How to Maintain Organization
The basement storage room stays clean for about three months, then it suddenly is crammed full again. The garage can park two cars until six months goes by and now a car is out on the driveway. The master closet is cleaned out and sure enough, in a matter of weeks, there are clothes, bags, and piles everywhere. If any of these sound familiar to you, it’s because all of these scenarios are common. It shouldn’t surprise you and it definitely doesn’t surprise me. The real questions are why does this happen and how do we prevent this from happening?
Why does this happen? Well, let’s think about this. As things come in your home or office the stuff is affects the space you have and affects how you’ll store it all. Also, just living and existing in your space affects the rooms. You’re using items, retrieving items, lending items to friends, and borrowing items. All of this motion and “living” has a direct impact on your space and rooms. So no wonder things get out of sorts and get turned upside down. It happens in my office and home as well. It reminds me I’m not that different from my clients. I suppose museums and art galleries are the only places that don’t get messed up or disorganized. The things there never touched or moved, just looked at. We don’t just look at things in our homes, we use them.
How do we prevent or deal with this cycle? There are some basic suggestions we can try to reduce this negative affect that is often very annoying.
1. If everything has a specific place in your home or office, it will be easy to put things back. Something won’t or shouldn’t be left out because it has a place within. Reduce the number of different spots things “could” live by designating one specific spot where they “will” live.
2. Train yourself or your family members to put things back. This is the hardest habit to break. If you have to hang signs up or post its to remind yourself, go for it. Instead of having a “pick up time” of the day, I try to work it into my day and evening. As I walk from room to room, I redeposit things where they belong.
3. Dumping things on steps to go upstairs or down stairs is perfectly acceptable. But that means next time you walk upstairs whether it’s five minutes from now or four hours from now, pick it up and deposit the items where they belong.
4. View organizing differently. You don’t organize and then never organize again. Periodically, you’ll have to organize a space again. Normally, my husband and I try to get into the garage twice a year to do a major clean out. Once a year we tackle the crawl space. It’s unrealistic to think that you won’t have to maintain these areas. Writing “organizing” days throughout the year on your calendar might be helpful. More and more companies are having holding an organizing day for the employees. I love that idea!
5. Common areas to dump are basements, garages, and attics. Prevent yourself from dumping into these areas by thinking twice before depositing items there. Will you use the item again? How long do you plan to keep it? Why not get rid of it now? Why keep it?