Cupboard cheatsheets—don’t make me think

2011128-linencupboard

How was your weekend? Good? Ours was okay, thanks for asking. Other than Jane spending most of yesterday (Sunday) in two hospitals, in St Andrews and Dundee, with young Isaac (10 months) who hadn’t been at all well last week with a vomiting bug that had left him a little dehydrated.

What redeemed it, however, as a good weekend…obviously…was that we finally got around to tidying up the linen cupboard.

Before Reuben and Joshua were born, in November 2008, we reorganised the whole house and tried to think through what we might need to find in a hurry once they boys’ were born. For example,

Q. What if the boys’ are sick in their cots?
A. We’ll need quick access to towels and fresh linen

That was where Operation Gareth-Really-Is-Obsessively-Organized-(-With-A-Zed-) began. Together, Jane and I, reorganised all the cupboards in the kitchen, the drawers in the sideboard in the dining room, the bathroom cupboards, and finally the linen and towel cupboards on the landing.

Cheatsheets

And then I created A4 cheatsheets to stick to the inside of the doors. The example above is for the linen cupboard, as updated this morning.

I took as my inspiration the title of Steve Krug’s book on Web usability: Don’t Make Me Think.

My thinking was that with twins we weren’t going to get that much sleep—oh! how right I was—and at 03:00, in an already sleep-deprived state, we wouldn’t necessarily want to be hunting through a jumble-sale-of-a-linen-cupboard hunting for that elusive pillowcase or duvet cover. Now, we just have to check the cheatsheet on the inside of the door and … wow! there it is.

It’s also really handy for those house guests who insist on changing their bed’s linen at the end of their visit (hint, hint!).

Other cupboards

I also have a cheatsheet taped to the inside of the following cupboards:

  • towels cupboard (from top left to bottom right: medium, large, small, facecloths, more large).
  • cupboard above the oven, showing the oven’s various settings (it uses symbols rather than words on the dial).
  • boiler cupboard, showing controls and settings, and which also includes the emergency call-out number and account number.
  • cupboard above the washing machine, showing the various wash programmes.

Very useful

“I always get such a slagging for these,” I said to Jane on Saturday afternoon as we re-organised the linen cupboard.

“I know,” said Jane. “They are really useful, but most people wouldn’t go to the effort of creating a sign for the inside of their cupboards.”

They are really useful.

And just to prove it, the linen cupboard cheatsheet proved itself again this morning as we changed the linen on Joshua’s bed at 06:00 after he’d been sick on it. And himself. And his cuddly toys.

I’m now five-shelves of books lighter

Piles of books and rubbish on my study floor
Piles of books and rubbish on my study floor mid-clear-out

Okay, so whose bright idea was it to try to simplify life a little and get rid of books that I haven’t even opened in years?!

In the end, this afternoon I cleared out five shelves-worth of books which will be donated to charity shops in St Andrews tomorrow afternoon.

I had to be ruthless. I find it really hard to throw away books because there is usually something of me in them (for many books I remember where I was when I carefully selected that particular book, what I was hoping to get out of them) and for many there is something of them in me, a part of who I am today is because of something that I read in those volumes.

And then there are the books that I bought or acquired (freebie hand-me downs from retired clergy) that interested me at the time or reminded me of something that found really interesting at university and was keen to follow up … but never did!

Strangely, between the initial weeding out of my bookcase and my packing them into boxes to take to charity a few of them crept back onto my shelves.  Saved for another purge in a couple of years time.

It feels good, though. No regrets.

Future rounds of my patented game “Win it or bin it” will feature: PCs and accessories, games (board and computer), videos, DVDs, guitar sheet music, and folders of who-knows-what that have sat on my shelves for the last 10 years.