Don’t Buy those Containers (Yet)!


I LOVE containers! I love the variety of shapes, sizes, colors, textures, and materials. I love the basic ones that can be used to store most anything as well as the very specific ones custom made for one specific need. When I am lucky enough to be visiting a city that has a Container Store, I always find a way to spend some time there. It’s an organizer’s dream! I walk around practically salivating at the seemingly endless selection of products. Did you notice that containers are usually on sale around the first of the year?  Since getting organized is a very common New Year’s resolution, stores tend to capitalize on this by placing their containers at the front of the store and marking them down. So it’s the perfect time to buy them, right? What could be wrong with that?

The problem with buying new containers at the onset is that if we do that first, we’ve missed the crucial first step of any organizing project. The first step should always be reducing or decluttering.  No matter what part of your house or business you’re organizing, your first step should always be taking a good look at everything in that category and determining if you need to get rid of any of it before finding the appropriate container for storing it.

Why is it so important to reduce first? The simple fact is that vast majority of us are simply drowning in our stuff. Take a look at these statistics:

  • There are 300,000 items in the average American home.
  • 25% of people with 2-car garages can’t park both of their cars in them.
  • In our life, we spend 153 days looking for lost items.
  • Organizing is an $8 billion home organization industry that has more than doubled since the early 2000’s.

I could go on, but you get the picture. We simply have too much stuff! So if we just buy new containers for all our stuff, all we’re doing is shuffling it around. We’re not addressing the root problem, and we’ll never effect lasting change. When we own too much, our possessions end up owning us, rather than the other way around.

So if you’re all fired up and ready to get organized (which I happen to think is a truly admirable goal), begin at the beginning. Resolve to reduce first. Then you can go take advantage of those sales.

Happy organizing!

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