Blog: Organize This!
Learn to Embrace Your Space
When my son attended Culinary School in Manhattan, his apartment was 200 square feet. Surprisingly he had sufficient room for all the necessities and a little more – including a full size bed. The bathroom and shower were located down the hall and the size of two very small closets. He repurposed his large dresser to hold kitchen items, clothing, and personal items. He truly embraced his space albeit very small.
I often work with clients who struggle to embrace their space. They aren't happy in their homes for a variety of reasons:
• "Our house is too small."
• "We live in my in-law's old house and find it difficult to make it our own."
• "I liked the house I lived in before."
• "I'm not sure how long we'll be in this house."
• "We were supposed to build a new house, but that fell through."
When you're not happy with how your home is organized or laid out, you can feel like a visitor in your own home. In order to assess what's really not working in your home you need to start at the beginning and think outside the box.
Let's break it down:
- Goals. Write down your family goals for your home for the New Year. Your list will provide the basis for the decisions you make to change your home. For example, spend money to improve your home; limit spending, but improve your home; get ready for in-laws to visit or live with you; have family in for a long summer visit; or invite the extended family for a Thanksgiving meal.
- Home Walk-Through. Begin by walking in the front door. How do you feel? How would you like to feel? Try to see your home through the eyes of a stranger. Invite someone to go through with you. Perform the same exercise with each room. Use a separate sheet of paper for each room and write it all down.
- List the Positives. List what you like about each room, e.g. the layout, the furniture, the sunlight that comes through the windows in the morning, the color of the walls, etc.
- List the Negatives. List what you don't like, e.g. the layout, too much furniture, too much clutter, not enough bookcases, the color of the walls, the décor, etc.
- Stuff/Clutter. Take a good look at all the stuff in each room. Is there too much? Do you just need bookcases or containers to hold it? Does all this clutter fit in with the goals for the future of this space? How long has it been since you've identified whether you love or need each thing?
- Repairs and Changes. List repairs or changes, e.g. door handle needs repaired, windows need caulked, change purpose of the room, change paint color, unload extra furniture, etc.
- Prioritize Your Lists. According to your budget and a timeline, decide which changes should be made first and go from there.
Begin the New Year by embracing your space! Follow through with the list you made by going through the steps above. 'Making do' only works for so long. Life is too short to be waiting for the next house. Remember, it's not the space you have, but what you do with it that counts. Happy New Year from The Clutter Crew!
Clutter Quote: "Thank you…first week in January, for being the one week of the year when there are people at my gym who are fatter than I am." Jimmy Fallon, Thank You Notes
posted on: 1/21/2012 2:30:00 PM by Vali Heist
category: General Organizing Tips
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Vali Heist is a Certified Professional Organizer, the owner of The Clutter Crew for homeowners, and a Certified GO System Trainer for businesses. She is the author of "Organize This! Practical Tips, Green Ideas, and Ruminations about your CRAP. CRAP stands for Clutter that Robs Anyone of Pleasure! She writes a monthly column for the Reading Eagle called "Organize This!". Vali's bachelor's degree is in Business Administration from Shippensburg University and her Master's Degree is in Higher Education from Kutztown University. Vali has an extensive background of 24 years in Higher Education including training, administration, project management, writing, and editorial production. Her passion has always been organization and how it relates to the simplification of work and personal life in order to enjoy both to the fullest. Her ultimate goal is to continue finding simple, easy to implement ideas that work in the real world and pass them on to her clients.