Wednesday, August 4, 2010

One Person's Story: Making Use of Storage Space

closet with numbered bankers boxes

I got the following organizing success story in an e-mail from a long-term reader, and he gave me permission to share it with all of you.

I moved from a two-story house with a basement to a one-story house without a basement. Like most people, my wife and I cleaned out quite a bit before moving. And then we were shocked with how much we still "needed." We had nowhere to store these "important" things: seasonal decorations, toys for when grandkids visit, photo albums, etc.

My house has 11-foot ceilings, so I had a lot of unused wall space in my closet. I built some shelves and bought some white bankers boxes from The Container Store (they're much cheaper when you buy 50 at a time) and started filling them.

I found it easiest to number the boxes, and enter everything in a spreadsheet on the computer. That way I can look things up by item, category, or by box. It seemed much easier than labeling everything I had on the outside of each box, and made it much quicker finding things. I printed the sheets and have them hanging on a clipboard by the boxes.


Cathy said...

White banker boxes are my absolute favorite storage because they never change size or shape!

The container stores are the best because no UGLY logos. You can get a more cost effective one from uline with no logos but they are brown. Love em!

SueBK said...

I've moved away from plain white boxes to coloured gift boxes. In my craft room I found I had lots of little containers. They kept everything organised, buttons were with buttons, stamps were with stamps, but because of the number of them, it was hard to actually 'arrange' them in an accessible manner.
I went to the "$2 store" (a variety of elcheapo chains here in Oz) and bought appropriately printed gift boxes. Our party supplies are in a box printed with balloons, art supplies in one with paint splatters.
I now store the smaller containers in the bigger box. If I'm making cards I simply pull out the card making box, and all the bits are right there, still neatly sorted.
On plainer boxes I use sticky convention name labels holders - plastic pockets with a sticky back usually used on the front of convention files. I can change the labels on a whim, without making a mess of my box. My older boxes have any number of tiltes crossed out on the front.

Struggler said...

Those boxes look great and are clearly very effective. What a neat solution!

Jeri Dansky said...

Cathy, I agree - the photos this reader sent along show how nice thpse simple white bankers boxes can look.

SueBK, your organizing solution sounds wonderful - just right for your needs! (If you ever want to send me photos of what you've done, I'd love to show them to my readers, too.)

White works for some folks in some situations - colorful works for others. How boring it would be if everyone wanted to organize the same way!

Struggler, I love to share what folks have found works for them - because it just might work for someone else, too. (Or it might inspire someone to come up with a slightly different answer.)

JustGail said...

Niiiiice! I'm glad to see they thought to put shelves in for each row of boxes, so much easier to put them away where they should be put.

How big are banker boxes compared to paper boxes that hold 10 reams of 8.5x11" paper? I used to be able to get those easily, but not so much any more. I *really* don't want to start using whatever I can scrounge from stores. Not only is the varying sizes an issue, but there's the matter of always having to fold in or tape the top.

And I like SueBK's suggestion of using gift boxes. Especially nice if the boxes need to be left out on a shelf.

Athena said...

this is a great idea, I've been using these boxes for a while now and have had great success. we recently moved and it was so much easier having these boxes. They stack easily and I already had the contents organized.

Capital Junk said...

Fantastic Idea! I enjoy how they are efficient and yet look so clean and crisp. What a great organizational tool!

Jude said...

This guy has a lot of stuff.

Jeri Dansky said...

JustGail, I think these are the boxes he used - not technically Bankers Box, but the same shape. If you and I are thinking of the same boxes that printer/copier paper comes in, it's not the same size.