Imagine that it’s a Saturday morning and you are finally ready to organize your garage. You’ve put the task off for way too long, and today is the day you’ve decided to get it done once and for all. As you open the garage door and are staring at the cluttered contents before you, you feel overwhelmed and discouraged because you have no idea where to start. In this blog, I am going to outline a five-step process called S.P.A.C.E. to help guide your organizing.
As a Professional Organizer people tell me all the time that they are overwhelmed with their clutter and have no idea where or how to start organizing. I am going to share with you the simple process I have used for years to organize just about any space.
When I was just starting as a professional organizer over 15 years ago I read the book “Organizing from the Inside Out” by Julie Morgenstern and it gave me a system to follow when organizing. This five-step process is called the S.P.A.C.E. method because it’s an acronym for each of the steps of the process. Here’s how it goes:
This is the very first step of the process and the one that will give you a better idea of exactly what you are dealing with. Start by dividing your items into broad categories so you can better assess what you have and how much space you are going to need to store it.
Imagine that you are standing in front of your cluttered garage. Some categories to create include lawn & garden, sporting goods, and overflow household items (paper towels, bottled water, etc.). Move these items and group each category together in one area so you can easily see how much you have. Consider using empty bins or baskets to corral all the loose items in a particular category.
Now that your items are sorted, go through each category one-at-a-time and determine what you can purge. My feeling about this is to act as if you are at a store and everything in front of you is being sold at full price. Focus on the items you want to keep and the items you know you will need in the future. Make sure that the amount of items you are keeping is reasonable and that you truly want or need what you are holding on to.
Start creating a pile of items you no longer need. Once you are done going through all of your items in your space, I suggest that you either donate, sell, give away, or trash what you don’t want. Make sure it goes out immediately so it doesn’t creep back into your space!
Assign a Home:
Now that you’ve sorted your items into categories and gotten rid of anything you no longer want or need, it’s time to assign a home. The easiest way to do this is to consider your overall categories and how much space each of those categories will need in the space you are organizing.
Still using my example of a garage, you may want to keep the house overflow items such as paper towels and extra bottled water near the door leading into your home. If you have toxic chemicals such as weed killer or similar items you may want to store them up high out of reach of children or pets.
Continue to go through the space determining the home for each category of items. Sometimes you will find that an entire category of items doesn’t even belong in a space and is better suited elsewhere in your home.
Now that you have a general idea of where everything will go in your space you will likely need some way to corral and store your items in an organized way. The word “containerize” in this process is a very broad term and isn’t just limited to what you may traditionally think of as a container. In this step, a container could be a bin, hook, drawer, shelf, closet, basket, or any other type of space or product that could “contain” a category of items.
Oftentimes during this step, you will realize you need to find or buy things to contain the clutter. Don’t forget to measure your space to make sure everything fits properly. Be sure to label your containers too so you, and anyone else that may use the space knows what is stored inside.
The last step of this process is key to keeping your newly organized system in tip-top shape. Once you start using the space you just organized be sure to make tweaks and adjustments as needed to ensure it’s working for you and anyone else you live with. Each time you are in the space you’ve organized be sure to put things back where they belong, get rid of things that are no longer needed and determine if anything needs to be tweaked to make room for new items coming in. Organization is a process, but with small tweaks along the way it can easily be maintained.
If the S.P.A.C.E. method outlined above still seems overwhelming to you just give me a call at (267) 970-0769 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I offer hands-on and virtual organizing services to help you reach your organizing goals.