organizing

The Importance of Zoning

The Importance of Zoning

A gold-standard practice of good organizing involves the practice of zoning. Zoning is where you group and store things together based on what they are or how they are used. For example, in your kitchen you can create a "baking zone" where you keep all of your baking supplies. Or, in the context of your entire home, you can have a "reading zone," a "crafting zone," or, if you have kids, a "toy zone."

I think zoning is highly effective because it is fairly simple and straight forward. And better than that, it doesn't cost a thing. But that doesn't make it necessarily easy. What makes zoning the most successful and efficient is a good strong sense of intention. You really need to take the time to think through how you use your "stuff" and where you use it most naturally.

For example, say you like to knit as a hobby. And you find that you do most of your knitting at night while watching the tv. Well, then I think a good idea would be to set up a small knitting "zone" with at least your most frequently needed knitting supplies within easy reach.

A Tough Challenge: Keeping Garages Tidy

A Tough Challenge: Keeping Garages Tidy

Almost every day I take my Golden Retriever, Alton, for a walk, and inevitably I pass by at least one house that has their garage door open. I’m not really proud to admit this, but I can’t help but look inside. I don’t go up driveways or invasively invade privacy (they left their door open after all). I just scan the contents quickly as Alton and I go by.

As a person who strives to live an organized life and who flirts with minimalism, I can’t hep but be curious about how people are filling )(or not filling+) the roughly 400 square feet of space that is a part of their home. Most garages, I would say at least half, are used purely as storage spaces. Here in California the climate is such that parking your car in the garage isn’t a neccessitiy. Drew and I don’t park our cars in our garage.

So that leaves two categories remaining, really. Non-car garages that are well organized. And non-car garages that are just piles and piles of hot mess. Tidy garages utilize storage shelving, wall to wall cabinets, tool organizers and vertical storage solutions like bike racks, etc. The hot messes are just a mass of stuff in what seems to be very random chaos, stacked high, sometimes in unmarked boxes, with barely a square inch of floor to be seen, to say anything of a discernable walking path.

I Love Organizing-- Just Not Other People's Stuff

I Love Organizing-- Just Not Other People's Stuff

Nine years ago, shortly after moving to California, I made my initial venture into entrepreneurship by launching my own organizing business, Simply Sort. Inspired by clutter-busting shows like TLC's Clean Sweep, and those similar, I thought, "I have good ideas. I've helped friends and family. How hard could it be?"

Well, as I discovered, while it wasn't necessarily hard, it was by no means easy. Not that launching one's own business is ever easy. After all, I believe anything really worth doing, should have some hardness to it. With Simply Sort, it wasn't that I was afraid of the hard work, but rather, the work itself turned out not be what I assumed it would be. I learned to "fail fast" as the pros would say. Which for me, was a success all on its own.

When A Gift Turns Into Clutter

When A Gift Turns Into Clutter

It happens all the time: someone gives you something you don’t want or need. You probably fear hurting their feelings (or getting busted for ditching the gift) and you may even feel guilty for not liking the gift. These feelings often cause us to do nothing, rather than something. And before you know it you have amassed a pile, a drawer or a closet of clutter. Stuff you didn't even ask to bring into your home.

The De-Cluttering Curse of "What If?"

The De-Cluttering Curse of "What If?"

Getting organized can be an emotional experience. Deciding when is the right time to get rid of something is one of the biggest challenges for people trying to get organized. Many times this paralysis of uncertainty dooms their hopes for success before they even get started. Inevitably, when they do start to sort through their things, they might think like this. “Well, I may need this one day” or “I could use that in the garden (when I have a garden)” or “I’ll fit in to that again some day.” But often some day never comes, and in the meantime, life just keeps adding more stuff to their piles.