It’s the week after Christmas, and all through the house not a thing is in its place! Santa’s back at the North Pole for another year, the stockings must come down, and the children’s new toys are strewn all over the place.

On the list of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, becoming more organized is right up there at the top with dieting and exercising. It might seem overwhelming, but getting organized need not be a daunting task. All you need is a good strategy, and what better time to start than the beginning of a New Year? Thought about hiring a professional? Jennifer Strachan, owner of Neenah’s In Its Place Organizing Services, is a big fan of national best-selling organization expert Julie Morgenstern.

Using S.P.A.C.E.

Morgenstern has an acronym that Strachan likes to use in her business: S.P.A.C.E. S is for “Sort”, P is for “Purge”, A is for “Assign”, C is for “Containerize”, and Strachan uses E for “Evaluate”, though in Morgenstern’s plan it stands for “Equalize”.

Before she even begins to implement the S.P.A.C.E. plan, Strachan consults with her clients. Whether they need an overall organizational overhaul or help with one specific area, she gets a feel for the situation through photos and client feedback.

“The ultimate goal is to help them make their environment more peaceful,” she says. Sorting and purging are important steps – though they’re often difficult. Strachan, who has been in business for six years, likes to start with what she calls a “rough sort”.

She works hand-in-hand with her clients to complete this process. The purpose is twofold: to show the client what he or she actually has, and to determine what is really worth keeping. While some people are eager to get rid of unneeded items, for others it is tough to let go.

Strachan relates the story of a client who had twenty cheap vases (the kind that you get when someone sends you flowers), as well as ten nice ones. She was originally set on keeping all of the vases, but as they got deeper into the S.P.A.C.E. process, she decided to get rid of most of the cheap vases.

Using Containers

After Strachan’s clients have completed the purging process and decided whether to donate items, sell them, or simply throw them away, they begin assigning. This is the step where the client decides where to store items. The location should be logical, accessible, and safe.

Finally, Strachan helps her clients containerize.

She recommends using clear containers for storing items. Though solid-colored containers may look nice, she explains that using clear ones makes it much quicker and easier to find things again later.

by Jessie Thiel
for the Post Crescent
Living Well edition
December 29, 2007

In Its Place Organizing Services