Believe it or not, this post isn’t about buying or selling a house. Or about how professional organizers can help you when you are preparing for a move or if you have just recently moved (although we really can!) But it is about real estate. Sort of. And the first phrase that comes to my mind when I think about real estate is, “Location, location, location.” When realtors use that phrase, they mean that the most important factor in determining the value of a house is its location. A beautiful house that meets all of your specifications but is located in a bad part of town is not nearly as valuable as a nice house that meets most of them but is located in the perfect neighborhood.
So how does this apply to organizing? When you are organizing, you need to keep in mind that even with objects in your home or office, there is expensive real estate and cheap real estate. Expensive real estate refers to a prime location that is easy and quick to access. Cheap real estate is a more distant location that requires a bit of effort to access. An item that you use frequently merits the expensive real estate, while an item that is rarely used can make do with cheap real estate. This is a logical principle that comes naturally to many, but you’d be surprised how much focusing on this can help you be more efficient.
Let’s use the kitchen for an example. Here are some items in my kitchen that have earned the expensive real estate: Keurig coffee maker and K cups, toaster, utensils (only the frequently used ones), flour and sugar canisters, silverware, measuring cups and spoons, and oven mitts. I consider the expensive real estate in my kitchen to be the countertop and the top drawers. Here are items in my kitchen that are in the cheap real estate section: crock pot, bread machine, wok, cake stand, deviled egg tray, juicer. My cheap real estate consists of shelves that are either up high or close to the floor or that may be several steps from the stove, sink, or island.
How do you determine what to put in the expensive real estate? The most important criteria is frequency of use. I love these practical tips from well-known organizer and author Peter Walsh from an article in The Huffington Post (http://huff.to/2d1LmrX). “Imagine the main preparation area in your kitchen as a triangle. I call it the ‘magic triangle’. That’s the area determined by the stovetop or oven, the sink and the refrigerator. Everything that you use most often should be in or around the edges of that triangle. Anything else should not be in that area. For example, near the stovetop should be the pots and pans you use most often; near the sink, the items you frequently use for clean-up. Just having those things in this area — a little organization — will really save you a ton of time and a ton of energy, I really guarantee it.” Peter’s One Month Cardboard Box Test is a brilliant way to help make decisions about what items you really use. Check out Peter’s one minute YouTube video on how to use this test: http://bit.ly/2cQEDMp.
This organizing principle can be used anywhere in your home or office. It can save you time and energy and make your life easier. As Peter Walsh is known to say, “What’s the point of being organized if it doesn’t make your life just that little bit easier?”
I hope this is helpful. Getting organized and staying that way is a constant struggle, but the benefits are worth the effort!