How To Keep The Stuff You Love, Love The Stuff You Keep, & Love The House You're In

If you are a person who has followed my blog or worked with me for any length of time, then you know that I am definitely NOT a fan of keeping a lot of STUFF around in our houses. (If you want to read more about that you can do so here and here )

HOWEVER, of course, there are things that we do need to keep! Things that we love, things that we use all of the time, some things that we only use once or twice a year, and things that we want to hold on to because they are special to us or because we aren't quite ready to part with them just yet--although hopefully this category is very, very small. :)

How we store these things has a big impact on how we feel about our houses and how well the spaces we live in function for us. We often muddle all of our belongings together in one confused category, and then jumble them together in all of our drawers, cabinets and closets that we need to use every day. Out of the resulting feelings of frustration and claustrophobia we blame our house (how unfair!) and say it is too small and not up to the task!  We do have a lot of nerve...

Instead of seeing this as a storage problem, we see it as a house problem. 

However, if we divide our STUFF into three simple categories, our house can suddenly seem so much bigger and more livable. Really. :)  

What are these categories? Here they are:

  1. STUFF to keep close-- these are the things we use all of the time. 
  2. STUFF to keep convenient--these are things we use somewhat frequently--maybe a couple of times a week or once a month. 
  3. STUFF for far, far away-- these are things that we use very infrequently, or family heirlooms, special keepsakes, or other things we are storing long-term. 

If you feel quarters are cramped in your kitchen, bedroom or another room you use each and every day, look at the items that are in the space and see if you are asking the room to hold things it doesn't need to hold all the time.

A good rule of thumb is:

Rooms that we use all of the time should only hold/store things we use all of the time. 

Rooms we seldom use should hold the things we seldomly use. 

To give you an example, if we look at the kitchen,  things could fall into our three categories like this:

  1. STUFF to keep close--I use my colander almost every day. I definitely should keep this right on hand and store it right where I use it. 
  2. STUFF to keep convenient--My blender gets used maybe once a quarter? (I clearly am not drinking enough Margaritas!), so this appliance is stored in the back corner of one of the least convenient cabinets in my kitchen. It takes some work to get it out, but that is okay, since I don't do it very often.
  3. STUFF for far, far away-- My huge roasting pan is only used for special family dinners, mostly on the holidays. That sucker is stored in the basement around the corner under the stairs. 

We could do this same exercise in our bedroom closet:

  1. STUFF to keep close--clothes that are our favorites for the current season. Have them right up front where you can see them so you will remember them and wear them all the time.
  2. STUFF to keep convenient--accessories or jackets that we don't wear all of the time, but can totally make an outfit. Nearby or at the back of the closet, we can access them easily to try them on as we put ourselves together for the day. 
  3. STUFF for far, far away--clothing for very specific or special occasions. My cocktail dresses that I only wear once a year, if that, are stored in a special place up in the attic. Also, clothes that are out of season can be moved out of the way and put in a more remote location so they aren't clogging the works for the half of the year they aren't in use. 

I hope that these three categories helps you to see the stuff you manage all the time--the STUFF of daily life-- a little more clearly, and I hope it helps you to make the most of the square footage you live in each day. 

Go forth and sort! :)