Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review that Storage - You might find something you forgot

Camping Organization
My family has been going tent camping for ten years now. For several years we used storage tubs to hold our kitchen supplies. The tubs were rain proof but it was no fun to dig through the tub to find what we needed.  Nor was it fun when everything had to be put back just so.  My organizing solution was to use drawer carts instead of the tubs. The drawer carts make items so much easier to access.  We still use some tubs for food items and bigger kitchen supplies. To make the drawer carts rain proof, we purchased a vinyl grill cover that fits over them.

How Camping relates to Minis
Drawer carts aren't expensive but when every dollar counts, so temporary repurposing saves money.  The drawer carts I have are all used normally to hold miniature supplies.  Part of my camping routine now involves removing miniature supplies from a drawer cart and then filling it with the camping supplies.  I don't use the miniature supplies while camping so I just store them in whatever I have on hand.  When I return and unpack from camping I refill the drawer cart with the miniature supplies.  

Here is a pic of the filled drawer carts for camping: 

If you look closely at the pic you may see there is writing on the front of each drawer.  My family frequently asks me where is …? and this was my answer to that.  It didn’t stop the question, but it did reduce its use.

Labeling drawer carts
Since these carts are used for minis and only temporarily for camping, I use clear packing tape that I stick on the front.  Then I use a permanent marker to write the contents.  I have never bothered doing this labeling for the miniature supplies, but I should.   

Removing labels
I remove the packing tape label when we get back from camping so the mini supplies can go in instead.  If I ever buy a set just for camping then I would leave the labels on. Removing the tape/label is really easy and if any residue remains then I would use one of the citrus based cleaners which really work. 

More organization in drawer carts
This year I added some smaller bins in a drawer to help contain the silverware.  I am even thinking I want to look at a thrift store to find a used utensil drawer liner.   

Second drawer cart organizing solution for camping
This year I decided to take this idea one step further.  We normally use a bag of some kind to hold our clothes.  Packing a bag is one thing but living out of one is another.  I have tried using multiple smaller bags, but it was still a hassle.  I decided I wanted to store my clothes in drawers as well. 

Here it is view of my first choice which normally holds miniatures supplies: 

I removed all the miniature supplies and began packing my clothes in it.  Then my husband comes in an questions whether or not it would work.  His concern was would there be enough room for both our clothes – yes, and would it fit in our tent – no.  Our tent has sloped sides and we usually put the bags of clothes at the end of the bed where it is quite low. It can’t go there, but it could fit in the middle.  However that space is usually taken by beds.  So hubby convinced me this one wasn't going to work.  But I wasn't defeated about using drawers for our clothes yet.  
I had some other storage drawers around the house that I emptied. These provided my husband and I with two narrower drawers and one wider drawer each.  

These actually worked out way better than even the two carts I use for the kitchen things as we were able to stack them however we wanted.  In my hubby's case he uses a battery powered fan so he can sleep at night.  The fan always before sat on the bag of clothes and each night had to be adjusted so it would sit right.  This time he was able to set one drawer separately for the fan to set on.  These drawers also acted as bed side tables.  Another thing was that the combination of two sizes the drawers weren't straight up and down as in wider at the bottom and that worked great with the slope of the tent.

One serious advantage to the drawers is that when our tent was being flooded from the bottom up - our clothes were staying dry unlike a cloth bag would.  When it rained before, we would set the bags on the air mattresses, but didn't need to do that with these plastic drawers.

Storage Review
Finding that second camping storage solution had me emptying out current solutions for miniature supplies.  I rediscovered items I had forgotten I had. I found an unopened box of small plastic boxes that I thought had all been used up. It occurred to me that going through my storage could be a really good idea to help me be more organized. 

My suggestion is this: once a year, go through every box of storage, especially those spaces that don’t get opened very often.  Don't just open it to get something out.  Instead take everything out and look at what is stored in that space.  Even if all that gets done is putting everything back into the same storage box/bag, fresh memories of what was there will be created.

If doing this all at the same time is too much, do a few boxes each month or an area every other month, or whatever, but the point is to look at what you have so it becomes fresh or new.  This may even help for remembering not just what one has, but where things are. It may even help you decide to pay forward something to someone else, whether you sell it or give it.  It might help you to avoid buying two (or more) of something you already have.  It could spark a new bout of creativity.  At the very least, it will remind you of what you have.