Organizing the Office Zone

For years I have been maintaining my home using a Zone Plan. This plan has me touching everything in my home at least once a year. When I work in my designated zone each month, I declutter and get rid of anything I no longer need or love.

The first zone I work on each year is my office. After a year, files are way too stuffed. Project bins are still hanging around even if the project has been completed. Some new items have been added and not enough stuff has gone away. So now is the time to look open-eyed at the office and work my plan.

  1. What is bothering me in this zone?
  • Clutter
  • Too much on the desk top
  • Files too full
  • Too much  paper lying around screaming  “do me”
     2. How do I want my office to look and feel?
  • Uncluttered
  • Clean
  • Welcoming
  • I want to feel productive and happy
  • I want empty space to allow for growth
     3. What do I need to do to meet this vision?
  • Clear our all desk drawers and the desk top
  • Purge files and remove what is now archival to another place
  • Clean out bins of completed projects and ready the bins for new material
  • Clear all surfaces – leave out only what I need and love
  • Declutter and organize bookshelves and the storage credenza
  • Deep clean room
      4. Schedule times to do each task.
  • Pull out calendar and see what times are available to work on zone
  • Write on calendar what tasks I plan to do on available dates – not only date but also time of day
By the end of the month, I will say “good enough”. Daily and weekly maintenance are scheduled but I won’t have to visit this zone again until next January. I reward myself with fresh flowers on my desk and make my plan for the next month in a new zone!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing Space for a Guest

Now that school is out, more people are traveling. Than means that we are more likely to have guests, either just for an overnight stay on their way to another destination or just to hang out for a few days to visit. Sometimes I know way in advance that guests are coming and sometimes I have very little prior notice. Either way, I love having family and friends come to stay.

It helps to have a plan in place for guests. I am lucky in that I have a spare bedroom (even though it also stores extra office supplies and some off season clothes. Determine now what areas of your guest room/area need the most work and then tweak it from there.

  1. Keep this area decluttered. If you store items in this room, keep the items stored out of sight – in the closet, in the dresser drawers, or if necessary under the bed.
  2. Make this area inviting for your guests. Have a place for them to hang up an outfit. Designate a place they can place their suitcase to unpack. Clean bed linens, extra pillows, and blankets are important. Have items on hand so that you can assemble a guest basket for the room. I always have a washcloth and towel (in a distinctly different color than family), a pain killer, some lotion, and some water and a glass. I add other items depending on the guest. I like to have something on the night stand to read as well.
  3. Add finishing touches that say “welcome.” I like to add fresh flowers and perhaps a snack in case they get the munchies in the middle of the night.

The goal is to make the guest feel comfortable and welcome in your home. If you have your plan in place, then you can relax and enjoy their company to the fullest.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

On the Floor and Out the Door

I work with a client decluttering an area. We end up with a nice pile of items for donation. Perhaps the client is going to continue to work some more after I leave. Great!

I come back two weeks later and the pile is still pretty much there and the client is not real happy looking at it. What happened?

I tend to see several patterns:

  • I’m not positive about letting go of some of these items – I need to think on it a bit more
  • I know I should take pictures of all this and then type up an itemized list and then log it in with the charity – I don’t have time for all of this
  • I know I should donate these items so others can use them but I really don’t have any spare time and now I feel guilty and resentful when I see this pile

This is how I respond to these situations:

  • Pull out the items you are unsure about and box them up with a label – then stash that box in the back of a closet for 6 months, a year, or whenever you tackle that closet again. Then see how you feel. Meanwhile, donate the rest.
  • The idea is that you want a charity to have these items. What do you have time to do? I can help you with a quick itemized list and then put them into your car (or mine). The list does not have to be exact, or typed – just a remembrance. You don’t even need the list if you do not care about a tax write off.
  • Your main concern is that these items go away. Your sanity and time is more important than getting these items to charity. Just let them go.

Once you have made up your mind that you no longer need or love items, they should leave in a timely manner. You can get on the list of some organizations that will call you when they are in your neighborhood and pick up your items. So, have a donation box in a closet and drop items in as soon as you decide you no longer want them.

Then wait for the call and just put the items on the curb. If this is done frequently enough, it is not too difficult to take a picture and write up a list if you do want the tax write off. And bottom line, these are your things. You do have the right to just pitch them.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Using the Zone Plan – Your Master Bedroom

For organizing and decluttering my home, I use a zone plan. Every month I choose a different area to clean, declutter, and organize. In May, I concentrate on  the master bedroom.

I always start with a vision of the room. Since I married in November, this year there are two of us forming this vision. We want this room to have a soothing, calming, and supportive look. We want to feel relaxed and happy in this room. We like soft light yet still desire enough lighting for reading. We want our clothes that are stored in this zone to have designated places that make it easy to dress and do laundry and not clutter our sleeping area.

We are going to make some changes in the current setting. We intend to paint the walls a softer color and are changing the art work and accessories to meet our vision.

We will sort through our clothes and get rid of every item that we do not need, love, or that does not currently fit. While dressers and closets are empty, we will deep clean them. We will clear extra clutter off of surfaces in order to have breathing room and to place new, meaningful accessories. We will evaluate all of the reading material that has stacked up and not been read. All of the bedding will be cleaned and aired. The windows and blinds will be washed so that the sun can stream in. The fan and air vents will be cleaned as well.

As a reward for finishing the bedroom zone, I will buy fresh flowers, stand back, and admire our clean, uncluttered space. I know we will sleep well here.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer