Does your daughter struggle putting her stuff away?
Do you feel like nothing ever gets completely put away in your daughter's room; that you are constantly trying to create storage space? If that’s the case, it is important to take a look at how much active storage space you have versus passive storage space to understand the best way to organize your daughter's room.
Welcome to Part 1 of my 4 Part Blog on Conquering the Chaos.
If you just asked, what the heck is she talking about? Then you, my friend, are just like most of my clients. When we start talking about maximizing the storage space in a room to have it work at peak performance, and I say let’s see what your ratio of passive to active storage space is, I get some pretty confused looks! (I was an über nerd growing up, I think it’s a residual effect that I enjoy people looking at me like I have 2 heads!)
What am I defining as storage spaces?
So to be crystal clear, the storage spaces that I am talking about include every single place in a bedroom that something is “put away.” This includes closets, dressers, desks, jewelry boxes, under bed storage, bookcases… everything.
An "active" storage space is a location where the thing/s that belong there are used very regularly. Whatever goes there, leaves the space then goes back to it frequently. A dresser drawer is an example of active storage space (as long as everything in it fits!!) Active storage spaces should be super accessible.
On the other hand, storage space becomes passive when the item/s in that space stay put. It is filled up with something that is being kept or saved, for whatever reason.
If I asked you to guess the ratio of active to passive storage is in your daughter’s room, what would it be?
One common factor that I find is that most clients with off-balance storage ratios have chaos and disorganization issues. Almost everyone is shocked by how much more passive storage space there is than they realize.
I am going to tell you how to take an accurate assessment. But before I do that, I have to tell you that the ratio that we are looking for is:
80% Active Storage: 20% Passive Storage
The more active storage space the better. Ultimately, I will be teaching you my tricks for pushing beyond that target to even more effectively used space. When 10-15% of the active storage space is open for growth, your daughter will have an easier time putting things away.
Most people are surprised when they go in and take a hard look at how spaces are being used, at how much of the available storage has become Passive Storage Space.
Since every square inch of your daughter’s room is precious, it is every bit as important to optimize the function of every single inch of that space and that function is as maintainable as it is fun and fabulous.
If you just thought,
“My daughter hardly puts anything away, so how can I tell?”
I’ve got you, sister! If you have open, empty shelves, hangers, or drawers keep reading. I have the perfect solution!
So let’s do a quick assessment. A fun and highly visual way to do this is to grab a pack of fluorescent Post-It notes (or painter’s tape, or anything bright with a low tack adhesive) then stick a note on anything that you say yes or maybe to from the following list: (just stick it, no need to take time to write)
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does it no longer fit, it’s just being kept for sentimental reasons?
- Does it no longer hold her interest, like a toy or game that she has almost outgrown?
- Is it seasonal, like a holiday outfit or sports equipment?
- Has it not moved in the last 3 months?
- Is it leftover from a project?
- Is it broken/damaged?
- Is it an activity kit that is unopened or partially used?
- Is it a family heirloom or from a beloved relative or friend?
- Is it something that she is growing into?
(Remember, yes or maybe answers get a Post-It. )
Childhood is filled with emotional moments and milestones. So there is probably more there than you realized.
Don’t worry. I’m not going to tell you to throw it all out! While I am sure that you will stumble on a few things that are quite literally trash, there is a way to work through things in a way that honors and respects the reasons that they are occupying valuable real estate. My Conquering the Chaos Webinar dives deeper into creating systems that eliminate clutter and celebrate individuality.
So how can you think about organizing your daughter's room if everything is on the floor?
We, my friend, are going to play dirty.
Grab a big black contractor bag. (If you know my blog, you know to keep these bags on hand.). Start in the far corners of the room and just start indiscriminately filling the bag. Don’t think about anything that you are putting in there. Close your eyes if you have to. If you are a brave (but frustrated) soul, fill a bag from the floor of the closet. Chances are the things that she uses the most are beside her bed or in front of her dresser. Just leave the things in those areas where they are.
You are assessing not cleaning!!
Now take the bags and put them as far away from her room as possible (preferably a closet far away.). Then, as she is missing things, she has to go through the bags without pulling out anything that she doesn’t need! Critical! And if you are thinking of repainting, it's a perfect time. 😊
After a few days of her being annoyed, make a date with her to go through what’s still in the bag/s. If there truly are no good places or systems for her to put things away, start with a plan to correct that. Very often our girls have outgrown their dressers or other storage spaces and we just didn’t realize it. But if the reason is that she just doesn’t make it a priority to pick up, point out how much time she wastes looking for things-with love. (In Part 4 of this series, I am going to teach you about the concept of Habit Stacking that will change your life! It changed mine!!
At this point, you should have a realistic idea of how much storage space you need to organize her bedroom in a way that is maintainable.
What spaces don't fit the 80:20 Rule?
Dresser drawers should be approaching 100% Active Storage. If it’s not being worn, it needs to go. The same goes for closet organizing systems. If they just become a place to shove things, they aren’t organizing anything. (And they can be expensive!)
Bookshelves can be closer to 50% Active Storage. A lot of people make the mistake of displaying too many things that their daughters have outgrown on bookcases so they don’t have places for things they use regularly to go, other than the floor. Ensure that the things taking up space there still inspire her.
And one more thought on assessing storage space before I leave you. I bring this up because I am as guilty of it as anyone. Check that there is nothing in your daughter’s room taking up precious space because YOU are emotionally attached to it. Watching them grow up is hard. But giving them room to grow is the greatest gift you will ever give them.
Take your assessment, it is the first step to organizing her room. Knowledge is power! How much passive storage did you come up with? Were you surprised? Let me know in the comments below!
Have a wonderful day, my friend!