My parents were born in the depression era, during which the common outlook on living frugally was, “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” It is similar to our current saying of “reduce, reuse, recycle.” My Dad was a champion re-user. I have a tool that he crafted from an old car antenna, a piece of wood and a small magnet. It appears that he used this for retrieving small nuts, bolts and screws that had fallen behind the refrigerator or in the engine compartment of a car. Not that I will ever work on my car, but I keep it because it makes me smile when I think of him.
Today, I thought I would discuss reusing organizing and storage items around your house, so that perhaps you can avoid buying something new. As you reorganize one space, you may find that containers you were using don’t work in one spot, but will in another.
I recently reorganized the open bookshelf in my home office. Part of what I had there was a collection of antique buttons, displayed in glass jars that I love. I was ready to put away my collection for a while, so I was left with the jars and no immediate idea of how to use them. I washed them and set them on a dresser for about a day. It seems that I do my best thinking when I am not trying very hard. It occurred to me that the counter in my bathroom was bugging me, so I placed some frequent-use items (Q-tips, cotton balls, etc.) inside. The result: an easier-to-use area in the bathroom, more space on my office bookshelf, and I did not have to give up the glass jars that I love.
If you’re working through your home or office one area at a time, you may empty a container and not know how you will want to use it right away. When I am helping clients organize their spaces, I like to gather together any containers that we have emptied. As we work through the project, we discover groups of items that need containers. It’s almost magic, as we often find what we need in the “available containers” stash.
How do you know which containers to keep and for how long? My answer is, while you are in the process of organizing an area, hang on to them. When you’re finished, choose a finite storage spot and limit yourself to what fits there. I keep a small collection of boxes, but if something is too large for my storage spot, it is worn out, or I am tired of it, then out it goes.