Adjust, Adjust, Adjust

How do we respond to circumstances outside our control (that is, most of them)? Scripture and a multitude of books have plenty to say on our heart attitudes, but for today, let’s talk about a completely practical side.

Most of us use our vehicles a lot; it’s the culture we have. Lately I’ve been getting used to a different vehicle and have had to make adjustments. Different is not equal to bad, and change isn’t either. But change can be hard. It also takes a little thought and planning. It’s helpful that habits are hard to adjust, but it’s rough when that’s necessary.

Usually we know change is needed because we are bugged by a problem. Something doesn’t work! It helps to look at what isn’t working and what could be done to help. Then choose the adjustment that is the best mix of easy and effective. You don’t want to change more than you need (i.e., a broken cabinet door doesn’t require replacing ALL the kitchen cabinets…unfortunately), but you do want the solution to fix the problem.

Here are a couple of examples:

A smaller purse. ([Gasp] Say it ain’t so!) There is a nifty spot for storing a purse, but it is a smidge smaller than the one I was using. The trade-off is that I now have a spot for a purse other than the floor of the back seat. I had another purse in the closet that was slightly smaller, so I changed purses and was thankful.

A smaller console. The purse storage logically affected the console size. I used to make the most of a deep, wide storage box that held everything from a tissue box to medicine to snacks to napkins to sunglasses…and more. Well, now it’s time to choose what’s most important! So, I did, and the console is fully stocked with the highest priorities. What didn’t make the cut was moved elsewhere. For instance, the napkins were banished to door storage, but that means now we each have our own stash at hand. 

Grocery habits. I used to have all my reusable bags stuffed in all the door slots. It was handy to be able to grab one or a bunch before heading into the store. It was also nice to have within reach if someone else needed one too. Now I have all the bags in one bag in the cargo area. The new habit is grabbing bags from there before going shopping and returning to line up the bags in the far back (rather than across the back seat, as I did before). It will take a few runs, I suspect, but it is possible to adjust.

One habit I didn’t have to adjust was having my planner right at hand. There is still a slot, happily.

Where Does It Belong?

God is the Creator of order. Scientists spend careers looking at the wonders of His organization and design. When we reflect a small amount of that orderliness in our lives, we are reflecting His character in a beautiful way.

The old adage, “An ounce of prevention…” applies here. It takes time to set yourself up for success in any area, but the time you save down the road is greater. If you have your linen closet set up so that everything has a place and (most) everything is in its place, in the long run you save hours of searching and folding and unfolding and snapping in frustration and searching all over the house. If your kitchen is ordered so that you can easily use it, you will not avoid hospitality because of the nightmare that you have every time you prepare a meal.

All that to say, putting things where they belong is crucial in avoiding chaos in life and home.

  • Set up a habit of only ever putting the car keys in one of two places saves headaches and frustrating searches. It takes self-discipline to set up the habit, but it pays off over and over and over.
  • If tools go back on the assigned shelf after they are used, they are ready for use again. A project won’t require search time just to get started.
  • Groceries are put away in the right cupboard, not just wherever they fit. It will be a lot easier to know what is there and what needs to be re-stocked.
  • Bills placed in the stack or cubby to be paid are much more likely to be paid then those scattered all over the house and car. Your credit record and utility providers will be happy, and your bank account will not have to suffer from those pesky late fees.

Again, this idea is something that has to be built into a habit. It’s hard, but it’s worth it once you put in the work. Set yourself up for smooth success. Put things where they belong.