Tips on imposing order from the start?

alisonJune 24, 2009

With just a little reluctance, I'm getting ready to move from my 800 square foot apartment to a 2100 square foot house.

I won't say my apartment has been impeccably organized, but I've always been able to find everything I need when I need it, and either put it away if I can or put it "on display" when I can't. (Pots, utensils and small tools are part of the ddecor in the kitchen, for example.) But the organization I've achieved has been the result of neither discipline or virture, but simply because there's no place for anything to hide!

In this new house, I'll have a bedroom twice the size of my current one, an enormous craft room/study, a second floor sunroom, living room, dining rooom, sitting room and a kitchen nearly three times what I'm used to. and that's not to mention the basement, or the third floor, which is being rented by a friend of mine.

I know most of the posts here are people trying to re-establish order after they've lost control, so I'm curious if y'all have any advice for organizational tools and tricks that have worked for you, that I can put in place right away.

I'm excited to, at this stage in my life, have room to stretch out, but I don't want to let things go, or start to accumulate too much stuff simply because I've got room.

What would you do if you were starting with a clean slate?

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To begin with, plan out how you want the rooms to look. Look in magazines, books, start a notebook, colors, designs etc. GO SLOW. You probably will change your mind several times. Do you read? Crafts? home office? do you want shelves? large TV? have children/ entertain? do you watch decorating shows? garden? cook alot? work full time? and you mentioned you have rented out part of the house? seperate entrance? even though it is a friend, you should have a locked cabinet to keep private papers out of sight. Remember slow and planing is good

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 2:38AM
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Move in and put things in places somewhat similar and logical to the system you have going...even if it doesn't make sense in the immediate moment. IE: If you have a junk drawer at 1 place...establish a junk drawer at the new place. Everything you keep under the sink it in the new place. And so forth. The point here is to get moved in and not force your brain to re-think where you need to go to get something.

After you've moved in and can see and touch the extra room you have to work with...THEN go ahead and stretch out, tweak your systems, and think about it as you're doing it.

Don't go reorganizing or setting up new systems while you're moving and have a lot going on. You'll lose things, forget stuff, and waste a lot of time.

I have more to say, but I don't have much computer time right now. will come back later.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 7:05AM
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congratulations on your new home-it sounds lovely! Go very slowly unpacking, find a good home for every single object, like with like (all art stuff together, all baking things together). Take your time unpacking and putting away. You might want to buy some storage shelves, etc.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 10:32AM
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I read some advice that has been helpful for me. For any given room, decide which activities will take place there. Don't try to do too many activities in the same place. Set up the area to facilitate that activity, and also to put things away EASILY before they become clutter.

For example, where do you read mail? Is it the same place where you pay your bills? How do you deal with the papers you don't need? Is the mail reading / bill paying process spread all over the house, or concentrated in one place? Sometimes it makes sense to confine it all to one place; sometimes it is a good idea to break it up into two areas.

You're also going to develop the discipline not to let anything hang around just because you have plenty of room. Every time you touch an object, you'll have to decide whether it still deserves to be part of your life. Either put it away where it belongs or put it near the door, ready to leave the house.

Enjoy your new home!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 10:34AM
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Back again...

I moved from a 900 sf apt to a 2800 sf house several years ago. Same as you...lots more kitchen than I was used to. Just because you have a lot more cabinet space doesn't mean you have to occupy them all right away. Nothing wrong with not "being able" to fill them up ASAP.

Funny neighbors used to be in awe of me & my kitchen because I had empty kitchen cabinets...even several years after living there.

You summed it up yourself in your own post:
"I'm excited to, at this stage in my life, have room to stretch out, but I don't want to let things go, or start to accumulate too much stuff simply because I've got room."

My response to that is...Then don't accumulate! Be in control of your stuff. If you had everything you need at your apartment, just remember that you STILL have everything you need in your new place. Take responsibility for accumulating if (and when) it happens, or starts to happen. Take action when you realize the accumulation. Don't blame anyone or anything else for the accumulation. Don't feel bad about yourself if it happens. Just take care of it.

I can tell you from personal experience that I'm one who loves to be organized, and I really have very little clutter. After i moved into that bigger house with room to spread out, it is easy to accumulate because of all the storage options...and I did accumulate here and there. Out of sight, out of mind. Just stay aware of what stuff is coming in, and what is useful to your quality of life, and what is being stored away.

Sounds like you're squared away now. Just stay squared away at your new place and enjoy yourself, your new and fun opportunities for decorating, and everything that goes along with it!

Also, with a new place it's always fun to get new stuff. I suggest you don't keep around multiples of the same items. EXAMPLE: I'm all for getting new things with a new place. Yeah...go get a new coffee maker (or whatever) because it's something you want to do for yourself & it goes with the decor vibe better. Just think of that new item as an UPGRADE to what you already have. Don't store the old coffee maker in your cabinets just because you can. You didn't need 2 coffee makers before...and you won't now. Get rid of the old one. You're REPLACING the old, not starting a collection.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 7:06PM
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gayle0000 hits what I was talking about on the related purge thread--when you get something new, try to get what you really want or at least what you really want at that stage, so it satisfies a real need and replaces something. Don't let the house intimidate you, regarding what does not look right, into doing things faster than is comfortable for you (time and $$ wise. I've found that one of the things that leads me to hold on to duplicates is when the replacement is not really a good tradeoff, doesn't accomplish a real change for the better and the original still has features I like. (This is SO true of clothing! )

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 10:48AM
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