It never fails. A few times every year you go to dig out the sweaters and ornaments, or shorts and gardening gear, and discover a mess. Over the months you’ve moved boxes around that you forgot to label, boxes have ripped or gotten wet, or you’ve just plain lost some things.
If you’re like me, you have limited space, but there are some simple ways to make your life easier by maximizing space, saving time and keeping your seasonal items protected from the elements.
#1 Use Plastic Bins
I ditched cardboard boxes years ago. Sure, they’re cheap, but they also rip and fall apart, they lack handles for easy moving and they allow your things to get moldy if you keep them in a damp place like your basement or garage.
Plastic bins cost a little more upfront, but you get what you pay for. They’re made to be easily and securely stacked, saving a ton of floor space, and they’re water resistant so your things stay safe even in damp storage areas or even standing water (let’s hope that doesn’t happen). Bins have handles and some even have wheels for easy transport. I like the bins that have clasping handles to secure them shut, but you can use whatever you prefer.
- Label your bins! What are the chances you’ll remember the bin you put your sweaters in a year from now? Not good. A good labeling system saves you from having to open every single plastic storage bin just to find the specific items you’re looking for.
- Use colored bins. Another organizing tip is to use colored bins for better at-a-glance arranging. I like light gray for winter, black or orange for autumn, blue for spring and green for summer, but your color-coded system is entirely up to you.
- Organize within bins. I use simple pieces of cardboard taped into place as spacers, preventing items – such as strings of holiday lights – from getting tangled with other things I’m storing. Also, don’t forget to wash clothing before you pack it away so it’s fresh and ready to wear when you unpack.
#2 Group By Season
Once you have everything packed nicely in your labeled bins, don’t simply stack them together haphazardly. Create small groupings of stacked bins by seasons: sports equipment can go in the “summer” area, sweaters in the “winter” area and so on. Chances are you’ll have additional plastic bins for items that aren’t seasonal, perhaps filled with tools or your good china. Create specific areas for these items too, but make sure your seasonal items are the easiest to access since you know you’ll need them again in a few months’ time.
#3 Locate & Rotate
If you put all of your seasonal items in one space, rotate the bins as the seasons change to make sure the items you need the most are the easiest to get to. For me, this usually means putting the most relevant seasonal bins closest to the door or stairs of my storage areas. And of course, space frees up for items you need to pack away as you unpack items for the new season.
No space is too small for more effective storage and organization! For more organization tips and tricks, check out our Storage Ideas page.