• Rethink room function. Some churches save space by redesigning
existing rooms to be function-specific. For example, various ages
rotate through arts/crafts, media, storytelling, and
group/prayer/worship rooms on a weekly or daily basis -- saving the
need to house each of these components in every room.
• Update or eliminate equipment. Replace the piano with a small
keyboard. Lapboards rather than tables work well for upper
elementary and preteen kids. Many churches use stackable chairs or
no chairs at all. Carpet squares work great in place of chairs-they
can be stacked and set aside or arranged for comfy seating during
teaching time. Check with carpet stores for free carpet
Disorganized Storage Areas
No matter what size your church, storage is always an issue. Use
these ideas to get disastrous storage areas under control.
• Get rid of it. Pare down "stuff." Purge your supplies, teaching
materials, games, and more. This may be hard to hear -- and even
harder to do -- but it's necessary. This is your first step in
organization. Donate leftovers to other organizations. Host a
garage sale. Throw away broken toys. Don't save those old crayons
because you think you'll have time to melt and remold them later.
Purge every six months, and create a team to join you for these
biannual Purge Parties.
During our portable church days, every week we towed a trailer
with nine wheeled cabinets holding all our children's ministry
supplies. We had to go through the cabinets every two months,
pitching broken items and restocking supplies. And in those days,
not owning a church building meant everything went into my garage
unless we got rid of it. So we learned how to get rid of it.
• Store off-site. Find storage for items you can't get rid of, but
still need access to occasionally. This works well for seasonal
items. Consider renting a storage unit or enlisting the help of a
congregation member who has an extra storage area.
• Take pictures. It's difficult to part with that backdrop
scenery for last year's VBS or the beautiful quilt the
kindergartners made to decorate the hallway a couple years ago --
especially when great memories are attached to the items. So take a
picture of it, put the picture in a scrapbook, and then throw out
• Invest in closet organizers. Closet organizers, stackable crates
and tubs, and resealable bags are essential to maximizing your
space. Add shelves to wallspace, attach hooks to the backs of
doors, and slide plastic bins under counters, tables, and benches
to reduce visual clutter. Hang pocket shoe bags inside closet doors
to organize smaller items. Resealable bags are available in all
sizes and are great for storing all kinds of items. Neatly label
your organized drawers, bins, and tubs, and keep similar items in
the same areas.
• Clear everything out of problem areas first. If your space is
overwhelmingly cluttered, heed this advice: Completely empty the
area and start over. It's easier to redesign an area and get rid of
stuff when it's not in the room. Take time to look over the empty
space. Think about what you want in the room and put back only
those items. Donate, discard, or file everything else.
• Maintain organization. Once everything has a place, and your
tubs and drawers have labels, assign a volunteer to freshen up
everything monthly. Don't add to your supplies; replace them. If
you buy a new toy, let go of an old one.
• Say no to what you don't need. Let's face it. When folks clean
out their closets at home, they usually call the church first to
get rid of their extra stuff. If you don't really need it, just
politely decline. It's okay to say no, thanks. Explain that you're
doing exactly what they're doing -- organizing and getting rid of