Organizing the physical spaces in our lives can be a daunting task, especially if you’re looking at organizing every area of your home, office, car and all the spaces in-between! Today I thought I would share the steps I take when I’m organizing a...
I go into a space armed with my supplies and ready to get the job done.
I make sure I have:
3 large garbage bags or cardboard boxes
Paper and a clipboard (for visualization)
Pen and sharpie
3 pieces of paper labeled:
Sometimes I add label for ‘Sell’. It depends on the space I’m organizing.
Coffee or water
Identify the Spaces Purpose
The very first thing I do before I even touch a space is identify what the spaces purpose is. Is it a living area? A linen closet? A family area? Dinning? Sleeping? I look at the space and identify what purpose it needs to serve for our family. This usually takes me about 5 minutes to complete.
Visualize The Space
After I’ve identified the spaces purpose, I visualize what the space will ultimately look like. I’ve been a big believer in visualization ever since I was a figure skater and then coach all those years ago. Visualization is the “formation of mental visual images” which in this case is picturing what the space will look like once its totally completed. I also like to take a pen and paper and write down any thoughts on the space, as well as drawing out any floor plans or diagrams of how I will organize and design that space. It’s important for me to note during this time I do not think of what storage solutions I will need, because I don’t actually know what will be coming back into the space. Only after I have identified what will be brought back into the space will I look at storage for those objects.
Visualizing the space and what it will ultimately look like takes me about 15 minutes. Normally I’ve been thinking and visualizing a space in the back of my mind for a number of days before tackling a project to begin with.
Now the time comes to roll up my sleeves and get the job done.
Removing the emotion from the organizational process is my key to successfully purging and designing a space that we love and that truly works for us.
Take Everything Out
This is honestly my favorite part of my process. I set up my 3 bags or containers in another room of the house (preferably a room beside the space im working) and attach the 3 labeled pieces of paper to each. One box becomes ‘Toss’ the other ‘Donate’ and the third ‘Relocate’. Now that my work area is set up I’m ready to empty the space. I take every single thing out of the space I’m organizing and brutally and honestly assess it to see where it needs to go.
I look at each item and think:
Does it belong in this space? (if not, move to the ‘relocate’ bin)
Does it serve the rooms purpose? (if not, move to ‘relocate’ bin)
Is it utilized? Does it serve a purpose? Do I still love it? (if not, move to the ‘donate’ bin)
Is it broken or damaged? (if it is, move to the ‘toss’ bin)
The process of moving and assessing everything out of a space can take me anywhere between 15 minutes to 2 hours depending on the size and the objects in the space. For example, working on our linen closet or cleaning cupboard will take me about 10 minutes to empty, assess each item and place in the correct box or bag. Whereas our play area in the den can take up to 2 hours since I have a small helper working with me, it all depends on the space. As I mentioned before, I am brutal and 100% honest with myself when removing objects from a space. I have always held very little emotional attachment to objects, which makes it incredibly simple to remove them without guilt. Removing the emotion from the organizational process is my key to successfully purging and designing a space that we love and that truly works for us.
Once the space has been completely emptied I move onto my next step, which is my second favorite lets be honest.
Now that the space has been completely cleared its time for me to go back in with my cleaning supplies and deep clean it. Check out this blog post for a list of my natural cleaners and how I clean everything in our home.
Putting Things Back
So, the space has been cleared out, deep cleaned and looks sparkly. First I look at my drawing that I made of the space and move the bigger objects back in to where I’ve visualized they should go. Now it’s time for me to move smaller items back into the space that I’ve identified as belonging there. Normally there will be much less going back into a space then what was taken out. At this point, of returning items back into a space, I also look to see if I need any storage solutions. In all honesty I normally don’t need any additional storage solutions. That being said, If I do recognize that I need some kind of system in place I first search within my house for something I already own. That could be a cardboard box, basket that needs a new purpose, container that can be used etc. I get creative and use existing solutions.
Working my way through objects going back into the space usually takes me between 10 minutes and 1 hour depending on the size. Since I have visualized where everything will be stored, what the room will look like when its done and what the purpose of the space dictates lives there it becomes very quick to complete the project.
The Other Boxes
Now I’m left with two (or three) boxes, the ‘Toss’ and ‘Donate boxes.
Toss - For items that will need to be discarded I look to see if they will need to be recycled or properly thrown out. If I can, I try and fit them in our bins we currently have at home. For any larger objects that need to be taken to the dump I conscript my Husband to do a ‘tip’ run.
Donate - I love our area because we have several charities that will offer pickups about once a month. I try and arrange my purge and organization of a space as close to a pick up day as possible. If I need to store my donation bags I use my cleaning closet so they’re out of the way, but still accessible.
Sell - If I added a ‘Sell’ box I identify what service I will be using to sell them and list them immediately. Some services I love using are:
Facebook marketplace (for objects) - I use FB Marketplace to sell items quickly, from toys to home decor and larger items.
ThredUP (for clothing) - This service is great because it sends you a bag to fill with clothing you would like to list to consing. ThredUP takes a commission and you get a check when everything sells.
The Real Real (for clothing) - My favorite for designer consignment! The Reel Reel lists on their website and pays you by check as well.
There are several other services that you can sell through including Ebay, Poshmark and Craigslist to name a few.
And that my friends, is how I organize every space in our lives. From closets to the car this is my process. I hope you found some of it helpful! And if you do be sure to let me know, share with your friends or tag me on social media!