How to make the most of your storage space
Have I mentioned I like ‘stuff’ and that I’m recovering from an addiction to buying ‘stuff’. But I can’t help that I still have a fair amount of it. I’m going to go back to a time when I had even more, around 20 months ago when I began the de-cluttering process ahead of our move aboard.
I’ve written countless blogs on how I went about decluttering, but in this one I wanted to focus on how I organised our storage to make it as effective as possible. It’s been a life saver for us since we moved aboard and has made the whole idea of having an onshore storage unit much more efficient and practical.
Sort it out! It may sound laborious but try to group everything you are looking to store into groups, all your kitchen equipment, well it should be together, all your Christmas decorations, they should all be grouped to. It takes a bit of time but it is so worth it to make the next two steps make sense. Whilst you’re doing this make sure everything is clean, it may sound silly, but there is nothing worse than pulling something out of storage to realise 5 minutes of effort six months ago would save you so much time later on.
Get your boxes, how ever many you have, I personally prefer the plastic storage boxes, they stack easily and neatly and are quite good at keeping out damp and furry creatures.
Now for however many boxes you have you need to make signs for them, I chose to number all of my boxes, but you could letter them or give them cute names it you wanted to. Whatever works for you. Now makes sign for all sides of each box and stick them to each side. It may sound silly but having the numbers on each side means no matter how the boxes are stacked you can identify it easily.
Now the third step is the most important, starting with Box 1 / A / Boxy-Woxy you open up an excel spreadsheet and under that box you list everything you have put in there, in minute detail. Do this as you go as you pack each box. You’ll end up with a spreadsheet filled with exactly what your boxes are filled with. Whenever you need anything going forward you don’t have to spend time digging through your storage unit to find those shoes you really want for the party at the weekend. You pull up your spreadsheet, search for the shoes you are after and find that they are located in Box 6 with the matching bag, win win! I also recommend including a list at the storage unit so you can find what you are looking for when you are there if you haven’t had time to check the spreadsheet before you go.
Sounds super simple right? Well I think that it is, but it really worked for me and helps me to keep a track of what is in storage. There are a few things to remember going forward with this method:
- Keep your spreadsheet up to date! Decided to bring back your police man shaped salt and pepper pot? Well make sure your spreadsheet reflects it, once you get out of date with a couple of things it’s easy to let the whole system slip.
- Reflect on the list regularly. Something I do, whenever I bring something out of storage and put it back into storage it gets marked in a different colour on the spreadsheet. That way I know which items I have used, which I haven’t, so when it comes to reviewing and doing a cleanse of what is in storage I can make more informed judgements.
It’s really a simple inventory system, granted it takes more work than just lobbing things into boxes and chucking it into a storage unit. The two days longer it took me to pack up things for storage has easily been made back in the time I have saved in retrieving items with ease, and in having a more organised mind!
Take the time now, reap the rewards later!
James & Kirsty