But first, here’s a quick quiz:

When working on an organizing project, the first step is to:

a) head to the store and buy containers
b) make a plan!
c) clarify your goals for the project.

Answer: c

For many, the first step is to run head out to the store and buy the latest and greatest storage bins, baskets, totes, buckets, or what ever your container of choice may be … but if you don’t know what you need to store, you can get home and feel as if you’re trying to cram a square peg into a round hole. It’s far better to start with your goals … and buy storage containers a bit later in the process.

Here’s a related tip from page 100 of The Happy Scrapper

Know what you need. Before shopping for storage solutions, know which items you need to store. Know how much of an item you have, how you use it, where you use it and how much space it takes up. Then look for the perfect storage solution or container.

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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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