18 September 2011

How to Pack Storage, Psycho-Organized Version

Even though we make our home in Africa, we usually spend most years in Colorado and in Ohio. Naturally, this leads to an accumulation of stuff. Mikey thought our ‘stuff trail’ was bad a few years ago. Well, that was nothin’ compared to our stuff trail now with kids. Sorry babe.

Our stuff in Colorado fills a 10 by 10 storage unit that contains lots of clothes that are growing outdated with each passing season, an entire household worth of goods and furniture, minus my favorite couches that my husband convinced me to sell when we packed our storage up (for the second time) in 2010, just after the birth of sweet N. I (somewhat reluctantly) agreed to sell my fav couches because we knew that IKEA would be open in Denver by the time we would possibly move back to Colorado again and set up another home. But that is a serious rabbit trail.

We haven’t really gotten into this storage unit much in the past five years except for that six months in 2009-2010 that we unexpectedly found ourselves moving back into our small house while Mike got his bachelor’s degree in record time and I incubated, nested-for and birthed my sweet daughter.

Our Ohio storage on the other hand is much more fluid. We get into it each time we’re home for a visit. In it I can find my library cards, my 'America' clothes, winter-wear for everyone (no use for THAT in Africa), outgrown kiddie clothes, toys that didn’t fit in the luggage and a thousand other random things that we may or may not need when we return home for another visit someday.

Problem is, I can’t remember from year to year what we have in storage and I do not ever want to bring something home from Africa to the U.S. if it’s something I already have in the U.S. Cause that would mean one less NEW thing fits in our luggage on the way back.

Oh my. Are you confused? Our lives are a tad bit complicated, I understand.

SO (Am I getting to the point, you wonder?) a couple years ago I created a system to quickly and easily know what we have in storage in my parent’s basement. And I have recently improved upon that system. This organization and efficiency brings life to my soul, so I’ll share it with you now, in case you care and ever find yourself having to pack up and store your life in three different places.

The first step in this process is to organize your junk into various categories. My piles included books, Mike’s clothes, kids’s toys, boy clothes, car stuff etc.


This bin has already been labeled “Girl Clothes” and “Baby Stuff”. (Ha! That sentence made me feel like I am on a cooking show or something and my project was magically prepared.)


First, take a picture of the empty tote. When you load the pics on your computer, this will be your indication that the following pictures are things that are included this category (and are therefore in this very tote).

Now, plop yourself on the carpet with the pile of stuff that fits in this category on one side of you and the empty bin on the other. And get ready to lay stuff out, click your camera and toss it in the bin.


Click: Awwwww! Baby girlie sleepers! Remember when she was so teensy and tiny?

Now toss (or fold) them into the bin.


Click: Her sweet blankets! Every time I pack these away I try and TRY to find a reason to need these heavy, soft and gorgeous blankets in my sauna of a country in Africa. But I never can find that reason and I reluctantly pack them away. So sad.


Click: Newborn outfits. *Sniff*


Click: Cupcake hoodie and leggings. Maybe she could still fit into that this ‘winter’ in Africa?? Probably not…


Click: Eensy onesies. The sweetest.


Click: Cupcake cardigan!! Oh please oh please oh please can I have another girlie so she can wear this too?!! (Nope, not pregnant, thanks for asking.)


Click: Summer romper! She wore this one all the way through Asia, but it’s on the tight side now with a disposal diaper, so she certainly won’t be able to wear it with her cloth diapered bum on the other side of the globe.


Click: Her newborn hats. I love them.


Click: A handful of items that will fit her in a year’s time. I wouldn’t want to forget that she has a super cute pool-towel-dress to grow into, would I?

Not Pictured: A hundred more things that I won’t bore you with.


Finally, take a picture of the fully packed tote. This is your indication in your photo file that the baby girl clothes tote has finished being inventoried.

Then repeat the whole process with the next pile and tote.

That’s it! I did about a dozen totes (ahem, I mean only a couple totes, Honey!) like this before we left Ohio a couple weeks ago.

And it brings peace to my bones. Amen.

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