Friday, January 17, 2014

The Trifecta of Home Organization

The Trifecta of Home Organization
by Heather Fulcher - Professional Organizer for Hire

Step 1 – Have less stuff
The majority of us have too much stuff in our homes.  The first step to improving your organization is to purge unwanted items. Each and everything in your home needs to earn its real estate. You should either LOVE or have an immediate purpose for the majority of your belongings. The overall volume of belongings should be appropriate and proportional to the amount of space in your home.

Step 2 – Create organization systems
    “A place for everything, and everything in it’s place” - Ensure that everything has a place to live, ideally in a closed storage system (closet, cabinet, drawer).
    Sustainable systems – a sustainable organizing system is one that can easily be maintained by all of the residents of the house.  An organization system that stands the test of everyday use is one where form follows function.  Pretty or cool looking systems won’t be sustainable unless they perform the function required.
    "I can't afford this!" - Systems don’t have to cost much, by being creative and resourceful, you can use what you already have such as shoe boxes, and old yogurt containers.
Some examples of organization systems:
·    Containerize and label – you can use baskets, bins, jars, boxes, bowls, etc.
·    Install a closet organization system
·    Use a filing cabinet and create a filing system for your documents
·    Buy the necessary furniture (cabinet, dresser, filing cabinet, shelving) to organize and store your belongings so that everything has a home, and can be appropriately accessed.
·    Store your high-use belongings so they are at hand and easy to access, and ensure seasonal or low-use items are using up less accessible storage areas.

Step 3 – Habits
“Getting organized” is a task.  “Being organized” is a habit. An organized house will stay organized if the residents are in the habit of putting things back to where they belong. Ensure each member of the family is accountable towards the common goal of an organized house.

Examples of habits of organized people:
·     Less is more – organized people critically review belongings as a part of everyday life, and are constantly purging
·     One-in/One-out rule – when you buy a new pair of shoes, an old pair needs to be donated.  With the exception of consumables such as food, toiletries, unless there is an equal amount of stuff leaving the house as is entering the house, you will begin to accumulate an overabundance of belongings in your home.
·      Process your mail as soon as it comes in.  Read it, action it, then file it away.  Pin it to the bulletin board if is a work in progress.
·      Hang your coat in the closet every time you come home.
·      Fold and put away your laundry as soon as it comes out of the dryer.
·      Wash and put away your dishes after dinner each night.
·      Put the vacuum away when you are finished with it.

Strategies to developing and maintaining organizing habits:
  • Garbage management – get in the habit of putting things into the garbage can or recycling bin immediately.  Have garbage cans placed conveniently throughout your space, and empty them when they are full.
  • Task lists or assigned zones may help younger children develop organization habits. Reward the positive habits with money or privileges. Hold children accountable by confiscating belongings that are not put away, returning it if they perform a chore. 
photo credit:
Blog post by Heather Fulcher
Professional Organizer for Hire
Vancouver, BC, Canada

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