|stack of banker's boxes|
Emilie Barnes, a highly respected home-and-office organization expert, has a wonderful idea for dealing with those things we want to keep but don't need to have out handy for every day, things like seasonal decorations, linens, and dishes, mementos from special occasions, the children's school memorabilia, tools, out of season clothing -- anything.
We aren't ready to give such things away but we don't want to clutter our drawers and closets with them where they can get lost or damaged. We also want to be able to locate such things easily when they are needed.
Mrs. Barnes, who has a huge gift for common sense, tells us to buy a number of uniform-sized white boxes ("banker's boxes"). As you fill a box with items, assign a number to the box and prepare a corresponding index card for the box with the same number written on it. Record on the index card all the contents in the box. Do this for every box. Keep the index cards in a file box.
About three years ago I decided to follow her advice. We were getting new carpeting for two floors of our house, and if you've ever been through that experience, it's almost easier to move! Everything has to be picked up and moved and then put back. Before the new carpet was installed, I decided to go through all of my "stuff" to see what could be eliminated. Everything that remained either went back into the drawers and shelves where they belonged, or it got organized into the white boxes with numbers and carried down to our basement store room. It has proven to be a wonderful plan for me.
I did do one thing different. Mrs. Barnes came up with this idea many years ago, at a time when index cards were in vogue. Today it's easier to use a computer. I used a Mircrosoft Excel program to list the items in each of my boxes. Excel has a search feature so that I can type in what I want and it tells me the number of the box where it is stored. More times than I can remember, I have used this computer program to locate something in the boxes, greatly impressing my husband with my sense of orderliness.
|close up view of a numbered banker's box|
Now that we are preparing to move into a new house, I am very interested in going through everything to see what can be thrown away, donated, or sold. I am currently in the process of going through every one of those white boxes to see what can be eliminated. As I do that, I update the computer program and then stack the boxes out in the hall outside of the store room. I've got to tell you, I get a real thrill to see all those boxes stacked up. There's nothing like being able to see evidence of what I've been doing all day!!
|my laptop computer on a table in the store room,|
helping keep track of the numbered boxes