Closed September 2017

Clutter Video Tip: How to Organize Anything! Part 1: Outline Your Plan

Organizing projects can be hard to navigate, but you don’t have to be a cartographer to map out a plan for your cluttered space. Sometimes, it’s hard to get your bearings and know which direction to go. Watch this video for the compass I use when charting out any organizing project. Consider it your GPS for an organized home.

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Hi. I’m Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter Diet book and online program, and today we are starting a five-part series on my process for organizing any space. It doesn’t matter if it’s your home office, or your garage, or your kitchen, this process works anywhere and it is made up of the word order as an acronym.

Today, we’re going to start with the letter O: Outline your plan. And I’m standing here in my new kitchen in my new house. I’m so excited to show you all these projects we have going on here. This is my pantry behind me. You might remember an earlier video we did on macro versus micro organizing. What I have done is put everything in my pantry that’s kind of good enough to be functional and live in the house. But now I’m going back and tweaking and micro organizing and really creating better systems for this space. This is a great project to use as an example for this process.

The big mistake that I see most people making in their organizing projects is that they dive into the project without a plan. They haven’t done any strategizing or thought through the functions of the space, and this “outline your plan” part of the process keeps you from making that mistake, and it also gives you a lot of perspective and helps you solve the problems that have gotten you there in the first place usually.

The first thing you want to do when you’re outlining your plan is figure out how to gain some objectivity on your project. If it’s in your home or your office, you probably have been living with this for too long, and you really don’t see the space the same way anymore. There are several ways you can gain this objectivity.

One is to simply take some photos of the space and look at the photos. You’ll be so surprised what a different perspective sometimes that gives on just what walls are available, what space isn’t being utilized properly. Also, you can have a friend work with you. That’s what I’m doing in this space. I have a friend working with me here so that we can go through and she can ask me all the questions that I might not ask myself. You can also work with a professional organizer in person or upload photos to our Message Board on the Clutter Diet site in our Member Area, where our experts go in seven days a week and answer all of our Member questions, and they can give you some objectivity and perspective as well as our Member community.

The next thing you want to do is put your detective hat on. Pretend that you’re Sherlock Holmes and really look at the space and ask “What is going on?” Think of it as a big puzzle that you’re trying to solve. It’s not just a place to clean up, it’s a place to create systems. What’s going on this space? Why are these log jams occurring? Where is all of this stuff coming from? Also ask yourself “Who is using this space?” This can be very pertinent if children are involved. You may want to put things higher up out of their reach or you may want to put certain things within their reach so it’s easier for them to use the space. You also want to think about safety in terms of who is using the space.

And you also want to go through our four “f” words that we talked about in another video. I’m going to briefly go over them here: Features, Flow, Function, and Frequency. You want to look at the features of the space. For example, here in the pantry we have shelves. They are fixed shelves. Those are things we have to work around. We can’t adjust them. We have the functions of the space. In this case, a lot more than you might readily think. We’ve got, of course, food storage for this pantry, but we also have overflow storage from the rest of the kitchen, and we have some notes that we’re going to be putting on the back of the door for kind of a bulletin board area, and we also have recycling going on. So, there are several functions. Many places in the house have so many functions you don’t think about. The laundry room is a great example. Lots going on there, and if you don’t account for that in your systems, you’re going to leave something out.

So the other “f” word is flow. And that is how these features and functions work together. And then frequency. How often are these items used, and how often are these systems going to be used? So, you can go to our other video about the four “f” words for more in-depth on those. But you want to be asking all of those questions so that you create this plan.

The last question you want to ask is “Are there any obvious supplies that you need to complete this project?” We want you to wait until you’re a little further into the project to buy most of the supplies so that you can measure and you can really think through what you need based on what you learn. But there may be some obvious things. In this case, I’m going to create a little bulletin board area on the back of this door and I already know that I need some cork tiles to put on the back of this and some adhesive to mount the cork tiles. I can go ahead and pick those supplies up and maybe a couple of other small things that I know. And then later, we will find out about how to decide what other supplies you need.

And we’ve got four more installments of this. We’re going to go through the rest of the letters in the word “order.” And in the meantime, if you want to gain objectivity on your space or get some advice, we can help you in our Message Boards. You can visit us as to find out more about our program.

See you next time, and may you always be happy and grateful for having more than enough.

Other videos in this series:
“R”- Review Your Items
“D”- Decide Where Things Belong
“E”- Establish Homes and Routines
“R”- Revisit Your System

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