Organizing 101: Create a spot for EVERYTHING

As I’ve talked about before, most of the time, piles are created by items that don’t have a home.  When we don’t know where to put something, we just “set it there for now” and a month later, it’s still there because we don’t want to think about it.

What?  That’s just me.  Okay.

Last Christmas, Elida and I decorated her first-ever gingerbread house.  Super fun.  Super cute.  Annual tradition started.  But then, we’re stuck with this gingerbread house.  Where am I going to put it?  Our house is small and there’s not a lot of extra room for perishable decorations.  So, it got moved from the counter to the Dining Room table to the entry way table.  Until the day it finally met it’s demise in the garbage can, it was just always in the way.

I think that’s how it is for a lot of our stuff.  It served a purpose at some point, but we reach a point where we just don’t know what to do with it.  So we don’t do anything.

Create a spot for EVERYTHING.  I know, I know.  It’s overwhelming.  It seems impossible.

It is possible.  It is also overwhelming.  So, don’t think about EVERYTHING on the macro level.  Tackle it a little bit at a time.

Go room by room.  One room at a time, decide to find a spot for everything.  Start with a  small room (I would advise against starting in a closet.  It can be tempting because it’s small and it’s so appealing to get that thing organized, but because of the volume of stuff in a small space, a closet isn’t the best way to learn this new discipline).  Sort through everything.  Purge unused, old, unnecessary stuff.  Clean the space.  Then, find a spot for everything.  EVERYTHING.  Then, whatever doesn’t fit or shouldn’t go in that room goes into a “Needs to Find a Spot” bin.

If the “Needs to Find a Spot” bin isn’t overly full, or has items that are frequently used, tackle that bin next.  Anything in that bin that is just debilitating and you can’t decide where it goes, stays in that bin.  Take that bin and go to the next smallest space.  Repeat the same process.  When the “Needs to Find a Spot” bin is full or when one-third to one-half of your house has been gone through and spots found for items in those rooms, go through the bin and find spots for those items.

Even if you aren’t able to go through that bin as often as you’d like or if there are more things in there than there should be, an added bonus to that bin is that it serves as one central location for when you can’t find certain items.  When you’re looking for something and can’t decide where it could be, that should be the first place you should look.  More often than not, when I’m missing something, it’s because I don’t know where it should be kept, so I’m at a loss.

The “Needs to Find a Spot” bin allows you to feel the success of finding spots for the majority of your things and helps you get over the hump with those not-easily stored items.

Try it and let me know what items for which you just can’t find a spot.  We’ll work together to help you tackle this one.  It’s a lot of work, but it is a game-changer.


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