Mise-en-Place: The Fancy French Term We All Need to Live By

The Organizing Professionals

I don’t often jump on the new year’s resolution bandwagon, but this year, inspired by one of my clients, who is brushing up on a foreign language, I thought, “Hey, that’s a great idea, I’ll think 2021 will be the year I take my French out of the rusty zone.”

So far, I’m halfway through reading Madame Bovary (in French) which, according to Google is suitable for an intermediate French student. I beg to differ, but I digress, and here comes the point of this article. I came across the term, “Mise-en-Place” a French term used by culinary chefs to mean “everything in its place.”  Chefs live by the mise-en-place philosophy. Prior to cooking, they take the time to make sure they have everything they need within arm’s reach. During cooking, they clean up as they go along, and when they’re done, they put everything back in its designated spot.

I got to thinking about how much better our everyday lives would be if we also lived by “mise-en-place.” 

  1. Preparation. While it may take additional time to set up organizing systems at home, you reap the benefits of time saved, reduced stress (anxiety felt when frantically looking for some misplaced item), and household tension (experienced when blamed for losing some misplaced item).  We never tire of hearing how our organizing systems have dramatically improved the lives of our clients. Sometimes, it’s as simple as finally making a decision that from now on, this will be the home for these items. Just like the chef who lays everything out in close proximity, the organizational system of your space will fall apart unless everything is nearby. If you install baskets for your hats and gloves in the front hall closet but always enter your home through the back door, you’re going to end up with a hot mess of outerwear piled up next to the back door. 
  2. Maintenance. Chefs clean up as they go along and so should we! But setting up organizing systems is futile without a commitment to maintenance. When we take the extra couple of seconds to put things back in their designated spot, we are saving hours in the future.  It may be easier to throw your clothes on the chair after a hard day but who wants to take an hour at the weekend putting them all away?  
  3. Clean Up. When maintenance becomes part of your everyday life, clean up becomes a breeze. While my home may not always be magazine-worthy organized, I know where everything is, and items are typically returned to their right spot. Having guests over (in the days when this was possible) never causes anxiety because our home pretty much always looks presentable, and any clean up needed takes only a few minutes. This is only because we live by ‘mise-en-place.’  I just did not know I could attach a fancy French term to it!

Need some help with your “mise-en-place”? Give us a call.  We’ll be happy to help!