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

The Importance of Maintenance


You’ve done it! You finally finished organizing your (fill in the blank – files, pantry, closet, etc.). It feels so good! You are glad the project is finished.

But wait a minute. It is really not “finished”. It needs a maintenance plan. Just like laundry or dirty dishes are not “done” forever, neither is your finished project. When you finish working on any organizational project you need a plan to keep it organized.

Let’s look at some examples:

  • If you have finished setting up your filing system and everything is now filed neatly away. You need to have a plan in place to keep those files working. When paper comes in, it should go in a file immediately – do not lay it down on your desk “just for now”. Papers should either be trashed, shredded, or filed. If you don’t have time to do more than a rough sort now, have in place a landing pad and schedule a time to work on emptying it. At least yearly have a time scheduled to go through your files and empty out what is now redundant or not needed.
  • Your pantry is beautiful! All expired foods have been disposed and your goods are nicely lined up, in containers, labeled, and reachable. Now, every time you come home form the store, put all your pantry items away correctly. Don’t just put them in the pantry wherever there is a space. Have all the soups in one space, all canned fruit, all pasta, etc. It should look like the shelves at the store. If you bought a can of tomato soup and you already have a can of tomato soup, the new can should stand behind the old one, so your foods are rotated. At least once a year, schedule a time to take items out of your pantry, clean it out, and check expiration dates.
  • Your bedroom closet is a sight to behold. All blouses are arranged by short sleeve and long sleeve. Your slacks are hung by color. There is space between hangers. Lovely! Now, take a moment and turn all your hangers backwards. The first time you wear an item, turn the hanger to the correct position. This way you keep track of what you are actually wearing. When you buy a new item of clothing, consider getting rid of something you already have. When laundry is done, hang up what goes into your closet in the correct place right away. When you take an item out of the closet to wear, put the empty hanger to one side of the closet. Once or twice a year schedule a time to reorganize and clean out your closet.
I recommend using a zone plan for maintenance on your whole home. This keeps you from zig-zagging around with your projects. Divide your home into zones and schedule one zone for each month. 
I offer a teleclass to help you with this process. Check out htttp://timespaceorg.com/teleclass/.


Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing Tips for Your Laundry Zone


Laundry zones can be large (a big space in the basement or a room off the kitchen) or small (fold-out doors covering a washer/dryer combo in a closet size area) or somewhere in-between. Depending on the size of the laundry zone, this area may have other functions besides doing the wash. If there is room, it makes sense to store ironing supplies in this location. My area is large enough to store those ironing supplies plus pet supplies, recycling bins, cleaning supplies, and some oversized party supplies along with the laundry necessities.

The first step to organizing this zone is to develop your vision. How do you plan on using this area? What is working and not working now? How do you want it to look? How to you want to feel when you are in this zone?

Keeping up with the laundry becomes less of a chore with a well-organized space and a plan for keeping on top of the never-ending influx of dirty clothes. The idea is to keep the laundry moving and never piling up.

Next, brainstorm a list of tasks you need to accomplish for your laundry zone to match up with your vision. Because my zone is roomy and near the back entry, it is easy to drop something in that room “just for now” because I don’t want to take the time to put the item where it really belongs. Now is the time to remove all items that don’t belong – that don’t fit the vision. Also, on my list I plan to cull out cleaning and laundry products that are stored there. Products that sounded so promising (will get rid of any stain) or “green” (got rid of no stains) or products that have a nasty chemical smell or items that are duplicates should now all leave. These all add up to clutter. I have a space here for ironing and mending. I should not have my Christmas table cloth in the ironing bin in August and it is definitely time to schedule time to mend the waist band of that pair of black pants that has lingered in the mending area for almost a year.

Once your list is complete, get out your calendar and schedule a time for each task. Mark in your calendar what day you plan to pull out the washer and dryer and clean behind them. When are you clearing everything off the floor and cleaning it? Keeping up with the laundry is less of a chore with a well-organized space. An added bonus is that having an organized space makes it easier for family members to participate in doing laundry.

Work on a maintenance schedule. This room gets used a lot so have a scheduled time to bring out form hampers the dirty clothes and do your laundry. Get clothes from the washer to the dryer or hanging racks as quickly as possible. As soon as clothes are dry, get them back to their “home”. Having different colored baskets for each member of the family is helpful. As you pull clothes out of the dryer, put them into the correct basket and take them to the proper room.

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

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing Your Storage Unit

Why do people (one in 11 American households) rent storage units? According to Wikipedia, industry experts often refer to the 4Ds of life (death, divorce, downsizing, and dislocation). Also, some homes do not have a basement or attic so a storage unit holds what homes with those attics and basements store there.

If you are one of those one in 11 American households that rent a storage unit, you will want to keep it organized and decluttered. Treat this unit like another zone in your house.

When organizing follow these steps:

  • Determine the purpose of the unit. Is it mainly to store seasonal decorations and party supplies? Is it storing items while your home is being renovated? Are you holding grandma’s items there until you can decide on what to do with them?
  • Have an inventory of what is in the unit. 
  • Label all boxes and if possible use clear bins.
  • Zone out the unit so like items are stored together. If you are using the unit for holiday decorations, have all Halloween in one zone and all Christmas in a different zone.
  • Use shelving so boxes are not stacked on top of each other. Boxes will crush if stacked too high. If you want something from a stack of boxes the odds are it will not be in the top box.
  • Have pathways so that you can safely get to each zone in your unit. If shelving is packed close together, have rolling casters on the bottom of the shelving units so you can move one out into the hallway temporarily to get to what you need.
  • At least annually reassess the purpose of the unit and remove all items that are no longer needed or loved.
Do not use storage units just to keep things out of your house. If you are paying every month for storage, make certain that you know the reason why it is important to you. Then honor the items in the storage by keeping them organized.





Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

The Benefits of Virtual Organizing

Virtual organizing is a service that Time Space Organization offers. It is a great option for some people. The organizer uses her hands-on expertise and knowledge to create an action plan to meet the client’s needs.


How does virtual organizing work?
  • First there is a free phone consultation to determine if virtual organizing would work in this given situation
  • Once it is determined that it is a good fit, a questionnaire is filled out to help solidify intentions and goals for the sessions
  • If appropriate, pictures of the target area are sent
  • A  vision of what the area will look like and how you will feel in this area is explored
  • A brainstorm list is put together of all tasks that need completing for the vison to come to fruition
  • Possible organizational roadblocks are studied
  • A completion date and time line are developed
  • During each session, we refine the plan and dates to complete tasks are put on the calendar
  • As the organizer, I hold you accountable, help you prioritize, and make suggestions
  • Once the project is complete, we develop a maintenance program
How do you know if this would work for you? It would work if:

  • You can work on your own and are motivated but you want/need some guidance and accountability
  • You recognize the importance of organizational help but are on a budget
  • You are comfortable communicating by phone, email, skype, and can send emails with photos
  • You are creative and want custom-tailored sessions
  • You would rather work with an organizer in one hour sessions rather than the hands on 3 hours plus sessions and can work on completing projects on your own time
  • You are not physically close to professional organizers but still want their help
For more information visit my web site http://timespaceorg.com/services/ or contact me by email (jonda@timespaceorg.com) or phone 404-299-5111.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing Bathrooms and Linen Closet

I use a zone plan when organizing my home. This month I concentrate on the bathrooms and linen closet.

Most bathrooms are small but are also heavily used with many items stored there. Bathrooms can get disorganized and cluttered easily if there is not a shared vision and plan for using the space. To keep clutter at a minimum, only store here what you use daily.

Take a good look at the storage space you have available. What areas are overcrowded? Some of what you are currently storing in the bathrooms may actually be stored somewhere else. In small bathrooms, only store what you need daily or each week, and then if there is room, add other items.

The medicine cabined in a bathroom is not a good place to store medicines. Moisture and heat can ruin some medicines. Medicines can go in bins or on a shelf in the linen closet or kitchen. Use the medicine cabinet, drawers, or space under your sink to store items that you use regularly like daily grooming supplies. Small baskets or bins are great for makeup and hair supplies. The medicine cabinet may hold toothpaste, dental needs, deodorant, some q tips and cotton balls. Hair dryers, curling irons, gels, sprays, and other hair items can be stored in a container under your sink or in an over the door hanging bag. An extra roll of toilet paper and personal hygiene items can store under the sink.

If you have drawers, designate each drawer as a container for like items. One drawer can hold everyday makeup, one hair products, etc.

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

Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, and a wash cloth can be stored in a shower caddie inside your shower or tub. Extra back up supplies do not need to be stored in your bathroom.

If you are lucky enough to have a linen closet, keep your extra towels, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, and medicines here. Consider storing 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 pain medicine and cold/allergy medicine. Still another could have first aid supplies. As you sort through your medicines, get rid of the expired ones. Dispose of them responsibly.
(http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm101653.htm)

As you organize your linen closet, get rid of excess items. Do you really need 5 partial bottles of body oil, 6 sample soaps, and those free samples that came in the mail? How many towels, sheets, and extra blankets do you really need?

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

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

To learn more about my Zone Plan click on http://timespaceorg.com/services/.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing Closets

Closets are a fairly new addition to our homes. When I lived in Germany, I found that closets were few and usually free standing wardrobes or armoires. I was told that closets were considered a room and increased the tax on the home.

According to Wikipedia, a closet is an enclosed space used for general storage or storing clothes. It wasn’t until post WWII that larger closets were introduced into housing to attract wealthy buyers. Today we totally expect closets of all types throughout our homes.

I have found that closets become a great place in many homes to hide stuff we don’t want sitting around in our living space. I find items that have been bought and not yet found a home or that need to be returned. I find boxes of mail that have been swept off tables and counters before company comes and never seem to come back out to be sorted and filed. I find broken items waiting for repair. The list goes on. The bottom line is that many closets hide chaos. This is not a happy situation, so what should we do?

  1. Determine the main purpose of each closet. Is it a clothes closet, coat closet, linen closet, utility closet, or an off season clothing closet?
  2. List all other purposes for each closet. Does the closet also hold gift wrap, gifts, suitcases, medicines, back up cosmetics, or paper products?
  3. Develop a vision of how you want the closet to look and how you want to feel when you access the closet. (i.e. I want all items organized and either in labeled bins or aligned so that I can see each item. I want my closet fully utilized but with some space for new items. I want to feel confident when I look into the closet that I can easily find the item I am looking for.)
  4. Develop a brainstorm list of what you need to do to make this vision come true. (i.e. I will sort all like items. I will remove items that don’t fit my vision of this closet. I will add shelves. I will purchase bins. I will label shelves and bins.) Your list will match your needs and your vision.
  5. Plan a time for completing your tasks. Write the “do” dates on your calendar.
  6. Actually do the tasks.
  7. Develop a maintenance plan. Some closets only need a real redo every year. The clothes closet might need serious maintenance each season.

Work on one closet at a time until your whole closet system gives you pleasure just to open the door and find what you want.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

How Do You Use Your Spare Bedroom?


Spare bedrooms can have multiple purposes. I have seen them used as offices, craft rooms, play rooms for children or grandchildren, storage, and even to house guests.

When working on any zone in your home, you want to have a clear vision of the function of the area how you want this area to look and how you want to feel when you enter. Be very honest on the purposes of the zone.

My spare bedroom has multiple functions. It has a closet that is used for off site office storage. There is also a dresser that holds off season clothing, gifts, and some memorabilia. This room is occasionally used as a place for guest to stay. And more recently, it has become a retreat for an older cat with some health problems. My vision for this room is to have an open and inviting space for guests. (When guests arrive, the cat is displaced for the duration.) I want all office items easily accessible but not visible. I want to feel drawn into this room and feel calm and happy when I enter.

I use a Zone Plan to organize and declutter my home. February is when I tackle my spare bedroom. During this month I clean out and reorganize the closet. Files are updated and some archival files go to the attic. I  toss out times that I no longer need or love. I clean out the dresser drawers and assign a purpose for each drawer. All surface areas will be clear except for a few accessories. I clean all bed linens, furniture and windows.

By the end of the month, the spare bedroom matches my vision for the upcoming year. Except for weekly cleaning, this zone will not need organizational work again until next February.

For help in setting up your zones, sign up for my Zone Plan Coaching sessions (jonda@timespaceorg.com ) or purchase my workbook – From Vision to Victory: A Workbook For Finding a Simple Path to an Organized Home (available on my website www.timespaceorg.com)

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Office Zone

Every year I make a plan for touching everything in my home. This helps me remember what I have and helps  me to purge items I no longer need or love.

I always start the year in my office.

After a year, my office begins to feel overfull and not well organized. Files are stuffed and new things have come into the office by way of gifts or books.

My vision for my office is to have an area where I work that is attractive and welcoming. I want to feel in control and happy when in my office. I want space to work on a project without the distractions of unfinished work yelling at me.

Now is the logical time to organize and clear out files, drawers, bookshelves and project bins to allow for new projects and growth. I will take the entire month of January to get this space back in line with my vision.

I look around and decide what is bugging me. I see things like too much clutter on my desktop and items rather randomly stacked in my credenza. My couch has become an easy place to drop items.

I start with my desktop and the drawers in my desk. Then I move to the file cabinet that abuts my desk. Files are pulled and taken to the closet in the guest bedroom. Tax papers are pulled together.

Next I will work on the bookcase that is right behind me and the credenza where action files and project bins are stored. I know that some projects are completed but paperwork still lingers. I need to empty these bins for new projects I am working on or plan to work. I will then clean the meeting area of my office and find a better routine for items that get dumped there.

Finally I will work on some files and notebooks that are stored in my laundry room but are part of my office management.

By the end of the month, I will call whatever has been accomplished “good enough” and move on to the next zone. I will schedule regular daily maintenance chores (clear the desk and couch) and weekly maintenance (check action folders and clean room). The office will not need a real zone maintenance until next January. I always celebrate by buying fresh flowers for my office.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

 

Final Countdown of the Days

It’s almost here! It’s time to relax and enjoy the season. Let good enough be the rule now and allow time to revel in all that you have been preparing. Take time to enjoy your decorated home and enjoy some of the goodies you have prepared. Enjoy the holiday music that is everywhere and watch some of those old movies.

Here are a few tips to help you on your way.

  1. Cleaning:
  • just do maintenance work now
  • delegate where you can

2. Cooking:

  • keep it light
  • eat out more
  • plan a picnic meal by the tree

3. Holiday tasks:

  • set up a gift wrap station and finish wrapping – get rid of those scrappy pieces of wrap that clutter up space
  • as cards come in, check addresses and update your contact list
  • keep an eye on the tasks you have delegated on your calendar – adjust where necessary
  • play some holiday music
  • put together a container for Christmas morning – have in it a couple of trash bags fro used wrap, paper/pen to note who got what and from whom, scissors for opening those pesky wrappings
  • plan a car trip to view the lights or to visit a light display

4. On the day:

  • start jotting down now a list of ideas for future gifts – list sizes – if you plan on doing any re-gifting, make notes of who gave you the gift
  • if you receive a gift that duplicates something you already have (hello nice new coffee maker) start a donation box for the items no longer needed

Wishing all the best holiday season ever!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer