This is sort of the summary of the series of physical space oraganization (the series will continue for other organization), which looks mainly at one of the most valuable space, home.
After hard work and study, it feels good to return home, doesn’t it? Having home is human needs and instinct as houses were built even during the stone age around 10,000 B.C. Having a place to live is privilege, and how it’s organized affect your life in many ways.
With that in mind, I will try my best to summarize physical space organization (it can be applied not only to home but also to other spaces) including the past recommendations/posts, in the hope of contributing to better organized house, office and life, as well as some bonus tips related to learning.
- 1 Why organize
- 2 Every one can organize
- 3 How to organize each part of your house
- 4 Other recomendations
- 5 Free yourself
- 6 Special tips: How to memorize and learn better by using physical spaces
- 7 The learning of this time
As Maslow indicated, house can fit in Basic need which offers physiological and safety need (Source). Simply put, in addition to those basic, we are filled with so much staff and information, and it constantly piles up. We also don’t know what the future holds as the speed of change is unprecedented. For example, the famous data from the Institute for the Future (IFTF) / Dell technology (2017) argues that 85% of the jobs that today’s learners will be doing in 2030 haven’t been invented yet.
One of the new type of job which didn’t exist before (or didn’t get much attention) is professional organizer who helps organizing your physical space. Kon-Mari is surely one of them although she might not claim herself as one (she calls herself as tidying expert).
How to deal with your staff can affect tremendously your daily mood, productivity, learning and your life. In other words, you get better life by organizing your physical space.
You might say “well I am comfortable with messy space”. Although everyone has different style, the importance of simplifying and cleaning your space can lead to the stage you might have never experienced. If you know where exactly are your things and you can take instantly, you can say it’s well organized.
Every one can organize
As I mentioend in the first entry of this organization series (Organizer (1) ー 5 Conditions to be a Materialist), I was materialist who wanted many things (I mean many!) I could change through experience and efforts, so everyone can do it. You just have to know how the mentality of materialist functions and flip it with principal pointーsimplification.
How to organize each part of your house
Well, now let’s look at each part of your house and how we can organize. The house/apt structure is described based on my experience of moving out 13 times in 12 years in 4 countries, so please do not expect I had swimming pool, huge garden, etc. (although once I had a bathtub with jacuzzi!)
The sleeping room space is your sanctuary where you start and end your day. We sleep one third of our days/lives (at least we should). Quality of sleeping is one of my favorite focus areas (I wrote about it for my Bachelor’s graduation thesis and keep reading about this area, including “Sleep Smarter“).
Coming back to organization, the priority here is to know your sleeping style and get the suitable sleeping items (e.g. I have chronic backache and Futon or farm bed is better). It is recommendable that you don’t bring any work here. Shut the curtain to make totally dark sight (also, no use of cellphone, TV and laptop before sleeping as their light kills melatonin, the magical hormone to promote our sleeping). Set a cool environment around 20℃ or 68 F (you might feel too much but it actually helps). If you are in Malaria-risk country, Mosquito net might work. In case you cannot sleep, you can have paper book or kindle. Lastly but not least, if you live in noise-prone area, you might want to set ear-plug beside your pillow.
Thus, what you might need in sleeping room are good bed/Futon and pillow, eye-friendly alarm clock, air-conditioner, darkness environment + contextualized items (but again, no screen around! ).
Just like sleeping space, you also spent more than one third of your day around desk (be it at home or office), therefore your desk environment really affects your productivity, life and creativity. For the detail, please visit my previous entry on it: Organizer (6) ー Increasing productivity, health and creativity through desk organization
For those who use kitchen, first identify what you cook and might cook, then have essential items (type of knife, pans, pots, plates, bowls, silvers, etc.). For guest or yourself, you might want extra plates and cups, which is totally fine as long as you use them (some people buy a lot without using them!).
Although my point of organizing is to keep it simple with limited items, in terms of ingredients, I would prefer having extra, especially those you cannot buy it in the country you are based in (e.g. for my case in Africa, Japanese soy sauce, sake, Mirin, Indian spices, etc.).
So in short, keep it simple but have extra ingredients. For organizing your cooking, please check it: Organizer (5) ー Life skills I learned from professional cooking experience
This is your another sanctuary. Some people put things to kill time (Manga comics in my parents’s apartment, for example), but it is not recommended, as when you get distracted, and it is likely you cannot meet the full objective in this room (you know what I am talking about). The longer you stay, the worse it becomes as you might have hemorrhoid if you push too much.
For this space, put quality toilet paper, and try to make it wet for the use so that you will not damage your sensitive part. If you have access to shower toilet or similar items, it is highly recommended (for more detail, please see Learning from the evolution of Toilet in Japan)
Items for shower room are quite simple and easy to buy (especially for men) in any place unless you are very picky about specific brand. What you put depends on the structure of shower room. Put shampoo, body soap (and conditioner and other tool you might need). Keep one stock for everything Just in case. You can have the towels for the quantity of family number + 1-2 extra. Let’s keep it simple.
This is the interesting part as you can customize the room depending on your style, hobby and daily activities (it is literally the space you can feel alive!). In my case I have sports material for daily exercise (chin-up bar, dumbelle and jumping rope). Once you have an exercice routine, you can save your time (no need to go to gym) and money. Also, I love watching movie, but the laptop screen is not big enough, so I have HDMI cable to connect with decent size TV.
This is also where I put a few books (will mention later on why only “a few”) and some documents (Please see why I I don’t put papers around office table). So again, enjoy what you like while keeping simple.
Less paper (自炊)
I love reading books because it is the accumulated great knowledge of each author (e.g. if you read 100 books, you have seen 100 lives and wisdom). Books are, however, heavy and there are so many books. Every year, more than 2.2 million books are published, so along the time, it is understandable that book lover have more books. The problem of having so many paper books are space. Unless you have big house and stock many books, you might want to reduce that space to simplify and increase your productivity, by digitalizing books.
The best way is to scan and digitalize books and say good bye to papers you had (please see How to scan books and oragnize space).
For the anti-Ebook people, I totally understand your feeling: I also like touching papers. But the important thing is to have books ready when you need, and e-book allows stocking all the highlights you made. If you are like me, you forget most of what you read about, right? (for your reference, see 9 reasons to buy kindle)
Although simplifying your space is essential, you might want contingency just in case. In case of medical emergency, you need extra medicine, and in case of food shortage, you can stock ingredients as already mentioned . My recommendation on storage is to keep items in case of emergency in relation to basic human needs (survival such as food, health, etc.)
Things to put on (Cloth, shoes, hats, jewelry)
I started with sleeping room and end with these deliberately as these are what we tend to accumulate the most (and relatively less important in terms of basic needs). If you have enough cloth around 10-14 days (the same amount of underwear and cloth and 2-3 pants and 3-5 shoes (including official and non-official ones) are enough for me. If you have many more, just try to As Kon-mari says, touch every cloth and just keep what sparks joy to you.
Please don’t get me wrong. I love fashion (my grandma is fashion designer and I have designing diploma!). My point here is stick with what you like and need instead of letting yourself in the endless shopping loop (unfortunately for fortunately, people do not look at us as much as we think they do).
As mentioned previously, organizing your space can make your moving much easier, promote better productivity and teach you important life skills. Having said that, it is normal that things get messy along the time (if you live in sandy dessert country like Mauritania, you come across this reality everyday, as 1 day after you wash your car, you see so much sand already). Therefore if you have a habit of organizing, you can be always ready for any change (e.g. going to somewhere else). Putting things in good order is one of organizing ways, but getting rid of what you don’t need is the essential part of it (if you don’t reduce, it will just stay or increase).
Let’s free ourselves!
Special tips: How to memorize and learn better by using physical spaces
In addition to above mentioned benefit, you can use your organized house to memorize and learn better. According to an interesting book Moonwalking with Einstein, the technique is called “Memory Palace” which started in ancient Greek era where people had to memorize important message and knowledge without taking notes (no paper in place at that time).
Let me show you an example. In short, you categorize the following 10 different spaces at home:
(1) Entrance, (2) Kitchen (3) Fridge (4) living (5) guest room (6) shower room (7) bathroom (8) corridor (9) Office (10) Bed room
Then decide 10 things you want to memorize with visual image in your head. Let’s say I want to memorize how to say 1-10 in Arabic:
(1) Entrance: The number one is hidden (Waahid)
(2) Kitchen: Two chairs (in Japanese “Isu”) in the kitchen (Ithnaan)
(3) Fridge: Three salad in the fridge (Thaalaatha)
(4) living: Four Arabic people in the living (Arbaa)
(5) guest room: Five people humming (Khamsa)
(6) shower room: Six tongue (in Japanese “Shita) in the shower room (Sitta)
(7) bathroom: Seven French people greeting each other “Ça va?” (Sabaa)
(8) corridor: August (8) in the summer (Thamaanya)
(9) Office : Nine Tissue paper (Tisha)
(10) Bed room : Ten Ash pans (Aashara)
Well, if you could somehow image those, it is likely you will remember those.
The point here is, if you have organized house, it is easier to put your image in each area of house. So organizing house can benefit memorization technique and long term learning (you have to use what you memorized, though).
The learning of this time
We live in a world where changes happen constantly and full of staff and information in a limited space , so organizing your place can make your life better, and you can use your place to learn new things.
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