Claiming Space in a Cluttered Household

Can you claim the pantry as your domain?

Can you claim the pantry as your domain?

Do you find yourself wondering “Why bother getting organized since everyone else in the house doesn’t seem to care?”

Do YOU care?  That’s all the motivation you need.

Begin with the areas that are solely under your jurisdiction.  Do you have your own closet? How about your own dresser?  Is there some place you can claim for yourself? In fact, identifying this area may be the first step to marital happiness and personal healing.

Even though our culture is very individualistic, some families have the mindset of “it’s all common property.”

But, can you claim the pantry?  Is there a corner of your living room that might work for you?  Can you take ownership of some part of your bedroom?

Some people find it very rewarding to take charge of a space all their own.  It can provide a rich sense of personal power.

Once you’ve decided which space to start on, talk to the other members of your household and get their “buy-in.”

This formalizes your task and gives you some leverage if there are encroachments.

Begin by taking everything off that space and cleaning it off.


For example, let’s say, you’re taking ownership of your nightstand.

As you remove everything, arrange the items you’ve found there by category, for example:

  • Books
  • Hair care items
  • Jewelry
  • Medications
  • Stuff that doesn’t belong to you
  • Trash or recycling
  • Money
  • Paperwork-reference
  • Paper that requires action (bills to pay, to-do reminders)

This simple sort will help you see what you’re keeping there, namely, things that have no homes or where they belong is inconvenient to access.

Decide what you want to keep on your nightstand.  What is the best way to store it?  You can use an attractive basket to hold a discreet number of books… a dish for coins … a trash basket nearby … a container for medications…

Clean the nightstand and replace items that make sense to keep there.  The rest of the items get put away elsewhere…or set aside to tackle during your next organizing session.

As you take charge of this personal space, you’ll most likely find a sense of pride and joy in what you’ve done.  You’ve improved your space without infringing on your partner and you’ve made yourself happy.  Make this small space an affirmation space, reminding you that when you take charge of an area and stay mindful about the importance of keeping it uncluttered, you gain a sense of mastery that can be translated to other areas of your home.

You might even find your partner/roommate/child is curious about what you’ve done and want to get in on the action.

If you’re stuck about where to start, give one of us a call.  We’d be happy to spend a few minutes on the phone helping you pinpoint a hotspot that you can improve.

Katherine Korlacki (510-525-3310) & Dana Arkinzadeh (510-525-6805)


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Filed under General Organizing, Perspective, Strategies

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