The Kindergarten Model of Organizing

Organizing is not just about getting rid of clutter and making the space look “neat”. It’s about designing spaces that reflect who you are and what’s important to you, and arranging things logically and efficiently so that staying organized will be easy for you.

From the day I started my business, I have designed every home, office, and schedule on the model of a kindergarten classroom.

Walk into any kindergarten classroom in the world, and you will behold the perfect model of organization. Think about what makes it work:

The room is divided into activity zones: Reading zone, Dress-up zone, Arts & Crafts zone, Music zone, Snack zone.

It’s easy to focus on one activity at a time. With each zone well defined and fully self-contained, you can concentrate 100 percent on a given task; nothing else competes for your  attention.

Items are stored at their point of use, with everything needed for each activity at your fingertips. For example, when doing arts and crafts, all the paper, crayons, markers, paints, brushes, and smocks needed for a creative session are gathered in one convenient location.  

It’s almost as much fun putting things away as it is playing with them. That’s because every item has a clear, well labeled home in a container that is the perfect size to hold it. Sliding trays for puzzles. Wooden blocks with holes for scissors (nose down, handles up. Consequently, you seldom see a kindergartner trying to figure out where to return something or struggling to shove fifty paintbrushes into a twenty-five-brush container. Cleanup is fast and easy. 

It offers a visual menu of everything that is important to the people who inhabit that space. Anyone can walk into that classroom, look around, and decide what to do and where to do it based on a set of clearly defined cues. It’s hard to NOT put things away on perfectly labelled shelves.

The beauty of the kindergarten model is that it can be applied to anything: from a whole office to just one desk or a single drawer.  If you are an office manager in charge of creating order for a whole department, or an individual trying to tame the chaos in your office, following the Kindergarten model will allow you to design your space for easy access and retrieval of any item.