lessons in design :: #1 on the list for organizing
Friday, February 10, 2012 by {darlene}

Have you lost any of your New Year’s Organizing steam??

Remember this post, where I boldly and “Captain-Obviously” declared:


Maybe I can kick you back into gear today by sharing, what I believe to be,


Protect your “Prime Storage Real Estate”!


This one organizing concept can transform the way your home functions, and it will not cost you a dime:


What exactly is “Prime Real Estate” in reference to Storage and Home organization??

It refers to any storage areas in your home that are:

1. Closed Storage {something with a door, where you can hide the uglies!}

2. Easily Accessibly

3. In very regularly, daily trafficked areas.


Start right away by thinking,

What is MY Prime Real Estate in my home??

*For example, your main bathroom cabinet is likely Prime Storage Real-Estate, but your basement is likely not.

*You may have a hall closet that you pass by often: Prime Real Estate, and another hall closet that barely gets seen: not Prime Real Estate!

*Most of your kitchen is likely Prime Storage Real Estate.

So, the first step in rethinking your home organization:

Step One:

Identify the Prime Storage Real Estate in YOUR home.

Once you have identified which cabinets, closets, and cupboards fit the description, the time has come to be ruthless.

Step Two:

Remove anything from Prime Storage Real Estate that does not get regular use.

What constitutes “regular use?”


I consider our winter hats and gloves worthy of prime real estate. I have a designated spot for them, and since we regularly use them, for 1/3 of the year, for me they “qualify.” Now, our ski gear, which only gets used 2x/year sits in a bin in our basement.

I use my immersion blender maybe 1x/month, but it is still regular. My platter that I serve our Thanksgiving Bird on once a year does not qualify, so out of Prime Real Estate it goes.

Beneath the bathroom sink, TP qualifies, hairdryer qualifies, but that set of rollers I barely use {hmm. anyone need some self stick rollers?} needs to leave the Prime Real Estate area.

Step Three:

Move items that DO get regular use into Prime Real Estate, if they are not already there.

* * *

This practical way of rethinking your storage will help you to rule your stuff, and not vice versa. {<-tweet this}

* * *

Now, woa, you motivated people! This concept is the perfect place to start, but remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Keep this concept tucked in your mind as you move from cabinet to closet to cabinet within your home. {If you do one each week, that’s 52 cabinets.}

You are really going to appreciate having your most used and most loved things in accessible locations… without having to dig through 2 antique casserole dishes and a pile of oven mitts to get there.

{I may or may not be preaching directly to myself in that last sentence….}







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Labeled: hiding the uglies, lessons in design, organizing


  • EEEEEEEEEE! I love you!
    I talk about prime real estate areas all the time with my clients!!
    At first they are like, “What are you talking about?”
    Then I explain, and show them, and they get it and it makes their home more peaceful and productive.
    I also do “zones” in these areas.
    Kitchen: baking zone, cooking zone, beverage zone, etc…
    You is one smart lady!

  • Very good way to put it! We now live in a house with great prime real estate, a little bit of the suburbs (hard to reach cabinets and under the stairs), and a tiny bit of country (garage). I purged anything that didn’t fit this smaller house and life is good! I spend very little time keeping it all nice and pretty.

  • DARLENE!! I extend the most thankfulness of THANKS to you for this!! I am a “i-want-to-be-organized-but-don’t-know-where-to-even-BEGIN” kinda gal! YOU my friend just taught me where to begin! Pure Awesomeness!

  • I totally agree. I also find that shifting stuff around by how it’s used can be a great start to the purging process. For example, I too have some sporting gear stored in the basement and sometimes it turns out to never get used. It becomes much easier to list on Craigslist or donate when I can point to it and know that I haven’t used it since I put it in the basement a year ago. All baby steps I suppose!

  • I completely agree! It just makes life so much easier when everything is organized properly. Thanks for sharing. Hope you’re having a grand evening. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  • This is a good one,Dar…but I’m still working on “Beautiful spaces are not filled with junk!!
    That one has already helped me clear out a ton of “stuff”! xoxo

  • Thank you!! It’s begun and I have to be sure not to let the massive job ahead overwhelm- one closet, one cabinet, one dresser at a time!

  • Me too, evelyn… I’m on repeat with “Beautiful spaces are not filled with junk”

    The whole thing is a good idea, and I’m pretty good about ours… but even being good about it I have a drawer or two in the kitchen which can use some tweaking.

    Funny how I don’t think about these things that often, the ones I think I already have ‘solved’, until someone else talks about them…. or until I take a picture of them. Nothing brings to life one’s decorating/organizing flaws better than a picture. Isn’t that ironic?

  • This is fabulous! Well said. I’ve got a new way to look at the storage in our home now. Thanks!

  • Stuff you put into storage could have a post it note attached as to the date it was placed in storage, that way you know exactly when you put it there. This is my problem…”I think it’s only be six months (when it has indeed been a year)”.

  • Fantastic way of looking at it. I’m not a natural organizer. IN fact, I’m much more likely to think, “BUT I might USE that someday!” : )


    I will definitely be looking around for “prime real estate” in my house now!


  • This is a great idea. I have so much stuff I never use in my cabinets and closets. Goodwill will be seeing me soon.

  • Very practical and sensible. But now I need a place for that turkey platter, the crock pots and the specialty items that are used only a few times a year.
    New shelving in the basement?
    Any suggestions?

    • I bought a bunch of large bins at Target and some page protectors. An 8.5×11 sheet means you can label it “THANKSGIVING” with any details as to what’s inside easily. Put it in the page protector and tape it to the bin. I do this on a long & short side so that it can be seen no matter how it’s stored. So even if you stack your bins in the basement, it’s easy to find what you need — and for seasonal stuff, it’s a good way for you or anyone else to see to put it back into the right place, once the holiday is past.

      I have what I affectionately call a “Silence of the Lambs Basement” with narrow stairs that are a death trap, so I don’t put anything down there really, but I do have one large laundry closet where I stack my bins!

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