Monday, 3 January 2022

A Return of Mundane Monday!! January 3, 2022

 Today's topic for Mundane Monday is... storage! Specifically storage in containers and labelling.

I spent a bit of time yesterday carrying Christmas decor upstairs in a laundry basket to then put things away in a variety of large plastic bins. Many of them are Rubbermaid brand bins, but not all (nope, not getting any money from Rubbermaid for naming the company). When we added onto the house many years ago, a small storage room was created with shelving (built by husband out of plywood, etc.) deep and high enough to house many, many plastic bins. This store room is known as "the Rubbermaid room".

I had a mishmash of Christmas things in the laundry basket: Santas, nutcracker figures, snowmen, a string of lights that look like the Leg Lamp from the movie (You'll know what I mean if you know that movie!)... I dragged out some of the big bins from the Rubbermaid room in order to put things away properly. I had to laugh at my labelling system. Over the years I had used a black Sharpie marker (permanent marker brand) to label what was inside, but obviously I've switched things up over the years as some labels were crossed out and new ones added. Large Santas, Snow man collection, Village 1 of 3, Tree Ornaments... I think some years I was very organized and other years I was rushed and just tossed things where they fit. Not all the labels are accurate, even now. 

I am a labeler because organization and being able to find things quickly has always been necessary in my career as a teacher. My binders were always labelled on the spine, my files were organized in a four drawer file cabinet according to subject areas, my boxes (and boxes, and boxes, and boxes, like every other elementary school teacher out there) were always labelled, but sometimes not always easy to get to as space was always lacking. 

When I was little, there were no such things as the big plastic storage containers, or clear ones (which are even better!) that exist in abundance today. Items were stored in cardboard boxes. A good solid cardboard box was a coveted thing. Some boxes ended up being ragged and floppy depending on how frequently items were retrieved or stored from that same box. The box that held the Hallowe'en costumes was one such box. I have a cousin who tells the story of how she came to our house and saw a box in a hallway cupboard where we kept toys and such and the box was labeled "Stuff". She still laughs about that today!

They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. I think the way to a woman's heart is through storage. Do tell - do you have colour coordinated storage containers, do you write on them with marker or gasp!!! do you have a label maker? Do you see a good cardboard box and think, "I need to keep that", or are you at the other end of the spectrum? Is your method of storage just a free for all and hope for the best? Perhaps you have cleared your life of extra "stuff" (ha ha, like whatever was in that box in the hall) and you have no need for storage. Or has your accumulation of worldly goods caused you to rent a storage container somewhere else? 

I look forward to hearing your comments, as always, on today's mundane Monday!

48 comments:

  1. I have cleared my life of "extra stuff" so have little need for storage and indeed most of the cupboards in my house are empty. Things that have to be kept are generally labelled and I now have a note book where I jot down what is where! It has come in very handy as it so easy to forget where I have put things. I don't keep boxes apart from for my cats who like to sleep in them.

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  2. I was excited when I bought this house because, just off the laundry room, is a storage area with shelves that fit Rubbermaid and other plastic totes. I have about 10 containers that hold seasonal items, most are Christmas. Then there are totes that hold family mementos from my parents and from my children's younger years. I've labelled them with stick on labels, but it's always a surprise when I open them because I don't have the contents listed. Rachel's suggestion of a notebook might be a good idea for me though I kind of like the anticipation of opening the boxes.

    My craft room storage is overflowing and I really need to pare down. I have a couple of three drawer plastic containers on wheels, a three tier rolling cart, and several tubs of material, yarn, floral items, and miscellaneous stuff. Nothing in there is labelled and probably ought to be!

    I rarely throw out a good cardboard box. I've been gathering them up in anticipation of moving at some point and there are shelves in the garage that are full of empty boxes. Hopefully, someday I'll get to use them!

    I must admit I don't have a box of "stuff" though I seem to remember in the last move that is how I labelled the last box of items.

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    1. I know what you mean about the three drawer rolly carts. I always find that those drawers aren't big enough but I always had them for our two kids. One word: Lego.

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  3. Ditto everything you wrote. I still prefer cardboard boxes, no idea why.... maybe easier to lift? 2022 is my year to examine, let go of excess but not the memories, and enjoy the moments with a little less "stuff".

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    1. I love a good purge, but husband does not - hence the necessity of storage.

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  4. "A good solid cardboard box was a coveted thing" -- I hear you, sister! I still have (and use) the good solid cardboard box that was our "Christmas box" when I was a kid. That friggin' box is about 60 years old now. It was sent to us full of chocolate and gifts from relatives in Switzerland. I even still use the original twine that my mother tied the box up with every year when she put it away. I should do a blog post next December about my vintage Christmas Box and taking traditions to extremes, LOL!

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    1. I'm looking forward to a photo and the title of that post: "The Box"

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  5. I think I may have to invest in some new boxes...Pirate has nabbed most of mine and what I have left are definitely the worse for wear after many moves!! I use mushroom trays..plastic stacking trays with holes..for a lot of things, but they are not ideal. Study reorganisation us the next big job

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    1. Mushroom trays! That's intriguing - I don't know what they look like.

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  6. I like the clear big bins - sometimes Rubbermaid sometimes Canadian Tire whatever’s on sale. Everything, everything is labelled with labels made on my label maker that I treated myself to years ago when I was trying to keep the kids’ stuff organised. I do a purge every year as I put the decs away.

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    1. I purged a bit last year and gave some to Value Village. And never buy a bin at full price if I can help it!

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  7. We have a waxed, orange cardboard box with nice hand holds, labeled 'White Horse Farms', and it has been a staple with us for over 40 years! It is just such a good, solid box with a divider in the middle and a lid. I keep household files that I need to access regularly, in it. Other than that, Rubbermaid or other varieties of bins it is. Most of my bins are labeled with a marker.

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    1. You and Debra (commenter above) should compare notes!

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  8. Love me a good Rubbermaid storage bin & I quite envious of your storage room. Thankfully I married a very organized man, so we are in like mind to start. We use clear hard plastic boxes for storage in the house, the shed, the garage, all the same so can easily be exchanged for location. I just watched one of many uTubes about storage, minimalism & organization ... the question was repeated - does the storage suit the need or is the need suit the storage? I'm taking a tea break to ponder that but I think I know my answer - hence why it doesn't work & I am constantly having to re-organized, sort AGAIN. ... Mary-Lou =^[..]^=

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    1. I'm not a big embracer of minimalism myself, but organization is key.

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  9. Ah, storage. I've a mishmash of it. I love my smaller (easier to carry upstairs!) bins with a nice little handle on top. They can pretty much do a full three or four-foot tree! But I seem to cart things up and down the steps in tote bags and tuck them away when I get below. Nothing is labeled, but I've had them so many years I know what is what. (Elsewhere I label.) My "job" for 2022 is to really do a number on my office -- I might either end up wiht more bins -- or a bunch of empty ones! All depends how intense I get!

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    1. Enjoy tackling that office! Sounds like a good job (resolution??).

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  10. We packed up Christmas yesterday and I managed to persuade Dh to wrap the strings of lights on card.. I labelled the boxes and I'm happy how we've done them.

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    1. It feels good to know you've packed it up to make it easier for next year.

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  11. I grew up listening to my mother bemoan the lack of storage in our family home. Once I became a home owner myself, I was soon complaining about the very same issue. In the past few years, however, I've come to realize my lack of storage is not the problem, my stuff is the problem. I'm in the process of clearing out my "extra stuff". I still have things that need to go but I'm making progress. The biggest change is in the kitchen. I can now maneuver my extra large cookie sheet out of the cupboard without getting a crick in my neck. It's actually becoming more pleasurable to cook.
    I refuse to buy storage bins. I just want to empty the ones I currently have and donate them.

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    1. No doubt many of us has too much stuff! When our daughter bought her home a while ago, she was given her storage containers of her childhood toys and keepsakes / school work. She has great storage in her house! :)

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  12. It seems to me that belongings seem to swell or diminish depending on the amount of room available for them. I dread the day I have to "downsize" as I feel it is coming on fast. Presently I have a huge crawl space but have managed to restrain myself from filling it to capacity. Last year I got the Christmas "stuff" down to 3 boxes (and, yes, one is a Rubbermaid bin). This year it is down to two. I accomplished this by getting rid of all the separate superfluous wrapping. Now to tackle the old rolled up carpet that has been down there since I moved here 25 years ago!

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    1. You need someone with a truck to help you with the carpet. You're absolutely right - we fill whatever space we have!

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  13. I can remember Mom and Dad storing things in cardboard boxes. I did as well back when we were first married and money was tight.

    God bless.

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    1. I still did at work, as cardboard (the kind paper comes in) boxes were always available.

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  14. We always had our stuff when we were kids stored in boxes. It was the 70's.. I use big plastic storage bins now.. I used to have a label maker but it wasn't a good one and the labels were so expensive I sold it so now I just use a piece of paper, tape and a sharpie marker.. LOL

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    1. I got a label maker as well, many years ago, and ended up doing the sharpie marker thing mostly.

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  15. I like organization and everything well stored for easy retrieval. For the Christmas decorations, I also have large (see through) storage bins. All my bins stack up, single file, in one area of the attic. For my strings of lights, I wind them around empty cardboard tubes of wrapping paper. Each tube holds one string. All the tubes are stored upright in a tall plastic trash bin.

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  16. I used to be just like that. Then I downsized--three or four times. My heirs and assigns will thank me.

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    1. As someone who had to help clear our her parental home of 25 + years, yes, they'll thank you!

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  17. I own TWO label makers! I too went through that rubbermaid bin phase but have managed to reduce the number of them over the past few years. I even moved to probably the smallest storage locker in my whole apt.. building but it is probably the best organized one in the whole building! :-)
    I am famous at my office for my storage room organization and friends call me in when they want their closets or kitchens redone. I love it!

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  18. Good morning Jenn, I have many many storage boxes and I label them every year in detail! Eg. Dining room window sill and lights from bookcase!
    Some even have instructions - eg - mantlepiece purple lights draped from clock hahahaha

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  19. That kicked off so many thoughts and memories - the labelled pigeon holes in my father's workshop on the farm; all kinds of treasures we could use to 'build stuff'. His Grandfather had been a blacksmith and we still had the forge, anvils, vices, drill presses... The family joke was that 'Grandad's pigeon holes were all carefully labelled, including one that said ' bits of string too short for further use.' Our storage room is called the Russian cupboard; because when you open it stuff comes rushin' out at you.

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    1. Workshops and garages could be a whole other post! My father had a very organized shop, too. I LOVE the label about the string! (I have a bag labelled "partially used batteries")!

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  20. One more note - we guess that 'storage' is a very first world problem.

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  21. Good for you on using the clear transparent Rubbermaids!! I'm still using cardboard, but everything is marked clearly by number and I have the contents in an Excel spreadsheet for easy finding. I agree that the way to a woman's heart is STORAGE AND ORGANIZATION!!! I hate things lying around everywhere!

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    1. Most of them aren't the clear kind. Look at you with your excel spreadsheet!! High five!

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  22. I always look over a cardboard box and consider it's possibilities. We went to IKEA a few years ago and got some wonderful plastic boxes. I would like to go and get a whole lot more but it's too far away and too busy now. One day!

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  23. Do you see a good cardboard box and think, "I need to keep that"... YES! A good cardboard box is like gold to me, and with the pandemic and Amazon, my computer room is overflowing with good cardboard boxes. We use them to send things to the kids and grandkids. But... I do need to go through them and only keep a few of the best size and shape.
    And since we have been in this house for 36 years, I definitely need to get rid of 'stuff'... and have on occasion, but not enough. At this rate the kids will have to go through it all when we're gone. It may have to be, "Sorry, kids, I tried..."


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  24. For years I used the large cardboard boxes from when we moved here in 1984. Those lasted a good long time but eventually had to be recycled. I have bought those large plastic boxes - not the Rubbermaid brand - the cheaper ones! I don't label them because I can see into them. I have way too much crap, tho, and look forward to getting rid of it bit by bit ... some day... :)

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  25. I'm also giggling at the box labeled STUFF. :O

    About five years ago I invested in good storage for our Christmas stuff from The Cover Store; they have these amazing soft sided ornament and tree bags. I love them. They are an investment $ and I figured after I'm gone, my girls will appreciate them as well.

    I LIVE for a label maker and a good quality cardboard box.

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  26. Happy New Year! Well said... the way to a woman's heart is storage!!!!

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  27. I'm an organization junkie, so containers, boxes, etc., are really appealing to me! I do clear out clutter every few months to keep things at a minimum but there are some items that require storage - like holiday decorations - so you'll find a few really handy storage containers around the house!

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