My Very Best, Most Reliable, Game-Changing Organizing Tool (Really)

I did a search on "finite space theory" to see how other organizers used this. The top results were all related to astrophysics. Interesting. But not what I was after. The finite space theory that I use is the very best, most reliable, game-changing organizing concept in my tool kit.

Hands down.

A little background will help here. A tell-tale sign that an "organizer" is not a trained professional, is when they begin your sessions by purchasing containers. On the surface, getting containers seems a logical place to start. But this supports is the idea that storing is the main point, as if a neater packing style is the ideal solution.

In my experience, putting things in containers comes at the end of the process. How can you buy containers before you've identified the items to be contained? (That would be like booking hotel rooms before you knew how many people were traveling.) 

I begin a different way. This is the concept I've used to layout a distribution center, and it can work as well your home.

Simply put,

  1. Look at the space you have, and determine exactly what types of items belong there.
  2. Empty the space of everything that is in there now.
  3. Throw away any items that are trash.
  4. Put away any items that actually belong somewhere else.
  5. Set aside items that are to be sold or given away. 
  6. Put only items the chosen category back in the space, with the most important items loaded first.

What’s left should be only the items would belong in the space, if they fit. Here’s where the “finite space” becomes important. You’ve already decided the amount of available real estate for these items, so you have your boundary lines. The solution is to repeat steps 3, 4, and 5 until there’s nothing left - but the boundary lines remain firm.

You’re not trying to find a place to put all your stuff. Your focus is on keeping no more than what you have room for.

The obvious benefit is that you’ve kept your space from overflowing into chaos. The subtle benefit is how it affects your shopping habits. Now that you know how much space your have available, you won’t make a purchase until you know where it will go. And if that space is already full, you’ll have to decide what to let go in order to make room for what’s new. This process of thoughtful purchasing can absolutely change the way you shop for the better!