Zoning Out

Do you want to know what strategy you can use to shave off 50% of the amount of time it takes you to look for things? Create zones within each space of your home.

What I mean by zones are defined areas within any space where items are grouped together because they are used in performing a similar activity or function.

For example a hairstyling zone. In this zone you would group items together that are used for the purpose of hair styling. In my hairstyling zone I have, in a plastic bin, hairbrushes, hairdryer, diffuser, three hair styling products and a flat iron. Having these items grouped together means I don’t have to look in separate areas for the items that I will be using while I’m styling my hair.

Having your items grouped into zones makes it so you don’t have to take up too much space in your brain trying to remember where every single item you use is located. What a hassle that would be if you sat down to pay your bills and in order to use a stamp you had to get up and run into your car to get it. That’s one extra step that needs to take place in order to pay your bills and because of the inconvenience, chances are the activity of paying your bills will take twice as long or get postponed all together.

The easiest way to figure out what items to group together is to think of an item as what it’s used for not for what it is.

How much easier do you think it would be if you were looking for a screwdriver in your garage and rather than having to fumble through all of your tools in your toolbox, you have a container where only your screwdrivers go? I actually just created a screwdriver zone for my 76 year old female client the other day. She was delighted to see that when she decided to build her next grandfather clock that she won’t have to spend all this extra time frustrated over not being able to find her screwdrivers fast and easy. And you think I’m joking? Lol.

As far as where to set up the zone, think about where the activity is most likely to be performed. One of my clients loves to do creative projects like painting but sitting in her office doesn’t get her creative juices flowing like it does in other areas of her home. So what we decided to do was to get a rolling drawer cart so that when she is ready to do one of her creative projects she can easily roll it into the room where she feels most inspired in any given moment while keeping all of the supplies related to that activity together. The best part of this is when clean up time comes, she just puts things back in the drawer and rolls it back into it’s designated home.

Another way to think about grouping your belongings together based on function is to think of the old game show from the 1970’s called The $10,000 Pyramid. This is where players attempt to guess a series of words of phrases based on descriptions given to them by their teammates. These words or phrases were related to a particular category. For instance, one contestant would say, “Scissors, Knives, Razors” and the correct answer might be things that cut. That’s how I recommend you look at your stuff.

Here’s some examples of zones:

Bill pay
Office Supply
Kid’s lunches
Car care

Those are to name a few. There really is no right or wrong way to designate a zone. What matters the most is that by putting an item in a particular zone, you and the others in your household will be able to find it easier and put it away easier. If those two conditions aren’t present then guess what? You’re going to make staying organized much harder on yourself. And I don’t think anyone wants that now do they?

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