People ask me an awful lot how I manage to stay organized in a small space. Usually my answer is that I stay organized in a small space in the same way that I would in a much larger space: namely by not having too much stuff to organize. But while that’s largely true, I realize that it might seem like an unsatisfactory answer. Even for someone who tries to keep her material goods in check, there’s still the question of wrangling and organizing what we do have and the wrangling of tiny things themselves can be particularly challenging. For me, a frequent solution is tiny bags. In packing for a weekend away and in keeping little things from spilling out of my kitchen cabinets, small cloth bags—typically of the variety that come for free with with gifts or clothing purchases—are probably my number one organizing secret. Not so secret anymore.
I keep one in the medicine cabinet with medicine and other things that would otherwise look cluttered and messy out on the shelf. I keep a collection of them in a kitchen cabinet where I use them to store everything from extra mason jar lids to wine bottle stoppers and extra cheese cloth and spice bags. There’s another one in my toiletry kit for stashing hair elastics. There’s a small zipped pouch with essential oils in a basket in the bathroom. And another one with nail polish. There are even slightly larger bags kept under the sink for housing plastic garbage pags and dishwasher detergent.
For me, organizing without these kinds of catchalls requires too much commitment to keeping things perfectly lined up or beautiful enough to merit display. Little bags make it easier. Because I find that anything that gets tucked out of sight can end up getting lost (or unruly), the key for not having the bags become part of the problem themselves is to keep only like with like. Once I start using a single bag to store mason jar lids and extra spice bags and bottle stoppers, the likelihood that it will also trap other unwanted things seems to grow exponentially. But keeping one small bag filled only with mason jar lids keeps the number of them that accumulate in check and means that I always know where to find them.
In case you don’t have a stash of these bags handy, here’s a little set you can buy. (Though at 50/pack I’d suggest going in with a friend or five.)
If you’re hoping for something larger and lightweight, produce bags might do the trick. And
If you’re looking for something that’s a little more sturdy, these waxed canvas ones with a zipper would be awesome.
And definitely keep your eyes peeled: there are more of these bags floating around out than you’d think.
Tiny Apartment Survival Tips #1 – 125, RIGHT HERE.