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March 2014 Issue 4


Towards a Clutter-Free 2015

By Agatha Osewa

1 VISION. Begin with the end in mind. Have a clear picture of the space ultimately desired. Go through the space as though with the eyes of a stranger, mentally noting things that are out of place and need to be taken out.
2 PURGE.  Be ruthless! Rule of thumb is anything that has not been required in the past twelve or eighteen months, one would not miss. Exceptions of course to this rule include important books, reference drawings and documents. Architects and Designers, this ruthlessness is especially required when it comes to our design sketches (which we are often sentimentally attached too), notes, drawings, old project files, specification catalogues and manuals, sample products, etc. Project documents should be sorted out often during the project life cycle and the unnecessary ones gotten rid of.

 ORDER. Tackle spaces systematically and in an orderly fashion. For example, start and end with the design studio or the reception/waiting room as against treating both at the same time. Working haphazardly would tire one out easily and the temptation to abandon the purge would be high. 


 SORT.  Categorize the various items – those going into storage, donations, display and disposal. 

5 STORAGE. Key to winning the clutter war is proper storage. Before tackling the clutter, earmark the storage space(s) and / furniture like shelving units, drawers, credenzas, etc. Also, ensure your storage materials like wicker baskets, plastic containers (clear containers are preferable), cartons, etc are at hand. Same goes for markers, sticker tape and other labelling tools.
Aside from physical storage, digital means of storage should be utilized. External storage devices such as flash drives and external hard discs should be deployed in archiving our projects. Cloud Technology that allows the storage and easy accessibility of large volumes of data should be fully embraced. 
6  GET CREATIVE. For many young architects just starting out their firms, carving out a designated storage area may be impossible due to space limitations. Naturally, this in turn leads to challenges in keeping the office organized. A simple solution would be the provision of storage cleverly utilizing furniture that form decorative design elements in the office. This could be in the form of shelving or drawer units. Wooden or glass ledges could be utilized for displaying pictures of major design schemes. Also a photomontage could also be created of a variety of projects.
7 CONSISTENCE. Key to successfully achieving an organized office space as with every other thing is consistence. One need not wait till a full day or week is required to clear out our offices! We can work at setting out about five minutes every day, usually best upon resumption at work or at the close of business, to clear our work surfaces or even clean out our drawers.  

So, let’s kindly raise our glasses to a clutter-free and productive 2015!