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May 4: Think Outside the Box!

How do you store precious possessions so that they're easy to find and use? We need to think outside the box to find the best storage solutions! What do you think of when you think of storage? Boxes, shelves? That's a start, but to find out what works best for you, let's consider the following things.


"A place for everything and everything in it's place" only works if you have enough storage space. This is important because: If your belongs are hard to put away (i.e. the closet/drawer/box is stuffed and hard to get anything in or out of, it's not conveniently located, it's not well lighted, etc.) you will procrastinate putting your things away. That's when the clothes pile up on the chair (or floor!), your papers don't get promptly filed, clean dishes stay in the dishwasher instead of the cabinets, etc. It's that simple!


Now that you know what you're keeping, you need to decide if you need more storage space - or if you need to make better use of what you already have. That will also depend on short term or long term storage needs.


Short term: you use it daily or weekly. It needs to be easy to reach and use, and easy to put away.

Long term: you only use it seasonally or on a project-by-project basis. Getting it in or out of storage may take longer.


Getting more storage space could mean buying a bookcase to store books or toys, building a closet, or renting a storage unit. Luckily, my husband and I both loved, loved, loved IKEA storage products (check out all the choices!), before we got married, for the following reasons: they're sturdy and priced well, they come in various sizes from 2 to 25 cubbies, they come in various colors and finishes, and they match other IKEA products to give you a cohesive look. After we got married and merged & purged our belongings (he was the minimalist, I was the collector!), we used these storage products:

In our sitting area to house my immense collection of books that I could not part with.; In our kitchen to hold a television and house some of my tea pot collection. More on collections later.; In our office closet (doors removed) to hold paper, notebooks, envelopes, files, etc. These matched our 3 IKEA desks.; In our walk-in closets to hold our t-shirts, socks, etc. instead of using dressers.

Whew! IKEA could have made a commercial in our condo! They work so well because of the different ways to use them: 1.) as open shelving (for books, board games, artwork, etc.), 2.) with their matching drawers (for files, pens, etc.) or 3.) with their baskets (in various materials and colors) to store things that you don't want on display (like toys, tools, etc.). We found what worked for us. You may choose a different system.

Don't limit yourself to only using items designated as "storage". I've gotten creative and used things like: hat boxes to store my scarves and hair accessories, tool boxes for bulky jewelry, cigar boxes for little collections, and cookie or candy tins to store just about anything! You can find all kinds of low cost boxes and bins in thrift stores, dollar stores and stores like Marshall's, TJMaxx or Home Goods.


Whenever you see a nice one, grab it. You will definitely find a use for it and it will look good sitting on a shelf. When I recently moved into an old house, I bought an adjustable closet rod to immediately double my closet space. I buy clear shoe boxes to stack my shoes on my closet shelf - it's neat and easy to see. I also use those clear shoe boxes to store tools, art supplies, and more!


Take Away: What storage do you already have? Is it adequate? Is it easily accessible? Can you use it better? What else do you need? Separate your items into short term vs. long term storage.


Identify places in your home where you can add additional storage solutions (i.e. free-standing shelf units - the plastic ones assemble without tools! - under-bed drawers on wheels, under-cabinet wine glass holders, etc.) Buy plastic bins with tops to keep out dust, dirt and moisture or cardboard banker boxes.


Get those long term items out of your way so that you can efficiently store what you use on a daily or weekly basis. Clearly label each box so you don't waste time looking for "lost" items. Remember - the easier it is for you to put it away - the more likely you will! Don't forget to clean as you move things around (clean the item and the space it came from) and wear a dust mask if you need one. Let's talk tomorrow about 1.) bringing clarity to the chaos and 2.) how to store and display your collections (I'm not the only collector!). READ ALL 31 DAYS!

About the Author:

L. Sidney Irving is the owner of Sidco Properties, a real estate company dedicated to educating and assisting those that want to buy or sell a home, Sidney loves to organize herself and those around her because she believes that an organized space brings peace and fosters creativity. May the power of organization be with you!

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Learn more about the real estate market here.

Read "31 Days of Organizing" May 1-31 here.

Sidco Properties

Mail: P.O. Box 640, Shady Side, MD 20764

Phone: 301.842.7094 ​

Email: sidcoproperties@gmail.com

Web: sidcoproperties.net

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