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Organizing starts with a plan

Come on admit it. You organize the same way you clean up. Aren’t you tired of spending your weekend organizing only to be cleaning the space again days or weeks to follow?

What’s the difference, you say? Organizing gives every item a purpose and a home while cleaning up is the handling of each item in the space whether to dust, reposition or remove. Organizing is a premeditated act start to finish while cleaning up is not so calculated.

Although organizing may seem daunting, successful organizing is done with a plan: a methodical and meticulous plan. Do it right and you should only need to occur once a year at best. Too many people approach organizing the same way they do cleaning up. This is why a short time later they again find themselves surrounded by clutter.

One culprit of seasonal clutter: summer.

Summer is the season of outdoors, pools, barbecues and picnics. Why is it every summer you have to empty your shed to access the items you put away just a few months earlier? It’s called last-minute stuffing. We are all guilty of it.

Think of it this way. On the first day of vacation, we feel as if time is standing still. But come mid-week, we begin to panic and count the hours and days remaining. Summer is the same way, we can’t wait for the season to arrive, and when it does we have all the time in the world to empty the shed and make it all nicey nice.

Come late August, we are not so passionate about returning our lawn furniture and pool supplies to the shed for a winter’s nap. And yes, we tend to show less time putting things away then we do opening them up. Let’s fix this once and for all!

Make a list

Write down what troubles you in your shed or garage, or any space for that matter. Maybe you have to remove the leaf blower to get the lawn tractor into position. Or, you can’t park your car in the garage unless you maneuver a variety of items ahead of time.

These points of inconvenience are the answers to your organizing problems. Let’s face it, we endure such obstacles on a daily basis simply because of space concerns. The reality is, if you had the room you would not be stacking items in front of another.

Look at your options
Now visit the space you are looking to improve upon, and remove irrelevant items. You know, items you hope to use or may need one day, yet years have passed by and still the hope is present. We all have favourite items and we all have dreams. The key is not to let lower priority items clutter up high-traffic areas.

You have three options with such items. Relocate the item to a less frequented storage area, attic, basement, etc. Secondly, you can donate or discard the item and lastly, the item can remain in the space. Another tip when considering the item’s storage value is to ask yourself when the last time it was used or what role does it play in your outdoor routine.

This preliminary step of the project is often rushed over or not taken seriously. But, it’s the secret to maintaining your organizing longevity.

Just the same, you can identify items of high importance and define the needs for the storage space. This will help you design a plan that boasts functionality.

Thus far you have identified troubled areas, removed items of a lesser priority, and determined items that will remain in the space.

Let’s get planning.

Get in the zone

Every item has a purpose and every item has a space. Begin to create a basic and simple layout of how you would like your space to look when you walk in. Lawn mower and landscaping equipment to the left, pool supplies to the right, and outdoor furniture gets stored in the centre. This is called organizational zoning.

In each of these zones, you will create storage spaces for each item. If you do not compartmentalize individual items in the zones, you will leave the door open for clutter to return. If every item has a home you have also made it super easy for yourself or another to clean up.

Free space is possible after the project is completed but depends solely on your due diligence during the purging process. In the event that you do not have available storage space moving forward, use this thought process on future shopping trips.

Visualize the space and zone in which new purchase will be kept. Do you need the addition of mounting hooks or the need to discard an older item? This logical thinking and mindset will keep you organized not just day to day, but for years to come.