Learn how to organize your home, the way the professionals do. Today, most Professional Organizers, with the exception of Marie Kondo, use the system I’m about to share with you. And to be fair, Marie uses some of these concepts in some form or another. This method is tried and true, and will help you organize your home, or just about anything else you want to organize.
The S.P.A.C.E. Process
The S.P.A.C.E. process originates from Julie Morgenstern’s book – Organizing from the Inside Out. I have been using this process myself for years, and it is the process taught by the Professional Organizers of Canada. The book was also VOTED “#1 ORGANIZING BOOK IN 2006” by the Los Angeles Chapter of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers), so the process has been around for a while and it has stood the test of time.
So, let’s get started with this process and help you organize your SPACE ….
is for Sort. Sort your belongings into categories of similar things. If you’re organizing your dresser drawers, empty them all out and put all your socks together, all your t-shirts together, all your yoga pants together, etc. If you’re organizing your pantry, pull everything out and put all your cereals together, all your soups together, all your juices together, etc. You don’t necessarily need to organize all your like items at once. For example, if you have a large number of books in several rooms, it may be a bigger job than you have time to tackle in one organizing session. But the more like items you can gather in one spot the better.
This exercise serves a couple of purposes, and they both lead into the next couple of steps. The first purpose is to see just what you really have. When all your socks are piled together in one place, you can see just how many you have and once you do, you might have an easier time parting with (purging) some of them.
Secondly, it can help you see what is taking up valuable real-estate in your home and then you can decide if it really needs to be hanging around at all (i.e. it should be purged) or whether it can be housed (i.e. Assigned a Home) a little further off the beaten path.
is for Purge. Get rid of things that no longer serves you. Marie Kondo would say ‘Let go of anything that doesn’t bring you joy.’ Well, my taxes don’t exactly fit into that category, but I know that CRA says I need to keep 7 years worth of my tax info. So much has been written about the purging process, from what questions to ask yourself to where to get rid of things. I won’t repeat all of that here. I may write about the questions at some point, but for now I will point you to our Resources page for where to get rid of things.
is for Assign a Home. This is probably my number one organizational rule. I am pretty adamant about having a place for things, and generally having everything in its place. I find with this one rule, even if chaos has reigned for several weeks in my home, I can still put my hands on just about anything at a moments notice. Whether its batteries or light bulbs or a specific piece of paper, I know where it is.
When assigning homes for your things, there are a couple of general rules to follow.
a) Store all like items together in one spot. There may be some exceptions to this rule; for example, if you have multiple bathrooms in your home, you probably want to store some supplies in each one. If you have special light bulbs for the chandelier in your dining room you may want to store these light bulbs in the dining room instead of with the rest of the standard light bulbs stored in your laundry room.
b) Keep the things you use most often closest to the area where they are used and between knee and shoulder height. This is your prime real estate! Less often used items can be stored on higher or lower shelves, with heavy items stored low, and lighter weight items stored up high (to prevent injuries). For example, if you use your coffee maker every day, then storing it in a prime spot on your kitchen counter is a good idea. But if you only use it occasionally, you might consider tucking it away in a cupboard and using the counter space for cooking or for another more frequently used gadget.
c) Items that get only occasional or seasonal use can be stored in more remote locations: basement, attic, storage room or shed. This could include things like holiday decorations or seasonal clothing.
is for Containerize. Boxes, baskets, hooks, bins, shelves, – there is no end to the different ways you can containerize your things. This is the part of organizing that most people have the most fun with. So much so, that many people will run out and buy storage containers before they’ve even considered the first 3 steps. I know I’ve done this before, but with age comes wisdom. Hold off on purchasing containers until you’ve sorted, purged, and assigned homes. Then you will know how much stuff you’re dealing with and where exactly the storage containers need to fit.
Before you buy, it’s always a good idea to see what you have on hand first. Use what you’ve already got if you can. If you’re creative at all, check out Pinterest for a gazillion ideas of how to repurpose just about anything to help you corral your stuff.
If you do decide you need to purchase new containers, be sure to take measurements first and take your tape measure with you when you shop. If it’s a pure storage area, using multiple containers of the same style will help the space look more organized. If it’s a bookcase or open storage space, you might want to mix and match two or three different container styles for aesthetics. But a mix of too many different types of containers can look chaotic.
When purchasing containers, consider what makes most sense for the space. Should the containers be closed to protect the contents (for example, seasonal clothing) or should they be open for easy access (example, bins in a pantry).
is for Evaluate. No matter how great a job you do in organizing your space, you will need to evaluate periodically and do some tweaking to your systems. At some point you might even need to do a complete overhaul. Why is this? Because real life is nothing like the static pictures you see in magazines. In real life, you have ‘stuff’ coming in and out of your house every single day. And there is a whole myriad of stuff that comes and goes with each season of your life (school, work, marriage, kids, teenagers, empty nest just to name a few). And even on your first big organizing go-round, there may have been things you weren’t quite ready to part with, but a couple of years from now you’ll wonder why these things are still hanging around. So, to stay organized, you’ll need to evaluate and adjust once in a while.
So there you have it – A tried and true method for organizing anything. Depending on how much stuff you have or how busy your schedule is, it may still be a challenge for you to get started. If that’s the case, drop us a line or give us a call. We’d love to help you out.