Sunday, May 6, 2012

Store It With Style

I had lunch with a friend who shared interesting information with me about closets in Europe. She said there are hardly any. And the ones that they do have are small in comparison to our American closets. I wondered why. My friend said that Europeans will choose quality over quantity every time. Wow. That's a new concept.

We have so much stuff. It's always on sale. It's always tempting. Retailers make it impossible to resist. And so we buy. And buy and buy. One is never enough. We stockpile. We always want to have enough. Crazy, huh? When a holiday or season is over and the items go on clearance we are hard wired to crave these things. Never can have too many Christmas decorations. Valentine napkins? We need them. Easter basket stuff? We'd be crazy not to keep a huge supply. The red, white and blue stuff. Well, that can be used for Memorial Day, the Fouth of July and Labor Day.

Then there are the out of season clothing items. Marked down fifty, seventy-five and even ninety percent. Gotta have them. Then we store all of this. Often in bins that are color coordinated to the respective holiday. We have these bags that hook up to our vacuums. We in a sense shrink wrap out of season stuff. We store these under the bed, under the couch, wherever we can fit them.

We need to get a handle on this. First we need to stop spending. Then we have to start with sorting. Ask yourself these questions. Do I love it? Do I need it? Can I let it go? And for Pete's sake donate the stuff that you can live without. Then sort and store logically. If you don't it will be too hard to find it when you need it. And then the whole vicious cycle starts again. I can't find it when I need it, so I buy it again. For example, I have cleaned out my cupboards in the kitchen well enough that I actually have holiday platters and bowls in a designated area. No more digging. Stop at your local liquor store and ask for a few of the wine boxes with dividers in them. They are great for storing ornaments.

When it comes to clothes, towels and linens, make sure you can see everything. I hang items and stack things so they are visible, not pushed back where thet can't be seen. In drawers of toiletries, I use plastic take out containers to keep like things in order. The sock drawer? I usually buy white socks and black socks. Not hard to sort.

My junk drawer is sorted using Dixie cups. Rubberbands, nails, all those little itty bitty things? In cups they don't roll around anymore. Same thing in my car. Take a plastic cup and put it in a cup holder. Great place for a pen, pencil, a few stamps, a lip balm a couple of extra straws and napkins. All at your finger tips.

Roll things up in drawers and it makes more room for clothing. It keeps them wrinkle free and ready to pack in suitcases, too. Always ready for a quick spontaneous trip. When it comes to furniture buy ottomans and coffee tables with storage in them. Roll up the blankets that are usually on the back of the couch and store them inside. You know all of that stuff in the middle of the kitchen table that you need? Buy an attractive box with a lid or a box with a hinged top and put salt/pepper, napkins and toothpicks inside. All contained and pretty to boot.

Overall less is more. You should be able to open a cupboard, drawer or closet see everything at a glance. You should pretend you are selling your house and stage your closets in a way that would make your realtor proud! And for certain don't forget the golden rule. Take it out, put it back. This is more than half the battle. We should start thinking like Europeans. Buy quality over quantity. And store it with style, too.

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