In her trailblazing book, Organizing from the Inside Out, Julie Morgenstern introduced a simple yet highly effective formula that has become a gold standard in the organizing industry. The method is, in my experience, fool proof. I use it on almost every project and I teach it to all my clients. I want to share it with you here so you too can get organized quickly, easily and with confidence! It is called SPACE and according to Julie, the key to succeeding with the SPACE formula is to do every one of the steps, and most important, do them in order. SPACE works on everything from papers to clothing to toys so whether in the office, the bedroom or the playroom, it’s all about SPACE!
Sort: This important step will help you take inventory of what you have. Clear an area of the floor and as you pull things out of the space you are organizing, begin to create categories of what you have. If you are organizing a storage closet for example, you might have – electronics, taxes, tools, photo albums, holiday decorations, luggage etc. Create your categories and continue to gather and sort items until the space you plan to organize is empty. No need to worry about throwing things out just yet – the objective here is to sort everything so you know exactly what you have.
Purge: Now, going from pile by pile, review what you have and ask yourself “Do I love it?” “Do I need it?” “Does it have sentimental value?” If your answer is yes to any of these questions, keep it. If the answer is no, think about whether you want to gift it to someone, donate it to a charity or toss it. By having sorted all the like items you can now easily see if you have duplicates making it even easier to let go of things. Focus on how great it will feel to free up all that space!
Assign a home: At this point you want to decide exactly where you want to store each of the categories. Be specific – which shelf, which drawer, which side of the closet for example? Keep in mind frequency of use and accessibility. Be mindful of prime real estate – this is front and center – the area where you will place the most frequently used items and move outward from there, placing the least frequently used items on top and to the sides.
Containerize: This is where you get to chose containers for your things. By waiting until this stage to go shopping, you’ll be sure to get exactly what you need. For example, you can use clear plastic bins for electronics, decorative fabric boxes for your photo albums or plastic file totes for your taxes. Label containers so you and your family know exactly what’s in them. You’ll be able to find what you need in seconds and put it back exactly where it belongs! Containerizing items will instantly give you a sense of order and clarity.
Equalize: This step is all about maintenance. Once your system is in place, develop a simple maintenance program to help you stay on track. When things get messy, a well organized space will be a breeze to tidy up. It will take only a few minutes to put things back in their place. Make sure to do a review every 6 to 12 to determine if the system is still meeting your needs. Adjust it if necessary.