My husband knows me well – he used to bring home containers of various types for me. You see, other than media, one of my favorite things is containers. I ooh and aah over them, drooling. They come in many different sizes and shapes, then there’s the material they’re made out of and if they’re drawers or boxes. How I long to take them home with me! There’s no denying how useful and helpful they can be.
My husband has also stopped bringing home those containers for me. We’ve run out of space and use for them – at least for the time being. This certainly doesn’t stop me from yearning to pick more up. Every so often I’ll still get more, like that time I went to the thrift store – I got a basket and a cute little elephant that just had to come home with me.
What we need to do is make sure that we know specifically what we need and only then purchase those things. I talk generally about when to buy things in a previous blog, True Purchasing Power. When it comes to containers and other organizing supplies though, we often buy first. It almost seems counter-intuitive to buy containers late in the process of getting organized. Yet this is exactly what you need to do.
An extreme example is getting a file cabinet. You see all these piles of papers around and just “know” that you’ll need a 4-drawer filing cabinet. You go out and get it and even have a place to put it. Then you start going through all those papers – and discover that most do not need to be filed. You actually only needed a 2-drawer filing cabinet. You could have saved yourself money by waiting.
We tend to fill the available space – so if you have a 4-drawer cabinet but don’t really require it, you’ll probably end up putting stuff in there – whether you keep unnecessary papers or you drop random things in there later. This applies to any of our spaces, therefore buying what you need becomes even more important and will help avoid things getting inadvertently cluttered. As an aside, many organizers claim that we ahould not have more than one 2-drawer file cabinet for papers.
As you begin to get organized, you’ll see that it changes many things. It’s great to start with some ideas of how you want things to be and look after you’ve finished. Yet, as you work through various things, your ideas begin to change. You have the freedom to decide that you want to move something to another room – not just furniture but also what activities you’ll focus on. Then those containers might not work as well.
If you avoid getting containers before you get organized, you are free to figure out how and where you’ll keep things without being limited by the container you’ve already purchased and without any guilt! In this day and age, you have such a plethora of choices of not only container, but also how to store things – like the ottoman that doubles as file storage (as long as you don’t mind the price!) – so waiting until you know precisely what you need to handle and where you want it to go is critical.
Feel free to drool over all the nifty stuff out there for organizing, yet resist the temptation to buy any of it until you know how you will use it and that it will actually work for your needs. I certainly continue to salivate and contemplate whether I could use those organizing supplies.