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Organizing Your Home

Submitted by Lorene Bartos, UNL Extension Educator

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Do your home and family match? Does your home meet the needs of the family? How well does it work for your family's activities? As your family changes, so does how you use the space available. Rooms may have to be used for a different purpose. Bedroom space may to be converted to an office or vise vera. If you have small children, the room may be used as a play area. You may need to designate a place to do homework for older children.

The path taken from room to room, called the traffic pattern, may have an affect on how the room is used. A good traffic pattern will

  1. be direct, convenient and logical;
  2. avoid interrupting activities within a room; and
  3. go through the end or corners of a room rather than through the middle.

Furniture can be arranged to help handle the traffic flow of a room. Move furniture away from the walls to improve traffic patterns, if necessary.

Does too much stuff or clutter interfere with activities? De-clutter the area, if this is a problem. Look around the house, find the area needing help and start there. It may be the whole room or a bookcase, closet or even the junk drawer. Make de-cluttering a top priority. When de-cluttering be sure to get rid of items no longer having a use in your home.

Furniture groupings, doors and windows, etc., can dictate how a room is used. What is the focal point of the room? What do people notice first when they enter the room? Arrange furniture, use curtains, or dividers to work as sound buffers or hide a messy area. The color of a room intrigues and excites us. Blues, violets, and greens are cool colors. Red, yellows and oranges are warm colors. The color of a room can affect the way you feel in the room. Consider color harmony when decorating or redecorating a room. Select a color scheme comfortable for your family. When planning a color scheme for your home

  1. consider the people who will use the home;
  2. decided on the effect to be created;
  3. evaluate existing furnishings;
  4. break the areas into categories of large and small rooms and color areas;
  5. subdivide the room and furnishings into main areas (floor, walls, ceiling), secondary areas (window treatments and large furnishings) and accent areas; and
  6. plan for purchases in the future.

Accent colors can be used to pull areas together.

Include family members in making decisions about the home. Perhaps children can select a theme for their room or the play or study area. To assist with upkeep of the areas give each person a responsibility for a certain task and rotate them throughout the family. By having ownership of a duty or area one often will take more time to make it look the best it can.

As you do spring housecleaning, consider a one-to-five year plan to make your home the most useable for your family. Are there items you don't use which could be donated to charity or other family members? Refresh your home with a new accent color or accessory. Enjoy your home by making it more fun and easy to live in.

Ask Lorene

(This resource was added March 2008 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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