Thursday, October 16, 2014

Organizing Essentials: A Place for Everything

I recently read somewhere being organized means that one is able to find what they need in 60 seconds or less and that it takes 5 minutes or less to pick up a room/space.  Don't fit the description? No worries, we all need help.

Before we go any further, I have one disclaimer:  Hopefully (and ideally), one has completed a decluttering session and determined that each remaining item is useful or beautiful.  Why spend time and money organizing things that do not add value to your life? 

Today, our main goal is to find a single home for everything, which will ultimately create our organizing systems.   To do so, we begin with these tried-and-true guidelines to help us find the right place for our stuff:

1.  Like with Like:  One of the basics.  Here, similar items are kept together.  This makes it simple to find something.  It also helps us to know where to put additional acquisitions or when to pare down, if necessary.
Example:  Pajamas tops and bottoms are in the same drawer.  The broom, mop, and vacuum stay in the same closet.  All batteries are stored in a single storage bin.

2.  Put it where you use it:  Wherever you use an item, store it nearby so that it will be easier to get and easier to put back.  This rule allows us to place items in unconventional, albeit more efficient, locations.
Examples:  Lint rollers may live near the front door so clothing is quickly cleaned before heading out the door instead of running back to the closet.

3.  Create zones:  This guideline streamlines certain tasks by grouping together all items necessary to complete the task for easy access.
Examples:  A coffee/tea zone near the coffeemaker in the kitchen; a basket with all products needed to get ready in the morning beneath the bathroom sink;  a homework drawer with paper and writing tools near the kitchen table.

The first few guidelines aid in finding homes that make sense for all of our stuff.  But, adding another level of organization can sometimes make things even more efficient.  After narrowing down a general area, consider how often you use an item when determining it's home.  If you use something: 
  • Once a day/week:  keep it on the counter or in easy to access locations, like the front of a drawer.  
  • Once a month:  keep it in a cabinet.  
  • Seasonally:  keep it in a harder-to-get-to storage area, like the cabinets over the refrigerator or the top shelf of a closet.

After taking the time to find a place for everything, try making labels to help you (and others) maintain your hard-earned organization.   Labels clear up confusion and also serve to make us put things back where they belong.  At the end of the day, remember the law of diminishing returns and the difference between organized and neat - we only need to be organized enough  to make our lives run smoothly!

Here's to being one step closer to being organized!

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