Ok, so after my last posts I've been asked what it takes to organize a house effectively. My thoughts are that you must build upon a few foundations:
1) Everything must have a place. If you have piles of ‘stuff’, sort them until it all has a ‘place’, then continue through the whole house. Set goals: “I will attack two piles a day until my house is pile free.”
2) The ‘place’ needs to be located right where you will partake in the activity that requires that ‘stuff’. If you trim your fingernails in the bathroom when you exit the shower, then don’t keep the clippers in the junk drawer in the kitchen- this makes more work for you.
3) It needs to be easy to put in away (or you’ll put off putting it away). If the phone book goes under the cookbook, that goes under the newspaper recycling, then IT’S NOT EASY! If it’s not easy, you will not do it, or at best you’ll just throw it in the cabinet somewhere.
Think about the processes of living your life- the little things you do everyday. How are they done, where are they done, do you have the necessary components to complete the chore? Are you searching for stuff- losing stuff, are people misplacing stuff?
For instance if you tend to think about what earrings you would wear while looking in the mirror to apply makeup, then locate earrings and makeup close to each other.
If you make your kid’s lunch for school everyday, then locate the sandwich bags, grab snacks, Tupperware, thermos’s and lunch boxes under a counter that you can assemble on.
If your Husband trims his fingernails after the shower in the bathroom, but you do more of a manicure process in front of the TV in the family room – then buy more than one clipper (think of the arguments saved, all for under $10.00!) and keep one in each place.
Do you and your daughter share the same hair brush (you know, the really good one…not the other sucky one)? If so, I’m guessing it’s usually misplaced for at least one of you daily. BUY A SECOND ONE!!! Does she brush her hair by the front door under a thunder of threats by you before going to school?
Well then, keep a second brush in a drawer in the front hall table. Why send her back to her room to dilly-dally for twelve hours to brush her hair?
This train of thought is the basis for kitchen organization- activity centered storage areas and work spaces (and my husband insists I mention, the basis for Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing and Balanced Scorecard). All baking supplies together, kids lunch stuff together, sink and dishwasher near the cabinet where the plates and cups are stored etc..
The more you break down all the tiny processes of your family's day and provide what is needed, where and when it is needed, life will be less stressful. Even more important (???), your house will look better. This is no easy task and takes a ton of time to complete, but is totally worth it. Professional Organizer Dana Arkinzadeh cites a Newsweek magazine article that claims Americans spend an average of 55 minutes a day looking for something they know they own. So keep in mind, organizing a house is more than just purging what’s no longer needed, being able to see everything and making all your drawers and cabinets look beautiful. It’s about aligning your things so they match the life needs of your house’s occupants.
One last thought. Once you go through this Herculean task, pull the family together and tell all of them where the ‘place’ is for all the ‘stuff’ in the house. If you don’t do this and insist that everyone be responsible for keeping the ‘stuff’ in its ‘place’, the whole project will be undone in about 2 weeks.
Stay tuned for a future post on what really well designed organization looks and feels like.
The Daily Hunt
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