stacking-banker-boxes.jpgBoxes are indispensable tools for GETTING organized, but to STAY organized, you need to “think outside the box.”

It’s the first question I get when an excited client agrees to begin work with me, “What kind of containers should I buy?”  I hate to dampen their enthusiasm, but I always explain that I will determine the appropriate containers and furniture AFTER we determine how much we are containing.  It’s not unusual to end up needing NO new containers!

We do use a ten pack of banker’s boxes, but strictly as sorting tools.  They allow us to focus on editing one category at a time and the boxes get reused multiple times, but ultimately the goal is to empty the boxes, not fill them.

A full, lidded box is great for stacking and saving space, but it can be a dangerous solution if it ends there.  Organizing systems need to be designed around use, not concealment.

Shelves, hooks, and slots make better solutions for items that get used the most.

For items that get used less often, but still need to be easily accessible, drawers are a better answer than stackable boxes.

Even archival storage, which can be less accessible, still needs to be findable.  If you can’t expect to one day find something, what is the point in keeping it at all?

If you must use stackable boxes as an organizing system, I recommend using a clear one with clearly printed labels.

You may think it is obvious what belongs in a clear box, but is it also clear to those who you share space with? Labels remove the ambiguity and set the limits you need to stay organized.

Items that stay concealed in lidded boxes tend to take up permanent residence.  They are hidden and forgotten.  The problem is compounded because this practice no doubt extends to other concealed boxes, often carrying the same forgotten items.

To stay organized you need to get these items out of the box and into more visible systems so they can be seen, used, and circulated.  Circulation prevents accumulation.