Figure Out the Zones

Our lives are full of various activities and interests.  These need space to live.  Some of these are simply requirements of being alive – we need a place to sleep, shower, get dressed and ready for the day, for eating – you get the idea.  Then there are things we want to do.  We can break these activities into zones in our homes and how you do this depends on you.

If you or your spouse is an insomniac, your bedroom will likely be relegated to being strictly for sleeping and getting dressed, so any sleep struggles can be limited.  Others will use their bedrooms for a relaxing space.  I’ve known people who do most of their work from the bed – it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you think about how you want to use the space.

I challenge you to start fresh – make a list of your activities and interests. You can start thinking about what you do in each room in your home, but try not to get stuck thinking you have to do those things in the same room.  How are you spending your time?  You also want to consider what draws you to working in various areas.  Are you inclined to do various things when you have the TV on in the background (or even the foreground)? Are you more comfortable working in the solid dining room chairs and table?  There are no right or wrong answers, just information for yourself as you try to figure out setting up some new systems.

Once you’ve thought about your activities, whether current or hopes for the future, you start thinking about where those activities will be best suited.  The idea is to acted some dedicated space for these activities and their related items. Some people talk about also limiting how many activities there are in one space.  I think this depends on several different factors.

  1. How large the space or room is
  2. How many things are needed for the activity, i.e. if all you need for a reading nook is a light and a place to sit that’s different than a place to put a scrapbook together
  3. How you feel about a more sparse versus full space

Living in old bungalow, all of our rooms are small.  When we think about making space for different activities, we need to limit how many in each room. Part of this equation is how much stuff goes along with the activity too.  In one of our rooms, there are 3 zones, and that feels tight sometimes.

Also important is to consider alternative storage areas for some things.  I have a lovely sewing machine that I almost never pull out.  I’m not prepared to part with it, but it doesn’t need to take up a “prime” area either.  It won’t matter that on rare occasions I need to go lug it from the broom closet to where I work on my crafts. If I actually used it frequently (or even regularly), I might not recommend storing it further away.  It will vary from person to person as well as the need for the item.  There’s also the option of storing things higher when they’re used less.

Take your list of activities and look at your answers for the above three questions.  Now let your creative juices flow and consider where you want those activities to happen and how you can set up specific zones for yourself.

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