Monday, March 8, 2010

Frugal storage

I don't know who discovered or named the law, but there is one that says however much stuff you own, it expands to fit the space you have, and then some. You can get rid of things, dump things, give away things, throw away things... and it just comes back.

The biggest problem is storing what we're not using at the moment, and that means anything from a yacht to a needle and thread.

Well... I don't have any solutions for yacht storage, sorry. But the needle and thread can be stored in a film canister.

Cardboard boxes are the common solution for storage, but where do you put the box after it's filled? You could cover it with contact paper, or paint it or wallpaper it or decoupage it and then you leave it out in plain sight. You can use it as a lamp table, a coffee table, a nightstand, or a footstool.

Besides boxes, cans - the kind we throw away - can store things. Many things don't need to be contained with a lid, so a plain steel ("tin") food can can be used. Before putting anything in it that you need to reach in for, use a pair of pliers to bend down any sharp edges and cover them with tape.

I was desperate for storage for my long knitting needles so I could find the size I wanted when I wanted it, so I covered a large oatmeal box with yarn wound around and around it and taped down at each end. It looks pretty good filled with those long knitting needles and I can easily see the sizes.

A large tub that cookies came in holds an assortment of hankies on my desk. Small glass jars with lids work as candy dishes, a large plastic spice container with holes in the lid holds baking soda for cleaning purposes, empty tissue boxes hold my hoard of plastic grocery bags.

And still there seems to be clutter...


  1. I think creative people tend to find clutter. I think (although I don't know it to be true) that people who can think "outside the box" will find other uses for things and keep them in anticipation of those other uses.

    A good way for me to de-clutter is to think 1) Do I need or use this item on a regular basis? 2) Do I have an emotional attachment to this item that I can't part with? 3) Is the item easily replaced if I give it away and decide later that I really needed it?

  2. I hope you're right. :) I don't have an enormous amount of clutter, but it seems like I'm always trying to contain it somehow.

  3. I also read on another sight that you can use an old dresser to store stuff in and if you want you can store it in your garage. So if you are replacing an old dresser soon you might want to think about using the old one to store stuff in it. My dresser needs to be replaced but it will have to wait... got more stuff to do first!

    I have clutter OMG! But I have Spring Break next week so I will use the time to spring clean and maybe do a yard sale! I will also donate my stuff to charity!

  4. I don't have a dresser to replace, but that's a good idea. Right now I have an old end table with drawers in the garage that holds work gloves, duct tape and things like that.

  5. I associate a sterile home being too neat and overly organized. My mother was incredibly neat and clean, but threw everything out, and when she needed something, you can be sure it had long gone in the garbage. Plus, even at an early age, I thought that was a really wasteful mentality. A little clutter, but organized, makes sense to me.

  6. "I associate a sterile home being too neat and overly organized"
    Oh, I'm glad you said that! Mine is certainly not "too neat." It's not too cluttered, but not too neat, either. I have a sister in law who threw everything out, then had to come asking for things as simple as rubber bands or a twist'em tie.