Many people feel that there simply isn’t enough room in their home to store all of their belongings. The lack of space can be costly in terms of time wasted looking for items, but if belongings incur damage during the storage, it can also cost you financially. Organizing your extra belongings is one part of finding the room you need.
Eliminate What You Can
The first step to becoming organized is to eliminate the items you really don’t need. You may need to be a little ruthless to bring your collection under control. Go through belongings with a critical eye. For example, you may have a pair of shoes that you only wore once because they were uncomfortable. As yourself if you really think you will ever try them on again, and if the realistic answer is negative, donate them.
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Invest in Storage Containers
Although you can use cardboard boxes, plastic storage containers have advantages. They help keep out water, dust and insects. They are durable, allowing you to open and close them as often as you need. If you buy the ones with the clear bases, you can see what is stored inside without opening the container or even removing it from the shelf. Storage containers come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and colors, which makes it easy to find just the ones you need.
Use Color Coding Whenever Possible
You don’t need an elaborate scheme, but you should choose colors that will jog your memory. For example, use red or green for Christmas decorations, orange for Halloween costumes, lilac for Easter baskets or blue for clothes your baby son has outgrown. Stores often have sales around the holidays for the colors that most people associate with the holiday. If you prefer to use cardboard boxes, you can still keep the color scheme active by using colored paper or markers to list the contents.
Label Containers and Boxes
If you ever need to find a specific item, the color-coding system can guide you to the general location, but a list of contents will let you find the right box quickly. An itemized list is best, but at minimum, provide enough detail that you can narrow down your choices. For example, a label that just reads “clothes” is not very helpful, but one that says “Mom’s sweaters” or “infant clothes” can take you to the exact container you want. The more specific you can be, the better. As the joke goes, if you’re looking for double-wide garages in Maryland, it will take longer to find them if the list just says “buildings.”
Pack Containers According to Use
Whenever possible, group items together that you are likely to want to retrieve at the same time. You may have a dozen containers for Christmas decorations, for example, and need to access the tree decorations before you need the holiday cookie jars. Mixing swimsuits with ski parkas is also counter-productive; like a phone book listing that combines modular garages in PA with beach umbrellas in Arizona, it will take you more time to find what you want.
Once you are organized, it is important that you keep your belongings organized. You may need to schedule a day every season to sort through items and pack away those you want to keep. If your home is still bursting at the seams, you might consider renting a storage unit to hold the overflow. If you apply our tips to your future endeavors as well as your initial undertaking, however, you should be able to stay organized.