How to improve the flow of your home

Authentically Ash household rooms and their functions
My brainstorm on the rooms in my house and their functions.

Organizing your home may seem daunting at first.  Many young women who are new homemakers struggle to keep their homes welcoming and restful for their families.  In this blog post, I’m going to start at the very beginning.  This is a fun exercise that will give you some clarity on your home and the functions of each room in your house.  By noticing how rooms function in your home you are better able to organize and convert your home into a flowing haven of rest.

Don’t worry if stuff is still piled around the living room in boxes from your last move, or if your home is a 1 room studio, this exercise will still apply to you.

List the rooms in your house

The first step is to get out a piece of paper and list all the rooms in your house.  These are not necessary the “separated by a wall” rooms.  For example, my kitchen, living room and dining room are actually all one room, but because they have distinct area’s I separated them into 3 rooms.

Here is a list of the rooms in my house. You can have more or less, adjust it to your home.

  • Garage
  • Main Yard
  • Kitchen Yard
  • Kitchen
  • Living Room / Lounge
  • Dining Area
  • Bathroom
  • Spare Room (which will soon be Baby’s Room)
  • Master Bedroom
  • Porch

What is each room used for?

The second step is to look at all the rooms you have listed and brainstorm what each room is in fact used for in your home.  What does your spouse do in this room?  What do you do in this room?  And what do your children do in this room?

Don’t ignore obvious answers, like cooking in the kitchen.  Also don’t ignore the more obscure answers like sex in the bedroom.

Here are examples of my answers for two of the rooms in the house.

  • Dining Area
    • Eating
    • Project Organization
    • Desk Space
    • Family Time
    • Bible Time
  • Spare Room
    • Storage
    • Office
    • Computer Room
    • Personal Bible Time (Ashleigh)
    • Laundry (Ironing)
    • Cleaning Supplies
    • Spare Bedroom
    • Toys and Hobbies

See the image at the top of this post for my complete “Mind Map” of the Rooms in my House and their Functions.

Look at the flow of your home

Now that you have a list of everything each room is used for, you can take a look at the overall flow of your home and the movements of the people who live with you.

When I took a look at my flow I noticed that laundry was spread out over 4 rooms of my house.  I would collect laundry in the Bathroom, wash it in the Kitchen, let it dry in the Main Yard and Iron/Fold it in the spare bedroom.

I also noticed that the largest problem when planning for our new addition to the family will be converting the Spare Room into the baby’s room as we currently use it for anything that doesn’t fit in elsewhere.

Decide on changes to improve the flow of your home

You have the broad picture of your home in your mind, now think about how you could move functions around to make the flow better.

In my home, the area of concern is the current Spare Room.  I need to change the flow of my home so that this room is prepared for the baby’s arrival.

Take a good look at each of the functions and try to group them together into a single room wherever possible.  Here is what I am planning to do with our Spare Room over the next few weeks:

  • Storage – I’m working on getting rid of as much of the stuff in storage as possible.  Mark and I are also looking at putting shelves in the living room for books, DVDs and CD’s.  It will make sense to have the books, DVDs and CD’s in the living room as this is the “zone” we use for entertainment.
  • Office – I plan to use the dining area as a partial office space since I already use the dining room table for organizing and planning, so turning the dining room area into the “Zone” for office related activities also makes sense.
  • Computer – Since Mark and I work together, I am hoping to move my large desktop computer to our office at his parents house, and bring the laptop home.  The laptop can easily be packed away when not in use.  Our dining room will then be used for this too.
  • Personal Bible Time (Ashleigh) – This is the time that I spend reading my Bible or in quiet prayer and meditation.  I use the spare room at the moment because I can close the door and not be disturbed by pets.  The next best room for this will be the Master Bedroom.  Therefore, I think I will move this function into this room.
  • Laundry (ironing) – I store the clean and dry, but not ironed clothing, in the spare room.  I am planning to clear out a space under the kitchen table for the laundry.  The kitchen table is against the wall in the kitchen and being used as an extra worktop at the moment.  We never sit at the kitchen table, so the space under it is mostly open.  Since the laundry is washed in the kitchen, it can also wait to be ironed in the kitchen.  I might even consider doing the ironing in the kitchen itself.
  • Cleaning Supplies – This is the largest problem that I face at the moment.  There is a cleaning cupboard in the living room, but it is too small for the vacuum cleaner, and barely fits the ironing board.  I haven’t found a suitable place for these.
  • Spare Bedroom – we are not going to have a spare bedroom anymore.  Instead we will make a plan with mattresses on the floor if we have guests.  Mark and I will probably give up our room and sleep with the child in his room.
  • Hobbies and Toys – if we build shelves into the living room, then our hobbies and toys will be moved there.  Otherwise they will go into crates in the garage temporarily.

As you can see from my example, living in a small space isn’t easy, but with a little planning it can be done.

Putting the plan into action

Now that you have an idea of how the flow of your home can be improved, you can look at how you are going to accomplish it.  It is useless to plan without doing, just as it is useless to do without planning.

In the first few steps we did a “Brainstorm”, now we need to organize our results and create an Action List.  Using the example of my Spare Bedroom, I have created the following “To-Do” list:

  1. Spend 15 minutes a day (minimum) going through stuff that is in storage in the spare bedroom.  Sort it into Give Away, Put Away and Throw Away boxes.
  2. Brainstorm with Mark on how to convert the Dining Area into an office space.
  3. Ask Michael to help me fix the screen of the laptop (I’m using an external screen at the moment) then switch the laptop with the desktop computer.
  4. Start having the morning Bible Time in the Master Bedroom instead of the Spare Bedroom (this is just a habit that I need to change).
  5. Clear the space under the kitchen table for the laundry basket.
  6. Clear the space under the kitchen table for the vacuum cleaner
  7. Move all Cleaning supplies to the cleaning cupboard, or brainstorm another place for the ironing board.
  8. Get quotes for the building of shelves into the living room.  Mark will probably do the work, but we need to figure out how much it will cost us for the materials.

Once you have your To-Do list, then you can start putting it into action.

Conclusion

Improving the flow of your home is one of the most important things you can do to increase your happiness levels and those of your family.  If all activities have a designated area to take place in, then you can start working on bettering those area’s for their functions.  If you do most of your laundry in the kitchen (like me), then you can start looking for ways to convert that room of your home to better suit the needs of that room.

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