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Tetris & Organization

As a child, one of my favorite Nintendo games was Tetris. I enjoyed the challenge of fitting the pieces together as they descended from the top of the screen. I have continued this skill, well into adulthood without realizing it. When we had our first kiddo, my spouse traveled a lot for work. I did most of the cooking and housework. I prided myself in my Olympic Gold medal-worthy ways of putting dishes into the dishwasher. As the children grew from babies to toddlers to old enough to help with unloading the dishes, I began to transfer my Tetris methods of unloading and then loading the dishwasher to them. While they had never played Tetris, they began to learn how to fit the dishes cohesively into the dishwasher to maximize efficiency of the given space. Furthermore, as the children grew from their chores of unloading to loading the dishes, they already knew how I preferred the dishes to be loaded, since they had spent so much time unloading them.

As we moved from house to house over the years, I began to master efficiency of space. I was always good at spacial orientation (maybe because of my Tetris playing!?) I could look at an item and usually know if it would fit well in a given space. I also began to determine where things should go in the kitchen and other places in the home to maximize efficiency of the room. Many of the places we lived had small bathrooms and minimal storage so I scoured Pinterest for creative solutions to my storage issues. As life would have it, a particular friend came into my life (Kristen!!), who was a professional organizer, mom, and soon became a dear friend. She taught me all her methods and I soaked them up, eager to master the skill of organization.

As I took the skills Kristen taught me, I began to apply them to all areas of my life. I began to teach my children that “everything needed a home.” The children learned that toys, books, shoes, etc. needed a place to live. I would not say, by any means, I excelled at this overnight. I spent years with three children under four in an absolute mess of a house. I desired to tidy things, but had no idea where to start because I could barely keep up on dishes and laundry, let alone the toys scattered everywhere. As the children grew, I gained skills to be able to master the mess. Additionally, I binge watched Marie Kondo (Japanese consultant who excels in organizational techniques) and took some tips from her as well. I have developed my own methods and series of questions, which have worked well with friends I have helped get organized. I have even applied my flight instructing skills to organizing. I break down the problem, assess, and ask questions to find the best possible solution to the given problem. Then, we assess again and improve. A few questions I ask after I have organized a space are:

  • How do I feel in this space?
  • Is this space now more functional?
  • Is there anything that still needs to be improved?

After that, I live with the newly organized space for a bit. I find that, after living with what I think will work, if it doesn’t, I know quickly and then make changes as needed. I just keep tweaking until it’s convenient and functional. Organizing is like trying on an outfit. You don’t buy the outfit if it doesn’t fit. You find the right fit, then buy it.

Included here are my Top 5 Tips for organizing:

  1. Everything needs a home.
  2. Start small.
  3. Location: Things should make sense.
  4. Elsa THAT! (Let it go!) Purge
  5. Baskets! Rectangles & Squares Only!

I recently helped a friend organize her RV, which included everything from her kitchen to the kid’s items. She made a video of the progress of her kitchen. Click HERE to view our organizing video (about 31 minutes) where we put these tips into action. She will be posting an additional video of the process of organizing her daughter’s clothes and room in the near future, so stay tuned on her YouTube channel for that.

Next week, I’ll be back with more detailed information about organizing and cannot wait to break down each of my tips.

What area of your home is the most cluttered or frustrating to deal with?
Do any of my top 5 tips resonate with you as a place to start “tidying up” (as Marie Kondo says) in your home?

Signing off,

– BG Barnstormer

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