Most of our projects center around shared spaces, but these are typically in the family home or an office. Working at Snowden – our second school project – gave us the chance to dive into the ultimate in multi-person use areas- a lost and found area and clothing closet for students ranging from K-8 (and their teachers) to use!
Three major takeaways from this project were this:
Donations are a huge gift but must be managed. School clothing closets rely on the donations of the parents of the children in school (used uniforms) and local businesses (new uniforms). Oftentimes items given are not the items in the “most needed” category. While all donations are accepted with gratitude, knowing exactly what items (sizes) your students need, where there is an overabundance, and where to find them is essential. Organization allows all of that to happen with ease.
Someone must be in charge of maintaining the organization of shared spaces. Written objectives must be placed in a space to achieve this goal. Volunteers rotate in and out. Clear directions give all involved the steps required to maintain the function of any area, but one person must be responsible for overseeing the people involved in the process.
All items do not need to be visible at all times. Determine the amount of any item you need and relegate the excess of the items to a backstock/inventory category. Having all 50 of a small shirt out on a shelf is much more difficult to manage the order of than 15 of the shirts. The shirt category can be replenished as needed from the backstock area/bins.
We had so much fun on this project and are grateful for the trust the faculty placed in us. They showed us their problems areas and we brought solutions. Yet one more example of successfully organized shared spaces- it is possible!!