Keeping on Top of Things

"Keeping on top of things" by Lisa Hess (

Image credit: (2017), CC0/PD

Last week, I wrote about the time I spent whipping my pile of exams to reference into shape. That got me to thinking about the places where I rarely let things go — those spaces where order reigns on a regular basis. Here are three of them.

I make my bed. This wasn’t always the case, but when I read in one of Marcia Ramsland’s books about the percentage of the room that was made tidy by this simple task, I made it a daily habit. It’s a rare day that my bed isn’t made. Many days, the neatness inspired by this simple act nudges me to clear up another space as well.

I keep on top of incoming mail. While there are times that my mail piles up in the short term, I don’t let it get far. It took me a really long time to get my mail counter (in my kitchen) organized to my satisfaction, so making sure not to revert to old bad habits is really important to me. Because keeping this clear space clear matters, I’m motivated to keep after it.

I put my bathrobe away. Sounds silly, I know, but I mention this one because it’s both an exception to my drop and run organizational style and a pathway to corralling that habit in other areas as well. Because it’s as easy to put it away as it is to put it down (strategy #1), I’m no longer tempted to drop it and run. In the spirit of full disclosure, I must confess that this is a habit I cultivated only after reminding myself on multiple occasions, “don’t put it down, put it away.” (strategy #2)

Every baby step we take is a step in the direction of ongoing organization.

What steps will you take today? What successes can you already claim?

Copyright 2019 Lisa Hess


About Author

Lisa Lawmaster Hess has contributed articles to local, national and online publications, and blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, The Susquehanna Writers and here at She is the author of two non-fiction books (Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce) and two novels, Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is a lecturer in psychology at York College and enjoys singing with the contemporary choir at her church.

1 Comment

  1. Opening my mail over my recycling bin and then having a ‘mail bin’ in my desk drawer was revolutionizing for me cutting down on clutter AND never losing a bill again. I have found things YEARS later and wondered, how on earth did this get so lost!! That is not something I ever wanted to be an expert at! ha ha!!

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