Thursday, January 7, 2010

How Do I Get Organized?

The first step to getting organized is knowing why you want to get organized and knowing what you want. I always ask my new clients many questions to get them thinking about their motivation and goals for the specific area they want organized. Some of the questions center around what they do in the room, and then we figure out what items are needed in the room to support those functions. Next we figure out how the existing storage needs to be modified to store the items, so that the room looks neat and uncluttered.

Once you know your motivations you are ready for the 2nd step - modifying existing storage and identifying all of the possible storage options in the room, some obvious, and others not so obvious. Many times it takes a fresh pair of eyes to see that shelves, drawers, etc are not being utilized to the fullest. Freeing up space in existing storage is very important and hopefully identifying additional underutilized storage, is a critical component for success.

Then the not so easy part starts...the sorting and purging. I recommend starting around the perimeter of the room or divide the room in quarters and focus just on one quarter of the room. Everything out in the open should be dealt with first, then move inward. Have 3 main categories 1. trash 2. donate 3. keep. Set a timer for 30 minutes and go at it. Don't leave the room to move items that you think belong elsewhere in the house, just put them in the keep pile. Move the items that belong elsewhere in the house at the end of your sorting and purging adventure.

Once you finish sorting/purging the first section of the room, move the trash and donate bags as they are probably full (please say they are) and get new bags to tackle the next section. If you have scheduled a charity pick-up place the donate bag(s) by your front door and if not, do so anyway so you will have a visual reminder to call or drop them by a charity. Continue on if you can and you may need to reset the timer. The timer helps hold you to task and makes you move along quicker making decisions of what to donate and what to keep.

Once the room is sorted and purged the fun part starts of putting your room back together. Some helpful organizing principals are:

  • Every item should have a home
  • Put like items together
  • Place items where you use them most
  • Put frequently used items at eye level & in prime space
  • Group small like items and if necessary put into containers and label
  • Organizing is an on-going process
  • Remember the 80/20 rule - we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time; kids play with 20% of their toys 80% of the time; & 80% of what we file, we will never touch again
More to come....

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