Everybody has stuff. Some stuff you use every day and you keep it handy — in cupboards, in drawers, or on small decorative shelves. Other stuff you use less often, or never — camping equipment, holiday decorations, emergency supplies, keepsakes, etc. — and you store it in boxes in less accessible places. No matter where you are storing boxes of stuff — whether it be your garage, basement, attic, shed, storage unit or office supply closet – you need shelving.
Why do I need shelving?
Shelving is necessary for getting boxes off the ground and making them accessible. Even if you don’t use their contents often, you need the ability to open the one box you want without having to move 14 other boxes from in front of and on top of it. (Seriously, if you don’t need access to your stuff, why are you keeping it?) Shelving prevents boxes from getting wet and dirty on the bottom, and prevents boxes (and their contents) from getting crushed and destroyed over time by the weight of other boxes. It is also a way of limiting how much stuff you accumulate and being able to find it when you need it. Example: If you have a “Gardening Supplies” shelf in the garage, you might think twice about cluttering the floor with gardening supplies, and buying more gardening supplies without first examining what you already have and purging what you never use to make more space on the same shelf.
What kind of shelving?
You can use whatever kind of shelving you want, as long as it fits the space and supports the size and weight of your stuff. My favorite kind for most storage spaces is the larger, sturdier plastic shelving units sold at home improvement stores (not the smaller, flimsier white kind sold along with other housewares). I love them because they hold lots of heavy boxes, are inexpensive (around $40 for 5 shelves) and I can lift, carry, and assemble them myself with only the help of a rubber mallet.
How to make the most of your shelving once you have it:
- Label your boxes and arrange them on the shelves so that you can see the labels. Use a Sharpie and write as boldly, and as clearly, as you can on a piece of masking tape. You can make fancier labels later, if you want to. You may think you know what’s inside, but trust me, you will forget. If you are storing bulky or loose items on a shelf, such as in the “Gardening Supplies” example above, label the shelf itself.
- One category per box. If a box is labeled “Books”, there should be no cookie sheets or candles inside that box. If all your boxes say “Misc” on them, you might as well not have labeled them at all!
- Maintain your space. Like any other organized space, a shelving unit can get cluttered if you keep setting things down on it “for now”, and pay no attention to whether you still need, use, or love everything you are storing.
What has been your experience with, or without, shelving? Please share in the comments below!
Copyright 2015 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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