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READY TO REARRANGE (Discovering New Ways to Use Old Spaces)

By April 16, 2015 7 Comments


I recently presented a short talk at a staff meeting on the topic “Ready to Organize: 6 Strategies to Organize Any Area.” The strategies were:

  7. REPEAT! Bonus tip!

As I was driving home, I was thinking about a few areas in my own home that could benefit from this process. I was especially focusing on the “REARRANGE” strategy. Sometimes we tend to just put things in random places around our homes, without much thought about why we put it there.
Here’s a few suggestions to help you re-arrange with a plan in mind:


  • Choose a logical location.
    It is most helpful to put things closest to where they are actually used. That means you will save time when you get out the item and when you put it away. The item will have a designated home!
  • Select an appropriate container.
    Make sure you select a container that is appropriate for how the item will be used and stored. For example, it is better to have smaller, open containers for toys rather than one big box. On the other hand, crafts supplies are better stored in closed containers. Clear containers work great in closets and opaque cube containers are perfect for book shelves.
  • Use a lovely label.
    Make it easy for everyone to put things away or to know when items need replenished. The label could even be a picture of the items that belong in that container, which would be very user-friendly for children!



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The first area I decided to re-arrange in my own home was three storage closets in the garage.  I designated one for glass dishes, one for games and household supplies, one for old home-school notebooks and office supplies. I accepted the limit of one shelf for a particular kind of item and eliminated what I no longer needed. I made sure the shelves were not overcrowded. And I ended up with an empty shelf!


The next area was my card collection which was in a drawer in my office. However, I always write and address cards at my personal desk in my bedroom. So I emptied out 2 smaller drawers in my desk, sorted all the cards, eliminated the ones I no longer liked, and placed the cards there. Now my address book, cards, and stamps are all close at hand and much easier to find and use.

That created an empty drawer in my office which was the perfect place for my budget notebook and a plastic shoebox container for all my personal receipts. They both exactly fit that spot! And the drawer is within easy reach when I sit at my computer to access online banking and online bill paying.


The final REARRANGE was in my office closet. I removed a file cabinet and some hanging clothes and installed five shelves. What a much better used of that space! Now I can line up my current projects in plastic file totes on one shelf rather than use up valuable desk space. I have divided my files into separate file totes by categories, such as clients, education, expenses, networking, speaking, and archive files. I use one shelf for magazine holders and notebooks. I have another shelf with plastic shoe boxes for items such as business cards, brochures, labeler, business receipts, gifts, and gift certificate boxes. There is a space for my organizing bag and portfolio at the bottom of the closet rather than by the door. And I have a plastic crate for all my paper supplies. Did I mention that I even have some extra space on the top shelf? Now I have more room to actually work at my desk!

What area do you want to REARRANGE? Let me know in the comments below!


Olive Wagar

Author Olive Wagar

More posts by Olive Wagar

Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Rachel Welborn says:

    Great ideas! Thanks for including me in your blog list.

  • Charlene says:

    Love these ideas, Olive! Great work.

  • Carol says:

    I would like to tame my files and papers. They overwhelm me!! Help Olive!

    • Olive Wagar says:

      Carol, I would be glad to help you with your papers! And I will be writing an article about paper clutter in the May Spoonful of Sugar newsletter. Let’s talk soon!

  • Olive Wagar says:

    The rearrange continues! I moved a chair from my bedroom to my living room to make a place for a lovely little dresser (purchased at the delightful Primm ‘N Proper in Troy). Then I removed all the pictures from that wall, selected my very favorites, & hang them on a different wall. Now the first thing I see every morning is the smiling faces of my children! I moved the sewing table (which had been my dresser) to another bedroom where it can actually be a sewing table again and moved the cedar chest from that room into my bedroom–and now I have a window seat!! I have been wanting that for so long. 🙂

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