SPACE ORGANIZATION CONCEPTS

The Minimal Space specializes in making small spaces work better and look better. We have accumulated years of practical experience applying several concepts to achieve this. We recommend that you consider some of these concepts, as described below, when thinking about your own space needs. If you have problems or difficult constraints our experts can help!

Exactly when is a space well organized? When it helps to accomplish a specific purpose. In other words, defining well organized can be done only in the context of a particular purpose. When a space and its contents becomes an efficient tool to help quickly, easily, and enjoyably accomplish its user’s specific goal … then you will know, intuitively and for certain, that the space is well organized.

USEFUL

To make a space useful it is critical to know the basic purpose you want to accomplish. So, “begin with the end in mind.” Start with a general concept of the end purpose, results, and experiences you truly desire; then hold this ideal in mind as you develop a vision of particular shapes and contents that might best begin to fulfill it.

This sort of thinking is what the saying “form follows function” implies. Try considering space volume and content as tools to accomplish a purpose. What volumes and shapes and boundaries are necessary? What would be nice? What contents are needed either in it or visible from it or nearby to it? What is the user physically doing within the space or with the contents? Is there a natural flow of activity which the space should support. Does a particular volume, boundary, content item, or physical relationship (e.g., near, far, obvious, hidden) make the purpose easier or more difficult to accomplish?

The concepts minimal and clean are also beneficial. Getting rid of unused, unnecessary distractions to the primary purpose helps make a space useful. One elegant way to create a very clean look while adding large amounts of accessible storage is a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling closet; when the closet is open you see everything and when it is closed you see nothing.

Multi-purpose is also related to the concept of useful. Sometimes particular items of furniture, such as a wallbed, can allow a small space to aptly serve two purposes. Another space planning example is a aptly placed walkway that provides direct access to multiple areas rather than to just one.

RELEVANT

Being relevant is closely related to being useful. It suggests that the contents of a space should be just what you need, when and where you need them. “Just in time” and “just in place” are similar ideas.

Another one is accessibility. Having near at hand what you need when you need it speeds up any job and minimizes frustration. Well organized space should help create flow — smooth, steady, easy, enjoyable progress.

Of course irrelevant items need to be out of the way both physically and visually. “Clearing the decks” aids in making a space relevant by removing physical and mental distractions.

DISTINCT

Having sharp visual or physical separations helps identify exactly what things are and where they belong. Separating items into groups, or even just piles like when you are sorting the laundry, is an example of creating distinctions.

If possible make each area completely self-contained, containing every item and only those items you actually need.

Using appropriate containers helps to keep items both distinct (e.g., all the 1/4″ screws in one box, all phone books together on one shelf) and accessible. Selecting the right containers to fit the job is part of organizing space.

OBVIOUS

Making it obvious what a space is for and how to find items in it is a valuable time and mind saver. Simplicity is a virtue. Visual dividers or clear signs might help accomplish this. An example would be storing tools stored within their colored outlines on a well ordered work bench.

Other aspects of obvious are order and hierarchy, versus a confusing hodgepodge. Having a “place for everything and everything in its place” makes it quick to find and store things. Of course order and hierarchy are the underlying concepts behind the way books are organized in a public library.

ELEGANT

The inner beauty of a well organized space could also be described as elegant. This term suggests such intangibles as using space in ways that are especially apt, intuitively obvious, appropriate, comfortable, and beautiful. It includes knowing just where to splurge and where to cut back. It includes everything working out in a beautiful, integrated fashion.

Achieving an elegant solution requires artistic talent as well as technical expertise. The Minimal Space, a subsidiary of Modern Spaces, makes available to you a unique combination of both. Check out our Burlingame showroom and the Modern Spaces website for some good ideas on how to get started!