In real estate, the phrase “Location, Location, Location” is widely used. It’s all about buying a house that is in the right spot. This is a helpful slogan to bear in mind when trying to organize our belongings as well. Many people struggle with figuring out how to ensure they have exactly what they need, where they need it. If you have a junk drawer that is bulging with a mass of supplies, you are probably in this camp. To find a better solution, begin by defining 4 spaces:
“Prime real estate.” This is your workspace, and will vary by task. For example, if you work at a desk, this is anywhere you can reach from your desk chair (without standing up.)
“Secondary access” zone. Secondary zones are still easy to get to, but may require you to get up and move away from your primary workspace to reach them. These would include a credenza across the room, a pantry down the hall, the trunk of the car, etc.
“Supply” location(s). Depending on the type of supplies you need, this could be a closet, a dresser, a couple of drawers, a cabinet or some shelves in the garage or attic. These spaces should be clean (so your supplies don’t get dirty), and fairly easy to access. Remember to consider hanging items from your walls as an option.
“Storage” location(s). These are places where you keep items you don’t regularly use, but need to be able to find reliably. Examples include boxes in the attic for old tax records or file cabinets in the basement for employee records. The main concern here is finding a space where the item you are storing will be safe (think temperature, humidity, security.)
Now you have 4 zones established. The next step is to empty out your work supplies and re-assign them to the appropriate zone. Here are some guidelines for what goes where:
In “Prime Real Estate,” put the items you use each day, but only a couple of them. For instance, you can keep 2 pens of each color, 1 highlighter, 1 pair of scissors, 1 pad of sticky notes, etc.
In “Secondary Access,” place items you use, but not constantly. So the fax machine may go on a shelf in a closet, or the chargers for your devices go on a table in the entry.
In “Supply,” put the “extras” of all the items you regularly use, such as the bag of red pens, the stash of glue sticks, the printer cartridges, etc. DON’T KEEP THESE IN YOUR PRIME REAL ESTATE. Put these in smaller containers that you label. You don’t need expensive containers, simple cardboard boxes or Ziploc bags will do, but be sure to label them.
In “Storage,” set up a container system that meets your needs. If you have paperwork, get a file cabinet or file boxes. If you are storing larger items, you need labeled bins with lids. Large shelves are always helpful, and enable you to use as much vertical space as possible.
Getting the clutter out of your prime real estate will improve your productivity and make your work station feel peaceful and pleasant. For more information on organizing your spaces, contact The Seana Method.