Are you ready to get organized, but aren’t sure exactly what to do? Once you’ve sorted your belongings, its time to establish storage. But what exactly does good storage look like? Here is what you need to know.
GOOD STORAGE IS…
The odds of you putting an item away (instead of simply setting it down) increase dramatically if you make it easy. When setting up storage, remove any barriers that discourage you from using it:
Don’t like hangars? Install hooks.
Hate removing lids from boxes? Add shelves so boxes don’t need to be stacked on top of each other.
Hate going upstairs? Establish a storage location on the first floor, or designate a container on the stairs to grab whenever you go up.
When deciding where to store something, always ask yourself, “If I had to find this, where is the first place I would look?” After all, it’s important to store items in a place where you can easily find them… it’s all about what makes sense to your brain.
Not every item needs to be equally accessible. Some things you use every day, some you use periodically, and some you are holding onto “just in case.” To maximize efficiency, store items according to how frequently you need them. For example:
- If you work at a desk, the drawers you can reach without having to get out of your chair are your “prime real estate.” Reserve these drawers for the supplies you regularly need, such as pens, staples, paper clips, and current files. The same concept applies to all products you regularly use. If you touch it (almost) daily, it belongs on the eye level shelf, the nearby drawer, etc.
- For those items you pull out periodically, such as reference files or the fine china, designate storage locations that are accessible, even if perhaps a bit less convenient. Examples here include the file cabinet across the room, the top shelf of a pantry, or the back of a corner cabinet.
- Lastly, for those items you are keeping “just in case,” utilize the most remote locations in your space, such as the attic with the pull down stairs, the box at the bottom of the stack, or even an offsite storage location (for more thoughts on self-storage click here.)
Putting a label on a container/space is the single most effective tool you have for ensuring that users put items away properly. Labels help us remember what goes where, and make us feel guilty if we put something where it shouldn’t be. Labels are also helpful when multiple users share one storage location (e.g. the junk drawer or the supply cabinet.) A label can be anything from a handwritten piece of masking tape to a decorative decal.
[NOTE: if you really struggle with putting items back in the right container, utilize clear containers. Seeing what is inside is like a giant label!]
To read more about labels, click here.
Storage containers need to “fit” the items they hold. Toss a handful of paper clips loose into a drawer and you will shortly have a mess. Always subdivide large spaces when storing smaller items. Drawer organizers, shelf dividers, bins, baskets and boxes can all be used to define areas of a shelf or drawer. And while there are many products on the market, you probably have at least some items on hand (e.g. a cereal box you cut to size) that will work.
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Effective storage is the cornerstone of an ordered space. What storage tricks work well for you?