Organizing Run Amok!

I love bins and baskets and buckets and all sorts of other containers.  Love them.  But I only love them because they are useful to me.  And believe it or not, there is such a thing as too many containers.   It is possible.

The problem with containers is that they can create the ILLUSION of being organized and hide the reality of too much stuff.  Containers allow you to hold a lot of small things in a space that might normally only fit one larger item.  And, in general, that’s a good thing.  But it can go too far.  Using containers can allow you to keep things you don’t really need simply because you have the space for them. 

Here are a couple of other ways that containers can be an organizing disaster:
* You create a label for a container but later put something else in it.  If you never change the label then it’s not creating the “easy to find things” solution you originally intended.
* You designate containers for specific items – for example blue bucket for building blocks and green bucket for toy trains.  Eventually the building blocks bucket gets full but there is still space in the train bucket.  Now the green bucket is a mixture of trains & blocks and everytime your kids want to play with blocks the trains are all over the floor too.
* You take everything out of a cabinet and put it in neat little plastic bins.  But you don’t put them in with any kind of rhyme or reason.  Now your items are “organized” into bins but you have a harder time finding what you need because they are no longer immediately visible and you don’t know what you put where.

So before you run off to your local big box discount store or home improvement store or The Container Store, make a real assessment of what you need.  Measure your space so you know what size containers will fit.  Have a plan in mind for how you will label the containers you buy.  And finally, don’t buy every cute box and bin you see.  Buy the ones you think you actually need.  You can always come back for more.

I loved this segment on The Nate Berkus show last week and I think it has some great reminders for all of us.  Just one note, Nate implies that this woman may be “too organized.”  The truth is that she’s not organized.  She mearly has the illusion of being organized.