“We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat!”
So what does Sheriff Brody’s immortal line from Jaws have to do with organizing? It’s about having the right information before choosing the right solution.
In the town of Amity there was a lot of politics and complications involved in fully assessing the scale of the local “shark problem.” When you declutter, you don’t have those complications. There should be no rush to choose a vessel for each category before you are clear on how big that category is going to be.
One of the questions I am most frequently asked when I start working with a new client is, “what containers can I buy?” My answer is always to wait and see the quantity we are keeping before choosing the appropriate container. The rule is QUANTITY DICTATES SYSTEMS.
It’s most helpful to be governed by your organizing needs, not by your organizing containers. I’m amazed at how often a client will empty an old container and ask “Now what am I going do with this?” It’s quite possible you won’t have a need for an emptied container. Many decorative little bins and baskets just tend to be clutter traps. Do yourself a favor and scuttle these vessels.
In the sorting process, we use just cardboard boxes to contain the keepers in categories, then we are able to get clear on their appropriate amounts to keep and the appropriate containers to hold them. We may find, for example, that we need a much smaller bin than we had originally thought. We may find that we want certain items out on a shelf, we may find that some items should be in drawers, OR we may determine WE’RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BIN!