Right before school was out in June I volunteered to organize “The Band Shed” at Mahwah High School. My son is in the band and I was happy to help. To my delight, the band director had asked for student volunteers to assist me in what they all thought was a daunting project. (They really have no clue what I do or see every day!)

Over 20 teenagers were at my disposal. They were eager and curious to learn my methodology when I introduced myself as a Certified Professional Organizer®. I immediately knew that organizing this band space was going to be successful because of their input, buy-in and strong abled bodies and hands. As long as I could keep the crew focused  — we’d be done in a few hours of work. This Band Shed had been neglected and dumped upon for quite a while as a graveyard of musical “stuff”. It was a small but vital outdoor building attached to the school and the much larger band room. This Shed was valuable, “prime real estate” space for the Marching Band to function getting ready for football games and competitions.

Here’s what POSSE taught them, our SSPOE Methodology:

1. Sort – We took everything out of the Shed and there was plenty in there. We utilized the lawn and made signage for all categories. For grouping examples:

  • Uniforms
  • Instruments
  • Hat Boxes
  • Football Field Numbers
  • Tools
  • Color Guard Flags
  • Props
  • Building Supplies
  • Tools

2. Select – Next, the selection of items in each category was decided upon from the Band Director. He was our decision maker as to whether or not an item was going to be kept or not in each category.

3. Purge – The items that were deemed as non-keepers were now purged. Purge does not always mean “garbage” (although in this case, most of our non-keepers were refuse). So, some of our non-keepers went to:

  • Sell
  • Donate
  • Recycle
  • Belongs in the Band Room (not the Band Shed)
  • School Dumpster

4. Organize/Containerize/Labelize – Now that we had sorted, selected and purged, we could truly organize and put the Band Shed back together. We now knew for sure what final categories and the volume in each category needed a “home” back inside this wooden structure. We could determine based on the band’s needs, what should go where for easy retrieval and long-term access. With certain things, we did indeed label the bins, shelves etc. for finding purposes.

5. Equalize/Eliminate/Enlist/Enjoy – Now that the Band Shed was truly organized, how would we keep it looking like this all marching band season with approximately 70 harried band kids using the innards? I assigned the Equipment Captains the responsibility of maintenance. It is now their job as leaders to supervise that order remains and assert their control on the systematic procedures of how, what and when things enter and depart the Shed.

My conclusion from this? Most of these children really appreciated the training that afternoon from a CPO®. I felt like a valued high school teacher. They were open to learning the SSPOE model and even asked for it in writing afterward!

Adults, here ye, here ye… when organizing any space, all you have to do is follow the SSPOE model.