Blog: Can We Have Some Order Here?
The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized: F Is For Frequency
When determining where to store something in your home or office, what's the first question you ask? Is it about the thing's size or whether it comes with attachments or the temperature of the storage area? If you're smart about your organizing, it will be something along the lines of, "How often will I need to get at it?" -- because frequency of use is one of the most important factors to consider when determining where something should live.
How Often Do You Use It?
Things you use all the time should be kept in more convenient-to-reach cabinets and closets and drawers than those items you rarely touch. It seems like common sense -- but you would be amazed at the numbers of clients I find wasting their best storage on special occasion "stuff," while the things they regularly want to wear and cook with and serve on are stashed away in the far nether regions of their storage. Why should china that is used twice a year for holidays live in a breakfront right next to the dining table -- when you have to climb on a step stool and stretch to reach your "everyday" dishes? What sense does it make to devote half your closet to off-season and fancy dress clothes, while your day-to-day work outfits are stuffed into a cramped corner, getting smooshed and wrinkled and ruined?
Successful space organizing is about designing your storage according to how you actually use your belongings (and I'm talking about how you use them now, not how you would LIKE to use them in some other perfect, utopian, idealized alternate reality!) Start by asking, "When will I need this again?" You're going to want to give items whose answer is "next week" or "tomorrow" priority over those that won't be touched for six months. Then move on to, "How often will I get at this?" Imagine your life over the next year -- picture every possible scenario which would require you to pull that thing down out of storage, and assign it an appropriate home based on frequency of use. As you sift through your "stuff," you're guaranteed to find at least one lost treasure that you had forgotten about because it was stuck in some hidden part of your storage that never sees the light of day. You might say to yourself, "I'd love to be using this more often." Fine -- then it needs to be moved to a more convenient location so you'll see it, remember you own it, and think to use it!
The trick is to break your space into "active" storage and "inactive" storage. Active storage is everything from shoulder to knee height and within immediate view -- the spaces you can easily access without having to bend down, stand on your toes, move something else, or get on your knees and dig deep to find what you're looking for. This is for the things you use daily, weekly, even monthly. Inactive is everything else -- high cabinets, the top shelf in your closet, way in the back of your pantry, and especially attic and basement storage. These areas are for seasonal items, memorabilia, and rarely-used necessities (like luggage or formal wear or that dehumidifier you only drag out when your kid is sick.) And don't forget, this rule also applies to open horizontal surfaces -- the most "prime" storage of all! If you haven't used that bread machine in years, get it off your kitchen counter. Don't clutter your bathroom sink area with dried-up cosmetics and grooming tools that aren't part of your morning beauty routine. And if you've got anything on your desk that isn't essential to your daily work, find another home for it!
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posted on: 10/4/2012 11:30:00 AM by Ramona Creel
category: General Organizing Tips
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Can We Have Some Order Here?
by Ramona Creel
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I have been a Professional Organizer for more than 10 years, I am a NAPO Golden Circle member, and I was the original founder of OnlineOrganizing. I have worked one-on-one with scores of clients and have trained dozens of newbie organizers as they got started in the industry. I provide both hands-on and virtual coaching to help clients improve their organizing skills and simplify their lives. I invite you to visit my website at http://www.RamonaCreel.com, and I challenge you to find one new idea that you can put into practice in your life, to help you become better organized, starting TODAY! I am passionate about coaching folks toward a more balanced, productive, and enjoyable life -- and I firmly believe that if I can do it, so can you!
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