Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Principles of Organizing a space

It's been a while since I've actually done an "organizing" post, but this is the time of year when I do a lot of organizing.  Before I begin, let me say this.  

My personality type is not naturally organized.  I'm not naturally given to order.  I like expression, art, and creativity.  I like big projects, and then I let someone else handle the details.  

If you are a detailed person, organizing comes naturally.  But if you are just not organized naturally, there is still HOPE for you.  I really think those of us who have had to work against our natural tendencies to get organized are the most excited to blog, write, and teach others about it. 

All that to say: if I can do it, so can you!

1) DEFINING THE SPACE:  We all have a limited space in which to organize.  Think of the space (such as a room) as a tool, not a problem.  Be thankful for the space.  "I have a living room.. thank you, God, for the living room"

2) CONTROL THE SPACE: So many of us let our spaces control us, rather than us controlling them.  Remember, you are the human in this project.  God gave you the brain.  You are the one in charge.  If you can't imagine what it would be like to control that space, remove everything out of it.  Now you you have an empty space, and you did it.  

3) ASSIGN THE SPACE A PURPOSE: What is the function of this space?  What do we want to accomplish here?  What goes on here?  (Rather than stuffing the space with strange items, only let items in that add to the purpose of the space) 

4) ENSURE THE PRIMARY PURPOSE: Only put back in items that lend themselves to the primary purpose of the space.    (Is this a storage space?  No. then, stop storing all of your college text books in the living room.  You finished college 20 years ago, are you still reading them?)  

5) ASSIGN HOMES: Once you have decided WHAT you actually do want in the room, make it a point to return those items back to their homes.  For some rooms, I would suggest making labels, with pictures for each item.   For nicely decorated rooms, I don't like the big label saying "Bibles go on this shelf, you idiots" or something like that.  

6)INFORM THE INMATES: If you establish a new system for a room, you have to inform your subjects that the queen has changed the kingdom around a little bit.  Not that they'll really pay attention, but it is a nice gesture.  If they have no clue where things go, when you are playing "arm-chair general" during the blitzing with kids, they will soon learn!  (Oh, what fun it is to live at my house, eh??)  

7) ENJOY THE SPACE:  Now that you have a new space, don't keep adding "junk" to the space.  Be self controlled about it.  Assign a storage area to your house, or rent storage.   Stay in control of the space, and you will enjoy it.  

This is what totally works for me


Amy said...

Nice post! I have some organizing projects in mind... just did my daughter's clothes yesterday, so now I have to choose which one to tackle next.

I'm talking about buying "good dirt" as a frugal tip today... sounds silly, right? Stop by if you'd like to check it out! :)

Tracey said...

Wonderful post! I'm in the midst of organizing the girls' closet now that school is almost out - moving school clothes to the back and summer play clothes to the front!

kathy said...

Great ideas! I'm always reading books and blogs on organization. I'm sorry I've been absent, I left a post on my blog explaining everything.

Mrs. Parunak said...

Such good advice. I love the idea of controlling the space. So often I have felt like I HAD to have this or that thing I didn't really want here or there because I had no other place for it. Breaking free of that is a liberating concept.

Emily said...

Love the checklist! I'm the opposite...I tend to organize simply for the sake of, well, organizing! I make checklists just so I can check things off, etc. It's rather tragic, really. However, an organized space really is so much less stressful and so much more pleasant than a clutter-filled unorganized room.

Anonymous said...

LOL!! My family would complain "OH NO, mom is changing things again." When we 1st moved in I didn't know where I wanted things, especially the kitchen. You have to live in it for awhile to get to know the place. I keep things really simple. Not alot of stuff.

Joyful said...

Hi, I'm new to your blog and was poking around tonight. I was really interested in the blog on organizing your drawers but the link doesn't seem to be working.