Organizing Small Spaces | Solutions on How to Organize Your Tiny Home

So you're interested in organizing small spaces? That's wonderful, since we're going to talk about how to organize small spaces today.

A few reasons why you may be having difficulty organizing your small space usually boil down hoarding, disorganization or simply being too busy.

So let's address those problems today and fix the culprits that stand in your way.

How to Stop Hoarding

If it isn't obvious what hoarding is, it's simply the act of keeping items you should get rid of. Generally hoarders to tend to say things like...

I'm keeping that just in case.

...or...

Oh, don't get rid of that, we might need that later.

And in the end they find themselves holding onto to way too much. In some cases it isn't that they don't try to get rid of things, they just don't usually know how to gauge what to get rid of.

So, the question is, how do you fix a problem like that?

Simple. Live in reality. That's it.

Let me make it a little clearer. Live by what-is not by what-if. Usually hoarding occurs due to hypotheticals like what if this happens. Living life based on circumstances that haven't occured is generally what leads to hoarding. Hoarders save things in order to prepare for the worst.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with preparing for the worst, but there is such a thing as too much preparation. Now matter how much you plan and prepare, you have no control over the future. You can save, hold and collect but no matter what you do... life will always surprise you and there will always be something you haven't and can't prepare for. So the best thing you could ever do for youself is realize that ultimate truth and simply pick and choose your battles from there.

Fixing the problem isn't hard. You can start by asking yourself these 2 questions and you'll be well on your way organizing your small home and solving your hoarding problem at the same time:

How will I manage if it turns out I need it and don't have it?

Is it going to be some major trouble to get it and it's gone? If so, then you've got your answer. Chances are good you should keep it if you have to go through hell and high water to get it back. However, if it's easy to replace with a few bucks and a few minutes of your time then it's clear you can get rid of it (donate it or sell it) without any trouble and acquire it again if necessary.

How long have I had this and have not used it?

Do you use it at all? Are you keeping it because it just feels good to know you have it? Have days, months, or years gone by since you've last used it? If it's only been a few months, and you're not sure whether it's a good idea to get rid of it, then store it and return in several months later. When it doubt, it's usually best to follow your hunch and play it safe. Time will usually provide you with the answer if you can't come up with the right one yourself.

What you'll be doing is giving it a mental grace period. You'll be literally putting items on probation.

How to Put Your Items on Probation

Here's how it works in a nutshell:

  • Take inventory of an item. You can write this down or keep a mental note of any or all items you're not sure you should keep.

  • Create a probation period. I find a 3 month probation period works the best.

  • Once 3 months goes by ask yourself once again whether you should get rid of an item and consider how easy or difficult it would be to get it again if you do get rid of it.

  • If a year's gone by and you've not used it, it's pretty safe to get rid of it. But always, always follow your hunch. If logic is telling you to get rid of it but your hunch is saying you should keep it, then it's best to go with your hunch until you're absolutely sure it's time to get rid of the item.

How Not to Have too Much Stuff

A lot of people buy things at a faster rate than they get rid of things. And that's where the initial problem lies. They don't downsize at the same rate they upgrade. So they have things coming in but they don't have much going out.

To solve this problem you need a simple quantity in and quantity-out flow.

A simple and effective approach to get rid of something when you buy something new. However, sometimes that's not practical, so another good approach would be to follow the stated probation period above. Go through each room of the house every 3 months and put every questionable item on probation. Decide what should go right away and take note of what may need to go if enough time goes by and you haven't used it and make sure everything in the room has a necessary purpose if you do decide to keep it.

Some things you'll obviously want to keep for sentimental value. That's understandable. Just be certain to be practical as well. Set universal guidelines so that when you are out shopping, you know what rules not to break.

Try asking yourself...

How many [insert name] do I want to allow in my home?

That may seem like a simple question, but some people collect things. They collect movies, music, dolls and other type of items but they have no set limit on how many is considered enough.

On a more practical level there's also certain items like dish liquid, soap and similar items that are needed on a daily basis. You buy and store them, but if you store too many they become hard to handle and they hog up valuable space. For instance, in my home I only allow a certain amount of canned goods in my home due to having only a select amount of space.

So I create a certain quanitity-in, quantity-out flow due to the small amount of space I have. I purchase only 2 dish liquids for washing dishing. When I get down to 1, I replace the one used and so on and so on with everything in my home so that I don't have an excess of one thing due to restricted amounts of space.

Life Sucks... Let's Shop!

Miserable people can be disorganized people. When you're miserable you often act out. This is where quality of life can affect quantity within your home. Occasionally this can be an instigator of hoarding, clutter.

If you hate your job, you may fixate on buying and watching loads of movies or playing a lot of video games in order to escape. One bad area of your life can affect another area of your life. It's the butterfly effect. One area goes haywire which affects another area which then affects another area and so on.

So examining your daily habits is important. Don't underestimate how being unhappy can set of a chain of events in your life that you didn't even realize were being affected. So keep in mind disorganization isn't always just an external factor. Bad actions are often a result of a starved spirit. And although you may not be able to fix all areas of your life right away, you have to start somewhere, so why not start fixing your life in the areas you can control at this very moment in time.

Start by cleaning up your small home. Believe it or not, it will give you a spiritual pick-me-up. Sell, donate and throw away unnecessary items in your home. You can follow our quick guide on how to get rid of things and make a few bucks. It's nothing major. Just something to get you started.

And for personal growth the goal is to learn what is making you unhappy and stop doing it. It's not easy, but it can be done. Start by checking out Steve Pavlina's website on personal growth. He offers very encouraging help on how to become the person you always wanted to be.

Remember, baby steps lead to big changes. A happy you will create a happy home. Start with yourself and the rest will follow.

Organizing Small Spaces in a Nutshell

The first thing you'll want to do is sit down and assess which culprits may be affecting your home (and life). Whether it's a culprit mentioned here today or another culprit that is individually your own.

Create an outline for quality-in and quality-out flow—that is, spend some time thinking about how your emotional life can be improved for the better. Whether that's by spending less time watching TV, surfing the web or something else altogether.

Create a goal list for the things you want to achieve on a daily basis. A simple Sunday through Saturday outline. Excel is a wonderful program to do this in. Or you can use Open Office, a free alternative if you don't have Excel.

Mind you, you won't always achieve each daily goal but trying is what counts. If it doesn't get accomplished one day simply move it over to the next day until you get it done.

Maybe you want to include a small portion of time for TV viewing each day? If you watch 2 hours a day maybe you'll want to challenge yourself and reduce it to an hour a day? And as time goes by you may want to reduce it even more and replace it with an activity that's equally satifying to you.

Also pick a specific day for the day you want to house clean, do laundry, grocery shop, etc. and stick to it. And lastly, consider cleaning the dishes as you use them (if you don't use a dish washer).

Create an outline for quantity-in and quantity-out flow. This will be the outline you live by on a day to day basis. Ask yourself what items you would like to allow in your home and how much of each item. This outline can be a mental outline in which you don't write it down or, if you so choose, you could actually put it down on paper.

When you're ready to buy a new item for your home it's time to consider your quantity-in and quantity-out flow. Have you reached your maximum allotment? Are you ready to sell another item before you buy the new item so you can use some of that money to pay for your new item?

Do a major clean up (quantity-out) every 3-6 months. Once you do your first major clean-up, a routine clean-up is recommended at least every 2-3 months.

And lastly... Live. Love. Be Happy.