several scissors

Pandemic Countdown Week 5: Scissors

How Many Scissors Do You Have and Where Are They?

Were you raised in a full house where anything you could possibly want was somewhere if only that elusive spot could be located? We must have had at least twelve pairs of scissors, none of which were where they ought to have been.

Mom’s pinking shears were in the garage instead of near the sewing machine. The sharp scissors were last seen in the living room but now untraceable. The tiny nail scissors were never in the bathroom. The kitchen drawers were a red herring, containing scissors in name only. These useless scissors fainted at the challenge of cutting a slice of pizza. “Where are the scissors?!” was the exasperated cry heard from top to bottom of the house as four teenagers thundered up and down the stairs.

If you have twelve pairs of scissors but can’t find one that works, do you really have any scissors?

You may not have grown up knowing where the find the scissors but it’s never too late to learn. This week’s pandemic challenge is to find all your scissors and put them on the kitchen table. You’ll have to dig in drawers and look under stacks of paper. Don’t forget the side of the couch and the floors in your kids’ rooms.

When you have all the scissors, grab a piece of paper and start cutting. If the paper bends, the scissors stink. Set those all to one side and ask yourself if you have a scissor sharpener – if you do, haul it out and sharpen a pair. Cut the paper again – if there’s no improvement, the sharpener is the piece of crap you suspected it was when you shoved it in the junk drawer.

Weigh the expense of new scissors against the cost of waiting until the fabric store has their annual scissor sharpening event and the odds you’ll remember where the scissors are by then. It would be okay to pitch the scissors and get new ones.

How to Never Lose Another Pair of Scissors

Think about where you need scissors.

  • bathroom?
  • kitchen?
  • sewing room?
  • home office?
  • playroom?

Each area needs its own pair of scissors and each area needs its dedicated home for the scissors.

So, where in the bathroom will you keep the scissors? Second drawer down? Once you’ve decided that’s their home, like sharp-edged homing pigeons, that’s where they’ll return the second you’re done using them. Leave them on the counter for even a moment and it’s over. They’ll get mixed up in all sorts of unscissorlike company. That’ll be weird for them and then it’ll be even more uncomfortable when you sweep the contents of the counter off into a basket to sort later and they realize they’re officially lost.

So, take the scissors out of the second drawer down, trim your bangs, put the scissors back in the second drawer down. Three actions that are part of one bigger action, using the scissors. You don’t have to get super fussy about where in the drawer they go, as long as they’re rattling around in that clearly defined space, you’ll easily be able to find them.

Where should the kitchen scissors go? Far left drawer with the big spoons? Wherever you choose, that’s now the official home of the kitchen scissors and to their home they must return as soon as they’ve been used. You can wash and dry them first, I guess.

Scissors always go AWOL in the sewing room area. They slide under piles of fabric, get set down just for a minute, get borrowed by thieving kids who know these are the good scissors and “forget” to bring them back. Find a central place among your sewing tools for the scissors and make it part of your routine that when you leave the sewing room, you check the scissors are in their place. Don’t leave before you see them happily roosting in that space.

The desk in your home office might be covered in stacks of paper (check out the Joyful Surroundings paperwork challenge to get a handle on that situation) but your scissors deserve their own specific home. Desk drawer if there’s no room on the desktop, in a cup if there is. Just like everywhere else, these work scissors stay put, never crossing the threshold of your home office, returning to their drawer or cup whenever you’ve finished using them.

Kids’ craft areas and playrooms are usually home to all your good scissors and a mess of blunt-ended tiny scissors that make your two-year-old scream and are ignored by anyone old enough to go foraging for better scissors. The solution? When kids are too young to be trusted with scissors on their own, set up craft areas near where you are and teach them how to safely use scissors. Continue to supervise their use until you’re confident they won’t use them to trim the dog’s tail or stab their sister. At that point, they get their own pair once they’ve shown you exactly where they’ve decided will be the scissors’ home. Making them tell you means they think it through and tell themselves. Now every time you find their scissors somewhere else anyway, you know where to put them.

Scissor Challenge Summary

To get a handle on the scissor situation and avoid an all-too-familiar frustration:

1. Collect all the scissors, discarding any dull ones that can’t be sharpened immediately

2. Think through where you use scissors

3. Create permanent homes for new sharp scissors in each area

When you’re done organizing your scissor collection, come back and tell me the weirdest place you’ve ever found a pair of scissors!

15 comments

  1. A simple challenge, but one that will make people feel like champs when they’ve accomplished it. I have three scissors in my little apartment: an ancient Wiss pair from the 40s that I stole from my mom when I went off to college (in the kitchen drawer that holds tape, rubber bands and string), a plastic-handled “modern” scissors in my living room stored upward in a pen mug, next to where I read magazines and clip articles and coupons, and teeny scissors for cutting my bangs in a drawer divider in my bathroom. Similarly, I never need to cut papers at my desk, so no scissors live there. But having an always-there home is essential.

    Great advice on a topic that could easily be overlooked!

  2. Oh the times I rejoice when I open the command drawer in my kitchen and actually find a pair of scissors in there! Unfortunately, I more often agonize over where in the world they have walked off to now…….

  3. I have to laugh here. It makes me think of growing up. We had A LOT of scissors, but none of them worked well. It was irritating. At some point during my young adult life, I bought scissors- SHARP scissors. It was life-changing. Since then, I have a low tolerance for dull scissors. We also have a lot of scissors. They serve different purposes and are stored in the places they’re used. All “bad” scissors have been removed from the premises. 🙂

  4. Funny, you mentioned scissors, that was a pet peeve of mine as a kid. So, as an adult, I have scissors everywhere – in my craft area, in the kitchen, and in the bathroom. =)

  5. Lucy, this is great advice. I love your description of testing the scissors and the sharpening tool! Scissors must have a home in every room they are used. My desk scissors sit on top of my desk in a cup. My kitchen scissors are in the drawer nearest the door. My gardening tiny scissors in my garden shed. Each and everyone has a place to belong. I find that comforting to know.

  6. Scissors definitely “walk off” when there are a lot of people around. And people do tend to just put them down when they are finished with them instead of returning them to the their “home.” I won’t use names, but I have a spouse who does this! One year I asked for scissors for my birthday and he got me three pairs, which I loved! I put one in the laundry room, one in my desk, and the other is “just for me” in an undisclosed location:).

    1. That’s true love, Seana, what a thoughtful gift. I love your “undisclosed location” comment, I’d have fun trying to outwit my family with that one, by moving them to a different bunker periodically.

  7. I have one pair of scizzors (the kitchen scizzors) that is attached to the fridge by a magnet! Strangely though, I always forget it’s there and go digging through the kitchen drawer anyway.

    1. You know, I often find that when people have knives attached to a metal bar against the backsplash too. It looks super cute but they still reflexively look for the knives in the drawer. But full marks for only having one pair!

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