If you’re like most households, you are bursting at the seams with stuff. Storage can be a huge issue when we have too many belongings and not enough room for it all. Taking advantage of space, with more shelves or with over-bonnet storage in the garage is a good first step to being organized. You also need to make sure you have some sort of organization in place.

A disorganized storage approach means you lose track of things or simply can’t locate them when they’re needed.

Label Everything

Just having room for your stuff is only part of the challenge. You need to be able to find it when you need it, and that means keeping things labeled. Boxes and bins should have clear and detailed labels whenever possible. A label that just says “clothes” isn’t going to be all that helpful, even if you’re sure you’ll remember what’s in it later. You may not go back to that box for months or even years.

Easy Access

Don’t settle for piles of boxes as your storage plan. It is inefficient and makes it really hard to get at anything that happens to be at the bottom of the pile. Utilize shelves as often as you can, so you can pull out whatever box you need without having do dig. Either free-standing shelf units, or install a few shelves where you have wall space.

Shelves don’t necessarily have to be lined up against the walls either. Make better use of central floor space with additional shelving units, as long as you don’t make them too top-heavy. Leave enough room between each shelf so you can still walk around and access everything you need.

Invest in Containers

This is more about storing things safely rather than how to organize them, but having good-quality storage containers can make the job easier for you. Plastic bins are sturdier than cardboard and protect your stuff, especially in areas where there might be moisture or even pests (like that unfinished basement room).

To help with finding things later, clear plastic totes can be ideal. They’re not quite as tidy looking as the solid ones but it can be a nice touch to see what’s in each box as you are looking for things. You just want to avoid clear containers if you are storing anything where there will be bright sunlight, or you might end up with some fading of your items.

Keep Similar Items Together

It’s a lot easier to locate items when you have things somewhat grouped by purpose or theme. Do you store your Christmas decorations in the garage, but the Halloween ones are in the spare bedroom? When your belongings are spread out all over the house, it makes it very hard to keep track of where things are.

If you have a small space and are getting creative with a number of storage spots around the house, keeping things together can be difficult. In that case, you may want to make a master list where you keep track of where certain things are stored.

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