Sunday, August 09, 2009

Organizing Your Home


My Dad was an engineer (mechanical & electrical). His mind worked in a very linear fashion. Mine, growing up was all over the place. In retrospect, I should have congratulated him while he was alive for not pulling all his hair out or mine for that matter.

His repetitive truths have come back to me at certain times during my life.
“Close the door because the heater is on….you don’t live in a barn”
“Bad company makes for bad habits.”
“You need to make your decisions, don’t let life default choices for you.”
“Measure twice & cut once, except in your case. Measure four times and cut once.” HA! HA!

The last listed is the one that sticks with me the most while organizing. Let’s start with a list of DO’s and DON’T”s.

* Try to do everything at once.
* Buy storage or organizing items until you have finished your purge & sort. You may not have realized you already have something that fits in that spot perfectly.

* Make your tasks manageable with the time you have available. Try 15 minutes at a time. I needed to make it a game with a timer to stop me from distractions or dawdling.
* Realize it will look a bit messier before it looks fabulous.
* Clean up! Wipe, sweep, vacuum or dust before returning everything back.
* Repurpose anything that is “beautiful, useful or joyful” before purchasing new.
* Focus on one task at a time to keep the mess from spreading too far.
* Use this mantra: completely empty, sort, purge, clean and put back.

Let’s start with the 3 A’S….. ASK yourself these questions.

1. What works in this room? Ex. – I love where my spice rack is for its ease of use or I love how my island stores my bowls. You get the idea.

2. What doesn’t work in this room? Ex. – My dishes are in a cupboard too far away from the dishwasher / sink or my counter is cluttered and I sure would love to use that work space. Again, you get the idea.

3. What is essential? Ex. – What do I really use? Not the rice cooker or sandwich grille, but I do use the blender, can opener, food processor….

4. What is causing the clutter? Julie Morgenstern states it best. “Clutter is rarely caused by incompetence or laziness. Typically it is caused by technical error, such as in the way you’re setting up your system.” You may have a heavy workload, sick child, parent or partner and have no time to maintain order. You may desire order but find chaos as your comfort zone and think “I work best in crisis mode. Figuring this out will help you stay organized.

5. Why do I want to get organized? For me it wasn’t to say “Look! My home is organized! It was to so I could grab and go, wear the hats I had to without forgetting something, find the papers I needed for school, work, accountant or to entertain without freaking out.

ANALYZE your areas or zones

How do I use this area? Break your room into mental areas or zones.
What functions or activities take place in this room?
Do I do entertaining?
Is this a homework area? Cooking area? Computer area?
How will you “create” your “islands” of activities?

ATTACK your clutter

If you question whether you should get rid of it, don’t agonize. Put it in a box that you can revisit six months later. If you didn’t need it in that time frame, you probably will not in the future. CAUTION: This is an exception to the rule. Don’t box everything for questioning later.

REMEMBER: Beautiful, Useful or Joyful. Conquer one thing at a time: I started with
Drawers ........Cabinets ..........Under the Sink ..........Hanging Storage ..........Countertops & Work Surfaces ..........Shelves ..........
Refrigerator & Freezer..........Pantry ..........Kitchen Table

Happy Organizing

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