NOTE: P4s – here it is – this is your guide. Take it and run and get organized! Please come back and share your successes with us.
This is the structure we’ll follow. Read it through and mentally prepare yourself. Bookmark the page because we’re going to follow these basics for every single space we organize.
Organizing, especially whole home organization, is a very intense process – it will be almost as unsettling as the process of moving to another home. The following facts and tips will help to prepare you for the tasks you are about to undertake.
Important Tip: It’s best to tackle one area of the home at a time. Think about which areas are causing you the most problems and start with them – reference your first task and make a list.
NOTE: I recommend that you only focus on one room a month or even every two months, so that you can adjust and refine the area you’ve organized before moving to the next area. Also, plan to spend two full days for each room you organize – 8 hours each day fully dedicated to the process (two motivated people can handle the job in one 8-hour day).
• Prior to the start of the organizing process, you will need to assign a “holding” location for all items that will be labeled least used. These items will be sorted at the end of your home organization project, so plan for it to be long-term storage space if you’re working on your whole home.
• Determine your target area – the space/room which most needs your attention – you’ve done this with your list.
• Find your work area – an area large enough to temporarily contain all of the items you are going to remove and sort from your target area.
Now you are ready to begin the process of organizing. For each targeted area of organization (each item on your list), you will do the following:
1 – Assemble three boxes and a trash receptacle. The boxes are for:
- Relocate – least used items for this space, future sort projects to determine where and if they belong
- Relocate – often used, but boxed to move to more efficient location(s)
- Give Away – find pleasure in parting with this box
2 – Assign imaginary “rooms” in your work area (from above – a cleared space large enough for the contents of your target space) for your following categories:
- Return to target area – it’s a keeper and it belongs here
- Relocate to other areas of the home more appropriate for items – it would function much better in another space
- Relocate to “holding” area for final sort – you need more time to consider how to categorize these items
- Give away – to your favorite source
- Trash – yep, kick that crap to the curb
3 – All items in the target area will be removed – sorting by the above categories and quick-sorting all items returning to the target area by item type as you go. This is a quick sort and will be refined during the final steps.
4 – Make quick decisions on your items – be realistic:
- do you really need this item?
- will this item be better used by someone else?
- why are you keeping this item which holds negative emotions?
- has this item seen better days?
- can this item be very easily and affordably replaced should you ever find the need for it (speaking of those things we keep around just in case we ever need them)?
5 – Once all items are removed from target area, quickly clean target area
6 – Assign locations for items which will return to target area. Think this out a bit – put your most used items in the most easily/comfortably accessed locations. Those things that don’t get used as often can be placed into less easily accessed spaces.
For instance, in a bedroom, those pretty perfume bottles might be best kept in a fancy tray on top of your dresser, while your nail polish accessories would be better kept in a travel suitcase tucked into the closet. Think things through in similar manner.
7 – Move your chosen (and hopefully greatly reduced) items to target area
8 – Use temporary labels to help all family members adjust to new item locations
9 – Quickly move those “Relocate – Often Used” box/items to their new proper and most applicable locations/rooms
10 – Store those “Relocate – Least Used” box/items in your assigned “holding” location
11 – You’ve done it! Pat yourself on the back. Sit down and admire your newly organized space.
Important tip: Remember to give yourself time to adjust, and to get used to maintaining your newly organized space – and maintenance means that everything has its assigned space and everything must return to its place. Start your routine and stick with it to keep this space organized.
The change will be unsettling for at least a few weeks as you and your family adjust to the newly organized areas. An oft-repeated organizing theory: It takes 21 days to learn a new habit. So be prepared for the habit of being organized to take several weeks to become “natural” – stick to it, you can do it!
Move on to the next space when you are ready – saving that “holding” location for the last. Be ruthless when you get to the “holding” location – and remember that these items could be using up valuable space and keeping you emotionally bound to material objects.
You are well on your way. As you maintain your organized areas, keep these tips in mind:
- Incoming should equal Outgoing (with the exception of food items).
- Make a game of it – buy something new – purge something old.
- Remember to keep your most used items within reach – utilize your spaces to best suit your needs.
- There is always room for improvement. Regular maintenance and custom fitting for life changes is recommended. This is best accomplished with the help of a motivational friend – and can be reciprocated.