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October 02, 2017

The Secret to Picking the Proper Container

Who doesn’t love pouring over Pinterest’s images of a perfect pantry or savvy storage area? All those items neatly tucked into the color-coordinated bins that just ring with harmony. If only we could make our storage spaces look just as tidy?

But who really has a place that gorgeous?! I’ve worked behind the scenes with a well-known house-flipping blogger and learned a few secrets along the way. Have you noticed that their “after” pictures often have a few extra staging elements like fresh flowers or cut fruit, and a few less real-life elements like half-empty cereal boxes and make-up stained towels? It’s true! Bloggers KNOW which photos trend best, so they edit their shots just like they would edit their posts. They deliver the most beautiful, most desired content; not necessarily the most functional or realistic.

Don’t be mad. Like every author, they’re creating beautiful images in word and photo that encourage your imagination to bloom to greater heights. Instead, get excited. These behind-the-scenes truths translate into room for imperfection in real life and grace for yourself.

So now that you’ve seen the lovely linen closet, realized that the photo was a bit of blogger magic (with the reality tucked just out of lens’ reach), it’s time to evaluate your own space.

What items have you stashed on the shelves that don’t really belong there? What kind of blogger photo magic can you conjure up yourself just by returning the stow-aways? What things belong there but should be moved down a shelf or closer to their point of use? Finally, what categories of items do you have that could be neatly tucked away into a few containers to keep them organized?

This is where the real magic begins. The secret to creating a beautiful storage solution is to use bins that are the proper size for what you wish to contain.

Using your handy dandy measuring tape, get a rough estimate of how big of a bin you’ll need by measuring the length, width, and height of the category of items in front of you. Next, measure the available space on your shelf, or under the cabinet, or wherever you’re planning to place your items. These are your minimum and maximum container sizes.

Next, go to your basket and bin stash. We all have one. It’s the place where bins go to die…ahem….I mean: earn inches of dust before we decide it’s time to donate them. No judgment. (Scroll down for a sweet cheat sheet on the types of baskets and bins you SHOULD keep in your stash.)

Look for a bin that matches the color scheme, style, and size range you’ll need. If you can’t find one, try shopping around your house. If there is a bin being used elsewhere that you might be able to swap with one in the stash, do it. If not, jot down the min/max size requirements, style, and color preferences onto your Goodwill shopping list for the next time you hit the thrift.

Updating an old bin or basket is easy. While a can of spray paint is my go-to solution, you can also use fabric and hot glue or scrapbook paper and modge podge.

Happy hunting!

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