Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Be Your Own Professional Organizer, Part 2: Containerize

decorative candy box
Containers (of all sorts) are some of your best friends when getting organized. They help you make the most of your space, and make it easier to get your hands on the item you want.

Containers come in many forms, including:
- Plastic bins
- Canisters
- Baskets
- Tins
- Bookshelves
- Filing cabinets
- File folders
- 3-ring binders and lever arch binders
- Closets
- Cabinets and drawers
- Wine racks
- Tool and tackle boxes

Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting containers.

1. Try to keep containers only about 75% full. It's much easier to pull something out and put something away if the container isn't close to overflowing! That applies to clothes closet rods, file cabinet drawers, etc.

2. When space is an issue, square containers make better use of that space than do round ones. Consider that when picking your food storage containers.

3. Containers can provide us with self-limiting mechanisms. Personally, I only have so much bookshelf space (and it's a goodly amount); if I get more books than will fit, I need to move some along. Similarly, I have a box for old letters I want to keep - and that's all the space I'm dedicating to those letters.

4. You don't necessarily have to buy new containers - and you can be creative! Shoe boxes and such can work fine sometimes. I've used gift bags as containers in someone's kitchen. A fancy candy box from Joseph Schmidt (see example above) holds name tags and such right by my front door, so I can grab what I need as I leave home.

5. If you do buy new containers, there are more and more green options: products made from recycled materials, for example.

6. If you are storing things for posterity (photos, children's art, your wedding gown, etc.) be sure to pick appropriate containers. Spending the additional money for archival quality products can be a good investment.

Related Post:
Part 1: Decide What to Keep

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