I’m always amused by the abundance of storage containers on the shelves of major retailers right after the holidays. Sure, from a business perspective it makes sense to capitalize on the January urge to get organized, but if you’re someone with “get organized” at the top of your New Year’s resolution list then it’s important to know that buying a container isn’t your ticket to destination organization.


Here are two questions to ask before buying containers:

  1. What do I need to store? If you can’t specifically answer this question while standing in the container isle, then you’re not ready to buy just yet. Instead, go home and do some decluttering. Let go of items you no longer use, need or love. In the process you may find that you empty some perfectly good storage containers for the items you do need to store. Or you may find that you can clearly identify homeless items that truly could benefit from a storage container.
  2. Where will I put the container? Once you have identified specific items that need to be stored, next think about where it makes sense to keep them. Do you have similar items already stored somewhere in your home? Perhaps you have some new Holiday decorations that are in need of a home. Is there space for them (and the storage bin you’ve been eyeballing) on a shelf in your basement next to your other holiday decorations? Identifying the primary storage such as the shelf, cabinet, or closet where your items and new container will live is a critical step in creating an organized space. It will help you ensure you buy a container that fits the contents you need to store as well as the location where the container will live.

Without asking these questions first, containers can actually add to your clutter instead of helping you be more organized. But with these two questions tucked in your back pocket, containers can be a handy tool in your organizing toolkit.

Happy organizing!


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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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