If you’re sick and tired of your home going from clutter free to a mess within days of a good tidy and clean – then you’re in exactly the right place. When you create a space for everything in your home, then it works so much better for you and helps you rather than hinders – ready to get started?…
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’s also the key to having a more organised home.
Having a space for everything should help you move towards a more organised life – after all – 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 – and so can the rest of the family!
It makes sense to see your house as one whole. Split it up into zones that support how you want to use each & every space in it.
Looking at it as a whole ensures that you make the most of the space you have, and will also highlight where you don’t have enough space for things, so you can change them to work for you properly.
This may just be the key you are missing to a home that works for you and your family…
It’s far easier to use an example, so let’s use my own home.
I’ll take 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…
STEP ONE – KNOW YOUR SPACE
First things first.
To look at your home as a whole, you need to be able to see it all clearly – so the first step it to get yourself a copy of your floor plan for your home.
It doesn’t have to be accurate – so you could either use a rough floor plan that you have drawn yourself, or you may have a copy from the estate agents details when you bought the house. You just want to see each space in your home in one glance…
Why do this?
Well – when you go around your own home, you tend to miss things.
We become blind to what we see, and that’s when our habits set in and we end up doing the same things day in day out.
Having a new way of looking at your home (i.e. on paper) ensures that you can look at it with fresh eyes.
You won’t be defined by what’s already there.
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 I’ve labelled our rooms as we use them in the plan above.
..but if you don’t – now’s the time to get this sorted!
TIP – 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.
At this stage you may already start to see problems in your own home that you hadn’t seen before.
Think about things like: –
- How do you use each room at the moment? – as soon as you label a room and give it a purpose, you start to define your home and how it works.
- Does everyone use the rooms for the same purpose? – If everyone calls things different names (family room / playroom/dining room for example) that’s how things can start to get disorganised and messy.
- What works?
- What doesn’t work?
- 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…
- Where’s 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).
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.
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….
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 what’s needed in your house – and what isn’t!.
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.
You want every space to work as hard as possible for you, 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…).
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’s my floor plan with the functions of each room defined:-
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’ll have a defined space for everything in your home. Whether you’re starting from scratch, or just need to check whether what you’ve 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. (I keep a copy in my HOME FILE so I can refer back to it as and when I need to).
Have you got a definite purpose, function and a space for everything in your house?
If you haven’t – this may well be the reason that your home never feels as organised and “finished” as you’d like…
Maybe it’s worth getting your floor plan out and having a rethink….. let me know how you get on!
…and once you’ve got your plan sorted, it’s time to think about decluttering your home and moving things to the right place – so CLICK HERE and let’s get started on that!