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Five Ways to NOT Buy Storage

Posted on: January 1st, 2014 by Alison Hodd

January is storage and organization month.  Every magazine at the checkout line has a headline telling us how to Control Our Clutter! and Get Organized!.  We’re been given “How to Safely Pack Up Your Decor!” solutions.  I was convinced I’d have to stock up on Rubbermaid containers until I did these 5 things.

1. Go through containers I already have.

Pitch, give away or find a better home for any contents not worth that vessel.  I uncovered 4 containers (2 large, 2 small) this way.

Savings $28.

2.  Stow away everything in garbage bags my kids haven’t played with or read in a month.

It’s ruthless, I know.  But have you ever spent a day at IKEA figuring out the right set of storage bins for all the new stuff your kids got for Christmas.  I have.  Learn from me.  I beg you.  Once you’ve chosen the right type of storage solution, waited in line, unpacked it, built it, labelled the bins, and sorted the toys only to have your dear ones only play with 1/4 of the things in those fin bins – you’ll see this wisdom.  I’m through with buying more storage for my kid’s stuff.  If they ask for something stowed in the garbage bags in the next week, I’ll haul it back out.  Otherwise, it’s being given away or thrown out.  This includes dolls, doll accessories, books and games.

Side Note 1: I have a friend who’s Mom saved EVERYTHING from her childhood.  Her and her siblings are now adults with kids.  The grandparents can’t renovate the basement because there is TOO much of their kid’s childhood belongings down there.

Side Note 2:  Did you know that you can’t donate anything with any stuffing in it?  To find a new home of love for our “stuffies” I hosted a carnival party.  The “prizes” for winning midway games were my kids once-loved and now well-washed but “unwanted” stuffies.  (Aaaaaand we celebrated by husband’s 40th.  A side effect.)

Savings: IKEA Storage $125 (at least!)

3. Pack wrapping supplies in your largest gift bag.

Most of us reuse or have leftover wrapping supplies.  I smooth out, fold and stack tissue paper, keep wrapping paper, and flatten bags.  I tuck everything in the largest gift bag and stick it all in a closet or under a bed.  Done.  No need to line up at Storage Solutions for “the perfect” clear tote. Now you have time to download Songza and find crazy playlists.

4. Use What You Already Have in New Ways.

Now that we shop on-line we have lots of cardboard boxes to store Christmas decorations.  I don’t use fancy wrapping or boxes.  I just  use newspaper to wrap delicate ornaments and put everything in a cardboard box.   Grocery Gateway boxes are my favourite.  Shhhh…..

Savings: $30-100

5. Save some gifts for Summertime.

My kids have winter birthdays so they get the things they want now.  I have a high shelf where I keep items that I think they’ll enjoy more in 6 months.  This way I don’t have to find a way to store everything right now.  When we pull it out 6 months from now we can figure that out.

Side note:  I have forgotten about these gifts before because I put them on a very high shelf.  I’m 5’10 1/4″  – so I have no excuse.  Today my husband (6’2″ found them) Ooops!  Send yourself a reminder so that it’s a nice surprise.

Savings:  Hard to estimate, but it would be nice to have an “End of School Year” surprise gift on hand.

Do you avoid buying more storage?  Or is a trip to a Big Box Home Improvement Store on your list?  I’d love to know!


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