Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Beauty of the Zone Plan

Stuff comes into our homes all the time. Sometimes it is something we buy to freshen up the look of a room. Sometimes it is a gift. Sometimes it is an inheritance. All of this can be good. But often the item is just placed somewhere without a lot of thought and/or it is added to what we already have with nothing going away. This can add to a lot of visual clutter in our homes.

I have a system in my home and one I share with my clients that keeps that clutter under control. The system is called the Zone Plan.

This is how it works:
  • You divide your home into 10 zones. My zones include the office, the living room, the kitchen, the laundry room, the master bedroom, the baths, the guest bedroom, the attic, the storage shed, and the entry hall and storage closets. 
  • Each month, except for July and December, you work in one of these zones. The intention is to redefine your vision for the zone and note what is not working with that vision.
  • Then you brainstorm what needs to happen to change what it is now to what matches your vision.
  • You develop a plan and schedule times to work on the project.
  • You touch everything that is in the zone. You decide what supports your vision and stays, what goes, and what is moved elsewhere.
  • At the end of the month you celebrate your wins and move on to the next zone.
The beauty of this plan is that you know you are going to get to every area eventually. If you open your linen closet and see that it needs some work, you can just smile and say, "Your turn is in June!" and shut the door. By completing a zone project instead of zig-zagging through your house, you feel a real sense of accomplishment. 

For more information on the Zone Plan visit my website - - or send me an email at .

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Memorabilia is defined as objects kept or collected because of their historical interest, especially those associated with memorable people or events. Most of our memorabilia are pictures and items that are personal and remind us of good times in our lives or remind us of our family history.

I have seen homes where memorabilia items are scattered throughout the house and resembles clutter. What to keep and what to let go is very personal. This is my personal take on the subject.

If you keep memorabilia you should look at it occasionally and bring back those good memories. If it is just historical memorabilia you might label it and put it away for your decedents. The question becomes, how much should you keep and how should you store it.

My memorabilia, except for some art work that is displayed, is stored in my guest bedroom. Once a year when I deep clean and reorganize that zone, I pull our my items and remember. I also reevaluate how much to keep. The older I get the less I feel is important.

Let's look at some broad categories:
  • Artwork made by your children  - I have by now very little of this. A few special pieces that I think my boys will enjoy finding - the handprints, a scout project, holiday decorations. I encourage younger parents to keep a few good pieces from each year and label the pieces. Later it is difficult to always even remember which child did the work let alone how old they were. 
  • Cards - My personal rule on cards is that I only keep ones that have a special note inside. As I have aged, I relook at some of those notes and ask myself, "Do I want my children to read this?". When my husband died, I kept almost every sympathy card I received. Now I am down to just a handful. The same holds true for some of the cards he gave to me throughout our marriage. 
  • Photos - My stash of photos falls into two categories. First, I have pictures of trips and events that are personal to me. Then, I have pictures that show family members having fun or pictures that show our family history. Each year as I go through the pictures I get rid of a few more. If I can't remember who these people are, why keep them? Those older pictures where I do recognize family and friends I label so my boys will know why these pictures were kept. I find myself throwing out near duplicates or bad pictures.
  • Pamphlets or brochures - These are usually from my trips. When I came back from some of my trips I had quite a few. Now I only keep ones that really have special meaning to me. I have tossed all old maps.
  • Ticket stubs, programs or invitations - If I kept a ticket stub or program from everything I have ever seen, it would take over a whole closet. I only keep ones where one of our family members is mentioned. 
  • Physical items - I have found that most of the physical items I have been holding on to are in pictures. I just got rid of a silver-plated drinking vessel that my husband and I used at our wedding. I have a wonderful photo of the event and no longer need the actual vessel. The same is true of a silver-plated picture frame that help a wedding picture. I kept the picture and ditched the frame.
As I noted before, memorabilia items are very personal. I only suggest that you honor the items you have kept by organizing them and labeling them for those who will need to sort them after your demise and that you really ask yourself why you are keeping each item.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Organizing Your Guest Bedroom or Bonus Room

Most guest bedrooms rarely see a guest but when company comes, it's great to have a space available for them to sleep. But, it's rare to have space for a room that only has the function of sleeping guests.

When I look at my guest bedroom and focus on the functions of this space, I note that there are many. The room has a closet used for offsite office storage and some personal pictures. There us a dresser that holds off season clothing, gifts, holiday cards, and some memorabilia. There is also a cat condo (and who am I kidding, also the bed) that is used by my cat to sleep in the sun.

But when overnight guests arrive, this is their room. I want the area to be open and inviting to my guests. I want all my items out of sight but easily accessible.

I maximize my closet by using elfa shelving, but once a year I rearrange and purge items I feel I no longer need. I look through all my pictures and usually toss a few that are near duplicates or do not really speak to me anymore. I feel if I want to keep my memorabilia, I ought to honor it and look at it at least once a year. By purging and reorganizing, I allow space for items I have stacked on the bed that have been purged from my office zone last month.

My dresser also has zones within the drawers. I look at the clothing stored there and toss what I no longer think is necessary or I no longer love. I organize gifts and cards I have stashed in one drawer and look over any stored memorabilia. I set aside some empty space for a guest to use.

By the end of the month, I have this guest bedroom matching my vision for the upcoming year. I celebrate by putting fresh flowers on the dresser.

For help in setting up your zones, sign up for my Zone Plan Coaching Teleclass ( or purchase my workbook - From Vision to Victory: A Workbook For Finding a Simple Path to an Organized Home (available on my website

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer