In Get Organized with Plastic Tubs, Lea Schneider offers great strategies for using storage bins to attain organizing success. The first point made in the article is that buying plastic tubs, bins, baskets, desk caddies and the like will not make you more organized.
Oh, but it’s so hard to resist the temptation! The problem is that buying the wrong containers can actually add to the clutter if you don’t use them, or they make it difficult to find things you’ve stored. If you still believe a trip to the store is required, here are a few tips that will help you buy the right containers and use them effectively:
- Use vertical space. Look at the walls in your storage area. Are any of them bare? If so, that’s what the pros call “unclaimed space.” Fill it with shelves and you’ll immediately have easy access to all of those plastic bins.
- Measure first to maximize your space. Before you buy or build shelving units and storage bins, take time to plan. It won’t work if your containers are all 18” deep and your shelves are only 10”. Even more important is the height of the containers; allow yourself an extra few inches between the container lid and the shelf above it so that you can add or retrieve items easily.
- Style matters. Even if your containers aren’t meant to be decorative, the style you choose is important. Clear bins allow you to see the contents inside; bins in seasonal colors help you identify them. Next, consider what kind of lid you need. Hinged lids can be very convenient, but could be a hindrance if the clearance on your shelves doesn’t allow them to open all the way. Most containers are rectangular, but some are meant to stand upright, others are wheeled, and some are circular to hold wreaths. Think through where you’ll store them (not only what you’ll store in them) before you bring them home.
Just remember: Containers can become clutter if it’s a hassle to use them.
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