by Susan Caplan McCarthy
Small baskets, boxes, trays, bowls, and bins can help you organize and display small belongings – or, they can become catch-all containers for things you don’t put away (or that you don’t decide where they belong). Chances are, you tossed the item in that basket to give yourself the feeling that you’d done ‘something’ with that item.
However, allowing a basket or bowl to act as a catch-all is giving clutter permission to gather – the very thing that you are working against.
Declutter Your Catch-All Containers
If you are feeling bold, give a quick glance at the jumble contents to look for any money and toss the rest. Feel an obligation to sort through the contents? Follow these steps:
Decide whether you want to keep the containers or not. Keeping them doesn’t mean that you are returning them to use as a catch-all.
Stop the Junk Drawer Mentality
Catch-all containers are like junk drawers. They are filled with items you don’t know where they belong or items that you didn’t take the time to put away.
If you don’t know where to put something – you’ve identified a problem which can allow clutter to accumulate. Decide where things belong – where will you go looking for the item? Where will you use it?
Think about the type of stuff that found its way into the catch-all containers you collected throughout your home. If most of the items were office-related, is it because you go through the mail and pay bills in the kitchen one week and at the dining room table the next because you don’t have (or don’t use) a dedicated office space?
Be strategic about the placement of your catch-all containers. A basket by the door for collecting incoming mail and a bowl for emptying the contents of your pockets can be useful. Just remember to make plans to empty these deliberate catch-all containers every night or once each week so items don’t get out of control.
I help people focus on what's important to them by guiding them through clearing clutter and distractions from their lives. I teach decluttering and organizing skills through articles; books; courses; speaking engagements; as well as virtual coaching sessions.