S.I.M.P.L.Y. Organized Six Steps (pt 4 of 6)

We are continueing through this six part series of getting organized. These simple steps should allow you to see success. So far we have explored step #1 Start with a Purpose, step #2 Identify Your Stuff, and step #3 Move It Out. Our next step is:

P – Plan your space

Now that you have decided that each item you have remaining is important enough to keep and you want it to live in this space, we are going to take a few minutes to plan out how you can efficiently and effectively use the space you have to house the items you have decided to keep.

During the Plan your Space step there are several things to keep in mind: 1) How much of any group are you keeping? 2) How often do you use this group of things? 3) What are the sizes and shapes of the items? 4) Do I want them visible? These are the main things to consider when planning how to arrange your space.

Let’s start with…

How much of any group are you keeping?

This tells us how much storage space we need. One or even two brushes takes up far less space than 12 rolls of wrapping paper. Depending on what you are going to keep will dictate how large of a space we will use and how large of a storage container will be needed.

How often do you use this group of things?

If these items are used every day, several times a day, then you will want them close at hand. Things that are within easy reach are often returned to their home. If it takes too much effort to put something away then you probably won’t do it.

Items that are used only one time per year should make their way to the top and the back of the closet. You can still get to them, but they aren’t in the way of putting things away that you use every day. The frequency of use will determine placement of the items.

Not only do you need to consider how many items you have, how often you use these items, but also notice their size and shape. If it is paperwork, you may decide to use pretty file folders and stand them up or you may opt for a three-tier horizontal desk tray.

If you are working in your bathroom then you will need much smaller containers for bobby pins and hair clips than for shampoo and blow dryers. The size and shape will determine what kind of containers will be needed.

Should it be visible?

A messy visual space can affect the way you feel. Always try to remove things from eye-sight whenever possible.

If you are lacking on storage and you must allow some thing to be out, then you choose what you want to look at.

Perhaps you need to put your extra toilet paper in a beautiful basket on the floor, since there is not enough cabinet space. Maybe you will opt to enclose art supplies on the shelves by your desk but rather than just stacking them there you place them in a basket with a lid so that all you see is the wonderful basket rather than the plethora of paints. The point is that you want to choose what you look at and then make it beautiful.

Even the storage containers that are kept inside the drawers and on the shelves can look nice and tidy and beautiful. There are so many options to choose from that the sky is the limit. Maintaining consistency in the containers is a key component of visual order.

Don’t use some natural baskets, some clear containers and a few black file holders all in the same area. This will be a visual mess for you even if it is organized.

Part of this organizing process is not only to achieve actual organization of items that is freeing to your life, but also to create visual organization of items that is freeing to your soul.

Only you know what level of visual calm is required to actually make you be less stressed and free to live.

Once you have an idea of the quantity of items, frequency or use, size and shape of those items and what you want visible, then you need to take measurements of each of the areas for which you will be purchasing containers. This will ensure that you purchase items that will actually fit the space with which you are working. Keep in mind that making purchases isn’t a requirement.

You can certainly use what you have around the house. For years I used baby wipe containers to organize my medicine closet. Since I had 7 children in 15 years I had an unending supply of them. They fit the size I needed, stacked nicely, were fairly uniform, were easy to label and were in essence free. When you are thinking about what to use, consider baskets with or without lids, plastic boxes, bins, or virtually any kind of container will do to hold like items together.

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