Ask the Experts

Dear Organizing Coach: My Multi-Purpose Room Is Becoming a Junk Pile!

Rooms that serve many functions can cease to function when filled to the rafters. Here’s how to streamline an overworked space.

Q: “I keep bringing more and more stuff into my craft room. This room also serves as my clothes closet, dressing room, sewing room, and file storage. It has so many functions, which is nice but also makes it cramped. I’m afraid I’ll forget about things if I move them out of my room, so I keep too much there. I have no room for a relaxing chair for times when I want to just sit and read and do nothing. How can I motivate myself to declutter this room?” — Confused crafter

Hi Confused crafter:

You say that you’re afraid you’ll forget about things if you move them out of the craft room. So ask yourself, what is it about this space that lets me see what I own? If you can zero in on what’s working for you in your current space and then replicate it in other areas of your home, you’ll be on the road to a successful reorganization.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Everything needs a home. This is my number-one answer to almost every organizing question. Knowing where everything lives (or is going to live) in your home is the first step. Once you define those spaces, label them clearly. Visual reminders help us remember what we have and where it goes.

[Free Download: 22 Clutter-Busting Strategies for Adults with ADHD]

2. Define boundaries. Determine how much space you’ll allow your stuff to occupy in each room. Let’s say in addition to storing your clothing in your bedroom closet you also decide on a second closet in your craft room. Mark that closet “used” so you have a clear picture of how much space you truly have for the rest of your stuff.

3. Use my “Triple S” system to set daily goals. If you try to tackle this project in one day, you’ll end up overwhelmed and frustrated. Setting a short, simple, and specific goal each day works better. “Thursday night I’m going to tackle the craft room closet.” Or, “Sunday morning I’m going to sort through my files and papers.” In other words, break down your tasks so you feel less overwhelmed and more in control.

Organization guru Leslie Josel, of Order Out of Chaos, will answer questions from ADDitude readers about everything from paper clutter to disaster-zone bedrooms and from mastering to-do lists to arriving on time every time.

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