Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Organizing Tip: The Concept of "Limiting Containers"

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Today let's talk about keeping our volume of stuff in check. By this I mean.... MOST OF US HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF! So, how do we combat this problem? One way is by using the concept of 'Limiting Containers'. Simply speaking, if you assign a specific amount of space for your stuff, then it's obvious when you've got too much stuff and it's time for some decisions to purge. And by purge I mean: Throw out, donate, relocate, give away, or sell.

You already have limiting containers all over your home. Your kitchen drawers, your closets, various bins and baskets, even your garbage can. But, the big question is: are you using these containers as LIMITING CONTAINERS, ie: only keeping enough stuff to fit comfortably in these containers? Or, are you letting the stuff overflow?

Let's take the garbage can as an example. It's a container, right? And, even more, you've defined the kind of stuff you want to put in it, namely: GARBAGE. OK, so throughout the day and week, you're putting garbage in the container. At some point, it gets full. If you keep filling it, then it starts to overflow. If you don't do some purging, it will keep overflowing and you may even decide to stop putting garbage in it and start leaving your garbage all over the place. This is now clutter (not to mention it becomes unsanitary).

BUT, if, when the garbage gets full, you make a conscious decision to PURGE (ie: empty the garbage and put it out for your local trash-removal service), then you've established it as a LIMITING CONTAINER, and when it gets full, you make the decision to purge.

So now let's apply this same principle to 2 other problem areas of your home. For example 1) a Child's Playroom or 2) a Filing Cabinet.

1) Child's Playroom
If your child's toys are overflowing both in and out of the room, then it's time to designate the room as a limiting container, and within the room, assign specific shelves and bins/baskets as limiting containers for various kinds of toys. When things get full, it's time to purge. Teach your children that they can only keep the amount of toys that will comfortably fit inside the room, and inside the bins and boxes, and they will learn a valuable lesson in life to keep their volume of stuff under control.

2) Filing Cabinet
If your home or office filing cabinet is full to the brim, then it is likely that not only can you not find what you need when you need it, but you will also probably stop filing documents and leave them all over the place instead. Establish the cabinet as a limiting container, and start purging the old documents that are no longer needed. Then, establish your rules for purging documents on a regular basis so that the backlog doesn't happen again. Additionally, make sure you are only keeping documents that you truly need for either personal, legal or tax reasons, and stop saving the rest.

By implementing the concept of LIMITING CONTAINERS, you will be well on your way to keeping your volume of stuff in check and eliminating your clutter!
Linda English
Organizing With EASE, LLC
201-638-9593 | |

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a fantastic way to keep yourself organized.

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