Asking yourself the question “Where will I think to look for this?” might be the single greatest organizational step you can take.

Asking yourself this question puts you in a state of awareness about your organizational style and creates an automatic mnemonic so you are even more likely to remember later on.

If I can imagine that the last time I put away a bottle of vanilla extract I thought, “Well, I’ll probably think to look for this with the rest of the baking stuff or maybe with the spices,” and then I put it with the rest of the baking stuff, well, I’ve got a better than fifty fifty chance of finding it right away the next time I need vanilla.

Certainly much higher than if I just jam it on a shelf somewhere where it eventually gets shoved to the back (because it’s a seldom-used item) and where I’ll never find it because I’m not even sure I have any to begin with because I don’t remember the last time I put it away.

This leads to buying more vanilla extract, which, if you use the pure extract (and you really should; the imitation stuff is terrible) is pretty darn expensive.

So why buy two when one, well placed, will do?

Again, the question is not, “Where should this go?” The question is, “Where, given my actual life, would I think something like this might end up?”

This is also a great question to ask yourself in parking garages, although there it sounds more like, “How will I remember which spot this is when I return?”

A good system is practical, realistic, easy, and even fun.

A bad system is impractical, unrealistic, hard, and a bummer.

You, your stuff, your space, and your art all deserve great systems.