Organizing small spaces supports sanity

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kid in messy room
Any child or adult is more likely to keep a clean room if options for are made available.
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Consider organizing your small spaces to tame clutter and confusion

Get down on your belly and crawl. If that’s how you are forced to retrieve your shoes or the stray toys flung under the bed for lack of storage space elsewhere, take heart. The smallest of homes, apartments and dorm rooms easily can be revamped to create a place for everything. The key is in organizing small spaces so that one’s possessions are always at hand but never in the way.

Most folks have heard the old adage: a place for everything and everything in its place. It’s a motto easily transformed into a reality by organizing small spaces in such a way that anyone’s too-diminutive domicile or work area becomes an orderly place that accommodates all the things deemed necessary for living a life of convenience. The motto goes far to back-up one’s efforts at organizing small spaces so that those conveniences do not turn into plain, old, everyday clutter.

Ask what is most important

Any cleaning crisis starts with an overwhelming urge to toss out the window everything in sight. When one looks across a room and cannot see the pattern in the rug because the floor covering is littered with toys, papers, clothing and other stray items, something is bound to break.

Don’t break a sweat. Don’t let the condition break your spirit. Take an objective look at what items are the biggest offenders. Then, think about organizing small spaces so that nothing is hard to find—and nothing is on the floor. Consider using some storage bins and baskets to make organizing small spaces a fast operation. Many styles of containers are available.

• Toy storage chests
• Desk organizers with compartments
• Colorful storage cubes
• Fabric-lined storage units
• In-closet organizers for clothing
• Shoe and boot storage units
• Plastic cases for crafts supplies
• Under-the-bed units for blankets

Provide incentives for cooperation

Engage in a little behavior modification so that organizing small spaces becomes an ongoing and natural procedure. Train yourself and others to chuck stuff into a set of handy, attractive space savers instead of on the floor. Make a game of it in the kids’ room and every room. Give kids a treat or devise a game wherein they win points for every successful throw—into the toy storage bin.

Adults can play the game of organizing small spaces, too. Is your work space in need of some desktop organizers to keep everything in its proper place? Next time friends visit, let them experience a twinge of jealousy at your oh-so-efficient work area. Organizing small spaces can be refreshing and rewarding. It is an exercise that helps banish the occasional bouts of guilt generated by enabling a mess to take hold—and to thrive.

Reinforce the concept of proper placement by organizing small spaces in the office, too. Consider disposing of desk lamps and installing wall-mounted lighting fixtures. Use plastic desk trays with compartments. Use wall-mounted magazine holders. Use roomy pencil holders and mount some hooks on the wall for use with frequently-used items—scissors, paper punches, rulers, etc.

Organizing small spaces is rewarded with peace of mind and reduced stress caused by having to search amid the clutter for an important memo or an overdue bill. Reward yourself for a superb effort at organizing small spaces. Get a haircut. Take a nap.

Better yet, utilize that wide open space on your desk by unfolding a map and planning a getaway to your favorite resort or one of America's best beaches. Sometimes, a clean work space gives a lift to one’s self-esteem and leads to increased productivity. It’s the look-better, feel-better principle of pride in action.

Kidnap the clutter

Gradually filter out of the accumulation what is no longer needed. Dispose of toys and other items that are not used any more. Donate the excess to charity or pass the bulk along to others who express an interest in having it. Start by extracting an item and putting it somewhere unseen. If nobody asks about it after one month, consider it fodder for the give-away pile.

In cases of doubt, keep the potential discards in folding bins. When the bin is full, hold a family conference and suggest that the items could be better appreciated if they went to new homes—or to the donation center. Consider donating to an animal shelter any soft, warm blankets and absorbent towels that have seen better days. Such items are always needed by animal rescue centers.

Any outcry of protest can be stifled by a suggestion that the owner of the item participate more frequently in your effort at organizing small spaces—and keeping them organized. It’s possible the protestor suddenly will realize the wisdom of another old adage: less is more.

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