Many clients contact me after completing a DIY organizing project, only to find themselves back in the same situation after a few weeks or month.
What went wrong? They jumped into the project with both feet, without taking the time to draw up a plan first.
Although it may seem like more work, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration by following these steps for planning your organized space.
Step 1 – List the activities that take place in each room.
It may be helpful to download a Room Function Chart from Peter Walsh’s book It’s All Too Much. This handy tool allows you to capture:
- The room’s current function
- The room’s ideal function
- Who uses the room
- Who should use the room
- What the room needs to contain in order to support the activities that take place there
- What has to go
Print several copies, so each family member can fill one out for every room.
Step 2 – Create a vision of your organized space.
Hold a family meeting to review your completed Room Function Charts. Use the information to set common goals and plan a vision of your organized space and how to make it reality.
Step 3 – Identify which activity zones are needed in each room.
Activity zones are the basis of Julie Morgenstern’s Kindergarten Model of Organization, as described in her best-seller, Organizing from the Inside Out. If you look at a kindergarten class, you’ll see that it’s divided into zones for the various activities that take place there: music, art, reading, snacks, and so on. This same principle can be applied to your home.
For example, a child’s bedroom may include zones for sleeping, playing, getting dressed, and doing homework. Your kitchen likely requires zones for food preparation, cooking, dishwashing and storage, food storage, and household information.
Step 4 – Determine what supplies are needed for each activity.
Items should ideally be stored in the rooms in which they’re used. If you only read in bed, why keep the books in the living room?
Keeping things where they’re used most often will minimize the need to carry things back and forth and reduce the temptation to just leave something where it is instead of putting it away.
Step 5 – Assess your available space.
Now that you’ve identified the best place to store various items, you’ll need to figure out how much will realistically fit in each space.
Keep in mind that you can maximize your vertical space by using bookcases, cabinets, shelves, or hooks. Built-ins help make the best use of your space, as do double duty furnishings with drawers or shelves.
Consider storage units you already own and what you may need to purchase, but don’t buy anything just yet.
Step 6 – Map out your space.
Within each room, plan your zones around your natural habits and preferences.
Do you prefer to read by a window or a lamp? Plan your reading zone accordingly.
Be sure to also consider the relationship between various activities. For example, setting up a reading or homework zone near the TV is not recommended for obvious reasons.
Although there’s specialized software for creating floor plans, you don’t need to go to that much trouble. You can simply use regular graph paper or a free online tool such as Floorplanner.
Step 7 – Draw up a schedule.
You’ll most likely need to rearrange some of your furniture and storage units, and to move supplies to their newly created zones. Figure out the best time to do this, and be sure to allow more time than you think you’ll need so you’re not rushed. You may need to bring in some burly friends or paid help to handle some of the heavy lifting.
Step 8 – Move everything that needs to be moved.
Pause to give yourself a pat on the back – you’re almost done!
Step 9 – Identify what storage units, if any, are needed to complete the plan.
Once everything is in its new home, you’ll have a better sense of how well it all fits.
Now that all like items are gathered together, you may find that you have more than you need. Get rid of the surplus before you figure out if you need to buy any baskets, bins, shelving, or other storage units.
Step 10 – Develop routines to maintain your organized space.
Although organizing your home into zones will help you confine items to the area in which they’re used most often, you still have to make an effort. Getting in the habit of dealing with paperwork as it comes in and filing things right away will go a long way towards keeping clutter under control.
So there you have it: 10 steps for planning an organized space! If it feels a bit overwhelming, keep in mind that Spot On can help you through any or all of the steps. Contact us for more information.