I’ve gotten comments, DMs, emails, and more about what we do with storing our extra items. These people have the best intentions by wanting to get their home organized. As much as I love that and I’d love to help, more storage solutions are not the answer. You need less stuff. Owning less is the best storage solution you’ll find out there.
Ouch. Yes, that’s my general answer almost every time (I try to be nicer than that!). I believe that we’ve created this lust for organizational tools because they are so well marketed towards us as are most other things we’ve accumulated in our home.
Using the Home Edit as an example as their Netflix series was wildly popular. Part of the success is the chemistry those women have – who doesn’t want to work with your fun best friend!? The other part is that they make storing your things so aesthetically pleasing and they are good at it.
What the show doesn’t spend a ton of time on (although they do show it) is the “edit” or decluttering portion before they get organized. I know, who wants to see the old junk people get rid of? That’s not what makes good television (although I would certainly watch it). We just want our
junk stuff to look as nice as their stuff so we definitely [sarcasm] need those clear storage bins that cost mucho dinero at the Container Store.
So let’s dive deep into why owning less is the best storage solution that is so exclusive, you can’t buy it anywhere! (That’s because you already own it!)
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You have to declutter first.
If owning less is the world’s most exclusive storage system, then my house must be super exclusive. Just kidding. Decluttering to own less helped us find more space in our home for things we actually loved. We can now show off cherished heirlooms or have space for hobby items. A new, best storage solution isn’t what we needed, we just needed less stuff.
A few things about decluttering. Decluttering and minimalism looks different for everyone. Just because I refused to own more than one hairbrush doesn’t mean that you are required to only have one hairbrush. Go hairbrush crazy if that’s your thing! Just make sure you let go of the ones you don’t use or are damaged.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while decluttering:
- Make a goal of what you want your space to feel like (not look like, aesthetics are not important at this stage)
- It’s okay to start with easy things first. I have a list of 100 things to declutter first that is exceptionally useful
- If you feel overwhelmed when getting started, declutter the smallest space first like a single drawer or cabinet or even your car
- Realistically, decluttering your whole home won’t happen over a weekend. BUT! You can sure make progress in a short period of time. Give yourself grace.
- Find what motivates you: before/after pictures, a like-minded Facebook group, or seeing all of your donations bagged up and in your trunk – all are great things to keep you motivated!
Read More on Decluttering >>>
- The ULTIMATE Decluttering Guide
- Why We Keep Clothes We Don’t Wear and How to Let Go
- How to Declutter Décor
- Decluttering When You’re Overwhelmed
- 5 Decluttering Roadblocks and How to Move Past Them
- Dealing with Decluttering Guilt
Stop the flow of incoming things.
No storage solution will help you if you have an unending flow of new items into your home. We learned this the hard way. I was so frustrated that no matter what I did, even the best storage solutions seemed to fail! A few things helped me out of my spending/buying habit:
- No Spend Months – we put all unnecessary spending on hold for an entire month. No Target runs, no new clothes, no “treats” like lattes or fast food, seriously no extra spending.
- Question Every Purchase – there are a set of questions I ask myself before I bring anything new into my home.
- There’s More to Life than Shopping – cutting out shopping all together is hard. But there are things you can do that are way better than shopping!
- Use a List – a simple 72 Hour List helps curb impulse purchases by waiting three full days before making a purchase.
When the constant influx of new things into your home slows or even stops, organizing your items and keeping them tidy is a much more manageable task.
Use what you have.
There is no magical, one-size-fits-all best storage solution for your belongings. Often, the best storage system is already in your home! Creativity goes a long ways when deciding how to store things.
A few ideas that have worked well for us:
- Put items in their designated space (like a shelf in a cabinet) before you buy any type of turn table, bin or basket. This gives you a test run of how easy (or hard) it might be to get to that item.
- Repurpose bins and boxes. After we decluttered, there were almost a dozen containers and baskets left empty. We used these to make storage of our everyday items easier – like shoe boxes for our son’s clothes in his dresser, a small set of plastic drawers for medicines, and small baskets for spice packets. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be functional.
- Identify which items are high-touch or high-use and store them appropriately. If you use your measuring cup everyday, place it in an easy-to-get-to spot in your kitchen – like on the front of a shelf in your cabinet. Using “one touch storage” allows your high-use items to be up front and actually easy to use and your occasional or low-use items to be stored in more out of the way places.
Reusing items like jars, shoe boxes, packaging, and more can not only save you money, but save you the time of finding that “perfect” storage solution at the store.
But what if it fails?
I bet you’ll know within a week if something isn’t working out how you originally organized it! If you or your family gets frustrated with putting something back where it goes, maybe the system isn’t what your family needs.
Yes, it takes time to teach your family the systems you’ve put in place. But even the best storage solutions can fail you. I’ve tried a variety or storage ideas for our everyday items (wallet, keys, sunglasses, hats, etc.). Bowl on the counter, bin on the washing machine, bench by the door – nothing seemed to work to contain our everyday things that travel to and from places with us. Our problem was that we didn’t have enough of a “container” for these things! So instead of throwing things on the counter like we used to, we purchased a small shelf with hooks underneath. There are spots for keys, bags, sunglasses, and just about anything else we carrying around on a daily basis. It keeps clutter off the counters and keeps things easier to find because they have their spot.
You might find that something is too organized for your family to operate it. Instead of a hyper-organized storage option, consider having general baskets for your items. The opposite is also true! If your general baskets get junked-up quickly, consider something more organized.
A video guide of what your organization style may be helpful! This video from ClutterBug is exceptionally helpful!
Maintaining storage solutions and an easily tidied home.
No home is perfectly minimal. But minimalist homes are easily tided because of fewer items in the home as well as storage systems that work. When things start to feel cluttered, a quick declutter may be in order. That’s all part of maintaining the storage system!
There are days that may feel like the mess is too much! I feel that often. Set a timer for fifteen minutes and see how much you can get done without distractions. Setting a timer several times a day helps to reset your home. It’s not meant to be a deep clean! Oh, goodness no. These pockets of time are meant to reset your home back to a more tidy, organized state. This way, you won’t always have picking-up on your to-do list and organizing becomes much more doable.
The key to an easily tidied home is truly owning less. The less you have, there is less that needs to be picked up or cleaned. Less to maintain means more time in your day!