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The Why, What, and How of Successful Organizing

All successful organizing begins with answering these three questions:

· Why isn’t the space working?

· What needs to happen in the space to solve the problem?

· How can I execute my plan within my desired aesthetics and budget?

The Why, What, and How are the big picture ideas of the project. They help you stay focused on your end goal.

The Why question is important because If you aren’t clear about the essence of the problem you could end up spending a lot of money and time with no real change. For example, if your laundry is a daily frustration there could be several reasons.

  1. It could be that you are treating the laundry room like an overflow or storage room and have too much housed there.

  2. It could be that you can’t easily access the shelves or cabinets because they are too high or too hard to reach over the washer/dryer which causes you to just set things wherever you can.

  3. It could be that there are a lot of things on the floor so you can’t move freely.

  4. There may not be a place to fold clothes or hang wet clothes.

  5. The problem may be getting the clean clothes hung up or folded and put away so they don’t accumulate in the laundry room.

  6. It might be that family members handle laundry in differently. There may be laundry brought to the area and left in piles, or laundry may be accumulating in other parts of the house and never make it to the laundry room.

The What involves problem solving. If the Why of the laundry room is number 1 then you will be evaluating other places to offload non-laundry items. If the Why is number 2, 3 or 4 you will be looking to change the structure of the space and/or utilizing organizing product. Which might be something as simple as adding a garment rack and laundry bins all the way up to a new custom shelving system. If the Why is numbers 5 or 6 you are dealing with a systems issue.

The How is making a plan that executes your solution within your budget and aesthetics. Almost every organizing project is going to require some expense. You are most likely going to need things like bins and containers, drawer organizers, hooks, drawer units or shelving. If your plan for the laundry room project is to relocate some items that is a no cost solution. However, in order to accommodate the new items, you may need to organize the secondary location as well which could involve some expense.

If the laundry issues are related to structural elements like cabinetry dimensions, or lack of shelving or hanging you will probably need to come up with a more comprehensive design for the room. If you’ve got the budget, then starting from scratch with a new custom designed system can open up a lot of possibilities. In addition to new vertical space, shelving or cabinetry can be designed to avoid any awkward reaches that were problematic before. You may also be able to add elements like hanging, sorting bins, and a folding area. Plus, everything is integrated and designed to work together which gives you a more high end look. This is where your aesthetic comes into play with a color palette and vibe that makes you happy when you walk in.

If you’re on a tighter budget, there are definitely things that could be purchased to help you execute your plan. This is where having an organizer could help since they will have a lot of experience and product knowledge. If you’re a DIYer just make sure that you have a planned layout and know your dimensions. Be judicial and only purchase something that matches your criteria. It must fit the space AND solve the problem.

System solutions require input from everyone who uses the space. Laundry solutions might involve setting up your hampers in different locations or assigning family members laundry responsibilities. If you live alone then it might be just creating a new habit. A successful system is intuitive and easy to use.

These three organizing principals apply to any size project from a junk drawer to a master closet. Have fun with this! See the space the way you want it to be and imagine how easy it is to use. Your creativity will flow into just the right solution.

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