Today we're going to discuss the basics of organizing. Every professional organizer (which I am not) has a system for organizing. Some have fancy little acronyms - like Julie Morgenstern's SPACE. But organizing is pretty basic. No matter what you call the steps it boils down to this:
- Define your space - Figure out how you will be using the space you want to organize. Some spaces are obvious - like a kitchen or bathroom. It gets tricky in a room such as a family room that needs to serve more than one function. Maybe your family room is a lounge area/playroom/office all in one. I break my rooms into zones- for a family room it may be a sitting zone, a t.v. zone, a play zone and an office/work zone. Once you've defined your space it's time to move on to the next step:
- Sort - To start the sorting process I create four categories: keep, toss, sell & donate. This is usually the hardest part for most people. Be judicious when deciding what to keep. And keep emotion out of the decision as much as possible. It's good to have a friend along for this part to keep you on track (so you don't spend an hour looking through a photo album and not sorting) and be impartial (she won't care that the leather mini skirt that no longer fits was worn to your first Rick Springfield concert). Once you have decided what to toss take it immediately to the trash. Same with donations - head to the Goodwill as soon as your are done.
- Set up storage - In our hypothetical family room you will need to have storage for things like DVD's & remotes, toys and office supplies. I would suggest not buying any storage items until you have defined your space and sorted your stuff. I am always amazed at how many plastic bins and baskets I see in the houses on 'Hoarders'. Your storage solutions should work for your space. Containers are not one size fits all.
- Keep your space in check - Keeping up with organization is sometimes the hardest step. Once you have given everything a space make sure you keep the items in the space. I make a quick run through the living room at night before I go to bed to make sure there's no trash or dishes in the room, the remote is put away, school papers are in the school folder, newspaper in recycling, etc.
These are the four steps that are the cornerstone to organizing my home. They work in every room.