Monday, October 28, 2019

The Home Zones

Even if you live alone, there are bound to be some spaces where things get messy. Whether it is in your home office, your garage, or even your whole house, chaos most likely exists in your abode. Items end up in the wrong rooms and sometimes it’s difficult and inconvenient to find just what you’re looking for when you need it.  One method of managing your home to solve this problem is to create zones in each room of your home.  To keep the whole home useable and clean, each room should have succinct and manageable zones.  Such a system should help make sense of the items in your home, not confuse you. The goal of zones is to create areas that are welcoming, useable, and peaceful.

Just as your house naturally has “zones” (the kitchen, the living room, bedrooms, etc.), each individual room should also have zones within them consisting of items that belong there together. Utilizing this simple system will assist in maintaining an organized household. For example, your kitchen should have separate areas for cookware, dinnerware, food, and seasonal items. Keeping these areas tidy and putting away items where they belong will make it easy to maintain a clean, well-organized home.  Ideally, the names of each area should be kept general so that they can fit a variety of appropriate items, but specific enough to keep unwanted items out of that space. In the case of the kitchen, a dining ware area is general enough to fit plates, bowls, and cutlery together, but does not include appliances such a rice cookers and blenders, which should have their own place. This system also makes it easy to identify items which do not belong in a given room that should be put away elsewhere in their own homes.

To assist with creating zones, check out our “ZONE Detail Worksheet.”  Use the worksheet to identify zones in your home, considering the zones you might already have in your home or office spaces. Sometimes it is easier to look around at the different areas to see which zones you already have before deciding on what you should have.  Look at each area with a critical eye and think about what the space was originally intended for and what it is being used for now.  Also look for items that are misplaced or don’t seem to belong.  Do you have any items that do not belong in any category listed on the sheet? Do you need to create a new category?  List these new categories at the bottom of the worksheet. Every item should belong to a category, even if it is only a category of two.  Although I recommend that you keep categories to a minimum of three items, I challenge you to think broader to add an item to an existing category instead of creating a new one.  Recently, I was working with someone in a home office and we had made a category for glue.  There was wood glue, glue sticks, epoxy, etc. Then we had tape – duct tape, masking tape, scotch tape, etc.  But when we were actually organizing, we realized the better category was adhesives and fasteners.  This label gave us the option to add a roll of twine that did not fit anywhere else!   Also, don’t be afraid to get rid of some zones that you may no longer need.  If you have a zone for your skiing supplies but have not skied in years, there may be no need to have a zone for that!  Good luck!

For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit


Thursday, October 17, 2019

Maximizing Your Focus

Your brain is the biggest asset you have in life and how you utilize it can determine how effective you are in your daily life and how stressed you feel.  In recent years, multitasking has been a buzzword that has taken hold in society.  However, multitasking is difficult and leads to errors and stress.  If you try to do too many tasks at once, you’re bound to make a mistake.  For this reason, I believe that you should use your brain to focus on one thought at a time. 

Now, focusing on one thing at a time doesn’t mean that you can’t maximize your brain power to accomplish a series of tasks efficiently.  For example, you can cut vegetables for dinner while waiting for water to boil for the main course.  In this scenario, one of the tasks, waiting for the water to boil, does not require your constant mental focus.  This is not multitasking, but rather proper planning that results in an efficient order of processes.  By utilizing your time efficiently, you take pressure off your brain and allow yourself to focus on a single task at a time before moving onto the next one. 

Setting up a routine is one way to do this.  For instance, if you know you tend to rush around to complete tasks every morning, you might prepare the night before to make your mornings easier.   Instead of rushing to get everything done in the morning, you might prepare a breakfast or lay out clothes for the next day each night in order to smooth out the morning routine and make things more efficient and less stressful. This will help prevent mistakes as well and allow you to put all your focus and energy into one task at a time, which is safer and easier.  Plus, you will have the confidence that you have a plan to accomplish your objectives.

Some tasks, of course, need your complete attention, while others do not.  For instance, chopping wood might require your full attention while folding laundry might be done while also watching TV or carrying on a conversation.  Knowing the difference between what needs complete focus and what does not is important and will allow you to successfully plan and optimize your routines.  This does not mean planning your day down to the minute, as there will always be unforeseen occurrences that will require you to be flexible and accommodating. However, if you have a general layout of simple daily goals that you need to accomplish, it will help keep you organized and on track.  This outline allows you to focus on what is most important in the moment, one task at a time, instead of making you feel like you have to juggle many things at once.  If you focus on just a single item at a time and use a little planning to maximize your brain power, you will see the benefits of fewer mistakes and a calmer mind every day.

For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit