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I think I’ve finally reached the end of an era. Over the past 11 months, something miraculous has happened at my house. I didn’t notice this interesting change until I stepped into the storage area in our basement recently. There I discovered an enormous pile of unused storage containers. This pile contains baskets and bin, boxes and tubs. They are made of plastic or wicker, metal or cardboard. These catch-alls are varied in size and in color...and what makes them so remarkable is that they are all EMPTY!
Now, let me backtrack a bit. I have always had a thing for containers. They have lured me and wooed me at all stages of my life.
College dorm room? How many milk crates can a girl have?
First house? I don’t even know where to start, I need every container I see!
Baby’s nursery? Oh, I can’t even! Those precious containers for all that sweet baby stuff!
Playrooms? Pantries? Need bins? Yes, please!
Just typing about containers is making me smile:-)
I love to create systems and design storage plans. I can find a clever use for a container of any size or shape. I love building shelves and filling them with bins! I love my label maker.
In general, I'm a very organized person...but I fell into the extremely common trap of organizing my clutter instead of removing it from my life!
It took me way too long to realize this simple fact. Like decades too long.
But, instead of beating myself up about it...I’m just thankful to have finally arrived in this new place. I am truly a new girl when it comes to containers and stuff.
I must give credit where credit is due…
All of my neglected containers would still be full of stuff and I probably would have purchased lots of new containers, as well...if not for Marie Kondo’s amazing little book- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
It’s been almost a year since I first read this book and implemented some major changes in the way I tidy and store things. More importantly, I’ve changed what I keep.
If you’ve read the book then you know that Ms. Kondo’s key message is ‘Does it spark joy?’.
Last year, my kids and I spent a few weeks KonMari’ing our house. As a result of decluttering our home and getting rid of all things that don’t spark joy, I was left with a whole lot of empty containers. I didn’t really imagine that they would remain empty for an entire year!
I saved them because I was certain we would need them in the near future. I broke the rule and saved them ‘just in case’.
Don’t buy more containers as a way to organize your life.
Purge your stuff and you’ll definitely need fewer containers. It you have less stuff there won’t be as much to put somewhere. This step is where the magic happens. This is why Kondo’s tidying methods work so well. If you don’t have stuff...it can’t be cluttering your life. I have a post about letting go of things...coming next week!
To start, use things you already have on hand- shoe boxes and their lids, empty shipping containers, empty lettuce boxes. If you find that you really want an attractive container, wait until you are sure you need it...then buy only what you need for a specific purpose. Do not buy every size and color just because you like the way they look. Maybe I’ve done that:-)
Location, location, location
Find a place for the stuff you keep- everything should have a home. Everything. Nothing in your house should be without a definite holding place. This might sound extreme, but I promise, it's beyond liberating to know where every single thing belongs. Super helpful for families...this plan removes the vague notion that a space is cleaned up...it’s cleaned up when everything is put away where it belongs. Maybe we've had an issue with this at my house:-)
I am planning to revisit the KonMari Method this summer. There are a few areas in my home that could use a tune-up...and some areas that I never really mastered. Quite possibly the Paper Category:-O
I look forward to sharing my struggles and triumphs surrounding clutter and organization with you.
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