Stowaways

July 2, 2008

Perhaps it is because I’m enamored of rigging and frock coats and piratical vernacular. Perhaps it is because I am a little (okay, a lot) Type A. Or perhaps it is simply because I live in a tiny house. Whatever the reason, I love compartments, cubbies, tins, trays, stowaways.

boxesIn short, I love storage.

The term “smart storage” ricochets around small space living blogs like that little pixel-ball in Pong. (Remember Pong, you guys? Yeah. Pong.) While I agree that clever storage is key to keeping a small space clutter-free — see those boxes at left? Inside: cat toys, receipts, and our unused, parking lot gate clicker — I’m also keenly aware that, if storage is too clever, it can either a) allow you to keep clutter you don’t need (read: approximately 34 Bic pens and two piccolo cleaning rods), or b) allow you to hide clutter you do need (read: tax forms and your favorite pair of velveteen, paisley-print winter gloves). What’s to do?

First, assess the situation. This means that you have to go through the clutter (junk drawer included), but you’ll feel lighter once you’ve divested yourself of the piccolo cleaning rods. I sure did.

Second, take stock. How much stuff remains? How much can you hide? How much can you display? If you’re supercrafty, take a tip from the folks at de-JUNKed, who transform bread bag ties and kewpie dolls into art, and then turn a tidy profit.

Third, categorize. I make piles of like items. These alikes are then ranked by use; that is, I determine how much access I need. This helps me decide how to contain each “set” of stuff. For example: my 2008 electric bills need to be accessible, but not as accessible as earrings. You get me?

Fourth, box it in cool containers. Grab your piles and start stuffing. I’ve found that it’s easier to organize when I’m Zen with my storage containers. Every decorative box and basket in my house contains something that doesn’t belong in the open (the aforementioned feline funsies, for instance); but, because I like the storage piece, I’m down with displaying it. This way, too, I’m not taking up precious space in the closet with eyesore storage. Everybody wins!

Fifth, admire your awesomeness. Enough said.

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5 Responses to “Stowaways”

  1. Grant Wagner said

    How bad is it, that it took a solid 10 minutes for me the get past “Pong…Mmmm….pong….” I’m sure there is more blog in there somewhere ;)

  2. Emily said

    Interesting you mention storage. I am right now fully immersed in storage assessment. While that may sound productive, it’s not. I have full-stop vapor lock.

    I have purged so much stuff in the last few months but what remains is the detritus that lurks in every corner. I don’t have much open space in which to sort stuff.

    Also, am I alone in having a very fine line between effective storage that works, and storage that more closely resembles Jenga and is too hard to maintain?

    Once you’ve let your Small Space go to seed, how do you get it back under control?

    (Any outsider looking in at my house would roll their eyes at what I see as mayhem – I am just outside of *my* comfort zone.)

  3. Grant: Oh, the days of Pong. Sorry I tripped you up.

    Emily: Timely, indeed. I do know the “vapor lock” syndrome; when that sets in, it sometimes helps me to focus on one area — the vanity, for instance, or the above-counter kitchen cabinets, maybe. This helps keep me focused, and it helps stave off the oh-my-god-I-have-so-much-stuff feeling. When I find something that doesn’t have a spot in the space that I’m clearing out, I’ll put it in a bucket or a basket or another pile for later distribution.

    This may result in the detritus you mentioned, but if you’re methodical about it (say, you plan to tackle a small area each day from 6 to 8 p.m.), you’ll likely rid yourself of the flotsam.

    This help? Want to discuss further?

  4. Emily said

    That is exactly how the detritus came to be! “This doesn’t belong here, so I’ll put it here and deal with it later!”

    As the frustration builds, I am tossing more and more any way. Maybe this is just part of The Plan :-D

  5. Have you tried the timer method? set a timer for 30 minutes or 1 hour, then declutter — put items away, sort the mail, etc. Once the timer dings, you can stop.

    Do you think that would help?

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