I love organizational materials and I have a few I wouldn’t be without. However, for the most part, they become an extension of “the junk drawer.” We think we’re doing a good job organizing our things when in reality most of these items we sort and never touch again.
Some examples of these types of “organizational materials” that are not serving you other than taking up space include: file folders, magazine holders, drawer organizers, hanging paper organizers, expanding file folders and pen organizers. In the basement we might have a bin of “just-in-case” items, in our hall closet there may be a travel toiletry organizer and in our bathroom we have a bin holding cosmetics. Bins, under the bed boxes, “extra” drawers, and garage storage are all other great examples.
One of the fundamental problems with these types of organizational materials is that it’s our human nature to not be able to stand seeing things only partially filled
We buy organizational items thinking they will help us simplify and minimize. In reality, when we see them every day partially-filled or mostly empty, we panic. This is why when you see photos of minimalist homes, you’ll rarely see items in bins or organizers.
I like bins in a child’s room for a Montessori-type setup, containers to hold lids and small kitchen items, and drawer organizers for clothing. However, these can often be handmade or created with things you already have at home.
Humans have a scarcity mentality. When we perceive something as rare, scarce or unavailable we do all we can to ensure we won’t “run out.” Hoarders take this to an extreme, yet even the most conscious of us do it. If we have an organizer, we’re going to do all we can to fill it. We may not even realize we’re doing it but our subconscious will remember “the not-full space” and seek out a way to fill that space.
There are a few things we can do to avoid this phenomenon.
First of all, follow my steps on “the place where things go to die/ the junk drawer” (coming Thursday)” to purge these areas of unnecessary items.
Second, if you’re using a clear container move it to a higher shelf and move everything to the front of the container. This way, when you see it from the front you view it as full. There may only be a couple items in there but you’ll trick your brain.
Next, don’t buy “organizers” to organize cheap things that will wear out such a free pens, cheap toys, or free samples. These are things you don’t need. You’ll be much better served, and so will the planet, if you have a couple nice, refillable pens. Kids rarely play with cheap toys & we could all do better to reduce our plastic consumption. Say no to those cheap flimsy plastic toys. Donate the free samples to your local homeless or women’s shelter and get in the habit of saying no to freebies to them in the future. When was the last time a free promotional item became something you absolutely loved? There, you’ve eliminated the need for 3 organizers!
Last, remember our 3 principles. Most people find once they have downsized, their need for “organizers” decreases or goes away all together. The items and the materials “needed” to organize most likely don’t fit into these 3 principles anyway except MAYBE a few items needing “a place.” Give yourself until you’re done downsizing and wait at least 24-48 hours before you buy anything. You’ll find you can have a nice, organized space without buying a lot of “extra” things.