Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An Organized Home: Step 5

This step is about helping to maximize your storage spaces with the use of organizational tools. I call this step...


Don't let the word "invest" scare you. The most important thing to keep in mind about this step is that you can spend as much or as little as you want or your budget will allow. But there is no doubt that setting aside a little bit of money {or ingenuity, as we'll discuss later} will pay off big time in your organizational efforts. Shelves, bins, boxes, crates, etc. will allow you to store twice as much or even more in that tiny closet than you could before.

First...a discussion of the options you have depending on how much you want to spend. If you happen to have loads of disposable income or just have a priority of buying specialized, quality organizing stuff...go to The Container Store and go crazy. I myself love this store but usually only get things there that I think are worth the extra pennies. For example, I bought and use {with great satisfaction} their Click Clack Canisters because they are of good quality and keep my food really fresh. But I don't buy bins, crates and other things here because it's simply not worth the extra cost to me.

If you have a moderate budget, look at stores such as Target, Walmart, dollar stores, and Garden Ridge. I have bought things from each of these places and they have all worked well and were very reasonably priced.

If you have little or no budget...use what you have or can collect. Save cardboard boxes or find an office that's discarding some. Use the paper bags you get at retail stores. Plastic baggies large and small will work. Some containers that your food comes in {sour cream tubs, spaghetti sauce jars, etc.} are very handy. This is where the ingenuity comes in...there are a ton of things that you can save and use to help you organize your home, so don't think you have to spend money to be organized.

Before you purchase anything, you have to determine what you need. You can't just go buy a bunch of containers and expect it to function the way you want it to in your space. Lay out everything that needs to go in a space and PLAN. Go through these steps:

1. Decide what needs to be in a container together and what size container you'll need for it. Think about if you can stack bins on top of each other. This works if you don't access the bottom bins that much. Think about if you need a lid for a container or not. Sometimes a system of drawers works best for small items. And don't forget about dividers for the inside of drawers and existing cabinets.

2. After you have decided what containers you will need, decide if you need shelves {a must in most spaces} or if you need additional shelves other than what's already there. Just to give you an idea of the importance of shelves...I've added some to almost all of the storage spaces in my house.

3. Come up with a labeling plan. Bins, boxes and other containers often need labels to be functional. You don't want to always be guessing what's inside. Decide if you will use stickers, permanent marker or some other method of labeling your containers. It can also be handy to use clear storage for this reason and eliminate the labeling step. {Actually, I do both...clear containers with labels, but that's just me. I'm crazy.}

4. Write all of this down {including measurements, if applicable}. It may seem like a pain, but just do it. You don't want to be in the store and have to visualize your space and try to remember what you need. Then, head out to the store. If you are collecting tools instead of buying them, you will have to get creative and hunt for things that will work for what you need.

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