Too often we have items in multiple areas. Say, for example, you want to find crayons for your child to color with…. Or sticky notes to write yourself a reminder…. Or birthday candles for a cake you are baking. Can you find those items quickly? Are there several locations where you might find those items?
Here’s how it happens: you might start out with one “home” for things. Let’s choose birthday candles. You buy a pack of birthday candles, use a few, and put the rest in a cabinet. Over time, you buy spices and the candles are pushed to the back and you can no longer see them. So when you need candles again, you buy more (because you don’t know that you have any), use a few, and maybe this time the remainder are shoved in the closet with the wrapping paper and ribbon. Do you see where this is going?
The problem quickly becomes (1) not knowing what we already have because we can’t find it, and (2) it doesn’t have a “home” (a designated place for it).
This is where labeled bins come into play. It may seem silly to label bins, but this step helps designate a specific home for that item and forces a space to remain open for that item. This helps the candles not to get shoved to the back and keeps the bin space open for just candles. The next time you go to look for candles, you have a place to look, and if you buy some you have a place to put them.
This example is applicable to all areas in your home. If you’re struggling with a particular set of things, pull them out, sort through them, and find a home for them. Ideally, create a labeled bin for them so they have a designated home. This helps contain and designate and therefore keeps clutter at bay, and no more over buying birthday candles!!