Sunday, July 20, 2008

Be Your Own Professional Organizer, Part 4: Decide Where to Store Stuff

wrenches hanging from pegboard

Wow, I've really been remiss in finishing this series. But here we go again!

Each situation is different, but here are some general guidelines on where to store the things you've decided to keep.

1. Store it safely. Things that can be dangerous to children or pets need to be kept somewhere they can't get at them. If you live in earthquake territory, be sure to consider that when deciding where to store things.

2. Store it where it will be used. Keep things you'll use when you're out shopping in your car (assuming you go to the stores in your car, as many of us must do). Keep current reading materials near where you read - in bed, by a comfy chair, etc. Keep exercise equipment close to where you exercise. You get the idea!

3. Keep the things you use most often closest at hand; things you use less often can be kept further away. For example, in your office, the things you use most often are best stored where you can reach them without getting up from your desk. Things used a bit less often might be stored in other parts of the room. Things you must keep but might never use, like old tax records, could be kept quite a ways from where you normally work.

4. Don't fight human nature. For example, most people plop their mail down somewhere close to where they come in the house - so put a container for it there. Don't insist it get taken to a distant spot; that's unlikely to happen!

5. Use out-of-easy-reach storage spots with care. If you need to store items you use with some frequency up higher than you can easily reach, be sure to have tools handy (a step stool, a reacher, a high reach hook) to help you get them without hurting yourself.

6. Be cautious about what gets stored in the attic, the basement, or the garage. To quote the Library of Congress, "The most important thing you can do to safe guard your treasures is to store them in a stable, cool, and dry environment. Spaces with high temperatures and dampness or fluctuating conditions, like most attics and basements, are unsuitable for long-term safekeeping." Apparently some people have learned the hard way not to store candles in the attic.

7. Store similar things together. For example, in your garage there may be a place for garden equipment, one for tools, another for sports equipment, and yet another for those Costco bulk purchases.

Related Posts:
Part 1: Decide What to Keep
Part 2: Containerize
Part 3: Label

[photo by britany.g / Britany Gibbs]


Michele said...

Thanks for encouraging us amateur organizers!

Jeri Dansky said...

Michele, from reading your blog I'd say you're doing a great job!

Anonymous said...

Link to part 3 is is not formatted correctly.

Jeri Dansky said...

Thanks, Anonymous; I've fixed that.