It's 7 a.m. Do you know where your toothbrush is?

If you do, and you can also find your phone charger, put your hands on a clean towel and have all you need at hand to make a cup of coffee, be grateful.

For the past 48 hours, I've had none of this.

Every time I move -- and if you'll excuse me, I am going to pause here for a moment of prayer: Dear God, Let this be the last time I move for a while because this is taking years off my life, and I would like to meet my unborn grandchildren some day, and I have plans and places I would like to visit in one piece, and, besides, moving is hard as heck on my fingernails and makes me pop Advil like jelly beans, which can't be good -- I remember the importance of patterns.

Edible herb and vegetable seeds and starter plants have been the Home Depot gardening department’s fastest growing sales items nationally over the
Edible herb and vegetable seeds and starter plants have been the Home Depot gardening department's fastest growing sales items nationally over the past five years. (Home Depot)

Patterns matter. They are the tracks that ground your days, the rudders that keep your course steady on the roiling sea of life. All your patterns get destroyed when you take every one of your earthly possessions and put them in a new place.

Moving, as I have done this past week for the fourth time in three years, defines disruption. And it's why I am staring into space, trying with the mental might of Stephen Hawking to remember where in the universe my favorite pillow is.

I do not thrive in chaos. Anyone who says he does is lying.

The hardest part of moving is mental, making thousands of small interconnected decisions about where to put, well, everything. Because where you put stuff when you set up house dictates your routine in a way that will either help you move through your day efficiently, or not.


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Now the benefit of moving is that you inadvertently find better ways to do things. Given my fourth chance, I have epiphanies: Oh, why not store the can opener by the canned goods!

Whether you're moving (my sympathies) or well-established and settled in your home (congratulations), carefully consider each of your acts of daily living, and see if you can streamline them. A few thoughtful changes can pay off in more time -- and quite possibly, a longer life. Here are some patterns to look at:

Morning and bedtime rituals. You want to spend these times thinking about the day ahead and processing the day just ending. You don't want to be rummaging through the hair appliances, knocking over the toilet bowl cleaner to find your body lotion. You need systems. Hair brushes and hair appliances together. Cold cream next to the floss. Razor by the shaving cream. Think of what you do, when, where and with what, and pull it all together.

Coffee breaks. Set up a station in your kitchen so you can make coffee without taking any steps. That means the coffee, coffee maker, filters, cups and stirring spoons are all in arm's reach.

Places for place mats, etc. This is so forehead-smacking obvious, but you'd be surprised at how many kitchens aren't organized around this principle: Store silverware, place mats and napkins close to the table where you eat. Likewise, store hot pads and cooking utensils close the stove.

Daily mail. Of course you sort it immediately, right? After you toss the junk, set the rest in a place used only for this purpose -- maybe a lovely platter or basket.

Coming and going. Create places to drop your keys and coat when you walk in, and grab them as you go. Ditto for your purse, computer bag, lunch sack, coupons and anything else you carry with you.

Recycling. Put your recycle bin in a convenient place. The easier something is to do, the more likely you are to do it.

You get the idea. Living well is a lot less about where you live than about how you live. Now if I could just find my pillow.

Contact Marni Jameson her through www.marnijameson.com.