How to maximize your space: the organizing principle of “prime real estate”

In Gotham (NYC) no space goes to waste! Credit:

When it comes to organization, you can learn a lot from real estate developers.

In real estate, it’s often said that the three most important things are location, location, location. Real estate developers also know how important it is to maximize every square inch of valuable space.

The principle of “prime real estate” will help you get the most out of your space, whether you’re determining how to organize your clothes closet or deciding where to store a giant bargain package of paper towels. Once you understand the concept of prime real estate, it will be much easier for you to set up effective organization systems. The things you use most often will be accessible and the things you rarely use will be out of the way.

Prime real estate refers to those places that are easiest to get to, most comfortable and most visible.

If you are standing up, it’s generally easiest to reach things that are between the height of your shoulders and your hips.  The front of shelves and drawers are more convenient than the backs.  If you are seated at your desk, it’s easiest to get things that are within arm’s reach (without stretching!).

Look around the desk or table you are sitting at right now. Is your prime real estate cluttered with old papers, knick-knacks you don’t even like, and extra supplies that you don’t need right now?

To make the best use of your space, use your prime real estate to store things that you use most often, items that you need to access quickly, and information that you need to keep in mind.

A few examples of how to use prime real estate to maximize your space:  

  • On your desk, keep those items that you use frequently right at hand and in the most comfortable spot.  Consider your phone – can you grab it easily and without any tension in your arm? If you’re left-handed and work at a company, chances are your phone was set up for someone who’s right-handed.
  • In your closets, put the clothes that rarely wear into the far sides of the closets which are hardest to see and reach.
  • In the kitchen, store appliances you only use occasionally at the back of low cabinets. How often do you use the waffle maker? Want to start making healthy breakfast smoothies? Put the blender on the counter.
  • Keep the kids’ favorite toys and games on shelves which are easy for them to reach.
  • Free up prime real estate in your file cabinets by moving old tax returns and other archival papers you don’t reference often to a file box which you can store in a closet, basement, or other out-of-the-way location.

If you’re constantly misplacing your keys or smart phone keep it in a place where it is likely to remain visible, not where it could get buried under a pile of incoming mail.

GO try it!

Put the principle of prime real estate to work for you.

Start with a room or closet that feels disorganized. Determine where the prime real estate is in that area. Which storage spaces are most accessible? What’s most visible? Which shelves are easiest to reach?

Are you using this valuable space most effectively? Is it inconvenient or uncomfortable to get to the items you use most? Are things you rarely use hogging up prime real estate? Become conscious of any time you have to stretch or strain to reach something.  If necessary, do some re-arranging and notice the difference it makes.

Let me know how it goes! I love to hear about organizing successes … and I’m here to help with any difficulties.

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Gotham Organizers