Five Boxes

March 22, 2008

My storage unit is hard to get to in the winter because of the snow and ice on the ground. It’s not heated, and I don’t want to risk carrying heavy things on icy walkways. I haven’t been there yet this year. Therefore I’ve been trying to focus on organizing/purging what is with me here in my rented living space.

Most of my possessions here are inside cardboard bankers boxes. Not including the stuff stored inside (and on top of) furniture, the floor, and in the closet. My efforts last year on this reduction project led to throwing out the randomly sized cardboard boxes I had picked up along the way during my years of “collecting”. Enough volume was purged so that the remainder could fit only in the bankers boxes I had. About 20 boxes now, which is a huge improvement. They could be put into one truckload if I had to move, so I do feel a bit of freedom. Plus it helps my sanity that the boxes are a uniform size and shape. Having randomly sizes boxes and baskets of things piled up around me was much harder to deal with. When four boxes are stacked up on the floor I perceive it as one tower of stuff instead of hundreds of little cluttery things to look at. Less overwhelming to live with day-to-day.

But I don’t want to live with all this junk of course, so the plan is to reduce the number of boxes. Everything is now sorted into five general categories. My ultimate goal (perhaps unreachable) for this Spring season is to reduce all of this down to only five bankers boxes, one for each category.

  1. Paper – for my files, projects, archives
  2. Books – this will be really tough, but only one box of all my books and magazines
  3. Tools – all physical utility items, including kitchen utensils
  4. Media – DVDs, music CDs, photographs, cards, letters
  5. Random – a “clutter at hand” box

The random box is for miscellaneous stuff that I don’t know where it goes, so it usually winds up on various flat surfaces. I’ll use a bankers box just for the random clutter. When I’m not clear on where something goes, it goes in the box. Then I can clean it out and put things away once in a while. The agreement with myself must be that my limit on this stuff is that one box. This way it’ll be limited and kinda organized.

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