Organizing on the Cheap

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So the time finally came for me to tackle the downstairs work bench – again. Why had I been putting this off and off, choosing to ignore the problem rather than just deal with it?  I was fairly happy with the basement storage area in general, but that work bench….things were “sort of” organized, aka loosely put in general piles.  But when it came to finding things the piles were hasslesome (did I just make up a new word?).

So here’s our work bench before.

First stop – Dollar Tree for some cheap containers.   Normally I don’t recommend clients buy containers before they do a good purge – most have a lot of sorting to do and it’s better to know about how many containers you really need, but I knew the majority of everything on this work bench was going to stay, so I jumped ahead.  I knew this was also part of the project that was stalling my progress.  Sometimes there are so many different container choices at so many different stores at so many different prices it can make your brain spin.  I usually start at the Dollar Tree because I can usually find a container I need at a price about five times less than every where else.  But please, get rid of what you no longer need before you buy containers!

One of the biggest problems was the loose extension cords.  I’d read on numerous blogs about using toilet paper rolls to corral the mess and it worked like a charm:

I wrangled some of the longer extension cords with a little trick I learned in the stagehand union:

Normally it would be recommended to tie with a bow tie so you can easily open the knot when you need the cord.  But I was using what was available around the house for this project, and this heavier rope was what I found first and it was too thick to do a bow tie, so a loose knot had to do.

So, about $9 and one hour later (including the time it took for me to go to the Dollar Tree), the work bench looks like this:

It’s true it would have been better if I could have found a few bins that were longer, but sometimes you just have to say “Good Enough” or “I’m organized Enough”.  This is one of the biggest lessons I have learned in organizing over the years – it doesn’t always have to be beautiful, but it should at least be functional.

Why had I been putting this project off so long?  Probably because it was fairly easy to ignore being in the back basement part of the house.  But man, it sure feels good to have this one nagging area finally addressed in a way that works for everyone in the household.

What projects are you working on this week?

Holistic Professional Organizer and Coach at Synergy Organizing, LLC

©Synergy Organizing 2012

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