Contained Categories


Introducing my favorite prescription for messy areas anywhere in the house: Contained categories.

We know all about categories. We learned about them in preschool. Things that go together -- things that cut, things with fur, things that are shiny, things that measure, things that play music, things you eat.

If you revert back to a Sesame Street state of mind, you can actually find great success in sorting out the stuff in your spaces according to their category.

Once you determine a category, contain it. Give it a space all its own, either a corner of a drawer, the end of a shelf, a bin, a box, a bucket, a container with a lid. Each category gets contained.

And here's the most important key to containment success: One category per container. I know it doesn't always work when space is limited. But when you can, try to keep categories separated in a way that makes sense to you. Once you start mixing different groupings together, you have to remember where they live. Then I start finding myself asking, "Why can't I find X? I thought I put them with the Ys!" And now you're opening drawers and containers trying to remember which groups you mixed together.

My kitchen utensil drawer has 4 contained categories: spoons that measure, cups that measure, spoons and forks for serving, and things that peel and poke. I know that sounds simplistic but it works! You create categories that make sense to you.

The junk drawer has 6 or 7 contained categories: things that provide power (batteries, extension cord, adapters), things that puncture (pins, screws, and nails) things that pinch (clothespins), things that protect (furniture glides).

Create your categories, then contain them. Quick. Simple.

For more detail on containing categories, here's a video to help!

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