You are probably familiar with the expression “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? Benjamin Franklin said this way back when. Of course, I don’t know what he was referring to at the time but there are so many applications. Think about a door knob. If it becomes loose, it’s a good idea to tighten the screws before the whole thing falls off. You don’t want to wait too long to attend to this task or you may have an even bigger problem to fix, right? Preventive maintenance is one of the best ways to keep little things that need to be fixed from becoming big problems. Let’s apply this thought to your home. Specifically, I am going to use this expression to illustrate why it’s a good idea to use the Zone Plan to organize your home.
What is the Zone Plan?
We all know that a zone is an area, right? The Zone Plan, as it applies to your home, divides your home into areas. Ideally, you create 12 zones within your home and assign each zone to a specific month of the year. Every year during that month you focus your attention on deep cleaning and organizing the zone you assigned to that month.
Who created the Zone Plan?
My friend, colleague, and business partner, Jonda Beattie created the Zone Plan. We use this plan during our Clear Space for You sessions.
How does the Zone Plan work?
Let’s go back to the expression above. It says, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This means that when you take care of something when it is a small issue or problem you prevent it from becoming a big problem.
Let’s apply this thought to organizing your home. When you spend a little bit of time organizing a small zone/area/ or room you reduce the probability that it will become hugely disorganized.
If you decide to follow the Zone Plan and spend one month organizing and deep cleaning in just one zone/area/ or room, you know without a doubt that it is organized to the best of your ability.
There will be nothing in that zone that doesn’t belong. Everything will have a home. Even better, everything will have been thoroughly cleaned. During the remaining 11 months of the year all you must do in that zone is maintenance. You know, the regular dusting and vacuuming. Of course, you also need to be mindful to put things back where they belong.
What is the best reason to use the Zone Plan?
The Zone Plan eliminates the need to clean the entire house during one week in anticipation of Spring.
No one wants to spend an entire week dusting, cleaning, vacuuming every square inch of their home – let’s not forget to mention washing the windows.
I understand the desire to remove the last traces of winter. It can be cathartic to throw open the windows, take rugs outside and beat the dust or sand out of them, and to wash outdoor furniture.
You can do these things. There are always extra tasks to do in a home. It’s rewarding to see the windows sparkle and to know there are no dust bunnies hiding under a carpet.
How to use the Zone Plan
When you use the Zone Plan, you divide the zone in which you are working into four sections and then schedule time to focus on one section a week during that month.
You decide what part of the zone to clean and organize during each work session.
By the end of the month, you will discover the things you no longer love or use in that zone and will release them. If there is something to repurpose to use in another room, you will take it there. Also, you will see if something needs to be fixed or replaced because you are looking closely at everything in the room. This is maintenance at its best.
Maintenance is the key to keeping anything at all in good working order.
When you apply a maintenance mindset to keeping the organizing solutions which work for you in good working order your home will consistently be organized.
The benefits of using the Zone Plan
The benefits here are huge.
You won’t wonder if something will fall out of a cupboard or closet when you open it because these spaces are overfull.
If a friend drops by unexpectedly, you can welcome them in with a genuine smile and open arms feeling confident that your home is warm and welcoming.
Do you think this is a plan you would like to try? Jonda Beattie and I run the Clear Space for You virtual clutter support group using the Zone Plan model. We start a new group at the beginning of every month. You can check it out here.
Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia