Are you ready to get organized but don’t know where to start? Whether cleaning out a closet, kitchen cabinets or kid’s room, follow my S.P.A.C.E. formula to make the task manageable, methodical and rewarding. The key to succeeding with the SPACE formula is to do every one of the steps, and most importantly, to do them in order. Attack and complete one room at a time for the biggest sense of accomplishment and success.
Sort: No matter what you are organizing, from papers to clothes to toys, start by grouping similar items just to see what you have. Clear a space on the floor, begin in one corner, and circle the room- putting each item into a category. Resist the urge to focus on throwing things out right away--it’s much easier to decide what to keep and what to toss once you have some perspective on how much you’ve accumulated in each category.
Purge: Now, going pile by pile, review the contents, asking yourself of each item: “Do I use this? Do I love this?” If you answer yes to either question, keep it. If no, out it goes. Most of us only use about 20% of everything we own. E.g. we wear the same 20% of our clothing, refer back to the same 20% of our files, and listen to the same 20% of our CDs over and over again. Still, purging is the toughest step. To make it easier, keep the following in mind:
· Toss the “no-brainers”: items that are obviously in such bad shape, and so irrelevant to your current life, that you’d never dream of using them: e.g. dried-up pens, stained, torn or pilled clothing, and rusty safety pins.
· Adopt-a-charity or friend. Give away items you bought long ago, but have never actually used – no matter how much you spent on them! It’s much easier to part with things if they’re going to a person or organization you care about.
· Focus on the payoff you’ll glean from “lightening your load”: Space—for the things you really use and love; Time—saved from searching thru all the clutter; Money—that keeping the clutter is costing you; and Satisfaction—by sharing the items, you never use, with the world.
Assign a home: Decide precisely where you’re going to store each category of keepers. Be specific- Which shelf, which drawer, which section of the rod, which side of the bed? Keep frequency of use, accessibility, and logical sequencing in mind when assigning homes. E.g. workout wear might make sense next to bathing suits. Dress shirts next to blazers.
Containerize: Containers allow you to personalize and beautify your system. By waiting until this stage to go shopping, you’ll be sure to get the exact containers you need. Make a list, measure the spaces you containers must fit into, and take your tape measure to the store. Label containers to make it easy for you and your family to remember what goes where.
Equalize: Once your system is in place, design a simple maintainance program. A well organized room takes no more than five minutes to clean up at the end of each day no matter how messy it gets. Annual “Tune-ups” will ensure your system keeps pace with your changing needs, possessions and priorities.