these small tasks in the moment and just get them out of the way. Bonus, some of them do actually take you more time if you put them off so you are actually saving yourself work in the long run.
Exhaustion is Real
Even if you still believe that you aren’t ever lazy, there are times when we are just plain tired. Times when we aren’t at our best or with our highest levels of motivation. That exhaustion can, and often does, lead to wanting to put off doing things and to take shortcuts.
Right now, I am exhausted after a trying couple of days at driving around in circles for the last two and a half hours. Even if I was home there is no way that I could do work in this state.
For many of us exhaustion happens on a regular basis. Rest and self-care are necessary and appropriate. I often fall into the trap of putting off things until the weekend. But the weekend comes and I’m tired and need rest.
Be honest with yourself. Would you feel better if you got laundry done over a couple week nights or if you got it all done on the weekend? If you want your weekend to be your rest and fun time do more during the week. If you need to crash after long work days know then you are going to have to spend a large part of your weekend doing various chores. Whatever your answer is accept it and plan accordingly.
Accept Your Lazy Habits and Work with Them
I’m not shaming any lazy habits as I have plenty of them. I’m also not telling you to change yourself or deny your laziness. Personally, I believe you will have more success if you accept and acknowledge your laziness and work with it than if you try to force yourself to never be lazy.
So far, it’s working for me. I know want I am capable of and what traps I am prone to fall into. It’s impossible to avoid them entirely. I am just aware of them and let myself fall into them at more convenient times. Now it doesn’t hurt so much when I fall into those traps. Bonus, I beat myself up less when it does happen.
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