Time to Get on Zone Defense

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Time to Get on Zone Defense - it's a game plan for organizing your home, room by room, to suit you in your current season of life.

Is it hard to find things in your house? Do you open a closet and cringe? Do you wish your housekeeping chores were just a little simpler and easier?

Well, you’re not alone, sister. I’m there, too. Every January I get a little burst of energy to set things to rights. Hubs has been reorganizing lots of storage spaces over the last month or two. The toy garage has been dismantled and replaced by a music/hockey cave. The library has moved to his former closet. And we’re moving stuff around, trying to make this space serve us better.

That’s the deal, really. Your home is there to serve you, not the other way around. But, often clutter and disorganization gets in the way of that, doesn’t it.

Join me on Zone Defense again this year, as we start moving room by room to make our homes suit our season of life better than they did last year.

When I set up the Zone Defense home organization program a couple years ago, I envisioned 12 zones, one for each month. But, let’s be real. We lose steam in November and December. At least I do. Don’t you?

So, I’m switching things up just a bit for the end of the year. Here’s the general game plan:


Assess your home’s strengths and areas to grow.
Organize your personal space.


Organize the kitchen.


Take care of laundry, linens, and general clothes care systems.


Organize and deep clean the living areas, entertainment areas, and the stuff that takes up space here.


Get ready for travel and day trips by organizing the camping stuff, the cars, and the travel gear.


Organize and clean the kids’ rooms, the play areas, and work on getting the kids involved. (We’ll be doing this last part all year, but will concentrate on this over the summer.)


Perform bathroom organization, deep cleaning, and improvements.


Organize office and paperwork.


Get prepared for emergencies.


Winterize the outdoor spaces. Organize the deep storage.


Plan for holiday upkeep and get organized for holiday events.

You can always tackle these steps in a different order. Read through the Zone Defense plan and make your own adjustments.

Get started on your first zone.

Grab the Zone Defense worksheets to help you think through the problem areas in your own and then check out these resources:

I’ll be reporting back on my own progress on these areas in the next week. Then we’ll move on to Personal Space in the second half of the month.

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  1. I’m really fighting clutter at our house so I need this! We have three littles who have a ton of toys and clothes and then on top of that, in the past two years we have had to “break up household” for two sets of my grandparents who passed away. I am overwhelmed with household items, “memories” and furniture….all things that I thought I’d love, want and use (some we have, some is just in the way!). My parents are now getting ready to retire, downsize and move so in the next six months I just see more and more stuff coming my way (I found a box of things from my childhood in their attic last time I was visiting, uh oh!). I need a plan so thank you for this, time to address the problem.

  2. We have somewhat of a general cleaning routine each January.

    1. We always go through each daughter’s closet the week after Christmas and get rid of all the clothes that no longer fit or they simply do not like and therefore will not wear. This year the donate pile filled two laundry baskets. My youngest grew two inches over the summer and most of the winter clothes from last year were much too short. I find it interesting that my children will gladly donate items, but will argue strenuously if you try to simply throw it away.

    2. We find a place for all the Christmas gifts. If there is not a place for it then something has to go to make room for it. My kids donated several old games they had outgrown to make room for a couple of new board games and art kits. I went through my kitchen gadget drawer and got rid of several items I rarely if ever use to make room for my new “toys.” My husband went through his sock drawer and all the socks with holes went to into the rag bag.

    3. In preparation for the pantry challenge I inventoried all our food. Anything that was still in the cupboard from the July challenge went into the donate pile. Surprisingly I only found one outdated item.

    4. Next week after a few more things are gone through, we will be taking a large load to the donation drop off site.

    Our biggest challenge is paper. I feel like it’s mating and multiplying overnight while I sleep. Every flat surface has to be vigilantly watched or a pile of paper will magically appear. I could blame my husband (he makes a post-it note reminder for EVERYTHING), but I am just as bad as he is. I find it very hard to throw away any of the kid’s artwork, stories, programs, cards, handmade gifts, etc…

    • Paper is my biggest challenge, too.

    • Some of the best advice I got when my oldest started school was to make decisions about the paper they bring home as soon as it comes out of their backpack. I noted this advice and then when the mounds (I mean really, how do they generate that much paper!!!) of paper started rolling in, I understood! I make it a point to review newsletters and post on the bulletin board in my kitchen, go over work from the day and then recycle and put my favorite artwork on my son’s bulletin board and (horror!!) recycle the rest! Most other paper doesn’t even make it in the house; junk mail is recycled outside on the way up from the mailbox, I get as many receipts as possible electronically and medical paperwork is stored on our insurance company’s website.

  3. I hope you’ll share some pictures of how you’ve moved things around. The closet turned library sounds interesting. Seeing how others are arranging their homes gives me ideas that I’d only think of otherwise. (Hence, my love of Pinterest!)

  4. Been doing some major cleaning/organizing—well, I did good September through early November! Then the holiday’s butted in. 🙂 We had to do a major bathroom remodel due to an emergency back in September. Shower is in, new floor done. Cabinets organized. FINALLY getting around to painting the whole thing and redecorating. Maybe be done next week? Then back to the whole house! Oh, I love some of the ideas from, “A House that Cleans Itself.” Love to see before/after pics for inspiration. 🙂

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