Have you ever thrown something into a pile, tossed it into a box, or stuffed it into a shelf, and couldn’t locate it the next time you needed it?
If everything in storage doesn’t have a place, it’s going to take longer than it should to find it again. And the frustration builds even more quickly when you’re in a hurry.
Whether your belongings are sentimental, off-season or important for another reason, they don’t deserve to get lost or forgotten in a messy closet, garage or storage locker.
Consider this your planning guide for efficient storage–so nothing gets lost under your fingertips again.
Start from scratch
If you aren’t starting with a blank slate (like a new lease on a storage unit), pull everything out of the storage area. Set aside some space to temporarily house your belongings, and sweep or vacuum the storage area in preparation.
‘Marie Kondo’ your stuff
Get rid of anything you don’t need, and organize everything you’re keeping into categories (such as clothing, papers, and so on). Now you’ll be able to better plan what belongs in storage, and get a bird’s eye view of what you’re working with.
If you don’t know what you have, you won’t know what’s missing. Take inventory of everything that’s going into storage. Input every large item and box into a spreadsheet (or make a ‘living list’ using Google Sheets) and keep it updated. You’ll be glad you have a quick resource to refer to if you’re ever searching for something in the future.
Structure your storage
Now that you know how much stuff needs to go into storage, think about how you’ll store it. Do you need three shelves? A clothing rack? Clear boxes for shoes? How many containers do you have? Where will the skis go? Measure the space and shelves and make sure everything will fit neatly.
Make a map
It’s tough to take action without a plan. And if yours isn’t an efficient one, it may be too late when you realize you could have done it a better way. Using your measurements from the last step, create a floor map to visualize where everything will go. Two shelves and a wardrobe on one wall? Sports equipment on the other? A filing cabinet at the back of the room? Once everything has a place, go back to your inventory spreadsheet and add a column to describe where each box or item will be located.
Put everything away
Time to put your plan into practice. If you underestimated the amount of space needed, it’s okay to make changes. The most important thing is that everything is easily accessible (ie. you don’t have to pull everything out to get to that one board game) and that each item has its place. The next time you need to access your storage area, you’ll be glad you decided to get organized.