One of the challenges of getting clutter under control is being able to actually find things once you’ve organized them, and today’s idea helps with that – the idea of having “kits”.
What’s a “kit”?
If your family ever had an artificial Christmas tree, maybe you’ve seen this firsthand. The artificial tree comes in a box, and it frequently has quite a bit of open space around the tree pieces. When the tree gets put away, the garland, decorations, lights, etc. get packaged up and shoved in the box with the Christmas tree. That way, no matter what happens to that box – moved to the basement, shoved in the garage, or whatever – when it comes out, you have everything you need to set it up.
In fact, what are the only things you can’t usually find when you pull it out? Yup, the stuff you didn’t put in the box!
This concept isn’t particularly novel or new. After all, we’ve all heard of a “first aid kit”, haven’t we?
Kits come in all shapes and sizes – and there’s not really a correct or incorrect way to put them together. One person only used their 18 quart roaster oven on holidays, so the holiday table decorations all got put inside the roaster. Some people have a gym bag, with everything they need to work out. Sometimes these kits will even include a duplicate of something a person already has elsewhere, just to ensure that everything needed is all in one place.
So how do you create a kit?
The things in the kit should all go together in some way. That may mean it’s all used for the same purpose (first aid), all used at the same time of the year (the roaster example), all used by the same person (a backpack with day-to-day stuff), or something else. The key is that the stuff in the kit is all tied together by something.
It should be a reasonably self-contained unit. If you pull out a first aid kit, you shouldn’t have to run to the kitchen to get scissors. When you pull out the Christmas tree, you shouldn’t have to dig through 20 boxes in the garage to figure out where you put the timer for the lights. It should all be together. Sometimes this might mean buying an extra of some item. There are actually workers that have kits for certain jobs, and sometimes they’ll have extras of even expensive stuff. Don’t feel the need to go too crazy, but don’t stress about owning a few extra pens or pairs of scissors.
It should be available roughly when and where you need it. If you need a set of cables when you travel with your computer, it’s best if you keep those cables in your computer’s travel case. In that case, it might even be a “kit within a kit”. First aid kits should be easy to get to when you get injured, not in the back of a top shelf in the garage. Sometimes this means having multiple kits of the same type, like with first aid kits.
It shouldn’t be bigger than necessary. “Everything I need to go on a vacation to Maui” probably isn’t a useful application of a kit. But “toiletries for travel” is a good opportunity for one – especially if you travel frequently. Keep it limited in scope, and don’t go overboard or overcomplicate things.
It should periodically be reconsidered or evaluated. As we talked about in a previous article, containers grant permission. Just because it fits in the container for your kit, that doesn’t mean that it needs to live there forever. If your needs change, or if there’s something else that should be in there instead, don’t hesitate to adjust as you go.
It’s amazing the amount of organization you can find when you group items based on the situations in which you need them. And of course once you’ve organized the stuff you need, it makes the stuff that’s less useful much, much more apparent – which gives you some prime targets for donation, recycling, and disposal.
If you find yourself at that “donate, recycle, or dispose” stage, and could use a little extra muscle, that’s exactly what we do. We help people get rid of their junk, whether that’s a few heavy boxes or a whole house full of unwanted stuff. And unlike just putting your junk out for the garbage company, we even handle that “donate, recycle, or dispose” part for you. If you’ve had some organizing success but have a bunch of leftover junk, just give us a call to make it disappear. Here’s to your continued organizing success!