There are lots of things that conform to a standard shape, size or weight, like books (usually a particular height to width ratio, easily stackable), cooking pots (can often be stored one inside the other), paperwork (can be piled into a tray), food tins (can usually be stacked due to similar dimensions), etc. There is a reason why a lot of things come with relatively standardised dimensions, as they need to be easy to transport, store and stock in the shops.
You’ll find that – even if not all of these items follow the exact same rules, many are fundamentally very similar. Probably you have even made use of this feature unconsciously in the past! These are easy items, they are recognisable and speak to our practical nature. Whoever has heard of anyone unable to stack tins or place books in a shelf?
However, some items need a more specific kind of storage in order for you to easily store them and to quickly retrieve them when necessary, like those rubber bands or foreign coins. Others are special because they are different in content or meaning from other items that are very similar at first sight, like the notebooks or certain photographs. Let’s focus on those for now, without taking into account intangible items like electronic files or images on your mobile phone.
The first order of the day is easy: unusual items need unusual storage options. As we have seen, books come all ready with options to keep them organised and we all learn early on how they work. Rubber bands, though, need a different approach. Left to their own devices they will always untangle and mix up with other things that become difficult to use as they are all tangled up. My trick here is simple: roll the bands into a ball of bands and keep adding. Not only will they all keep together, but you’ll have an easy to find spot to add others to.
Rubber bands are just an example to show you that we need to think outside of the box when it comes to miscellaneous items, and we need to look closely to identify the quality that makes them easier to organise: in this case, stretch factor and their easy-squeeze quality.
Here are some more pointers to get you going:
Those are just a couple of basic examples, but you can probably see what they all have in common: it takes a bit of effort to identify them and find a way to deal with them. Not the kind of thing you want to do on a big decluttering day, then. My advice is to group all these kinds of items together during a declutter and take care of them separately. It is important, though, to take all of them out of their hiding places, or they will simply stay there forever.
When the time comes, sit down and review the miscellaneous small items and think what you can do with them and how you can properly store them. The above bullet points could give you a first idea of the possibilities, and some of the avenues to explore. As a general comment, it is helpful to have small boxes and containers on hand as you will likely need at least a certain number of them.
You may have come to the understanding that those miscellaneous items are often smaller than the less tricky ones, but that may not always be the case: think about painting canvases in varying sizes, odd-shaped furniture, or decorative items of a bulky nature. But those are a story for another time…
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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.