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Make Space: Systems

Dear Jo the Clutterbuster:

We cleared out the clutter; arranged for the pick up of our donations; put out the recycling and the trash.

We are going on vacation soon and I want to be sure
'there is a place  for everything and everything is in its place' before we leave.
It seems we finally made the space  for what is important. Now we need to decide where to put it?


Lost in Space

Dear Lost:

Old habits die hard. You decided, donated and de-cluttered.  But it doesn't take long for the clutter to re-appear. That is why it is important to create systems that help you (and those you live with) to manage the clutter. Every home is different and it takes time to create systems. After you 'make systems' you can go on your well- deserved vacation knowing there is now a place for everything and everything is in its place..

Make Systems

Designing workable systems requires creativity and flexibility. Here are some of the most common systems you will need to institute. Some will work perfectly the first time; others will need some tweaking.

Create SACRED SPACES. These are paper free and clutter free rooms or zones in rooms in the house or office where no one is allowed to leave clutter or paper.

Create a CLUTTER CODE that includes commitments to only bring something in if 5 things go out. This will decrease the amount of purchases you make or freebies you accept.

Create an ENTRANCE area that has adequate space for coats, back packs, footwear, umbrellas and any other items that need a home when you first enter the house.

Create a MAIL center for everyone who lives in your home. Set up boxes or baskets for papers, mail.  Check daily. Clean out weekly.

Create a COMMUNICATIONS center that everyone refers to when planning their day or an outing or an appointment. This includes a wall calendar, paper/pencils, bulletin board. Update weekly. Review daily before leaving the house.

Create an OUT center to hold dry cleaning, library books, papers for school, items to be returned, bills to mail. Check daily.

Create SHORT TERM STORAGE systems for children's toys, sports equipment, current hobbies, media, off-season clothing, seasonal tools. In other words, make a place for items in your current life that are still in use.

Create LONG TERM STORAGE systems for holiday decorations, memorabilia, old tax records, financial records, etc. These include items not used frequently or that you are keeping for posterity.

Create a FIREPROOF place for important documents that would be difficult to replace such as birth certificates, mortgage title, passports, social security cards, auto title, etc. Safety deposit boxes or fire proof safes are frequently used for this purpose.

Clutter never stops trying to invade your home and your life. It takes time and energy (and sometimes the cooperation of others in your life) to keep clutter from taking over.

By working your way through each phase of the process: Make Decisions, Make Order and Make Systems, you will, not only make space for what is important, but will make space for your dreams.