What is the most basic of design principles? I'm sure you've heard it - It's Form Follows Function. So, what does it mean exactly? It means how something works comes first and what it looks like follows. However to me, Form and Function are equals. Paying attention to both is a bit more of a challenge, but in the end, that's what makes really good design.
When I approach an organizing project, I approach it as a design project.
Here are five ways for you to learn to think like a designer when you're ready to get organized:
1. Identify your style. Do you like Modern, Rustic, Country, Traditional, etc. and purchase organizers that reflect your personal style.
2. Pick a few favorite colors for your organizing tools and stick with them throughout. For example, if you like Modern you might select shades of grey, black and white.
3. Carry your organizing style throughout your homes storage spaces. This helps to make your house "flow" from drawer to drawer and room to room. And, it keeps things simple.
4. Throw in a fun object here and there, in a great color or pattern, just to keep things interesting. For instance – if you like Country, add a modern set of file drawers (like these from Ikea, http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40107872), then line them with vintage wallpaper.
5. Never, ever buy anything that can't be used for more than one purpose. A great set of baskets for your laundry room might one day work just as well holding wood and kindling by your fireplace.
If you think of your home organizing projects as design projects you will soon realize that your home is not just functioning, it's functioning beautifully.
This article originally appeared in Lifestyle Insights on January 16, 2010