At 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, we’re passionate about using our experience to help you get organized and live a simpler life. We understand that not everything you have is junk (although we love it!) and that keeping a tidy house is just as important as keeping a simple house.
Here are three common storage issues, and I bet you’re thinking about at least one of them right now—do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
STACKS OF PAPER
Bills, receipts, letters, notices, newspaper clippings—they all seem to pile up. One of the many reasons people may struggle to get organized is that they have important items but no place for them to go. Do you have ‘stuff’ lying around that you think you need to hold on to? Give it a home, or get rid of it!
If you know me personally, you are aware of my obsession with a certain low-priced Swedish furniture outlet. Behold: the DOKUMENT letter tray from IKEA (cue trumpet fanfare). It comes in three colors, has three sliding trays, and will set you back a mere ten bucks. Put your bills on top, letters in the middle, and receipts and articles on the bottom. Simple! Needless to say, I’m a fan!
The one problem with a letter tray is that it’s only a temporary place for your homeless papers to live. We all know that in reality, these things build up over time. If you aren’t consistently getting rid of junky papers and old bank statements you will just end up with another pile of paper—but this time it will just be sitting on a letter tray that has broken under the weight of the stack.
So here’s the deal. Use something like the letter tray to keep relevant papers in sight as sort of a visual ‘to do’ list. Once you have dealt with them, you have two choices:
- Recycle them so you can regain your space! No more piles!
- Store the most important documents somewhere safe, in an organized fashion. If it isn’t a crucial legal document (taxes, contracts), I would use ‘one year’ as a maximum time to hold on to anything.
Pick up some individual files, or consider investing in a filing cabinet (the example shown here is the ERIK model from IKEA—cue more trumpet fanfare). Label the dividers with your most commonly used categories (bank statements, receipts, recipes, travel documents, etc.).
Filing cabinets can fill up much more quickly than one might think. Make sure you set aside time every year to go through your files and get rid of the stuff you don’t reference.
DOORLESS CUPBOARDS AND EXPOSED SHELVES
If you don’t want to show off your pans or cups or books with open shelves, don’t worry about installing cupboard doors when you can simply hide them in plain sight. This is not to say covering up open shelves is a substitute for cleaning up, tossing your junk or putting things away, but it can be a good way to keep your place looking tidy while adding a touch of your own style to it as well.
Here’s a quick and cost-effective way to cover up unsightly shelf contents, DIY-style. There are two ingredients in this recipe:
- A panel of material (medium to thick)
- Adhesive velcro strips
Cut the panel into rectangles or squares, sized to cover each shelf. Use the velcro (try your local office supply store) to mount the fabric panels to the shelves by peeling off the backing and sticking one side to the material and the other side to the furniture. Add glue to the fabric side if it doesn’t stick the first time.
Another option is to mount fabric curtains to cover the entire shelving unit, and use a ribbon or strip of fabric to hold the curtain aside when you need to access the shelves.
BATHROOM DRAWERS FILLED TO THE BRIM
When you have three to five people sharing cupboard space, storage can be tight. This is generally an easy fix:
- Toss any products that are leaking or over a year old (but certain items, like makeup, should be replaced sooner).
- You should not own more than one type of any product.
- Divide and conquer! Store bobby pins in mint tins, shampoo bottles in plastic baskets, and cleaning products in Tupperware containers. Reusing items you already have at home is environmentally friendly and gives some of your things a new lease on life!
We’ve compiled even more tips for organizing your ‘junk’ drawer in another blog post. Check it out!
This ‘before and after’ example of using repurposed household items is courtesy of www.respacedpdx.com.
Sam Landa is PR Manager for 1-800-GOT-JUNK?. She loves interior design and considers organizing and decluttering ‘relaxing activities.’ In her spare time she enjoys playing live music and writing. Connect with Sam on Google+ or LinkedIn.