1.11.2013

Operation {Re}Organization: General Principles

Before getting started on our "office" (it's this month's organization project...see this post if you don't know what I'm talking about), I thought I'd spend a few minutes on some general thoughts about how to approach this sometimes daunting task called organization. This is probably more of a reminder to myself than anything else, but I hope it'll help some of you out there too!

When thinking about organizing a space, there are many angles to consider, or questions to ask yourself before you begin. Questions like:
  • What's the purpose of this space? What needs to "get done" there?
  • What am I hoping to gain by organizing it?
  • Who uses it?
  • What's currently working? Do you have good systems for some things and not others?
  • What's the budget?
There are also more "fluffy questions" to ask as you get started, such as:
Once you feel like you've thought through some of those questions, you're ready to get started. Try and stick to one space at a time, otherwise you'll get overwhelmed and frozen with fear about never getting it done (*ahem* this may or may not have happened to me before). Ok. Let's go!

Gather everything you think you might possibly, maybe want to have in the space. This may involve going through multiple rooms/drawers/closets in the house and pulling things that have, over time, wandered away from their designated home. Warning: this will be messy.

Make three piles: keep, donate, trash. Then purge some more. Be ruthless if you have to. (If you need motivation or inspiration on this part, read Ashley's take on purging.)

Sort your "keep" pile. Does everything in that pile really go in this space? If not, put it aside. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT throw it haphazardly back into a random drawer.

Decide what kinds of organizers you need. Bins? Small containers? Baskets? Drawer dividers? Is there anything you already have that you can reuse? Think creatively about what you already have in your house (old shoe boxes anyone?). Those dollars you spend on organizers can start to add up!

Begin organizing! This is the fun part. I love the quote from Isabella Beeton for this part: "A place for everything and everything in its place." Remember to group like with like and put items you use often in an easily accessible place.

Phew! I think that's enough for today. Anyone have anything to add?

I'll be getting started with office organization this weekend, so hopefully, barring any catastrophes, I'll be back next week with updates!

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