Couldn’t find your head if it wasn’t attached to your body? Then you might need to set up some systems at home to support you in finding things, getting stuff done and staying organised. One system I recommend is to have ‘home zones’.
To have zones in your home for things like mail, bags and things leaving the home can save you stress. You’ll be able to find what you want when you need it. Below I suggest three ‘stations’ to set up and recommend two bonus boxes that will help you stay sane. It is very helpful to set these up at the very beginning of your decluttering journey. Let me describe what they are and how they are used.
Three Sanity-Saving Home Zones
Three zones you could set up in your home to save your sanity are:
A Bag Station
This is the place for all things that come with you in the door. It is for things like your wallet, handbag, keys and mobile phone. Dedicate a space for you (and your family) to put these things as you enter the house so you know where to find them next time you leave. I call this a bag station.
This ‘station’ might have a bowl for your keys, wallet and phone. It might have hooks or a cupboard for handbags, school bags, gym bags and all the other activities you do. Store the things you need here until your next session. It might also have hooks for hats and scarves and perhaps a place for umbrellas. This might also be a good spot for a wall timetable to keep everyone on track.
How you set it up will depend on the needs of your household and the space you have available.
The Transition Station
This place is dedicated to all items that need to leave your house. It is for things such as giveaway items, things to return to family and friends, library books and so on. By putting these things in this space that I call the transition station, you’ll always know where to look for that ‘thing’ that you had to return. I call it the transition station as it is for things transitioning from your home to somewhere else.
It is often handy to have the transition station by your front door so you see it as you leave the house and it might be included in your bag station set up. Visitors will learn this is where they look for their Tupperware container or book they lent you. Having it near the bag station means you can put mum’s casserole dish in your bag on the way out to her house.
The Paperwork Action Station
All households have paperwork that needs to be ‘actioned’. I’m not talking about general filing paperwork here. It is the actionable stuff, things that have an action associated with it such as notes that need to be returned to school or bills that need to be paid.
Set up an area to gather this paperwork in one spot (that is not in your office), such as an in-tray in the kitchen. It will help to keep you and your family on track. Ideally, set up a ‘station’ to deal with this actionable paperwork which includes, in addition to your in-tray, a filing rack, a few essential stationery items, and a folder with your most used documents inside. If you have space, a wall calendar can also be helpful. The best place for your paperwork action station is often the kitchen because it is a convenient place to deal with the mail or kids’ permission slips. Schedule regular times to work through the papers in this ‘station’. I provide further tips for this in my post about getting on top of your actionable paperwork.
With these three home zones set up, you should feel more in control. You’ll know your stuff has a home, even those transient items. An added bonus, the “Honey, have you seen my….?” questions will minimise. The following are two additional spaces I recommend that will give a home to a couple of categories of tricky stuff.
Two Bonus Boxes to Level Up Your Organisation
A Memory Box
A memory box is a place to gather anything you find around your house as you are tidying or decluttering that has sentimental value, the things you can’t let go of. Gather all these things together in a box. Once you’ve decluttered the house, you can then decide what to do with them. Ideally, these belong on display so you can honour the good memories and you can set aside some time at a later date to organise, store or display them appropriately.
The Fix It/Find It Box
Finally, you need a spot for the bits and bobs you find around the house that need a temporary home until they are fixed or reunited with their mate. I call this the Fix It/Find It box. This is where you but things that you find around the house that are broken (and you intend to fix). It is also the place for things that are in the ‘I know this is from something important but I can’t remember right now’ category. It might even be a puzzle piece you know you have the puzzle for ‘somewhere’. You can then reassess these items once you’ve finished decluttering. If they haven’t found their mate, they can be tossed.
Ok, they are the ‘stations’ I recommend you set up in your home to bring a bit more ease and organisation to your life. I’m certain they’ll make a positive difference in your life. What’s a ‘home zone’ you’ve set up that you couldn’t live without? Share it with us in the WellSorted Facebook Group.