By Laura Gee, Storage and Organization Contributor

I have mentioned that I am helping my friends reorganize their office and we’ve spent about a week or so now strictly planning. Before I invest the first red cent of their money into their new room, I want to make sure we all have a good plan that we can agree on that matches our goals, budget, and basic storage requirements. The reason I require this plan is because I’ve had to do this type of space planning a lot in the past few years in many situations. This “taking things slow” attitude towards their room is so different from my previous “let’s just get a solution in place” attitude and works so much better. Thankfully, I’ve learned from my mistakes and have put together a pretty good system of planning.


Why you need to get organized and create a solid plan for each and every room:

The first time I had my own space to organize and plan was when I got my first unfurnished apartment bedroom. I had two roommates (and terrible luck) and got the tiniest room in the apartment. Basically, it was a glorified closet with a window, but I was so excited. I went out and picked out an amazing bedroom set without giving my new, tiny space situation a bit of thought. My only consideration was getting a gorgeous bedroom set that had plenty of storage space that I would love for years. Um, it barely fit. I had to keep several pieces of the set at my then fiancé’s parent’s house. There was no plan or method to my madness. I found what I liked and bought it. For over a year, I had little more than ten square feet total of floor space left. Not thinking about how I was going to arrange my room was a total disaster and nobody was too happy with me and my choices. This room eventually took on the nickname “the bat cave” because it was so tiny and dark.


I didn’t plan anything when I bought my bedroom set. Notice how one window is blocked and I was left with NO floor space in my tiny room.

How I proved I learned from my mistakes: 

Fast forward through two more apartments and room organization disasters to our place now. It is a brand new house that had just the bare bones minimum for storage space or layout designs. We’ve had to carefully plan our entire house by staying on budget and taking on small projects at a time. My husband and I set a maximum allowance for purchasing items for our home each month. We pick a room, decide what NEEDS to  happen in that room, and find a solution in that price range. Having this mindset before we go shopping (yes, I said WE. I drag him along everywhere.) helps us avoid impulse purchases and makes sure we achieve our goals before getting extra stuff. There are no “bat cave” type rooms in our home because I’ve learned to measure, budget, and plan before filling my house.

Plan examples:

For every single space in our new place, we’ve had a well thought out plan. In our master bedroom closets, the hubby planned out all of the shelf rearrangements. In the living room, we bought a big sectional sofa taking many factors into consideration (size of the sofa, size of the room, layout of the sofa in relation to room flow and access to the door). Our outside landscaping also took a lot of planning. All of this planning has helped us to budget our time and our money and have final products we can be proud of. I’m very proud to say that we’ve added a lot of storage space, functional features, and cosmetic bonuses within this first year of living here while (for the most part) saying on budget.

Our living is where we spend 90% of our waking hours at home. This room has taken a lot of planning. Each month we acquired a new piece. First we got the sofa and spent a lot of time researching until we found the perfect one. The next month we bought the rug and painted the wall to go with it. The next month we got the TV stand, shelves, and clock. We wanted to purchase everything all at once, but we wanted to stay on budget and were patient and are quite pleased with the results.

We’ve accumulated items in this room little by little over the past year making sure everything would fit and was highly functional.

I strongly encourage you to pull out a piece of paper and make a rough sketch of the space you want to change. You should right out a list of goals for that space next to your sketching area. You should keep a running budget list to see what funds you are playing with at any time during your process. Trust me, you don’t want to end up spending a fortune on something that doesn’t suit your needs.