More often than not, clients come to us with a simple goal of getting organized. Their only request is wanting tidy, clear surfaces, and to be rid of the clutter that is causing them stress.
And, of course, this is a fantastic goal, however Room to Breathe firmly believes in digging deeper and creating a customized organizing system that takes into account your personal habits and life style, what you and your family need from the space, and creating a streamlined way to maintain and thrive within the systems we help implement.
Organizing expert Peter Walsh suggests asking yourself these four questions before you begin any organizing project. The answers will allow you to see your space more holistically, and set goals for how you want and need the space to work best for you going forward.
This small shift will yield huge success in the longevity and satisfaction of your organized space.
What is your vision for the space?
What feelings come up for you when you enter a space in your home that needs to be organized?
What would you rather it feel like? Perhaps some words that come to mind may be: light, spacious, productive, focused?
Getting a clear idea of how you want your space to feel is the best way to stay on track as you work through your organizing project.
(Calm, clear, and cozy are three words that often resonate with our team in any space we live or work in.)
What function does this space need to serve?
This is all about realizing why you want to organize your space. What is it that you want to achieve? What function(s) does the space need achieve in order to optimally work for you and your family? Example – do you keep paper copies of bills or receipts? You may need to focus on adding a filing system or improving on the one you already have. Does your kitchen table become a dumping ground for unopened mail, homework, and lunch boxes? Perhaps some thoughtful rejigging of how your kitchen space is used and incorporating some small storage solutions to support this use may be all that's needed to mitigate this.
Where are the zones?
Zones are areas dedicated to a specific task. Using the example above of the kitchen/dining room space, some zones you may want to consider include:
Shared family meals
Homework/Home Office Use
School lunch preparation
Technology Charging Station
Some zones you may want to consider for other spaces in your home could include:
Reading Area/ Book Storage
'To be Returned' basked (library books, things to be returned to stores, loaned items...)
Food Storage/Emergency Preparedness
Taking some time before you start organizing to clearly define your zones and realistically outlining your personal needs for the space, ensures everything in your day to day life has a home and is accounted for.
What is the limit?
One of the first steps in organizing is to PURGE. It is important to downsize the number of items you have before you begin organizing, keeping only what is essential and needed, while taking into consideration the limits of your physical space and how much it can store.
Sometimes people find it hard to purge items that they've spent money on or may need again some day. Try asking yourself this: If I ever need to replace this item, could I do it in less than 20 minutes or for less than 20 dollars? If you answered yes, it’s OK to let it go. Another good question to ask yourself is, “Is it worth storing and taking up space in my house and mind?” If your gut tells you no, go with that. Additionally - consider if it something that, if you were to need it down the line, you might be able to borrow it from a friend or family member. For example - if you are holding on to extra dishes and cutlery because once a year you host a large family gathering, perhaps it's worth asking a relative to borrow a set of plates and forks for your next event rather than storing underutilized items in your home.
Asking yourself these four questions will set you off on the right foot. And, if you feel like you could use a little guidance working through these questions, feel free to give us call.
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