Organizing - Organizing Ideas

How to: Get organized with containers

Dump the junk, clean up the clutter and get organized with some simple tips for minimizing the mess.

According to Eileen Roth, organizing consultant and author of Organizing for Dummies (IDG Books Worldwide, 2001), the best space-saving storage solutions are to invest in clear, plastic storage containers. “The more loose things there are, the more disorganization exists,” she says. So pack it up and pack it away! Here, Eileen shares more tips for dumping the junk.

Space-saving storage

  • Square containers are better than round containers; just the design of round containers wastes space (corners are cut off.) Round containers are great for storing mixing bowls or a ball basket in the garage. Use square containers for storing food, clothing and holiday items.
  • Clear containers are best so you can see the contents. Label all containers with whatever they contain. Keep containers under the bed (you can buy containers that have wheels) for extra sweater storage. There are also clear containers for rolls of wrapping paper and bows that can go under a guest room bed.
  • Stacking containers often save space and are more stable. Wire shelves with legs let you put one size container underneath and another size above. Stacking pullout drawers under the bathroom sink are great space savers too.
  • Shoe containers are varied, but I don't recommend the pocket holders, as most shoes don't fit in them. Keep your shoeboxes and stack them, or buy clear containers and stack them so you can see what's inside.
  • If you have the floor space, you can also buy stacking laminated wood shelves – so all shoes will fit regardless of the heel.
  • Just because the closet came with one shelf doesn't mean you can't adjust the height and add another one! You can also add shelves to bedroom closets to hold sweaters, purses, folded T-shirts, sweat suits or shoes.
  • Putting up shelves or cabinets in the laundry room will help hold laundry detergents and keep them off the floor.
  • Buy a tool chest or at least a pegboard to hold tools in the garage.
  • Cabinets in the garage can hold excess paper goods, summer items, car accessories, etc.
  • Storage racks for sports equipment (golf bags, tennis rackets, hockey sticks/skates) will keep it off the floor.
  • Buy a desk with a hutch to store books and paper over the computer. Be sure to calculate how much space the monitor, printer(s), and CPU take up. If you need space to work as a regular desk make it an L- or U-shape desk.
  • Get a decent filing cabinet to hold papers and bills. Don't save everything. Decide what you need and get rid of the rest! Excess papers can be stored in either a cabinet in the garage or bankers boxes.
Image courtesy of Pottery Barn

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