A key element of the OFC approach is the organisation of a collection of things. Understanding how to go about this, and being able to actually do it effectively, are essential pre-requisites for a successful OFC project. The following 11 step process is one way of doing it:
- Be clear about what specific categories of stuff you want to deal with.
- Figure out why you want to keep each category.
- Take the opportunity to reassess what you really want to keep/collect going forward.
- Decide where the best place is to store each category.
- Be clear about the specific space you are going to use for storage.
- Decide how you will set out, equip and organise the storage space.
- Do a quick sort of each category into sub-categories.
- As you do the quick sort, set aside the stuff you want to throw away or dispose of.
- Decide exactly how you will store each sub-category.
- Go through each sub-category in detail, organising as required.
- Set up the storage space/containers/equipment and store the sorted sub-categories.
The short 2 page description of Practical approaches to Order from Chaos provides a more detailed description of each step.
If one was to undertake a lot of OFC projects – especially if they were to be on behalf of other people – it might be worth creating some checklists of requirements and activities. The requirements could be in the form of a Service List specifying what is required (for example, are photos required of each object); and the activities could be in the form of a Process List including items such as, Inspect site/artefacts, Assemble kit, Define end layout etc. The Service list and Process List in the links above assume that the work is being undertaken as a service at a price. However they can be modified to suit your own requirements.
Two other approaches which provide alternative perspectives on organising collections are documented in the following books:
- ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’ by Marie Kondo
- ‘Order From Chaos – A 6 Step Plan for Organising Yourself, Your Office, and Your Life’ by Liz Davenport
The links above take you to reviews of the books which include summaries of their general approaches.