When we talk about organizing we’re often thinking in larger contexts of organizing an entire kitchen or an entire closet. Those are massive undertakings that we often spend entire days with clients on! So how do you set up your home to be more organized when you have limited time?
You create stations!
Stations are something I totally stole from my days teaching elementary music, when I would set up four stations in my classroom. Each station assessed a different skill via a different activity. Students would play xylophones, write a response to a performance, notate melodies, and more, independently in these stations during which I could walk around and assess where each child was at with each skill. It took a TON of planning on the front end, and when I did that prep work, it worked seamlessly in the classroom—provided there were no fire drills that day!
So how do stations apply in your home? Simple. When we think of organizing our home, we usually think of the space to be organized. In today’s episode, we’ll walk through how to think less about the space itself and more about the function of the tools within that space and their workflow to be more organized overall.
When you create a station within your home, it can be easy to jump in and just start moving things around. But what’s more important is that preliminary thought work. Stations are often easier to explain using an example, so today, I’m going to use the example of a baking station. We likely all have kitchens, and we know how frustrating it can be for the items we use for different tasks to not be readily within reach. So for a baking station, we’ll talk through how to think about our space in a way that allows us to most efficiently bake, thereby decreasing our frustration with baking and increasing our enjoyment of it.
I would recommend starting any station by doing a mental dress rehearsal of the tasks that I complete during my time in that station—and I like to plan backwards. I usually do this with paper and pencil or a whiteboard to get these steps firmly in order. When I bake cookies, my favorite thing to bake, I know that my end step of the process is going to be putting the cookies into a container once they’ve cooled. Working backward from that step, I have
So, you can see that there are a lot of steps in baking cookies! If my baking tools are not in order to perform these tasks, or if I’m having to dig baking sheets out from under heavy casserole dishes when it’s time to bake cookies, I will likely not enjoy the process.
Going through your list of tasks, note the tools you need in order from beginning to end. So work backward this time! For my cookies, this looks like:
Now that I see all of my tools in order from beginning to end, I can think through how I want to create a flow of those items in my kitchen. It’s easy for me to grab a spoon or spatula, so I don’t need to adjust where I keep those. But it might mean keeping the mixer and my cookbook on opposite sides of the sink so that I don’t get splatters on the book. It might mean setting up the cooling racks in a spot other than the bar since the dogs can reach there. But when I see all of the tools I need to use, I can think clearly through HOW they are used. I like to organize stations as much as possible from left to right, meaning that the leftmost space is used for the first task. My kitchen is oriented in a way that makes this convenient, so I have my stand mixer on the left of my sink in the cabinet underneath, my cookbook stand to the right, my baking sheets and cooling racks all stored vertically near the oven, and my parchment paper nearby. I even have a spot by the fridge to soften butter in a dish. I know these are all tasks that need their homes, so when I go into baking mode, I have aligned my kitchen to transform easily into a big baking station. Likewise, it’s easy to put items away when their order of operations is considered and their storage spaces are near where you perform the task when possible.
Stations are a great way to create a system that helps your home be more efficient. What other stations might exist in your home? A getting home station, where you can set down your bag and have a surface to empty it out and go through its contents. You might have a makeup station—or it might be time to make one! Often our desks serve strictly as a work station—which lends itself to thinking through this process. You might create a station around paying bills or meal planning. Perhaps you’re expecting a new baby and you want to set up a changing or nursing station. There are all systems that require you to think through the task more than the space utilized. So give it a go! Name a task that you wish ran more efficiently in your home and then make it into a station.
Organized YOU! host Taylor Vogel is the Owner &
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