You just spent a whole weekend de-cluttering and organizing your home. You took all the right steps: things were tossed, you sorted "likes with likes", and even bought containers that you labeled perfectly. And in the end, it looks amazing and you feel even better (Marie Kondo, who?). So WHY is it that sooner rather than later it looks like the same mess you had before? And WHY is it that the bins and labels somehow seem to of made it WORSE? HOW is that even possible?
The answer is actually really simple. You got organized, but you were missing a system.
Now don't get me wrong. Tossing items, sorting likes with likes, and labeling containers are a great start. But without implementing a system, that beautiful solution is impossible to maintain, even for a professional organizer like myself. We have incredibly busy lives, and although an organized space is beautiful, the entire purpose is to create a space that doesn't require extra effort, or constant reorganizing. You should only ever have to reorganize when your needs for the space change.
I am a very firm believer that being organized is for the lazy. When I say lazy, I mean that if something takes extra effort purely for the goal of it to look nice and neat, eventually you won't do it. Because let's be real, we all have much bigger fish to fry - am-I-right?
Think of it this way. If every time you brushed your hair, you had to walk across the hall to grab your brush from the closet, eventually that brush would end up sitting on the counter all the time, because convenience is king. This same logic applies to any space you are organizing in your home or office.
A system means creating a space that flows with you and your needs to make things easier and more efficient.
So how do you determine the right system for your space?
The key is to build the space around your lifestyle. This one is simple and complicated all at once. And to be completely honest, not everyone thinks this way (and that's okay! This is why professional organizers exist). It can be overwhelming to think through how you would ideally use a space when you are staring at its current state. Even staring at a blank slate, it can be hard.
So to make things easier, I'm giving you my proven 3 step method:
1. Before you get started, walk through the space and do a few of the things you normally would. Ask yourself... What do you find convenient? What do you find inconvenient? If you moved those inconveniently placed items would things flow smoother? Jot your thoughts down and make note of where items could go.
2. Take those notes and organize your items accordingly (this is easier said than done when you are working with a large space such as a garage or a kitchen, but the steps are still the same - it will just take a much heftier chunk of time).
3. Play around with this layout. This can take a few tries to get right, but it's important that you walk through it a few times to fix anything that doesn't make sense. For pantries, are your high use/perishable items within eye-sight? For linen closets, are your sheets and towels crammed into a shelf, or easy to access?
Once you have found the layout that requires the least amount of effort on your part, you have found the right system for your space!
Remember that your environment carries a lot of weight on your daily life, and your life is always worth investing in! Whether it be time or money, the investment will pay off tenfold. Imagine coming home to an environment completely catered to your every need, how much EASIER and SIMPLER life would be. More time for the things that matter. Less time wasted trying to win the uphill battle of organizing and reorganizing, or even worse, dealing with a constant mess.
What spaces in your home could use a system overhaul to make your life easier?
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