7 Small Space Organization Hacks - from Sativa Turner, industrial designer and former consultant at KonMari.
The Netflix special, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, sent us into a de-cluttering frenzy at the beginning of 2019. We could all be heard asking ourselves, 'does this spark joy?' as we held up an item of clothing. But how do you tackle home organization in an apartment, condo, or other small space? We chatted with Sativa Turner, award winning industrial designer and former consultant at KonMari, on how to best organize a small space.
7 small space organization hacks.
1. Develop a process for putting items away at home.
There are two parts to organization at home: deciding which products to bring into your space, and then subsequently determining the process for putting them away.
Developing a method and process for organizing can go a long way. For example, if you buy containers, but don’t have a method in mind for which items to store in those containers and how to keep them tidy, this can create more work.
First, envision how you use the products in your home. Do you tend to place your shoes in a specific area? Then, think about how you can create an organization system that revolves around the products you are using and how you are using them. Then, seek out boxes, shelves and other organizational items that can help you stay tidy. You don’t need to create a novel new process to stay organized; think about how you can do so while maintaining your daily routine.
2. Make sure everything has a place, then create a ritual.
Be specific about when you are going to tidy up your space, where items should go, and how that happens. And reward yourself for getting it done. “Maybe you have a glass of wine…put on music…put on a diffuser.” This creates a moment of gratification when you know your space is clean.
“Part of the routine,” says Turner, “is understanding that it is an investment that pays off only when full contributions are made…putting in that effort will make you feel better the next day, ready to tackle what’s next in your life.”
Developing the right mindset to ensure that home organization finds its way into your daily or weekly ritual is paramount. “Being able to regularly look around your home to ask if you have too much stuff, are there things that you should part with, are there things that need a home – that is all part of checking in,” says Turner. “By making this check in process part of your life, organization becomes part of your routine, rather than an insurmountable task.”
3. Be honest with the products that “spark joy” in your life. Especially in an apartment or small space.
Think about the activities that you do in your spaces, and the items that you need to conduct those activities. In the kitchen, for example, what are the meals you are cooking that bring you joy? Are there products that you sparingly use (we’re looking at you, popcorn machine).
“The goal should be to pare down products to keep only those that spark joy (or those that spark the most joy),” says Turner.
4. Seek out multi-functional products.
With limited shelf and storage space, seek out products that consolidate functionality in the kitchen. Can one product accomplish multiple tasks and replace the 3 or 4 items sitting on your shelf? “Knowing about and adopting multi-functional, space-saving product solutions is really important, especially when you are trying to maximize space.
5. Use creative methods of storage to maximize the space that you have.
In an apartment, condo, or small space, creativity is key when it comes to storage. Make use of wall space by adding floating shelves or racks. Use drawer organizers to keep things tidy in your dressers and closets. Make use of the vertical space that exists.
6. Pare down ‘collections’ of items; especially items with a shorter shelf life.
‘Collections’ of items can be a big culprit, especially in the kitchen. What about the 30-spice spice rack that you were gifted for Christmas? Or the tea collection sitting in your cupboard? Thinking about whether you can reduce the collection or store smaller quantities of these items can go a long way.
“Also try to separate the idea of what you think is ‘necessary’ versus what sparks joy,” says Turner. “Do you think it’s necessary to have that variety? Do you use each product enough to make it worthwhile, or is having it playing into an idea that you should have this range of products in order to show that you can cook.”
7. Look for resources to give you inspiration to stay organized.
Turner highlights the importance of education in finding optimal ways to organize a space. If people have access to “clear information about best practices for…clutter-prone areas, they can take steps to implement the changes required to stay organized,” says Turner.
Some resources we love:
- KonMari (The Simple Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a great place to start!)
- Less: The Visual Guide to Minimalism by Rachel Aust
- The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Organizing the space that you live in is a journey. If we take the time to think about which products we use and how we use them, we can start to identify where to start from an organizational perspective. Then, it’s all about creating a ritual for tidying that fits into your daily or weekly routine. Finally, seeking out better products – those that that function to fit your lifestyle and accomplish multiple tasks - will go a long way to maintaining a functional, organized space that you can truly live in.
We sat down with Sativa Turner to discuss sustainability, organization, and mindfulness in the spaces we call home, and why we should seek-out products with integrity. Read the full-length interview here.
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