07 July 2013
Reclaim Your Space - Containers & Labels
* This is the fourth post in a six part series about how I reclaimed my studio spaces.
* See the third post "Reclaim Your Space - Hyperfocus".
* See the second post, "Reclaim Your Space - Enlisting Help".
* See the first post, "Reclaim Your Space - Your Mindset".
Let's talk storage containers, shall we? (One of my favorite topics, love them almost as much as I love post-it-notes.)
**A couple people asked me how I decided what size and quantity of bins to buy.
In terms of the size, I chose a 17 quart because I knew it would stay reasonable in terms of weight. Super huge bins are out for me, hate them. Can't move 'em, take up too much space, and they are just another black hole. Small and portable is what I need. I also didn't want anything with holes in it, solid sides.
I bought twenty because it was the cheapest way - to buy in bulk (and I had a lot of stuff to tame). The ones I got are from the Container Store and are called "Our Sweater Box". Also love that they are made in the U.S.A. :)
When the purge began I had all shapes, sizes and colors of baskets and bins. I would take things and put them in the baskets and feel as if I had organized them. Clearly it wasn't working. And those were just the open baskets and bins.
I also had larger containers with lids on them full of stuff. I did some more thinking prior to buying the containers I did about why the containers/bins I had weren't working and realized two very important things:
1. If the items I have are not out in the open or in a see through container, then I don't remember I have it and will end up re-purchasing the exact same items. The phrase "Out of sight, out of mind" could have been written about me.
2. If the box has a lid on it, I consider whatever is in it archived and I'm not likely to go into the box because I've decided the stuff is "old", "not needed" or "off limits." (No idea what that's about but that's how I think about it.)
Knowing these two things really helped because I was able to get rid of all the containers that weren't see through (except for the drawers in the IKEA organizers but there is a solution for that too). And I was careful about what I put a lid on. But really, those two catching points for me pose a big question - how do you create a space that is aesthetically organized when everything needs to be visible?
Here's one way:
Use the container, put the lid beneath it so the lid itself doesn't turn into clutter (had that problem too) and set it on a shelf. (Please note that if you are ever in need of a safety pin, I own 1,342,097 of them. I'm willing to share.)
I also realized that labels are a good thing. I resisted them for a very long time because I felt like I was pigeon holing a space and I immediately felt tied down.
Well, yeah. That's the point.
As Mary the Wonder Organizer said, I've just freed up brain space because I don't have to try to remember where everything is. Things have a home, it gets put there, end of story.
I got a little bit label happy:
Clear, concise and being able to see everything (either via label or clear container) takes away the possibility that I will be buying duplicates.
I have a lot of projects and samples from all the articles and classes I teach. Those went into boxes with lids. I'm happy to tuck those away out of sight. I want to hold on to them for the time being but I don't want them taking up real estate.
The key lesson learned: Simply owning containers and baskets and organizers does not make you organized. They must function the way you need them to, no matter how cute they are. :)
In the next post, I'll talk about how to get rid of the stuff you don't want to keep.