Monday, September 19, 2011

Mugging around

On Saturday, I was getting ready to run out of the house and drive off to an all-day meeting.  I reached in the mug shelf to grab a travel mug . . . and then I hit a wall.  Not a literal wall, of course.  I just found about 5 travel mugs mixed in with the other 20 ceramic mugs, and I found about 7 travel-mug lids.  And nothing matched.

An ordinary person would have just decided that that's the way life is: mugs are confusing, and the lids never quite match the containers.  But I have this thing about being hyper-organized, and if I can't put my hands on exactly what I want, I figure that there's something wrong with the system.

I pulled all of the travel mugs and travel lids off of the shelf, put them on the dining room table, paired up lids with containers, and drove off into the sunrise.  As I drove, I got to think.  The problem, I eventually realized, is that I was still sorting things by what they "are" (that is, they're all mugs), but not by how I actually use them.  When I got home from my trip, I moved all my travel mugs away from the many-mug-shelf to the same shelf where my husband keeps his paper cups.  (My husband is not a miser; he throws his money in the trash).  This way, all of our "to go" cups are together.

The "to go" shelf is brighter and smaller, so it's easier to match a lid with its mug.  Heck, maybe my husband will decide once or twice to use a reusable mug now!  But even if not, I'll be able to find what I'm looking for a lot faster than before.

Maybe you don't drink as much coffee as we do, or maybe drinking coffee on the road isn't as important to you as it obviously is to us.  The real moral of this story is that it helps to organize our things around the way we live our lives, instead of spending bits and pieces of our lives rummaging through out our things.

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