Organizing can be challenging-especially when we look at our spaces and all we see is chaos. It can be overwhelming and hard to know where to begin. Wonder how we, at Abundance Organizing, teach our professional organizers to tackle a space? It’s all about perspective. Mindy has been teaching organizing professionals how to assess the core issues in spaces for over a decade. Here are her tips on tackling a project through the eyes of a professional organizer:
Determine the Vision:
Envision how you would like to use the space in an ideal world. It is most important to do this step first, before the others. The Vision will inform the following categories. Go beyond what the space looks like. Don’t just think about wanting the kitchen island to be clear. Go one step further and think about what you want the kitchen island to be used for. Vision is dictated by function. Think about what you want to be doing in the space? Who is there with you?
Plan to evict anything that doesn’t fit with the Vision. Duplication and excess will only create clutter. Here is Mindy’s favorite organizing quote from Barbara Hemphill: “Clutter is unmade decisions.”
Plan to Use Space and Structures:
How can you maximize capacity in existing space? Look for any unused space – the backs of doors, on the wall, in benches etc. Mindy says: “If you look inside a cabinet or closet and you can see wall, you haven’t maximized the space.” Repurpose key furniture pieces to store items that support the vision for the space.
Introduce Storage Solutions:
Group together like items or items used for the same purpose. You want to think about ease of accessibility. Visibility is also important and best when using clear materials or adding in labels. Consider size and weight of items when you decide how to store them. Don’t put heavy items on top or bottom shelf, don’t make a bin too heavy to lift without straining.
Investigate Habits and Behaviors:
What patterns are contributing to the issues? Who is impacting the space? Think through to find the habits and behaviors before trying to solve the problem. You will learn so much about how to tackle this organizing project through this tip.
Enhance Aesthetics and Ergonomics:
Mindy says: “You will be more inclined to use an appealing system than an unappealing one.” Make sure your solution sparks! Incorporate techniques from design, like using color and repetition. It’s worth investing a little extra budget in touches like matching hangers, colorful bins, or a premium adjustable desk. Make sure lighting is bright enough for visibility; people generally like to avoid dark, dreary spaces. In workspaces like offices, craft rooms, and workshops, make sure you can remain physically comfortable for long stretches of time by using well designed chairs, wrist pads, gel floor mats, and other ergonomic enhancements.
Mindy says: “If a space is not safe and healthy, then other organizing techniques have little value.” Look to correct safety concerns like trip hazards on floors and stairs, tall stacking on upper shelves, overloaded electrical outlets, extension cords, expired food/medications, and obstructed or blocked exits. Here is a great blog post about 10 signs that clutter is unsafe. If safety is the main concern in a space due to extreme clutter, you may need additional resources to help out.
For more support, check out our Abundance Declutter Group on Facebook. Ask any and all questions about tackling a project. We are all on a declutter and organizing journey together!