This is another one of those tendencies that I've spent a lot of time beating myself up over. I mean, it seems so simple, doesn't it? "A place for everything, and everything in its place."
The problem is that I'm really an out of sight, out of mind person. And once I put something "away" it's like it simply vanishes. Honestly, I often feel like putting it away is the equivalent of throwing it away, because once it's out of my visual field, the chances of me ever finding it again are quite slim.
Seriously, one time I was putting on my jacket, and since this task required two hands, I momentarily stuck my keys in my mouth. But as soon as the keys were no longer visible to me, I couldn't find them. CatMan nearly died laughing as I was standing there exclaiming through a mouthful of keys that I'd lost my keys and couldn't find them!
CatMan teases me incessantly about my disorganization. He's suggested (only partially in jest) that what I need is a database telling me where all my stuff is. OY!
Enter the carpet beetles.
Dealing with this situation has meant that I literally had to go through every single thing that I owned. I purged a great deal, and for the rest I had to find storage solutions that would not leave things vulnerable to infestations. For things that are attractive to beetles (natural fibers including cardboard, and any sort of fabric) this meant sealed air tight containers. Everything else required containers with lids, that aren't made of cardboard. All of that translated into plastic bins... a LOT of plastic bins.
Initially, I just took everything that had been in boxes or baskets, cleaned it out and put it into plastic bins with lids. And while being able to see the contents of the bin through the clear plastic was a definite improvement, it didn't do much for the chaos of my system-less storage system.
This became very evident one day when my rear bike light fell off and broke. The light still functioned, but the plastic clip that holds it to the bike was broken. I was really bummed because this was an expensive light, so rather than pony up $30 to replace it, I decided to try to glue the broken piece back on.
Thus began "Glue-Quest 2016."
Now, I was sure that I owned a lot of different varieties of glue, and I wanted to choose the best one for this particular application, so I wanted to see all of the different glues that I had to choose from.
Oh. My. God.
I'm not kidding here... it took me the better part of an afternoon to search through the house gathering all of my tubes of glue. There was one in the kitchen junk drawer, a few in the hall closet junk box, 2 or three in various desk drawers, half a dozen in various bins, drawers, and tool boxes in the shop, a few with the sewing/crafts stuff, a few more out in the garage, and even a few in the bathroom!
Now, in my defense... all of those locations made sense in a twisted, crazy sort of way. The glue I bought to repair some shoes was stored in the closet near the shoes. The glue I bought for a craft project was in the bin with the craft stuff. The glue I bought to fix a hose was out in the garage where the hoses are kept. The epoxy I bought for a plumbing project was with the plumbing stuff. The super glue that I bought to glue on a fake fingernail over the one I tore was in the bathroom with the fake fingernail stuff. Etc., etc., etc.
But quite obviously, my "project based" storage system had some real limitations.
When I finally gathered all of the glue, here's what I was left with.
What a revelation! All of the glue in one place so I can actually find it!
Now, this is another one of those things that's probably totally obvious to those of you for whom organization comes naturally, but for me this is a completely revolutionary way of thinking.
So, I've been slowly working my way through my stuff, collecting "like objects" and putting them together.
I now have a bin for tape:
One for electrical stuff:
One for batteries:
You get the idea.
And in areas where I've got lots of stuff, I sub-divided my categories. So here are two bins of bike stuff: one for maintenance & cleaning, the other for tires and tubes:
I even put all the stuff I need on ride day together in one location:
And taking it one step further, I put the little things that I carry in my pocket for a bike ride (sunscreen, chapstick, extra gatorade powder, hankie) all together in one easy to grab plastic bag - no more forgetting the extra sunscreen! Woo Hoo!
Honestly, I have a ways to go before I get everything organized this way, but this is really having an enormous impact on the chaos factor around here.
Now, I still think that things used every day should be kept in the area where they are used. It doesn't make sense to have to go trudging down to a bin in the basement every time I need a pencil or something like that.
I think the trick is deciding which things should be considered "frequent use" and which things should be stored with their brethren. But at least now I've got a mental framework to work with, and I'm starting to think that organization might actually be possible in this lifetime.
So what's your system for storing things? I'd love to hear what does and doesn't work for you.