Do you have an area of you home you want to organize but don’t know where to start? The S.P.A.C.E. technique, coined by organizer Julie Morgenstern in her first book, Organizing From The Inside Out, is a tried and true way to go about it.
The acronym breaks down the organizing process into 5 simple steps anyone can follow. We’re going to walk you through the steps using a kitchen pantry as an example but the steps apply to any space you’re trying to organize – a single drawer to a whole house!
The first step in organizing any space is a sort. Gather like things together in order to see how much you have of similar items.
Empty the pantry onto a large table and sort by types of food:
- Canned goods
- Nuts, dried fruits, small bagged snacks
- Rice, pasta, grains
- Boxed cereals
- Baking items
- Packaged food mixes
Look through each group of your sorted items and get down to what’s relevant to life now.
- Expired foods & spices
- Boxes and bags with just a tiny bit left
- Extras from overbuying because you forgot you already had it (think food bank!)
- Items you thought would be delicious but now don’t seem so appealing
Assign a Home
This is the core of the work. Clutter happens when items don’t have an assigned place to live. Using labels makes all the difference here.
- Make sure high-use items are in the most accessible shelves
- Decide which sorted groups are “friends” – would you like your jars of tomato sauce to live near your pastas or other jars and canned goods?
Once you have clarity on your groups, their use, and where they should live you can make smart choices about whether containers make sense for them to live in…
Shop smart and save yourself time and money by saving the containerizing until the end of the process.
- Use small boxes on shelves to group loose bagged items together; the box functions as a mini pullout shelf
- There are numerous organizing products to help maximize shelf space and visibility. Do a quick search on Pinterest to get some ideas
- If you don’t have the perfect container you can always use a cardboard box, Ziploc bag or other temporary container until you find the perfect permanent solution
Life isn’t static. Getting organized isn’t a one-time process. As life changes – sizes, interests, jobs, etc. your organizing systems may need to shift and change to keep up. Make time each season (or at least each year) to inventory your possessions and update your systems.
Try it out yourself. Start small as a test. Pick a single drawer or cabinet shelf to create S.P.A.C.E. See how it goes and report back!
Need more help? The Container Store has a page with tips for organizing your pantry.