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A space for everything – how to make your home work for you!

Planning what goes where in your home, whatever its size or shape, will ensure that it works for everyone who lives there – and the lives that they lead. It is also key to having a more organised home, and therefore having a space for everything should help you move towards a more organised life.

If you know where things live in your house, then you can more easily find them when you need them and return them when you have finished using them – as can the rest of the household.

How to make your home work for you - a space for everything

© James Boudreaux |

I wanted to take a look today at the start of getting your home organised, and that’s to see your house as one entity – splitting it up into zones and working out whats the best way to use each and every space.

Looking at it as a whole ensures that you make the most of the space you have, and will also show when you don’t have enough space for things and have to be creative with how you use your rooms…

It’s far easier to use an example, so I shall use my own home – taking you through the steps I used to define each space and get the house organised more clearly and easily.

It’s the whole house version of the phrase “everything in its place!”

Everything will run more smoothly when you have a home for it – so let’s get started…

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STEP ONE – know your space

Get yourself a copy of your floor plan for your home – whether you have to draft a rough floor plan yourself, or you have a copy from the estate agents details when you bought the house – it doesn’t have to be totally accurate, just enough to give you a view of your home and all the space in it.

Doing this ensures that you can look at your home with fresh eyes, as if you simply go around your home and see whats in it that will subconsciously define the rooms for you (usually you keep to what you know and how you currently use the room, but we want to explore further and see if that really is the best use of the space).

Here’s my floor plan:-


You will more than likely already have a name for each room that you have (living room, family room etc…), and you can see that we have whats labelled in the plan above.

What’s definitely worth doing here as a quick aside is to ensure that each room has a definite name (i.e. no “spare” rooms) as this can lead to them becoming dumping grounds for things quite quickly.

You want to ensure that each room has a defined purpose.

Ask yourself how you live in your home, and what works and what doesn’t – as soon as you label a room and give it a purpose, you start to define your home and how it works. If everyone calls things different names (family room / playroom/dining room for example) that’s how things can start to get disorganised and messy.

Think about things like

  • Do you really need a separate dining room or is there room to eat in the kitchen that would work fine
  • Do you have to have a guest bedroom or can this be turned into a music/hobby room etc…
  • Wheres the best place for anyone working from home to work?
  • Can children share a bedroom?

The answers you give for all these type of questions will make labeling the rooms much easier.

In my own home we decided that we needed a few things:-

1. We don’t need a separate dining room as we always eat in part of the kitchen which makes things convenient and frees up our dining room to be something else instead.

2. We like having a separate lounge that is purely used in the evenings, so having a family room in the open plan living space by the kitchen makes more sense for us.

3. The kitchen is the place we spend most of our time, so should house lots of different functions – and this works well as it is a large space.

4. We need 2 bedrooms currently so what to do with the other 2? We do have lots of guests staying as most of our friends and family stay for the weekend when they visit, so we definitely need a guest bedroom. The last bedroom is the smallest of the house and could fall foul of being labelled the spare bedroom – but it has several possible uses, another guest bedroom as most people that we have to stay have children so this is a really useful thing to have, it is also next to the master bedroom so could become a dressing room – or it could even become a nursery again if we extend our family. At present it can have dual purpose of guest bedroom and room for clothes as this fits what we need right now (but it’s good to have a plan should things change!).

5. Having a space for the office outside (just the old garage, not shown on the floor plan) means we can be completely separate from the house when needed (this is useful for storing everything office related so even though I don’t always sit in it – is freezing in winter! it still is really useful throughout the year)

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STEP TWO – Define what you need your home for

This step is simply a brainstorm of everything you need and use your home for.

It’s a two pronged attack – firstly what activities you do in the space, and secondly what storage needs you have.

For instance:-

Activities that happen in the house

Cooking/Eating/Sleeping/Socialising/working from home/homework/craft/Watching TV/Computer games/Laundry/Playing with toys/Washing and hygiene/ playing musical instruments/ guests staying over etc….

Storage needs

Washing/laundry/cleaning/linens/toiletries/food/kitchen equip/presents and wrapping/paperwork/toys/DVDs/CDs/DIY and tools/Garden items/crafts/hobbies etc……


These lists will be different for everyone, and some things will be really needed  i.e we have regular guests staying as most friends and family stay when they visit as they live further away – however other people may not have a need for guests to stay at all.

Having done this exercise will help you to really see whats needed in your house.

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STEP THREE – Define a space for everything

The last step is to use the floor plan and your list of needs in conjunction, and fit everything within the space you have.

Clearly defining each space in your home really is the key to getting organised, and although each room may have a primary function (i.e. kitchen is for food), there may be several other functions it needs to house as well (i.e. paperwork area, homework etc…).

You want every space to work as hard as possible for you.

Look at your list of storage and activity needs, and start to add them to the floor plan (A great idea is to have each item on a small bit of paper or a post it note and move them all around the floor plan until you get the layout that works the best for you).

Think about what you need to store, and have access to – and work out what the ideal place in the house for each thing is. You will want to store items closest to where you need them, so that they are not hard to get to or to put back.

The key here is to have one specific place for each type of item, so you and your family find it as easy as possible to put things back and find things when needed.

Here is my floor plan with the functions of each room defined:-

room functions and zones for everything

There may be a need to have things in several places (cleaning items may be kept in all bathrooms for instance) but on the whole, there will be one place for each item.

This is crucial to know when you are organising your home, as you will start to be able to move things to the correct place, and know where to put things back when you’ve finished.

Once you have everything in the correct room, then you can start to look at storage needs and how best to organise those things in that space – but that’s for another post!

So there you have it – if you’ve followed the steps you will have a defined space for everything in your home.  Whether you are starting from scratch, or just need to check whether what you have already got is correct for you, hopefully this little exercise has helped.

The next step that I would now do is to copy your plan and show it to everyone who lives in the house – ensure everyone knows what goes where (at least which room or zone it goes in for now until it’s all organised) and you should start to see a real difference in how much easier your home runs.

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This is a step by step guide to helping you plan out the spaces in your home so you use every inch and get the most out of it

So, have you got a definite purpose, function and space for everything in your house? Is that where you are falling down when it comes to getting organised – do you find that you have bits from different functions spread all over the house?

Maybe its worth getting your floor plan out and having a rethink….. let me know how you get on!


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6 Responses to A space for everything – how to make your home work for you!

  1. Chrissy @ Organise My House Sep 20, 2015 at 6:06 pm #

    Hi Nichole – good question, and that’s a really difficult one to answer as you are stuck in limbo with this scenario and I really feel for you.

    What I might suggest is seeing if you can rent out a room to make more income perhaps?

    • Nichole Sep 20, 2015 at 10:28 pm #

      I think you misunderstand. If I’m organizing my house, I sure as heck don’t want to bring the disorganization of an extra person into it. I’m just curious what you do with that extra space (without bringing unnecessary items in).

      • Chrissy @ Organise My House Sep 21, 2015 at 10:17 am #

        Hi Nichole – thanks for clarifying your question. What I would do is a two fold attack then really – if you are trying to sell your home then I would stage each room with a definite purpose, and spread out what you have left in your home so that no space feels forgotten. This will help buyers see how each room can be used.

        If you are staying in your home then I would spread things out as well, but to suit you and how you live. It would be lovely to create a dressing room in a spare upstairs room as a bit of luxury, and would give you extra space in your bedroom so you would feel even more decluttered! Embrace the new found space and enjoy it!

  2. Deb Jan 17, 2015 at 1:30 am #

    I have 4 kids at home (2 adult children not living at home) and my hubby’s business and my fundraising adventure to take care of. Time is one of those things I wish I could manage better, right next to money & not waste it unnecessarily. Clutter is such a time waster for me, and I am excited to go on this journey and apply, consider options and ask my self the challenging questions you pose to us all. Thank you!

  3. Alexander Nov 28, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    Love this article! I am a single father of two daughters and my time is limited. So, when I search for something in the house I prefer to find it faster. Thanks a lot for the tips!

  4. Amanda Oct 13, 2014 at 6:47 am #

    I have three children and you can imagine how hard is for me to keep the house tidy. I am always looking for something that have disappeared because of my three angels. Great article!I will definitely try these advices. Regards!

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