So, we have all walked into a room and have said “how did it get this way?!” We walk around and say why would my child put this in here? Why does my husband do this in here? And so on. When I help organize a room for someone, I am usually working with 1 person, carrying out their vision of the space. But who else uses the room? What is their vision of the room? Are they on board with yours?
You see, if it is a shared space, it needs to have a shared vision and shared responsibility. That is exactly why when you organize and clean it, the next day it is trashed.
Ask these questions about the space:
- What is the current function of the space?
- What is the ideal function of the space?
- Who uses it?
- Who should use it?
- What should it contain?
- What has to go?
Have each person who uses it should answer these questions. Chances are each person will have 2-3 answers of what they do in that space and only a few overlap making the room a space that is trying to support 10+ activities! That is why it is a mess.
Setting up the space to support the functions that all can agree on will lead to success in maintaining the space. If you decide an activity should not be done in that space, the key is to set up another to support it. You have to or it will migrate again into where you don’t want it. An example is if you are trying to maintain the Family room as only TV watching, reading and game playing but your child plops themselves daily at the coffee table to do homework. Where do you want them to do? Set up that space for all that is needed so they can do it there, not at the coffee table.
Sure, slip ups happen but if you walk through the above exercise and do a daily sweep of what is in the room you can easily reestablish the space and address any new things that are encroaching on the space.