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Curbing Container Craziness

By Jennifer Snyder
Containers make it easy to keep items of similar use grouped together so that they can be easily retrieved and put away.  My favorite use for containers is that they limit how much can fit in them.  If you implement the rule of only keeping what you have room for in the container, you are a large step ahead of the curve.   Retailers like The Container Store and IKEA have provided us with an almost limitless amount of options but don't be fooled.  Regardless of how beautiful or the deep the discount, unused containers are clutter.   Let's find out how to choose containers that are going to help you get and stay organized for the long haul!

Before container shopping it is imperative that you measure.  Measure the space in which the container will go and measure how much stuff will be stored in the container.  When measuring your space, height, width, and depth are necessary.  Also measure the dimensions of your items, if it is something ambiguous like underwear, place all that you currently have into a container of any kind (shoebox?) then measure that container.  Finally, take your measurements and measuring tape with you to the store.  "Eye-ballling" will ultimately waste more time and money than you can afford – even in the best of circumstances.

When you get to the store, list and measuring tape in hand, here is what to look for:

Aesthetics: Choose containers you love.  You are going to be drawn to certain containers over others because they look "better" to you.  Before buying any containers, it is important that you think they are compatible with the décor of your space.  If you have a warm, soft office filled with books and leather; a clear plastic Sterilite container is going to kill the feel in the room.  Opt of baskets in warm, dark colors or leather (or leather-like) containers.

Sturdiness:  The containers you purchase should be sturdy enough to withstand the use they will get.  If you care enough about your things to store them, then you care enough about them to put them in a strong, sturdy container.  Resist the urge to buy what is cheapest.  If you can't afford a good container now, wait until you can.  There is no need to buy a cheap one that will fall apart only to have to replace it with the more costly one a few months later.  If you are afraid they are going wear out quickly, you will be less likely to use them.

Manageability:  The containers should be easy to use.  If the containers will be lugged into the attic or basement, consider smaller ones to avoid personal injury.  Consider how much they will weigh when full and purchase accordingly.

Size: Choose containers that are large enough to accommodate all that you hope to store with only moderate extra room.  Leaving too much extra room allows for movement and ultimately damage to the items stored.  Too little room eliminates the option of expansion.  This is especially important with collections where the total volume is seldom finite.

Indeed, containers have come a long way in the past few years making it considerably more fun to get organized.  Purchasing the wrong containers can stop the fun in its tracks so shop smart and have fun!

Have a Neat Day!

Jennifer Snyder, Certified Professional Organizer
Neat as a Pin Organizing Experts

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