This blog covers all manner of topics about getting organised – from planning out your home, to decluttering, to organising everything that’s left. Today I wanted to look at something that I have frequently been asked about and that is how to make sure that when you put things in the place you want them to be – they make the most of the space available, and they work really well for you and how you live.
At the start of your organising (if you are following my A.D.O.R.E method) you will have looked at the spaces in your home and decided on where things would be best placed – roughly. Decluttering then allows you to move things around until everything you want to keep is in the right place, and then comes the organising stage.
Organising is making the best use of the space you have to create a really functional (and pretty if you like!) area that supports how you live – and the first step to organising is to ask yourself a few questions.
The questions below are all questions that need to be asked when organising any space – they help you to understand the space available and use it to its maximum potential. You may already do this thinking without even realising – but if you are stuck on a specific area, then some of the following may be really helpful to focus on what you really need to achieve in the space.
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- #1 – Am I wanting to store this item in a place near where it will be used the most?
- You will always save time and energy if you store items nearest where you use them. More importantly, it means they are much more likely to be put back as well!
- #2 – Will the area I want to store the item be accessible to all who need to access it?
- If you want children to be able to reach their own snacks so they can make up their lunches for school – then it’s no good housing them on the top shelf where they can’t reach them. However organised that top shelf is, it is pretty much useless for purpose. Always make it easy for anyone who needs what you are organising, to access it.
- #3 – Is there enough space in the area to store all the items grouped together?
- In an ideal world you would keep everything of one type together. i.e. all scissors, all pairs of jeans, all spare batteries etc…. – this makes it infinitely easier to keep organised as you will always know where things go. However, some collections are larger/smaller than others – so always try and work out whether the groupings will fit in the space you ideally want them to be. Much better to move into a larger space than have to put them in more than one area, and much better to put them in a smaller space than waste a lot of available storage.
- #4 – How often will the item(s) need to be accessed?
- This is crucial – because there are levels of ease that you want to attach to your things. Items that are used frequently should be put within easy reach without the need for bending or stretching, and items used only once in a while can be in the harder to get to spaces as you won’t mind bending and stretching occasionally for these things.
- #5 – Do the items need any special storage?
- Some items need to be kept in certain conditions – dark / dry / cold / air tight / special packaging etc…. – and these all need to be considered as well when giving things a home. If you get this wrong then you run the risk of damaging the item so that is unusable and therefore what was the point of storing it anyway?
- #6 – What would the best way to store this item be?
- For example – clothing. Dresses tend to be hung, jumpers tend to be folded. Another example would be batteries, where you need to store them carefully so that their ends are not touching (I read somewhere that this is a fire risk). A lot of your items will have a “best” way to store them, so always try and store them in this way as it will elongate their life if looked after properly.
- #7 – If I store the item in the space I want to store it – is it the best use of the space?
- You may have already tried to organise a drawer/cupboard/room where the items don’t make the best use of the space. Whether it be a whole room that is being used for the wrong purpose, or a drawer that contains just a couple of little things. If the space could be used better – then try and think outside the box and move things around until you have maximised the space you have available. This ultimately means less storage needs, more space, and less clutter.
- #8 – Can I use any tools to help maximise the storage area even more?
- In my baking/herb and food cupboards I have maximised the high shelves by adding in tiered storage of different varieties. This means that I get double the storage space easily – all because I found a product that could help. Always be on the look out for products that give you these advantages – but remember to measure the space you have so you can get something that fits well and doesn’t end up wasting space all over again!
- #9 – Double check – do I really need the item, and do I need as many of the items as I am trying to store?
- I always add this one at the end. We sometimes get so focused on trying to organise our stuff and make it fit into spaces, that we can overlook the fact that we don’t actually need some (or all) of what we are trying to organise! It is always worth looking again at what you are organising and double checking that it is definitely needed.
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All too often we focus on WHAT we keep, rather than HOW we keep it – and to be truly organised, you need to have decided on both aspects of the equation. The WHAT to keep is where assessing and decluttering your stuff comes in – and HOW we keep it is the organising side (along with other things!).
Hopefully the questions listed in this post can help you focus on what the space you have allows you to do, and make it work as hard as it possibly can for whatever you are wanting to keep in it – allowing you to make the best possible use of the space and giving you the room/home that you want to live in.