Active Storage: How to Organize Everything

You have many different areas in your house and each one is similar in the kind of storage it needs.  By using these simple strategies, you can make your storage the most helpful for everyone in your life. 


1. Keep Things You Use Most Within Reach.

Active storage simply means keeping items together based on the frequency of use. In your kitchen, put your knives, pots and pans where they are easily accessible–If you’re like me, you’ll use these items every day.  In your bedroom, keep regularly used items on your nightstand.  When you keep the things you use most often exactly where you need them, in easy reach, it makes it much easier to continue on with your regular business.


2. Store Items Where You Use Them.

When you store items where you use them, it makes your active storage sites so much more effective. You may need to purchase additional relevant supplies, but it will be worth it for the time and energy it saves you. We store our vacuum on our first floor because it tends to get dirtier the quickest.  I have trash bins and cleaning supplies on each level of our house. Our ironing board and iron are upstairs with our washer/dryer and all of our closets.


3. Regularly Process Items Into Storage Zones.

Your garage and basement probably already hold items that are rarely used, but inside your house should be different. Set up a location for recycling, donations, items to return to friends, supplies for school/work and any other daily tasks.  Encourage everyone in the family to put their items in these zones.  It’s much easier when everyone puts their coats away in the coat closet or their dirty clothes in the laundry themselves.


4. In The Zone? Keep it Moving.

Once you’ve organized items in each zone, arrange the items by their use.  Store rarely used toiletries on the top shelf or light jackets at the back of the closet in the winter.  By keeping the items used most in the best places, you make it easiest for you to use them and move on.


5. Start with the right supplies.

You don’t need to purchase new storage items to make this work, you can re-purpose storage bins, tubs and containers that you already own based on what you need.  Think about what you’d like to store and make sure you can find, re-purpose or purchase the right item for the job. We store tons of items in plastic tubs – our reusable plastic container lids in our reusable plastic containers and our medicine in dollar bins from the big box store.  Keeping like items together and using supplies available, make our active storage easier.


6. Small Steps Make A Big Difference.

Active storage doesn’t mean reorganizing your entire life, it’s simply taking a little time to set up a system that works for you and sticking with it.  By spending as little as 15-minutes a day maintaining your active storage zones, you’re able to keep your house, your car or anything organized and stress-free. If this task seems to big, start with one room in your house–like the kids toy room (finally get all the toys in one room)–or think of the largest time-waster in your daily routine.  Adjust this to incorporate the items you need when you need them and where you need them.  After you see this success, move on to the next area.


7. It Gets Easier.  

Like any changes you’re making, the more you use Active Storage, the easier it becomes to continue using it.  Storing items where you need them saves time on your daily routine allowing you to take a more restful pace or to use your Bonus Minutes for things you enjoy. Remember to be realistic about a process that will really work for you.  You can regularly find “Remember Piles” in our house, helping me to get the items to the storage area where they will remain for their use.  I store items on the side of the stairs to go up or downstairs, I Organize our Media cases (like these movies) by the back door for garage storage and I keep items by our Home Entrance, so I remember to give them back to friends and family.


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