Have you ever noticed my quote in the header of my website?
One thing I’m proud of is that I haven’t purchased any organizing products in a while. I often find that as I get rid of things, I free up space on shelves, in cupboards, and in closets. Then, I don’t need to buy more containers to store stuff in. Sometimes I do need to buy something so I thought I could throw out a few tips on buying storage items.
1) Buy when you have to store something specific and you know how you want to do it, but don’t have a suitable alternative on hand.
We have too many bicycles, but I’m not allowed to get rid of any of them yet. I bought the joist hooks for my garage a while ago and I use them all the time. I wanted to get them up off the floor and hanging some in the garage seemed like the best solution.
2) Buy after purging the excess items and when you know exactly what size container/shelf you need.
Instead of buying a storage tote or a new shelf, can you put it in a box or bag you have sitting around? When I went through my daughter’s closet, we had recently returned from a trip and had a damaged suitcase. I was going to throw it out, but ended up using it to store all her dance outfits and shoes that didn’t fit her anymore. When I organized the family room I didn’t buy any containers or shelves. I found that as I removed toys to get rid of, I was able to reclaim shelf space and several storage totes.
3) Buy when you’re storing kids’ clothes to save for a younger sibling and you don’t already have containers. (The rule still stands to purge anything you can first.)
It’s important to store these properly in a plastic tote or bag. You want to keep odors and insects out, especially if you’re storing it all in the basement. Don’t go overboard by saving every single piece of clothing for the next kid though. It’s OK to be a little selective and get rid of some items that you’re not in love with or may have stains. Chances are they have more clothing than any one kid needs anyway.
4) If you’re buying plastic storage totes, clear ones are great because you can see exactly what’s inside. They’re also ugly because you can see exactly what’s inside.
If you’re going to shove them in the basement someplace where no one will see them, I would go with clear ones. If they’re going to be on a shelf and visible in the open, you may want to go with opaque storage totes. You can make a fancy label for each one if you want. If the contents will change often enough, you could even use chalkboard tape (yes, that’s a thing) for a label.
5) Finally, unless you’re certain you won’t use it again, don’t get rid of empty storage containers.
I know that sounds like something I would normally recommend against. We gave away several over the last couple of years but recently found that we could use them. We’re holding off buying more though, hoping that if we purge enough excess that we won’t need them.
Copyright Dave Lubke and www.davelubke.com, 2022
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