JERI DANSKY professionalorganizer

September 2009 Newsletter

Tip of the Month: 8 Guidelines For Choosing and Using Containers


A good container is a critical organizing product; imagine trying to store lots of frequently-used books without a single bookshelf, and you'll see how useful a container can be. Containers come in a wide range of forms: bookshelves, file cabinets, file folders, closets, kitchen drawers, wastebaskets, boxes, bins, baskets - the list goes on and on.


To make the best use of your containers, follow these guidelines:


1. Buy the containers near the end of your organizing project. First, you'll want to decide what to keep and what to pass along to a new home (or recycle, or put in the trash if need be). Then you'll want to decide where the items you're keeping are best stored. After all this, you're ready to get serious about containers.


2. Try to keep containers no more than 75-80% full. This will make it much easier to take things out and put them away. If you've ever tried to add one more file to an overstuffed file cabinet, you'll know just what I mean!


3. Before buying anything new, take a look at what you already own. You don't always need to buy new containers; you may already have things in your home or office that will work just fine. Just one example: I store dust cloths and extra sponges in pretty gift bags, on the shelf above my washer and dryer. I didn't go and buy these; they were already sitting in my house, unused. Even if you want to eventually buy something new, sometimes it helps to test out a new storage idea with something you have on hand, to see if the solution really works for you.


4. Consider adding more shelves if your closet shelves are quite far apart, and the height of the space is a hinderance rather than a help. Yes, there are products to help you make better use of a tall space, but often just adding a shelf is the easiest and most helpful option.


5. If you'll be buying containers, take some time to consider the best option for you. Do you care about the aesthetics, or do you just want something functional? What are your financial constraints? What values do you want to honor in making your choices?


Do you want to try to get something on Freecycle or craigslist, or at a garage sale or second-hand store? If you're buying new, do you want to a time-saving one-stop option like The Container Store, or do you want to take the time to find more unusual items? Do you want something made with sustainable materials, or something handmade, or something sold by a local business?


6. Consider whether you want open or closed containers. Lids on bins (and laundry hampers and file boxes) and doors on closets may make things look neater. But they also make it just a bit harder to put things away - and they also don't work for those who work better when they can see their things.


7. Remember that square or rectangular containers use space better than round ones. That doesn't mean you should never buy a round container. But if you're choosing between rectangular or round food storage containers, I'd tend to go for the rectangular ones.


8. After you get your containers, label them! You wouldn't think of using file folders without labels; many other containers benefit from labeling, too.



Organizing Product of the Month


to do list on green paper; includes call cat psychic


Picking just one product to feature in a newsletter about containers was a tough choice. But here's the Moose Storage from Roebuck Studios - which can be used as a toy bin, a wastebasket, and much more. It comes with a lid, but you could always choose to leave the lid off. It comes in seven different colors.



Organizing Quote of the Month: Junk Bunkers (when containers are NOT the answer)


We finally reach the day when our clutter is so overwhelming there's not a single place left to put anything: even the walls are full. Then we are most vulnerable to the hidden persuasion of a junk bunker. That, simply, is an item we can use to store more junk, stacked higher and packed tighter. Junk bunkers come in various models, called desk organizers, closet racks, shadow boxes, shoe organizers, fishing rod racks, pen and pencil holders, trophy cases, entertainment centers, china cabinets, jewelry boxes and ring holders, pegboard organizers - and magnets.


-- Don Aslett, Clutter's Last Stand



Recycling/Reuse Idea of the Month


Have an old leather jacket you no longer wear - but are still fond of? You could have it made into a bag; see the options from reMade USA. [via Ideal Bite]



Highlights From My Blog in August


There were 21 entries in my organizing and de-cluttering blog in August. Some of the most popular entries were:


You can sign up for free daily e-mail updates from my blog; each time I make an update, you'll get a message. Look in the upper right-hand corner of the blog for subscription information.



My Guest Post


Over on The Home Office Organizer, you can read about my Top 10 office organizing products - in my own office.



My Little Twitter Tidbits


I'm using Twitter mostly for those tidbits of organizing-related stuff I find - little things that will never make their way into a newsletter or a blog post. I also use Twitter to announce new blog posts. Follow me, @JeriDansky, if you'd like.


For those who don't use Twitter, here are some of the things I've written lately, slightly edited for a non-Twitter environment:

  • How to fold fitted sheets My sheets: not so nicely folded; fine with that.
  • Reading about number of accidental poisonings; parents, please be sure to store medicines safely.
  • Wondering what to think of these fanny packs for the arm:
  • Reading a great post explaining how your FICO credit score is calculated.
  • Reading about the photographing of Julia Child's kitchen, with that famous pegboard wall of pans:
  • And in case you don't know about Julia Child's kitchen pegboard:
  • Reading about a community bookcase in Germany - such a nice idea!
  • Just spoke to my dad. His 85th birthday is in December. "Don't buy me anything," he says. Dad does NOT have clutter issues!



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