So you're getting ready to organize that space that's much smaller than you'd like it to be. Or maybe your son or daughter is ready to tackle dorm life. While we can get away with things that are cute but not functional in a large space, we have no such luxury in a small space. In a small space, every container must earn its keep. By choosing containers carefully and remembering the rules of homes and locations, we can make a small place attractive and functional.
- Choose containers carefully. Match them not only to the space you have available, but to personal and organizational styles as well. If every container is useful and serves a purpose, staying organized -- even in a small space -- is do-able. Choose "Goldlocks" containers -- storage that's just the right size for what it holds -- in order to use every inch effectively. Not sure what to choose? Check out the charts at this link for hints on matching your containers to your styles.
- Choose locations wisely. Store things close to where they'll be used and make most frequently used items easily accessible. If you store something in the place where it's most often needed, you'll find it effortlessly. In a dorm, this means study supplies are in or near the desk, in-season clothes are in the most accessible clothing storage and out-of-season clothes (if they're in the room at all) are tucked into nooks, crannies and faraway spaces.
- Give everything a home.There's much less margin for overflow in a small space, so keeping the old adage "a place for everything, and everything in its place" in mind becomes essential. Begin by choosing containers that make it as easy to put things away as it is to put them down. Then, make sure homes are not only logical (as described above), but also style-savvy. Take advantage of strategies like clear containers, labeling and color-coding to remember which logical home is which. Remember to store similar items together, and perhaps find homes for complementary items (things that go together or are used together) near each other as well.
About the Author
Lisa Lawmaster Hess is a transplanted Jersey girl who writes both fiction and non-fiction. Lisa’s latest book is the award-winning Know Thyself: The Imperfectionist’s Guide to Sorting Your Stuff. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is an adjunct professor of psychology at York College. She blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, Organizing by STYLE, and here at Catholicmom.com. Read all articles by Lisa Hess.