In your chest of drawers, you can easily find cardboard dividers or small boxes to keep items separate from each other, and help those that belong to the same group of things to stay together for easy retrieval whenever you need them. If the power of crafting is strong within you, you’ll be delighted to hear that pretty much all you need to achieve those kinds of perfect dividers are cardboard boxes. I recommend cereal boxes: they are thin enough to cut easily, yet strong enough to hold up.
Ultimately, they will be placed once and then stay on a solid surface, so they don’t need to be super strong. If you feel like making things look more beautiful, a bit of packaging paper for presents, lining paper or similar will be enough to make it all just that little bit nicer.
Storing things on shelves is an entirely different issue, though. Whatever you use to hold your items needs to be strong enough to hold its shape, because you’ll be pulling the whole thing off the shelf to access what’s in it. That pretty much rules out cardboard boxes, at least when it comes to larger or heavier items. Also, they tend to look a bit too shabby for open shelf units (although cardboard may just be good enough for your loft).
In general, you’ll be better off with clear plastic containers. There are two main considerations you need to keep in mind: material and shape of those containers.
When it comes to material, you want something transparent so you can easily assess the contents of each box and not spend too much time going through them whenever your are looking for something. That doesn’t mean ‘clear transparent’ though: you can get transparent plastic containers in different colours, and I usually recommend those because it allows you to follow visual clues to find your things, e.g. ‘blue is for winter clothes’, ‘yellow is for electronics’, or similar.
Sadly, a lot of the common plastic containers are not the best quality: what you need is the kind of box that you cannot easily bend out of shape without its cover (soft plastic is not only quick to break, but it also doesn’t stack well). So pick a solid plastic with a decent cover AND that has the kind of reinforced corners that allow for proper stacking.
In terms of shapes, I recommend boxes that come in regular sizes. The kind of containers where you can stack two smaller ones exactly onto a larger size. Those tend to be a little more expensive, but they add a lot of practical options that the less expensive ones don’t. Don’t forget, you are likely to use those contains for a while, and you want them to be good quality rather than ending up with breaks and sharp edges!
Last thing for shapes: look for containers with completely vertical edges: you don’t want to lose space between the containers because they are more narrow at the bottom, making it more difficult to store things inside, but also leaving a lot of empty space outside. Of course, you won’t be able to stack them quite as easily, but in terms of internal storage they are much superior, and that is what you want them for.
In conclusion: separators in drawers need not be fancy and can be made from cardboard boxes on your own. Containers on shelves should be transparent and a cubic in shape as possible, ideally stackable and as solid as possible.
Ask the ClutterMeister
Ideas to help clear away the mess in our homes and in our minds.
Feel free to share any of my posts, but please put in a backlink to the original blog post. Thank you.
Join the Declutter Tribe
Get the ClutterGazette with fresh tips and tricks each month!
Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.