These are the principles KathyM uses – and has taught – for storing her stuff.
- Storage System is consistent so I can learn it
- Storage System is adaptable for when I change my mind
- Storage System is flexible enough to accommodate life changes
- Containers are clear because knowing contents by only reading label takes too long
- Storage system should help me know contents as well where in the house things are stored
Nesting, clear, stackable containers. I like Rubbermaid Cleverstore brand with Latching Clear Lids. I use larger containers for lightweight, large items (like blankets or wrapping paper), and smaller containers for items that are heavier, like books or papers.
|Two top containers illustrate a set of stored books I keep in my office. Label reads, “Books I like (Office)” Second container illustrates how I keep supplies I want to see when I want to reach for doing a specific task. This one is labelled, “Supplies for Bins – Pen – Labels – Water – Rag. 15 Quart size is the bin I use most often
|This bin is an example of how I store “Summer Swimwear.” Label reads, “Summer Swimwear (Hall Closet).” As bins get larger, contents need to be lighter.
|This bin has relatively lightweight items, and is labeled, “Winter Jackets (Garage)”
|The contents in this size bin should all be lightweight. This one is labeled, “Winter Blankets (Garage). Rule of thumb: “If it’s hard to lift, transfer items to smaller bin.”
I use Avery #58163 “Repositionable” labels. Go to www.avery.com. The trick to being able to change your mind, or adapt the system when you move, is to place them INSIDE the bin, as illustrated below.
Wet Erase Markers
Then, I use Wet Erase markers on the OUTSIDE of the bin (the label makes the writing easy to see). I use Expo Vis-à-vis Black Fine Point markers for writing on the outside (the plastic is slick, so the writing can be changed). Wet erase makers stay longer than dry erase markers, and can be erased easily with water and a rag. I write a description of the contents and location of bin in parentheses.
Step #1 Remove a label from the sheet (each is 2 x4”)
Step #2 Aim for center of bin (long side)
Step #3 Place label on inside of bin
Step #4 Result
Step # 5 Get ready to write content description on outside of bin
Step #6 Finish writing
Setting up System
This system is easy to use, if everything is set up ahead of time. Less so, if I run out of bins… or labels… or pens. Because I am memory-challenged, remembering the steps, or product numbers, bin sizes, etc., can be problematic, too.
The good news is that the bins “nest” when they’re empty, so pre-labeled bins don’t take up much room to store and they are easy to grab-and-go.
Hint: Label extra bins ahead of time
Because I know the time will come when I will want to store something, and will not want to go through the hassle of buying and labelling bins, I buy labels, bins, and Wet Erase markers ahead of time and affix labels to a bunch of them (all different sizes). I use the larger bins less than the smaller ones (they can get too heavy to lift), so this is what I try to keep on hand, ready-and-waiting for storing something:
- 10 15-quart size
- 6 30-quart size
- 2 71-quart size
- 1 95-quart
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