Tips to Organize a Shared Space

A Mission: Organization guest reveals space-sharing secrets.

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Managing a Shared Space

Professional organizer and Mission: Organization guest Kendra Muscella offers web-exclusive tips.


  • When you share a space with someone be mindful of the need to incorporate the interests of both parties. Each individual wants to feel that they belong in and are represented in the space.

  • In smaller spaces it is important to have items that provide functional and decorative storage. Look for seating and tables that can contain items that do not need to be in view and that will be accommodating to you and your guests.

  • It can be challenging to share a space with someone whose items spill out into common areas. Encourage them to corral their items into one spot or several decorative and functional containers. What you are requesting is item management, not item removal. While you can not change anyone, you can show through your actions how you would like the space to be maintained. Patience is key here.

  • Clearly label storage containers, particularly those that will be stored away in an attic, for example. This will make it easier to keep the attic organized and make locating items less time-consuming.

  • It is also a good idea to label envelopes containing your important papers, taxes, wills, insurance policies, deeds, etc. It is a good idea to store these in a fire-safe box in a dry area. In some cases you may even want to have copies of these documents kept safely and securely off-site.

  • Managing collections of favorite items can be challenging. In most cases you want to have these items on display somewhere in your space. If the collection is large and you are short on space I would suggest safely storing some of the pieces in your collection and then rotating the items on display with the items in storage.

  • From a decorative perspective, items in collections often look best grouped together in one space as opposed to scattered throughout one's home.

  • Research the items that you have or want to collect if you are concerned about their status as a collectible. If you want the value of an item to increase, the condition of that item must be maintained.

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