Organize Using the Zone Plan


I keep my home organized by using a zone plan. I divide up my house into 10 zones. Each month I work on one area except for July and December. By the end of the year I have touched everything in my home and decided if it is still important and if it is still stored in a logical place.

January, I worked in my office zone.
http://timespaceorg.blogspot.com/20019/01/organize-your-office-zone.html 
In February I work in my spare bedroom. My spare bedroom has a closet that stores office/business items I need but rarely use and some archival files. When I work in my office zone in January, I purge items that I need to keep but don’t want in my office. These get dumped in the spare bedroom. by the end of January my spare bedroom is a mess with items stacked on top of the dresser or dumped on the bed.

It is very common when doing a big organizing session to have things that you want to keep but would best be stored elsewhere. This leaves extra clutter in other areas as you clean out and organize one zone. This is not a problem if you then move on and organize the space that has gotten messy due to the last project.

The closet in the spare bedroom is full before I start to work in this zone. The first step then is to reorganize and clear out the closet. As I pull out items, I decide if they still serve me. I may substitute items I had previously kept for a better version of the same thing. I purged some nice green notebooks from a shelf in my office zone. I donated some miscellaneous notebooks that had been stored in the closet and replaced them with the green ones. I clear out items that I have not used in the past couple of years as my style of presentations has changed. I pull and shred some client folders from my archival crate in the closet to make room for ones from my office that are not active now, but I feel might connect again at some point in time. I consolidate some office supplies, donating some of the excess. Then I wipe down the shelves, wipe the wall, and clean the floor. I put everything backs including the items that had gotten dumped in this space.

To finish the spare bedroom, I reorganize the dresser which holds off season clothing, gifts, holiday cards, and some memorabilia. Then all that is left is to deep clean the room.

By the end of the month, I have completed this zone and will move on to the next one. All this room will need until next February is weekly cleaning maintenance.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing the Bathroom and Linen Closet

Your bathroom is one of the smaller rooms in your house but it is also one that is heavily used and holds many items. A bathroom can get disorganized and cluttered quickly, so it is important to have a plan for how you want to use this place and how you want it to look. Keep clutter to a minimum.

Look at the storage space you have available. Think about what you use daily in this zone. You may not have room to store back up supplies, first aid items, or cleaning materials.

Use the medicine cabinet, drawers, or space under your sink to store the items you use regularly. Store your daily grooming supplies here. Use a bin, small basket, or drawer for cosmetics you use almost daily. A medicine cabinet above the sink can store toothpaste, dental floss, deodorant, q tips, and cotton balls. Hair dryers, curling irons, gels, sprays and all items for hair might be stored in a container under the sink. If your space is limited, you might also have a hanging bag on the back of your bathroom door for storage. An extra roll of toilet paper and personal hygiene items could also fit under the sink.

If you have drawers or shelves, designate each area as a container for like items. One drawer or basket might hold everyday make up, another might hold eye products, and a third hair products, etc.

As you are sorting your like items together, consolidate partial bottles and get rid of any items you are no longer using or are past their expiration date.

Shampoo, body wash, soap, and a wash cloth may be stored inside your shower or tub. There are shower caddies that fit over the door of your shower or over the shower head. Another option is to use a shower dispenser to hold shampoo or body wash.

Medicines can go in bins on a shelf in the linen closet or in the kitchen. Both places are better than the actual bathroom as moisture and heat can ruin some meds. Consider sorting your medicines by type and placing them in separate bins. One bin might hold outdoor items like sunscreen, bug spray, or Benadryl. Another might hold Tylenol, aspirin, and cold/allergy medicines. Get rid of expired items while sorting. Not only do some medicines lose their effectiveness over time but they can actually become harmful. Dispose of these items responsibly. Do not toss medicines in the trash and Never flush them into our water system.

If you have a linen closet, keep extra towels, cosmetics, and cleaning supplies there. The linen closet is also a good place to store any duplicate items. But as you organize, be ruthless about throwing out items. You don’t need 5 partial bottles of shampoo, 6 sample soaps, or that free sample in foil of a shampoo/conditioner that came in the mail.

If you don’t have a linen closet, use towel hooks, over the toilet shelving, or baskets to store your extra towels, wash cloths, and toilet paper.

When you have your bathroom organized and decluttered, then work on a maintenance schedule to keep it under control. Then the next time you revisit this zone, it will be an easier process.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing the Bathroom Zone

If you are following my zone plan, this month is the month to work on organizing your bathrooms. If you have a linen closet, include it in this zone.

Your bathroom is one of the smaller rooms in your home but it is also one that holds many items. A bathroom can get disorganized and cluttered quickly, so it is important to have a vision and a plan for how you want to use this space. Keep clutter to a minimum.

Look at the storage space you have available. Do you have room to store your medicines and first aid material here? Do you have room to house any cleaning materials? To keep your bathroom uncluttered, some of what you store here can go somewhere else.

Use the medicine cabinet, drawers, or space under your sink to store items that you need and use regularly. Store your daily grooming supplies here. Use a bin, small basket, or drawer for cosmetics you use almost daily. A medicine cabinet can store toothpaste, dental floss, deodorant, q tips, and cotton balls. Hair dryers, curling irons, gels, sprays, and all items for your hair might be stored in a container under the sink. If your space is limited, you might also have a hanging bag on the back of your bathroom door for storage. An extra roll of toilet paper and personal hygiene items could also fit under the sink.

If you have drawers, designate each drawer as a container for like items. One drawer might hold everyday makeup, another might hold eye products, and a third hair products, etc.

As you are sorting your like items together, consolidate partial bottles and get rid of any items you are no longer using or items past their expiration date.

Shampoo, body wash, soap, and a wash cloth may be stored inside your shower or tub. There are shower caddies that fit over the door of your shower or over the shower head. Another option is to use a shower dispenser to hold shampoo or body wash.

Medicines can go in bins on a shelf in the linen closet or in the kitchen. Both spaces are better than the actual bathroom as moisture and heat can ruin some meds. Consider sorting your  medicines by type and placing them in separate bins. One bin might hold outdoor items like sunscreen, bug spray, or Benadryl. Another might hold Tylenol, aspirin, and cold/allergy medicines. Still another might hold harger items like hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, and mouthwash. Get rid of expired items while sorting. Not only do some medicines lose their effectiveness over time but they can actually become harmful. Dispose of these items safely. Do not toss medicines in the trash and never flush them into our water system. The DEA offers a Prescriptions Drug Take Back Day which occurs in October this year. Check http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html for more information.

If you have a linen closet, keep extra towels, cosmetics, and cleaning supplies there. The linen closet is also a good place to store any duplicate items. But as you organize, be ruthless about throwing out items. You don’t need 5 partial bottles of shampoo, 6 sample soaps, or that free sample in foil of a shampoo/conditioner that came in the mail.

If you don’t have a linen closet you may use towel hooks, over the toilet shelving, or baskets to store your extra towels, wash cloths, and toilet paper.

When you have your bathroom organized and decluttered, then work on a maintenance schedule to keep it under control. Next year, when you revisit this zone, it will be an easier process.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing the Laundry Zone


August is a good time to tackle your laundry area zone. You may still have some laundry left over from vacation. Depending on where you live, you may be washing and storing your summer clothes – here in Georgia, not so much. You may have new school clothes and sports clothing that needs washing. You want this zone under control before fall season hits.

Laundry zones can be large or small and can be located in many places. Some older homes have a laundry zone in the basement. Some are located off the kitchen. I have seen them in closets in the hall or at the top of the stairs. I have even seen them right off master bedrooms. What you don’t want to see are piles of clothes migrating into surrounding areas. Mounds of clothes are not enjoyed by anyone but the family cat.

Keeping up with the laundry becomes less a chore with a well organized space and a plan for keeping on top of the mountain of laundry. It helps to have designated times scheduled to do laundry instead of waiting until an item is needed. “Mom, where are my soccer shorts?”

The idea is to keep laundry moving. Only bring to the laundry zone, the items you intend to wash right now. Leave everything else in the designated laundry baskets. As soon as clothes are dry, get them back to their “home.”

Some laundry zones (like mine) are also used for other purposes than just doing laundry. I have my cleaning products stored here along with my laundry products. I have ironing supplies, pet supplies, recycling bins and cabinets for entertaining supplies. The important thing is to decide what goes where and keep the different zones from running into each other. What you don’t want is something that was just stuck in this zone “just for now.”

During this month I look at my cleaning products and toss and consolidate. If I have a product that I am no longer using – out it goes. If I have ended up with two partial bottles of Woolite, I consolidate them. If I have a large container of soap that I store on the floor, I transfer some into a smaller container that is easier to handle. I want everything in this zone intuitive and easy to find and use.

Having this zone organized may not make you love to do laundry but it certainly will make this task less of a chore.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing the Gift Wrap Zone

This time of year there are usually gifts to wrap and perhaps also to mail. It is sooo tempting to buy all of that lovely gift wrap that is displayed plus tissue plus ribbon plus gift bags. It is easy to lose track of how much of these goodies you have unless you organize all of your material into one convenient gift wrap zone.

I have recently moved into a new home and have less storage for these items than I had before, so I must really consolidate and purge. I rarely fall in love with any one storage product but this gift wrap organizer from the Container Store looks marvelous – plus it can hang in my front hall closet. http://www.containerstore.com/shop/giftWrapWonderland/giftPackaging/organizers?productId=10027132&N=80055&Nao=0

Besides using the closet, I have also seen gift wrap zones set up in containers under the bed, in tall trash cans in closets, or on workbenches in the basement. It does not matter so much where the area is but that it is all in one place. Along with your wrap and ribbon, also have tags, bubble wrap, tape, scissors and anything else that you routinely use to wrap your gifts.  When you know you are going to have a gift to wrap, visit your gift wrap zone before going out and buying anything. Get in the habit of shopping from your home first.

So now is a great time to make a sweep throughout your home and pull together all of your wrapping and packing materials. Look them over and discard any “tired” looking or tattered materials as well as those little scraps you saved that won’t wrap anything larger than a jewelry box. Add to the mix a dedicated pair of scissors and a roll of tape. Contain it all in one place and now you have a convenient gift wrap zone that will make gift wrapping an easier, less stressful process.   

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing the Laundry Zone


If you are following my zone plan, August is a good month to organize your laundry area. School has already begun in my region and that means that new clothes are washed to wear, summer clothes are washed and some seasonal items stored. School team sports have begun and this brings on more laundry. There may even be back up laundry from vacation.

Laundry zones are located in many places. Some older homes have them in the basement. Some are located off the kitchen or even in a hall way. I have seen them at the top of the stairs and right off the master bedrooms. In many newer homes they are very centrally located which is a great if you keep up with the laundry and not so good if you let laundry stack up on the floor.

Keeping up with the laundry becomes less of a chore with a well organized space and a plan for keeping on top of the mountain of laundry. It helps to have designated times scheduled to do the laundry instead of waiting until an item is needed. (Mom, where are my soccer shorts?)

The goal is to keep the laundry moving. Only bring to the laundry zone what you intend to laundry that day. Leave the rest in the dirty clothes hampers. As soon as clothes are dry, get them back to their “home.” Having a different colored basket for each member of the family is helpful. As you pull clothes out of the dryer, put them into the correct basket and then have them go to the proper room.

Have a small container nearby to toss in any items you find in pockets, the dryer, or loose buttons. Have stain remover, sponges, scrubbing brushes on a shelf near the washer. This zone is also a good place to store the iron and ironing board. If you buy your detergents in large containers, transfer some into smaller containers that are easier to handle and less likely to cause spills.

This is the time to declutter any cleaning items stored in this zone. Now is the time to discard a product you have bought and not liked. If you have ended up with 2 half bottles of Woolite, consolidate them. Just toss that spray starch that is 10 years old and you never use any more. Just keep on hand the products that you are actually using.

Now I won’t go so far as to say keeping this zone organized will make you love to do laundry but it should make the chore less of a hassle.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer