For all of you stuck at home during this difficult time, I want to try and help you make the most of the space you are in.
Fact 1: There is only so much space that we all have for storing things.
Fact 2: We probably all have too much stuff that needs storing.
Fact 3: We almost definitely are storing things in a disorganized way.
I am here to help!
I want to break this down so that the way we see our homes (regardless of the square footage) is exactly the same.
- We all have a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, a family room or living room.
- Most of us have a linen closet, hallway closet or garage.
- Some of us have the luxury of guest rooms, a laundry room, extra closet or cupboard space around the home.
The cold, hard truth is that until we start assessing ALL the areas in our home, we are unable to implement usable systems to help us get (and stay) organized.
Not everything we have is needed or used every day. Some items may only be used weekly, some monthly and each of us probably have items that are used significantly less often than that. To make the most of our spaces, we need to be able to assess what we are using the most, and what we can identify as occasional use or specialty use.
Let’s get back to Zones…..
It’s the absolute most convenient, eye level, front of sight, no bending or struggling to reach area. There are obviously limited areas like this each home. I call it “prime real estate”. It is precious and it is limited.
This is the slightly harder to reach for shelves, the lower drawers, the out of the way linen cupboard that you have to leave your room for, the coat closet down the hall. Sometimes Zone 2 needs a step stool.
This is the least convenient zone…. It often takes a ladder, or at the very least, a more difficult approach to getting what you need. Zone 3 is often the garage, the very highest shelves or under your bed, the back of the cupboard under the stairs.
Now that you (hopefully) understand the zones, let’s talk about item placement. I am going to use the kitchen as today’s example:
Zone 1 Items:
- Everyday plates
- Everyday glasses
- Everyday pots and pans
- Most used measuring jugs
- Most used bakeware
- Most used ovenware
- Most used Spices and oils
- Most used coffee cups
- Most used food
- Most used cooking utensils
And so on and so on. I am not saying that you need to get rid of all your measuring jugs, but if you are only using 2 on a regular basis and the other 4 are for Thanksgiving or when you are entertaining for multiple people, you certainly don’t need the matching set of 6 to all be stealing space in Zone 1. We all need a lot of cooking utensils, especially if we cook daily or multiple times a week. Now consider what items you can’t live without. Of course the tongs, the wooden spoons, spatula’s are essential for most of us, but what about the meat thermometer, the melon baller, the juice zester? My guess is that some of these items are really only being used on a monthly or maybe less basis. Why would you fill your prime space with items that are not being used often?
The same rule applies to all areas of our kitchen, for example, if you only use your Kitchen Aid once a year at Christmas, It needs to be relegated to Zone 3. Are you using your muffin pan only once a month, it should be moved to Zone 2.
- Specialty dishes and bakeware items used more than 1 x month but not weekly
- Less used cooking utensils used more than 1 x month but not weekly
- Entertaining dishes if you entertain more than 1 x month but not weekly
- Food items that are not used weekly but you do use more than 1 x month
- There is quite a lot of flexibility with Zone 2 because it is still accessible to you, however not quite as easily as Zone 1.
- Seasonal Items – Thanksgiving/Christmas dishes and plates
- Ice Cream Maker
- Fine China
- Rolling pin
- Turkey Basters
- Large Roasting pans
- Silverware sets
- Oversized entertaining pieces
- Picnic and outdoor items
- Back up and duplicate items
Even though we relegate some items to Zone 3, it doesn’t mean that they have to live there year round. For example, once the weather starts warming up and summer BBQs and picnics are on your mind, feel free to take your outdoor items and BBQ tools and accessories down and put them into Zone 2. Perhaps at the same time, you can remove your crockpot that you use for your winter soups and casseroles, and relegate it to Zone 3 for a couple of seasons.
Notice that I also included back up and duplicate items on Zone 3. I include these for families and homes that do have multiples of one item, but I am specifically referring to items that we use a lot and have the potential to break or need to be replaced, such as can openers, corkscrews, measuring cups, steak knives etc.
I am NOT suggesting we keep duplicates of everything, and in an ideal world, if your space is limited throughout your home, I advise you to work on the theory that you can always buy another one (IF something breaks or needs replacing) rather than taking up precious space with storing duplicates.
I am here to help if you have any questions but I encourage you to really start thinking about your items by Zones to assist you in making your homes Organized & Orderly.