Fridays are tip days at SimpleProductivity blog.
Many organization books will have you clear off horizontal surfaces and place little-used items in drawers or containers. I have found that this practice can be good, but it also has a flip side where it can hinder us. Here are some examples to illustrate the point:
Out of Sight: Desk Supplies
I have cleaned off my desk and keep things I don’t use daily in a drawer nearby. I keep a few writing implements on the desk but rarely used ones are the drawer. Other than that, it is all tucked away.
When I need to use the stapler, I know exactly where it is. This out of sight implementation leads to less distracting clutter on my desk, but I sacrifice nothing by keeping supplies put away.
Out of Sight: Earrings
Applying the same technique to my dressing space, I dutifully put all my earrings in a jewelry box that was kept in a drawer. The top of the dresser was uncluttered, but after a few weeks I noticed something: I was consistently wearing only two pairs of earrings. Some people would be fine with this, but I was not. I use my earrings as a means of expressing my mood. These two pairs were small enough to sit with my rings (also out of sight) and consequently were never put in the jewelry box.
The reason was that they were in front of me when I went to get dressed. I found a solution on Etsy (sadly no longer sold) which allowed me to display my earrings on the dresser in a way which did not clutter. This allows me to see what I have and make the choices.
I think the difference between the two situations is the quantity available. I never have to select which stapler to use, since I only have one. But with items where I have choices of which one to use, it is easy to lose sight of things if they are not in a place where I can see all my choices at once. If things can become separated from their brethren, or if it is not convenient to see all choices, keeping things out of sight can actually be less productive than not.
Photo by Ma1974