In my travels, I’ve discovered that many people have what I’ve dubbed “Double Clutter.”
They’re drowning in papers and objects, but in their attempts to get organized they’ve gone out and bought all sorts of containers into which they put their stuff.
You know the culprits: plastic boxes and baskets, translucent drawer systems, sock organizers and more.
The unfortunate result? More clutter and confusion.
This is Double Clutter: the clutter of “stuff,” compounded by the clutter of random containers.
Now, I have nothing against plastic containers per se, but when they begin to define your space they mitigate any feeling of serenity or good Feng Shui that you might be trying to achieve.
If this problem sounds familiar, it is also absolutely solvable.
The first step is to empty out each questionable container and inspect what’s inside.
Typically they hold things like old tapes and CDs; computer peripherals and cables; cosmetics and toiletries; tools, batteries and the like; and of course papers: photos, letters, receipts, direct mail and more.
There’s a good chance you’ll come across at least a few things you thought had gone missing altogether while you’re at it.
Next, a “home” must be found for each item you’ve decided to keep.
- Toiletries belong in or near the bathroom.
- If you have CDs, might they fit into a bookshelf near your music system?
- Tools (only those you truly need!) may be able to stay in their existing container, but put it in the closet.
- And papers — well, in short, they need to be sorted and filed, trashed, or acted upon (but that’s a topic for another day).
Now, how to store the stuff that remains?
The answer is, look around your home.
Chances are you already own at least a few fabulous, but under-used, containers: a pretty basket from your last trip, a nice piece of old luggage, a decorative box you’ve always loved….
These things you love can perform double duty, enriching your decor while working hard, besides.
For example, one of my clients collects small, pretty orange crates. But she was using them for so many different purposes that at first I took the boxes themselves to be clutter.
Once we’d emptied them out and stacked them neatly with her “keepers” inside, two problems were solved: some of her things had a home, and the unique beauty of her boxes was revealed.
Her home was enhanced, and she got rid of an awful lot of Double Clutter while she was at it.
So the next time you’re container shopping, think twice.
Because the container you need may already be right under your nose.
(photo by Bill Forbes on Creative Commons)