I completed this project a while ago, but still wanted to share it with you all. I think it’s a great example of the vast difference organizing can make and how much stuff can be in one (seemingly) tiny space!
Once I start organizing, people are often amazed at how much they had crammed into one spot, whether it be a closet or a drawer or garage. That’s one reason I almost always start by taking everything out. More often than not, the majority of stuff that was crammed in the back, you’re not going to miss!
I completed this particular project for the church I was attending at the time. This was one of several closets in which the preschool and children’s ministry program kept supplies. After nearly breaking my leg more than once trying to find an item for a Sunday morning lesson, I proposed a major clean out and reorganization of the whole closet.
The first step was getting everything out of the closet. No small feat! Thankfully the closet was attached to a large classroom that I could use to “dump” all the contents during the clean out phase. I tackled this during Spring Break while the students were away.
If you’re shocked, join the club! This was one of my first major projects, and I could not believe how many books, props, games, and toys all came out of that little space. But I was committed! I was not going to let a few (hundred) stuffed animals stand in the way of success.
The next item of business was to sort through the piles.
I donated. I discarded. And eventually whittled down the contents by at least a third.
Cleaning out a shared space can be a little more challenging than cleaning an area that is solely yours. I got rid of items that were clearly out of date, broken, or no longer being used. However, just because I wasn’t using certain toys or materials, didn’t mean no one was using them. During the process, I spent time consulting with the children’s team to discern which items should be salvaged or spared.
Cleaning out a shared space can be a little more challenging than cleaning an area that is solely yours.
By this time, putting the items back in the closet was the easy part! When there’s 1/3 less stuff, there is automatically more space and room for a good system to be established. Also, as a bonus, I did not have to purchase any supplies for this project. So many items were discarded that there were plenty of empty bins and boxes to repurpose as I needed!
Items went back into bins by category- musical instruments, balls, animals, etc. There were a lot of categories! Afterwards, I also went back and applied labels in many places.
Labels are essential when several different people are using the same space! They serve the important function of reminding everyone where things belong. If there are no labels, people will stick things anywhere!
Labels are essential when several different people are using the same space!
There is something about seeing “Books” on a basket that prevents someone from putting a DVD there. More than likely, they’ll keep looking for the “DVDs” container. I think we all really want to be rule-followers at heart.
The finished product was a dream come true. Not only could I find everything, but there was room to spare!