Let Form follow Function

The most important question to ask yourself when you start to organize a room is, “What is the function of this room?”

If you don’t like the answer, then ask, “What would I like to use this room for?” Make sure that you’re not using it for more than 3 functions. Once you do, it begins to get cluttered. Just remember the power of 3! Same goes for a closet. Don’t store more than 3 categories in one closet.

Here’s a real life example from a couple who hired me to help get their home organized. One bedroom had been their daughter’s. She had moved away but left clothing and memorabilia in that room. The father was using the room for storage of books & paperwork but not really using it as an office.  The brother who was still at home was using it for electronic games and occasionally the family used it as a guest room. The mother also stored some memorabilia there.  Too much going on! So when we talked about what they wanted the function to be, it was decided that the room would stay a game room and guest room and because the family owned a lot of books, some books would stay there. With that decision made, it was easy to decide what should go out of the room and what should stay. Here’s what we decided:


  • sofa bed
  • game console & games
  • book shelf
  • dresser


  • desk
  • nightstand
  • father’s paperwork
  • mother’s memorabilia
  • the daughter’s stuff

Also, to save the mom some trouble we decided to consolidate her daughter’s things on one side of the closet and let her decide on her next visit home what to toss. Sometimes grown children who have moved out just need a deadline. If they don’t take it, then parents have every right to toss it or donate their clothes.

Now, sometimes a whole house project requires that you move things to a different room, sometimes crowding that room. That’s okay, as long as you have a plan to continue room by room until the house is completely organized. Usually this happens until you get to the basement where odds & ends are stored. And then the basement becomes the “Final Frontier.” But in the process you will find a home for everything and set up functional areas so you don’t feel like everything is everywhere!

What room do you find the hardest to organize?


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