Establishing the Eighty Percent Rule for your Household

It is human nature to fill all space and time.  If you have extra shelf space you will fill it and if you have extra time you will schedule another activity.  Your goal should be to leave room for growth and change.  You can achieve this goal with the eightly rule.  Do not fill a space past 80% so you have room for growth.  Take pressure off areas by creating a back-up area somewhere else.  For example if your pantry is crammed, create a back-up pantry shelf in the basement or mudroom.  It is frustrating and time consuming to put groceries away in a pantry that is at 100% capacity.

How is this accomplished?

You can apply this method to achieve the eighty rule to any drawer, closet, or cabinet:

  •      Sort the items into like categories
  •      Discard unusable items
  •      Donate unwanted items
  •      Place the items used often in the most convenient places
  •      Use containers to maintain the organization
  •      Repeat if your needs change

To achieve the eighty rule in your closets, cabinets, and drawers you will need to use other areas in your house for storage.  Use under-the-bed storage containers to keep extra items organized under your bed.  Use plastic shelving in the basement and garage to store less frequently used items.  You can also hang items from the basement and garage ceiling.  Lightweight luggage can be hung from ceiling hooks in a basement storage area.  You can easily see and access the luggage instead of rummaging through a shelf.

It is important that the areas you use daily are at 80% capacity.  You want to be able to open and close drawers and closets quickly.  You do not want to spend time rearranging areas you constantly use.  Other areas less frequently used can be at 100% capacity, such as holiday storage.  You only need to tackle holiday decorations once a year.  Concentrate on organizing for your daily needs.

About Diana Koenig