Homes - Small Spaces

Get organized: Living well in small spaces

Controlling clutter is the key to living in a small space.

Janet Hennick's mission is to make people's lives easier. "You know that feeling you get when you open a drawer and can't find what you're looking for?" says the organizational consultant. "It creates so much anxiety and wastes so much time. I develop a plan to solve disorganization so my clients can focus their energy on achieving their goals." For those clients, Hennick's Toronto-based company, J.R.H. Creative Concepts, is a godsend. She helps them sort through overstuffed closets, set up home offices and even sift through stacks of photo albums. Then she teaches them how to manage the mayhem on their own. Here, she shares her ideas for creating order – in even the smallest of spaces.

Q Getting organized is such a huge task that most people don't know where to start. What do you suggest?
A The first thing you have to do is say, "I'm in trouble and I want to organize my life." Then you start with the area that stresses you out the most. For many people, that's a toss-up between the home office and the kitchen. If you start putting bills on that one little table in the kitchen, things are going to get lost. What creates stress is when things get scattered all over the house.

Q Once you've decided which area, then what?
A I create zones; no room should have more than three. In a kitchen, you'd have an eating, a cooking, and a pantry or storage zone. The key is to keep things in their zones. For instance, in the kitchen, I set up a binder that contains phone numbers and papers. I also like using the fridge. Put invitations and a calendar there so you can see them. Everything has to have a place, and you have to condition yourself to take two seconds to put things back where they belong.

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