Shocking fact: Buying out The Container Store won’t make you more organized! But, it will make the folks at the Container Store Love you! If this is your goal…tell them I sent ya! However, if you really want to know what you need to tackle some organizing projects around your home or office, stick with me kid.
The first, and probably most important, thing you will need is a good attitude. If you don’t have that, stop reading right here (I would say pick up the phone and call me to help, but I’m not sure In want to work with someone with a bad attitude. So on a scale of 1-10, how bad is it?). In all seriousness, if you decide to go it alone, you need to be ready to take on the project and see it through. Ok, so good attitude in hand (or wherever you keep it). Here are some other things you will need to do the job right:
Something to write with and on.
o The ‘with’ – You can chose a pen, pencil or Sharpie marker. Anything that writes (if it no longer does, throw it away; it’s clutter).
o The ‘on’ – Post-it’s are great. Whoever invented those is a genius and very, very wealthy (does anyone have his number?).
o As you start to categorize piles of things you can write down the categories and put them next to each pile so you won’t need to remember what’s what. This is especially good for organizing papers, making the sorting process much quicker.
Containers – This can be anything from file folders to plastic bins, depending on the task.
o For paper projects – File folders are a must! There a gazillion (I know, I’ve counted them) options, from plain old manila to a rainbow selection with tabs placed in a variety of creative places. This will allow you to label…with your writing implement (from above) or, if you’re super ambitious, a label maker (I love to geek out with mine)…each folder with your newly created category.
o For small items – re-purposing thing that we all have around the house, like shoe boxes (from that pair of shoes you bought that was too small, but can’t be returned because you don’t have the receipt), baskets (from a fruit arrangement aunt Becky gave you for your birthday 3 years ago), cardboard gift boxes (that you are saving to put a gift in for someone else, except you haven’t been able to because it says JCPenny on the box and the gift recipient will think it came from there and you don’t want that), is a great way to make compartments in drawers or on shelves, to store smaller items and keep them from getting jumbled up.
o For larger items – Plastic bins (I call them’ tuppers’. Don’t ask me why). These come in sizes made for a sandwich, to a year’s supply of sandwiches (I don’t recommend keeping a year’ s supply of sandwiches anywhere!). There are bins that fit under a bed, which is an often neglected storage spot. Things you don’t need to use often, but want easy access to, can be stored in those bins (like those gifts you buy to give to ‘someone’ ‘someday’). Large bins can be a great for storing things you consider memorabilia, like your kids artwork (or those clay things they make that could be an ashtray or a giraffe. Sometimes it’s that hard to tell). The shoebox size bins are good for storing photos, especially if you want to keep them in a basement or attic where they could be damaged by water or bugs.
Shelving – Over your desk, or under your sink, shelves are handy for many different items.
o Free-standing shelves and wall shelves are good for books and nick-knacks, although a shelf full of nick-knacks is just a clutter container (so keep those to an eye-pleasing minimum).
o Shelving in kitchen and bathroom cabinets is great for separating items, like Tupperware and toilet paper (I’m going to assume you know which goes where).
o Closet shelving helps keep folded items neat. Shoe shelves are great for keeping shoes off the floor and with their mates (no, not their Australian friends, their matches).
Here are a few of my organizing examples:
There are a LOT of organizing options out there, so before you buy any of them, look at the area(s) you are working on and at any unused items you have laying around. I tell my clients not to buy anything until I’ve done my assessment and had a chance to see what they already have that we can work with. Then, if I do see that they need some item, I like to keep their buying requirements to a minimum. Buying more stuff, albeit useful stuff, will not solve your organizing problems, it just adds to the problem.