This is the fourth entry in the series  Top 10 Closet Storage Do’s and Don’ts.

4. DON’T store ANYTHING in a rounded basket with a handle. I know how it goes.  A friend gives you a beautiful gift basket and when it’s emptied, you just can’t bear to part with it.  “Surely I can find SOMETHING to put in it.”  Any time you find yourself trying to match a need to a container, STOP.  That’s a sure fire recipe for clutter and disorganization.  My advice is to fill that basket with flowers, candy, or cheese and give it back to your friend.  A gift basket is just about the worst organizing container imaginable.   Useful items, particularly squared ones like compact disks, tend to fit terribly in these baskets.  Furthermore, they’re usually tapered at the bottom, designed to make the contents look more plentiful and overflowing.  This is not an optimal storage feature.  They tend to fit poorly ON the shelves and wastefully BETWEEN the shelves, because of those stupid handles (not that you could stack anything on top of that exploding mess that’s coming out of the top anyway).   I’m actually not a huge fan of square baskets either.  The collect dust, they don’t hold identifying labels, and because they are opaque they tend to become clutter traps.  Sure baskets look nicer than plastic boxes, but inside a closet, who cares?

stacking-plastic-square.jpgDO store in squared, sturdy, stackable containers. It’s a good opportunity to emphasize that what’s most important is to thoroughly edit your contents before containing them.  Once you’ve got a handle on the quantity you are keeping from each category, get an appropriately sized container for the contents and the shelf or spot it is going.  You will get the best variety of sizes from plastic boxes and I recommend clear plastic. Clear plastic not only provides visibility, but offers a smooth surface for a clear label.  This provides MAXIMUM visibility.  For seasonal, archival, and other lesser-used items, lidded, stackable boxes are the way to go.   The less rounded the boxes and lids are , the better.   Also avoid boxes that taper too much, in favor of boxes with more of a 90 degree angle.  Keeping the box lines clean ensures optimal use of space AND accessibility.  That’s a winning combination.

Today’s key to unlocking clutter. Well shaped containers can make all the difference. The more neatly your boxes fit into a closet, the more space you create for loose items in need of a home.