Minimalism and decluttering and organizing are big buzz words lately. Everywhere you look people are “KonMari-ing” their homes. I’m doing some serious decluttering, myself. But unless you take it to an extreme level you’ll still have items in your home that need some type of storage.
Christmas decorations, out-of-season clothes, sentimental mementos, and any number of other items not in daily use need a dedicated spot in our homes if we want to keep things neat, orderly, and easy to locate.
That’s where white bankers boxes with lids come to the rescue:
Organizing With Bankers Boxes
Many years ago I read about this storage system in Emilie Barnes’ book, “More Hours in My Day” and to this day I consider it the best storage system I’ve heard of.
Here’s how it works:
- You purchase several bankers boxes. You can get them for a couple of bucks each at your local office supply store or Amazon has them (I’m an affiliate so if you use this link I get a small portion of the purchase price.)
- Label the boxes with consecutive numbers. You can write it directly on the box or use labels.
- Start with the first box and fill it with items you need to store.
- Take an index card and put the box number in the top left corner. List the items in the box on the card and place in a small index card file. If you have a single storage area that’s all you need to put on the card but if your storage boxes will be in various areas of your home or garage then include the box location.
- You can reserve box #15 for income tax paperwork (for April 15th) and #25 for Christmas. Chances are you’ll need more than one box for Christmas decorations so you can label the boxes 25 a, 25 b, 25 c, etc.
We have a very large storage closet (16×4 ft.) with floor to ceiling shelves along one wall and across the back. About 15 years ago I organized it with this system. We were homeschooling at the time so we had a LOT of educational materials and this was a great way to organize them.
Over the years I’ve given away most of those things and my system sort of fell apart. However, I still have the little card file with corresponding cards so I can still find what I’m looking for in the boxes I still have. It’s just that as I put other things in the closet they weren’t always assigned a box and just took up residence on a shelf.
A couple of weeks ago I spent a few hours clearing out some of the excess (can you tell me why I had so many empty boxes in there??). I now have everything up off the floor and onto the shelves. I bought a dozen new bankers boxes the other day and I’m going to make this closet a shining example of organization.
This weekend I’m going to put everything on the shelves into boxes without worrying much about decluttering. That’s part of the beauty of the system. You can achieve a semblance of order in a short period of time without having to make a lot of decisions about what to keep.
Then I will take one box at a time when I have a few minutes here and there. I’ll sort through and decide what I truly want to keep and what can go.
Over time, as I get rid of things, I’ll be able to combine items and have fewer boxes. Because the contents of each box are written on an index card rather than on the box itself it is easy to update them.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a minimalist and honestly, that really isn’t my goal. I just want everything to have its place and for me to know precisely where that place is. I guess you could say I’m a neat and orderly packrat. This system allows me to keep my treasures and be able to find them instantly.
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