Organizing Tune-Ups - Episode 10: How To Organize Shared Spaces: A Brief History & Ethos of the Digital Garden

Tara H

Tara H

Apr 21, 20244 min read


Organizing Tune-Ups - Episode 10: How To Organize Shared Spaces: A Brief History & Ethos of the Digital Garden

In today's episode of Organizing Tune-Ups, we will explore the topic of organizing shared spaces. Whether it's your living room, kitchen, or workspace, shared spaces can quickly become cluttered and chaotic if not properly organized. By following a few simple steps, you can transform these spaces into functional and harmonious areas that everyone can enjoy.

The first step in organizing shared spaces is to remove anything that doesn't belong. Take a close look at the items in the space and ask yourself if they are necessary. If not, it's time to remove them. This could be furniture that doesn't serve a purpose, artwork that doesn't align with the space's aesthetic, books that are rarely read, or trinkets that only add to the visual clutter. By eliminating these unnecessary items, you create more room and clarity in the space.

Reducing visual clutter is another crucial step in organizing shared spaces. One effective way to achieve this is by grouping like items together. For example, in the living room, you can create designated areas for books, electronics, and entertainment accessories. By doing so, you not only make it easier to find what you need but also create a sense of order and cohesion in the space.

Additionally, consider grouping items by color. This can be particularly useful in spaces like the kitchen, where you have various utensils, dishes, and appliances. Organizing these items by color not only adds visual appeal but also simplifies the process of finding what you need. Imagine having a row of red utensils, a section of blue dishes, and a shelf dedicated to stainless steel appliances. It's a small change that can make a big difference in the overall organization of the space.

Now that you have decluttered and visually organized the shared space, it's essential to teach your family members how to maintain this newfound organization. This step is often overlooked but is crucial for long-term success. Set clear expectations and establish routines for tidying up the space. Encourage everyone to take responsibility for their belongings and emphasize the importance of returning items to their designated spots. By involving everyone in the maintenance process, you create a shared responsibility for the organization of the space.

While organizing shared spaces may seem like a modern-day challenge, the concept of maintaining digital spaces has a fascinating history. The idea of the "digital garden" harkens back to the early days of the web when people had fewer notions of how websites "should be." It is an ethos that combines classical principles with new possibilities.

The term "digital garden" emerged as a way to describe the act of cleaning up one's digital space. It was a response to the growing dissatisfaction with the limited range of generic web formats and layouts. Instead of presenting fully formed opinions in a polished manner, digital gardens focus on the slow growth of ideas through continuous writing, rewriting, editing, and revising thoughts in public.

Joel Hooks, in his blog titled "My blog is a digital garden, not a blog," brought attention to this concept in early 2019. He emphasized the importance of embracing the imperfect and unfinished nature of digital gardens. Unlike traditional blogs, which display articles in reverse chronological order, digital gardens act more like free-form work-in-progress wikis. They are not refined or complete; instead, they are a collection of half-finished thoughts that evolve over time.

The ethos of the digital garden is liberating in many ways. It encourages individuals to share their knowledge and ideas without the pressure of perfection. This concept can be applied to organizing shared spaces as well. Just as digital gardens embrace the imperfect, shared spaces can benefit from a more forgiving approach. It's not about having everything perfectly in place at all times but rather about creating a space that evolves and adapts to the needs of its users.

In conclusion, organizing shared spaces requires a thoughtful and systematic approach. By removing unnecessary items, reducing visual clutter, and teaching family members how to maintain the organization, you can create harmonious and functional spaces. Additionally, the concept of the digital garden offers valuable insights into embracing imperfection and continuous growth. Remember, organizing shared spaces is an ongoing process, and it's okay to let them evolve over time.

Actionable Advice:

1. Start by decluttering shared spaces and removing anything that doesn't belong or serve a purpose.

2. Group like items together and consider organizing them by color to reduce visual clutter and create a sense of order.

3. Involve your family members in the maintenance process by setting clear expectations and establishing routines for tidying up.

By following these actionable advice, you can transform your shared spaces into organized and enjoyable areas for everyone.


  1. "Organizing Tune-Ups - Episode 10: How To Organize Shared Spaces", (Glasp)
  2. "A Brief History & Ethos of the Digital Garden", (Glasp)

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