When we moved into our house a couple of years ago, I spent quite a while in the weeks leading up to the move, and then after we moved in, working out where everything should go. It meant that I had to make several assumptions on how we were going to live in the space, and where the best places for things would be.
These were therefore ideas and visions of how life in the house would turn out, and as we all know, reality is often very different!
Over the past two years we have gone through the settling in process (yes, it really is ongoing!), and have worked out what works and what doesn’t.
Accordingly, rooms have changed useage, cupboards have changed contents, and generally things have developed along the way in order to function for us better.
Don’t let the roots grow if you’re not happy!
I do still find though, that things can easily get overlooked and you can live with them in a less than perfect way for a very long time if you let them go.
In my second home, I vowed that I would change the kitchen pretty much as soon as we moved in – as it simply wasn’t working well for us, and I knew without a doubt I wouldn’t be able to live in it like it was.
After 18 months had the kitchen changed? No of course not! Life had got in the way, other things had become a priority, and I had learnt how to live with the room as it was – and it was fine, for now.
The problem with FINE is that there is no push to get things GREAT, and thats where I feel you have to keep reviewing your home and the systems/storage etc.. that you have installed into it – as things can always work better and more streamlined than currently.
You can often forgive and forget to some extent the things that really got on your nerves at first, those things that were frustrating and time consuming – and after this has happened, you just get used to the workarounds you have created for yourself to overcome them, and forget to revisit and change the way they work for the better.
These are some things that you can learn to put up with:-
- Having to move everything out of the way in a cupboard to get to an item that you actually use on a daily basis
- Always having piles of paper/clothes/toys around the house as there is no storage
- Having the same things fall out of cupboards when you open then as they have nowhere else to go, but don’t really fit there either
- Having too many of one thing to keep it all neatly in the same place, so you end up storing them in several places and often forget where they are
- Fixtures and fittings that don’t work (taps that drip, shower screens that leak, cupboard doors hanging off etc…)
Take a look around your home and see how many little things could be rectified to make your life much more streamlined and stress free – you’ll be surprised at how much you just aren’t seeing anymore as you are so used to it!
Oftentimes these are small and insignificant things in their own right, but multiply them by how many things there are and you will find that you are spending a considerable amount of time doing things that you could do more quickly and easily, and who doesn’t want that!
Realise that things change, and people move on
We all have ever changing lives as well, and thats a great reason to keep reviewing our home, as rooms may need to be changed to be used in a better way (e.g. family room with lots of toy storage now needs to be a den for teenagers / spare bedroom now becomes an office as you are wanting to work from home / children move out so their room can be a guest bedroom….)
Review, and make things work for you!
So hopefully now you can see why reviewing your home regularly can make all the difference to how you live in the space, and how it works for you.
Yesterday I decided that my Utility was in need of some reviewing!
For a long time now, items haven’t been working as well as they could do in this space. We have had lots of work done to the house and the utility seemed to be the dumping ground to get things out of the way in the interim. As such the usual systems and storage had been low on the priorities, and life had literally taken over the space.
We have been able to get things done such as laundry, cleaning, storage etc…. but its been more of a case of muddling through than actually simple and effective.
Now, don’t get me wrong, its far from a complete disaster zone (I do try to practise what I preach!) but things are starting to expand out of their storage, not everything is tidied away and easy to find, and don’t even get me started on the mop as it always falls out of the cupboard every time I open it – and I let it! WHY!
The space fundamentally works, but could work so much better – saving time, effort and energy, and that was my goal.
So, How did I review the space?
Firstly I simply took EVERYTHING out of the space, including cupboards, shelves and the floor. The room was now empty and I could see what I had to work with properly.
Next, I went through all the stuff and threw away rubbish, put away anything that wasn’t meant to be in that room, and then was left only with what needed to go back into the space.
With these things I then grouped like with like, and genre with genre (so all dusters were put together, alongside the polish / washing tablets and fabric conditioners were all put together with any other items washing related (stain remover, technical clothing wash, dryer sheets etc…), and then I could see what I had and how large a space that section required to store everything together (which would be the ultimate aim)
We have lived here a while now, so the one thing I knew was that the amounts of each item were roughly what we would have each time I opened the cupboards – so I could definately see the space required
TIP – If you aren’t sure of what space you need – then this is when a review is also needed – as you may come back to find you actually needed a lot more or less, and can alter accordingly.
I also looked at space inside the cupboards (as anyone knows who has seen my previous utility organising post, there are special shelves and compartments within the cupboards to maximise the space usage). I was able to move these around to maximise how we really use the space now, and make the most of things.
I created a large area that could house a laundry basket out of the way, rather than constantly being on the floor and in the way, and I added a shelving area on top of a hard to reach worksurface which is otherwise dead space that ends up being filled with odds and ends. I basically looked at the space with fresh eyes, and reworked it with what the family needed now in mind.
And it has worked brilliantly.
Use your knowledge to review successfully
I now know where things are, can store everything we really need in the room, and everything is to hand.
I thought it worked OK before, but now its so much easier to work with – it feels like a brand new space!
And the reason for this is that I made a good guess at what we needed when we moved in, but let experience and my knowledge of how we actually used it and what we really needed in the space to guide me when I made the changes.
You need time to develop systems that will work properly for you – and this usually won’t be accomplished on the first run through.
Look at it another way, an author writes a book, but is what you get to read when its published the same words that were first written down? Of course not – they are reviewed and edited until a better version has been found – and thats exactly what organising is like.
It really is a lifelong journey, and not a one hit wonder!
If you can get into the mindset of thinking about whether things are working well, and how they can be improved, as you go about your life, then its so easy to start making the tweaks and changes needed to make life that bit easier. Why not try it out today!
So – to understand that you need to make changes EVEN WHEN YOU HAVE ORGANISED A SPACE is key to successfully staying organised forever, and here are the main tips from this post – hope they help!
- Your life and needs change – so your systems and organising habits will need to as well
- Don’t do what you’ve always done – unless of course its working perfectly for you
- Get all the little niggling jobs in your home out of the way to streamline you day
- What you store in your home may well change over the years as well
- Don’t be afraid to take a fresh look at a space, even if its just for a change!
- Make life easier for yourself, store things that you use constantly in the most accessible spaces.