Organizing your space

If you are a “messy kid,” I bet you want to turn away from this RIGHT NOW.

But if you’re my student, I may have assigned you to read it, so don’t turn away.

If your parent wants you to read it, well, make them happy. It’s short.

Why not just be messy?

You already know the answer to this question. Messy people like their mess, true. But sometimes their mess keeps them from doing what they want to do.

I am not going to teach you to be a neat person here, but just give you a few tips so that amidst your messiness you can keep a little bit of organized space.

First, ask this question:

What do I want to do in this space?

The owner of this closet could use these great shelves for something much more useful and rewarding, don't you think?
The owner of this closet could use these great shelves for something much more useful and rewarding, don’t you think?

Maybe you’re organizing your room because you don’t have any flat surface where you can keep your schoolwork.

Maybe you’re organizing your room because you keep losing things you need.

Don’t move on till you’ve answered this question.

Second question:

What do I need in this space in order to do the thing I want to do?

If you need a flat, clear space to hold a computer, a jar of pencils, and have space for a notebook to write in, that’s all you need.

If you need this space to keep your art supplies organized, your art supplies and something to contain them in is all you need.

So here are the steps to take once you’ve answered those questions:

  1. Clear out all items except, perhaps, a large piece of furniture or a cabinet that is anchoring the space.
    I mean it: clear it all out. Take it to another room, if possible, or to another corner. Pull all of the stuff out of the drawers. Really do this, and don’t move on to #2 until the space is clear.
  2. Look at your empty space and enjoy it for a moment.
    Messy people enjoy their mess, but a nice clean space can be enjoyable, too.
  3. Once you’ve enjoyed it, picture what you want to happen in the space.
    At this point, you might realize something you need, like some bins to put your art supplies in. Do your best to get what you need.
  4. Put back only the major/large things you will need.
    If you have your flat, empty surface, put your computer, your notebook, and your pencil jar. If you have your art supply bins ready, put back the supplies that you know you will use in the near future.
  5. Do not put anything else there.
    Look at your space again. This is how you want to visualize this space when it starts to get messy again, because it probably will! Heck, take a picture if you need to. Print the picture and tape it to the wall!
  6. Put back the little things you will need.
    Every single thing that goes into that space needs a home. Pencils in the pencil jar. Art supplies in the bin.
  7. Decide what to do with the other stuff.
    Note: none of it may go into your organized space! If you don’t need it, get rid of it. If you need it for some other task, do not put it back into your organized space. Find another space for it.
  8. You’re done.

That’s all? Really?

Well, no. Now comes the rest of life. Remember that picture you have in your mind of your space all nicely organized? Keep that picture in your mind. Every time your space starts to look like it did before, remove everything that does not belong in the space so you can continue to use it for its intended purpose.

This sounds too easy. 

Humans like tasks with clear ends!
Humans like tasks with clear ends!

It’s not easy. Messy people like their mess, and if you get too relaxed, your mess will creep back in and you’ll have the same problems as before!

I’m going to stop here. Short, remember? But another way of looking at this is that it’s a task that never ends.

Sigh. Humans like tasks with ends.

Sorry. I can’t fix that for you!

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