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    Entries in storage containers (2)


    Out of Sight, Out of Mind

    Before we continue with organizing and sorting, I would like to invite you to preview my newest journal page:  Kids At Home.  My mind is reeling with all the ideas for great times with the kids in your life!  You can get to this post by clicking on the link here, or the Kids At Home title at the top of this page.


    One of the hardest parts of reorganization is finding the space for your neatly contained items.  Especially those that are to be stored.  If you decorate your home for the seasons, or the holidays, then you know how taxing it is to decide where to keep the evergreen garlands, American flags, or grapevine wreaths.  Sometimes the Spartan way of life sounds wonderful…nothing but a bed, maybe a chair, and unadorned walls.  Nothing to dust or keep uncluttered.  But, back to reality.  We do have our things, and our things should not take over our lives.  Unless you keep your wicker pumpkins or birds’ nests out all year, they must go somewhere when their display time is over.

    Here is where tubs or other large containers come in handy.  I hesitate to endorse cardboard boxes for long-term storage, as they are insect magnets.  Depending on where you store your goodies, paper and carboard do not do well in damp or even humid conditions.  There is a way to dress them up, though - cover with contact paper, shelf paper, or fabric.  You can even paint or decoupage them.  In this way, even plain brown boxes look great as file drawers, photo organizers, or any number of household receptacles.  Reusing and updating is much cheaper than buying new and you can coordinate with your room decor.

    I do put out seasonal and holiday items; and when it’s time to store them, they each have their own container (sometimes more than one).  Spring/Easter, Summer/Patriotic, Autumn, and Winter/Christmas.  Birthday, and miscellaneous holiday, party, and decorating gadgets go together as well.  Our sons’ keepsakes, our family yearbooks and memory albums, as well as extra family heirlooms (those that are not in use or on display) all have containers; and are stored out of the main living areas.  I watch for sales on plastic tubs and bins, because shelling out big bucks on storage is not how I want to spend our hard-earned money!  Yard and estate sales, thrift shops, and discount stores are all good stops.  Remember that these are storage containers and do not need to be neat, cute, nor clever.  A garage, yard shed, upper cabinet, basement, cellar, closet, etc are great places to stash your occasional use bins.  Oh, don’t forget under the beds.

    The keys are to keep like items together and give them a permanent home (which may change along the way).  If your space is small, there is nothing wrong with stacking your storage.  If they are out in the open, then ‘neat, cute, and clever’ can come into play.  Or, drape a lovely cloth or scarf over them, add a lamp, and you’ve got an extra side table.  Think outside the box and remember that sometimes you must be brutal in the quest for an uncluttered life.


    Where To Begin?

    Piles and stacks are inevitable signs of good living…partially read books with their markers hanging out; clothes that are too small or too large; the corner of the couch that holds items to give-away or take to family and friends.  Recipes, papers to read or grade, mail, curlers, jewelry, tools, photo albums, magazines.  We all have more ‘stuff’ than we have places to hold them.  Our basement has become the receptacle for keepsakes, mementos, and the ‘just can’t bear to part with it’ tub.  Over the years, we have managed to tub most of it, or at least organize like items on the same shelf.  I remember saying more than once that keeping all the treasures from our past will leave no room for present or future treasures.

    There comes a time in our rich, abundantly blessed lives that we have to examine our piles and stacks.  It cannot all stay.  Piles must be reduced and stacks (even neat ones) must be depleted.  So let’s first make the decision to pare down our lives.  Make some room to grow, and lighten it all up a little.  Parting with a past treasure does not devalue the memory of that treasure in the least.  We can’t hold everything we love in our hands at one time.  And we are surely not going to take it all with us “when we go”.  Saving family heirlooms for our children and grandchildren is great.  Especially those items that have an interesting story, are a part of history, or that we know were highly esteemed by our ancestor.  But, where do we keep it?  How do we manage our current space and keep up with collectables and day-to-day life?

    It sounds simplistic, but you must first pick up one item and make a decision.  Pick up the next item and create a space for it, or move it on out.  If you stand in the doorway of your designated room-to-be-organized, and turn to your right, what is the first thing you see?  Or, what is the first piece of furniture to be gone through with a fine-toothed comb?  Whichever it is, a single item, or a dresser, choose.  Keep it, give it away, or throw it away (which includes recycling).  Even if your space is a disaster, a piled up mess, you can get it done.  So, have three tubs, or bags, or boxes.  Ideally, it would be permanent storage containers for like items, a garbage and/or recycling bag, and a box or bag for donations or give-aways.  If you like to have yard sales at  your home, then this is the perfect opportunity to pick up some extra grocery money.  The give-away or donation box could be a yard sale box.  Please don’t give away, donate, or try to make money from dirty, broken, torn, mismatched, or rundown items.  Unless it is truly ‘gently used’, it’s trash.

    Whatever you decide to keep must eventually have its own place.  Keep that in mind.  It does no good to make a decision to keep something, then end up placing it right back in the same piled up mess in which you found it.  Countertops, tabletops, drawers, closets, cabinets, storage buildings, bins, boxes, bags (sounds like a Dr. Seuss book) must all be pilfered.

    • If you haven’t worn it in a year or so, move it out
    • If you forgot you had it, you don’t need it
    • If you use it, but only occasionally, it doesn’t need to take up prominent storage space
    • If it’s an heirloom, or a collectable, display it or store it out of the way.  In other words, it does not need to be rolling around in the silverware drawer.
    • If it’s one of those “I might need it someday” items, examine your motivation for keeping it
    • If it was a gift that you’ve never used, or never really wanted in the first place - someone else would probably love to have it
    • If you’ve read it once, and don’t ever plan to do so again, let someone else have a turn
    • If it’s a keeper, set it aside for storing and organizing
    • Etc and etc

    Where to begin?  Right in the doorway.  With the first thing that falls to your right, or your left.  Pick it up.  Think carefully and rationally.  Decide.  Most cleaning-out projects are not short order propositions.  Plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time.  Take a week, or one, whole, beautiful, spring month.  We’ll pick up next time with how to store and organize your keepers!