The 5 Rules of Successful Storage at Home

Everyone thinks that I hate shopping, but that’s not really true. The part I hate is finding a place to keep the things that I purchased. I have the same unfortunate problem as many Americans….I don’t mind buying something new, but I can’t bring myself to throw out the old. Since this habit results in dwindling storage space, I have instituted the following storage rules in my home.

Everyday items should be placed in a storage area that is located within the space that corresponds with the area of your body between your shoulders and your knees. This way, your most frequently used items will be within your immediate reach. (Think towels, dishes, hygiene items, etc.) This leaves the area above eye level and below knee level for the things you don’t need as often.

One of my biggest problems with organization is that I simply cannot learn to group like items together. For example, I should be putting all of my cooking spoons in place, but instead find them strewn between drawers. By grouping items, you will always know where everything is. If you are trying to organize your garage or basement, the same rule applies: Stow the paddles and life preservers inside the kayak. With sporting equipment, sort by sport. Instead of having golf clubs, baseball bats, and tennis rackets in one area, while the balls and shoes are in another, try organizing a shelf for each activity. This way, when you want to go golfing, you know all you have to do is walk to a particular shelf, grab your gear, and go! (This saves so much time!)

Another excellent storage tip is to simply store an item near it’s first or last point of use. Think about your pasta pot: Using the first or last point use strategy, it makes sense to store it near the sink. In this case, the sink is the first point of use, because you have to fill the pot with water. Another example of this is storing dinner plates near the table or the dishwasher. This strategy will completely eliminate that “running around like a chicken with it’s head cut-off” feeling of panic that arises in a disorganized home during emergencies and formal dinner preparations.

Equally as important though, is versatility when it comes to storage. Your needs may change rapidly, and your storage strategy should be able to accommodate that. You may suddenly realize that you didn’t plan very well before you brought your new baby home, and you don’t have enough room for all of the things that babies require. An ideal solution for this situation would be stackable storage units, or easy installation shelving. This way, as your need for diaper storage diminishes, you can remove or reassign the area.

I could not live without Rubber maid totes. Sold in various colors, shapes, and sizes, these totes are great for everything. This storage strategy is simple: Color code everything! Place Halloween decorations in an orange tote, Christmas decorations in a red tote, and books in a blue tote. Just make sure you write a master list in case you forget something. Use see-through storage boxes for shoes and boots, it makes finding your favorite old Nikes so much easier!

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