If you’ve ever talked with a professional organizer, you’ve probably heard about the importance of assigning every possession a designated storage location. In other words, “Every item needs a home.” I go one step further, and tell my clients, “Every home needs a resident.” In order to justify their presence, containers should serve a purpose, namely to hold specific items. While it may seem handy to have a few empty baskets or bins lying around, they actually threaten our ability to stay organized. Here are a few reasons why…
THEY UNDERMINE SELF-DISCIPLINE
Once an organizational system is put in place, it needs to be maintained. Items need to be put back into their designated locations on a regular basis. Unfortunately, when an empty basket or box is nearby, we tend to simply toss everything in sight inside. This makes the space look good, but function poorly. The empty bin tempts us to do what is easy rather than what is beneficial.
THEY ATTRACT DISSIMILAR ITEMS
A large part of organizing is gathering like items together and then storing them in predictable, accessible, and logical locations. Drawer inserts, small baskets and shelf bins are all helpful tools for keeping disparate items from becoming intermingled. In contrast, large, undefined containers tend to accumulate whatever is nearby, which is likely to be items of varying sizes and purposes.
THEY ACT AS CONCEALERS
Being able to quickly identify the contents of a box or bag is important. Labels, tags, and clear containers are all useful for this purpose. Unfortunately, when items are tossed into an unmarked container, they often get “lost.” Large items obscure smaller ones, and only the belongings on the top can be seen
THEY CREATE A FUTURE PROJECT
While doing a quick “round up” of clutter and tossing it into a large box seems efficient in the short run, it always results in a time-consuming future project. Now, in addition to the time required to put things away, you have the added chore of dumping the contents and sorting it all out. This process of reviewing and identifying muddled objects can be very time consuming.
Keeping empty bins around may seem like a “get out of jail free” card in the moment, but it ultimately costs precious time, energy, and productivity. If you are tempted to sweep everything up just to get it out of sight, do yourself a favor and remove the temptation. Nest and relocate empty containers out of your main living and/or working area and into a remote location. This way you will have access to them when you need them, but won’t turn to them when you shouldn’t.
Have you ever tossed a mess into a box? Have you lost track of items this way?