In any business, organizing is a process of establishing work required, the flow of work and grouping of activities related to that work. It really isn’t that different when you apply this to your home or small office.
In the professional organizing industry we like to use the acronym SPACE – Sort, Purge, Assign, Containerize and Evaluate. These 5 basic principles will guide you through the organizing process and allow you to organize pretty much anything.
Sort: This is where you evaluate your items that you wish to organize and sort them into broad categories, placing like items with like items. You can then further sort your broad categories into smaller ones.
For instance, if you’re sorting clothing, begin with placing all your long, short and sleeveless tops in one pile then further refine it into 3 separate piles: one for sleeveless, one for short sleeve, and one for long sleeve. This will help you clearly see how much you have of each type of item.
I recently sorted my husband’s tee shirts in this exact same way. He was surprised at just how many tee shirts he had and was able to purge which included quite a few shirts he just doesn’t wear any longer.
Purge: Purge can sound like a lot of things to a lot of people and can be scary to some, but think of it as the stage where you decide what will stay and what will go. It does not have to mean these are the items you are throwing out in the garbage. We want to keep as much out of the landfill as possible. Make separate piles for items you are going to donate (it can be a charity or to family); put away (those items that belong in another room or space); sell (via an on-line sale site, garage sale, second-hand store, etc.) or throw away (items for garbage or recycle). Don’t be too sentimental with items. After all, you are going through this process for a reason.
Assign : This is where you determine the best place to store items based on how you function on a daily basis. Ask yourself these questions: Where is this supposed to be stored? Where is the most convenient place for me to keep this where it is most often used or needed? Give some thought as to how you work, what your reach limitations are, etc. Don’t put items away that you need often and have to get the step ladder out for.
Containerize: Once you have completed the previous steps, you can shop your own home or office for the appropriate sized containers, or go out shopping for the containers you need to adequately store the items you have. Remember to store items in containers using the smallest possible container that will house all of the items in a particular category.
Try to always use clear totes to easily identify what is inside and always label containers. Choose decorative bins and baskets if you wish that will fit in with your décor if these are to be left out.
Evaluate: Now that you have completed the first four steps of the process you need to conduct regular on-going evaluations to maintain the organization that you have now implemented in your space.
These processes will give you a good start on your next project in getting organized so you can calm the chaos. Get your project started and let me know how you’re making out. I would love to hear from you.