organizing May 25 2017

25 May 2017. Being in the business of keeping many items at hand, from necklaces to comforter covers to oven mittens, we have learned a few things over the years. We're no organizational wizards, but we know for certain that digging feverishly through teetering stacks is no way to live or run a business. So when we moved into a bigger space a few years ago, a space that allowed for increased inventory, we thought hard about creating a new system.

We started with an industrial supply catalogue where we found stainless steel shelving that could hold slim, open-topped, low-sided boxes. We chose boxes that could fit items of various shapes and sizes while keeping them visible and accessible. We put these boxes on lower shelves, and we put large boxes of back-stock on the harder-to-reach top shelves. Each box was given a simple, square label affixed by a binder clip so that contents were clear and labels could be easily removed or updated. 

Years in, this system works well for us. Most importantly, it supports our day-to-day functioning and promotes clarity. While we don't believe there are golden rules of organization, here are a few things we think could easily cross over between work and home spaces:  

- "A place for everything and everything in its place." This motto describes our approach to organization. If there is a place where an item always lives, it can go right back there quickly, easily, and without thought. 

- Storage containers should allow you to see your stuff. We've learned that the areas we can't see -- under tables and in cabinets, for example -- are the first to collect stuff that we'll deal with "later," i.e. never. 

- When you can see your stuff, a number of positive things happen: you know what you have and are less likely to acquire what you don't need. And, maybe because of vanity, you're less likely to allow clutter to gather in those visible spaces. 

- Adjust your system so that it stays relevant. For example, if you switch to paperless bills, see if you can get rid of stored paper records and free up that space for something else. 

- Make household items double as storage. Place paperclips together in your favorite bowl. Use a towel rod to hang jewelry or wall-mounted coat rack to hang pants. Put a picnic basket to work as a container for textiles and scarves. It might also look pretty, but our point is that there's a lot of utility hiding in the items you already own. 

So, that's it. There's no magic involved. Really, it's just a desire and commitment to increase calm and decrease agitation. If you find that being in your space soothes you, we'd say that's a good sign your system's working for you.