Today I've been thinking about storage, and how that too can become clutter of its own — the tubs, boxes, bins, baskets und so weite pouring out in mass-produced helpfulness to assist us in managing our spilling mounds of stuff. Then we end up not with fewer things and more space, but bringing home more things to help us organise and store the things we already have.
I like re-using packaging as storage, because I haven't bought it specially so I have no qualms about putting it out for recycling or tearing it up for kindling when something changes to make it no longer useful. Shoe boxes make particularly good multi-purpose storage.
The things for which I need storage in my room are clothes, stationery and a few sewing things, toiletries and supplements, and a considerable collection of toys to photograph for stories. Of those items, the category I need least and should leave behind if the house burned down, are the toys. But then there's Marie Kondo's question, "Does this spark joy?" The toys and the stories serve no practical purpose, earn no money, take up time and space — they are the ideal minimalist target for elimination. And yet, when so much has gone, I continue to make room for them, because they spark joy in me and in others, the stories they reveal in the world inspire reflection and insight; they enrich the imagination, they do good. And that's why I keep them, even though they take up a lot of my space. I know I won't always keep them. The time will come for them to travel on. But for now they live with me.
The toys just occupy a shelf (actually, a shelf-and-a-bit). They have few belongings — the clothes I made them, a cooking pot, a small collection of books, and some wool threads for their fake fire.
My clothes are mostly organised into packing cubes, which I find very helpful. My stationery lives in two sets of plastic office drawers, along with the sewing things.
My supplements — gosh, I wish they didn't come in such massive bottles! — are at present stuffed into a collection of plastic boxes that really belong in the kitchen for occasional food storage by everyone in the house. I haven't finished rationalising this category, yet. There's a few things I'm finishing off that I don't take on a regular basis, which I got because they boost the immune system, as a precaution when the pandemic infection rate was high. I do have quite a few regular supplements, though (which I certainly miss if I stop taking them) to support my vascular system, and my liver and gall-bladder — those are my health areas where I need a bit of help. But my goal is to have the fewest possible bottles, in the tidiest possible storage. Alongside them, my toiletries (skin cream, shampoo, dental hygiene stuff) live in their own plastic box handy for ferrying them to and from the bathroom.
Once I am satisfied with the harmonious organisation of all this, I'll take a photo to show you. It's not quite there yet — on a sudden inspiration at twelve o'clock last night, I moved everything around.
But moving on things no longer needed on the journey continues.
I had three of these jugs.
Two, I sent on their way some time ago. But when it came time for them to go, I realised I didn't really need the third one either. It's yet another example of useful storage that is itself, in a sense, merely unnecessary clutter.
In the same way, I kept this useful little box, and printed off a photo of a rug to stick to it, thus upcycling it into a home altar — I was showing children at church how they could do this, at the time.
Once I'd made it I liked it, so I kept it — a familiar path to tread. It felt sad to put it out in the recycling bin. But in the end I re-purposed it as attractive and sturdy packaging for something else mailed out into the world. I took off the labels from the little boxes on top and re-used them as components in a crafter's kit I made of odds and ends, for Freegle.