For the Love of Boundaries

During the pursuit of re-organizing my office, I’ve found cluttery items around that needed a new solution. This week I will share how to strategically use trays and containers that create a sense of “collections” on your desk or tabletop, rather than clutter. Not unlike the boundaries we need for ourselves, these physical boundaries, as small as they may seem, are crucial to create ease in our everyday lives.

1. Test first: As I’ve recommended in the past, always test out any container with a found object before committing to a new purchase. Too many times I’ve witnessed “The Island of Misfit Containers” in my clients homes when they rush the purchase of pretty organizers without measuring or testing first. And like most people with clutter, you probably have lids of small boxes, or even shoe box lids that will be perfect for the trial period.

Example:  I used the bottom of a pretty little box that my reading glasses came in to hold the essential oils I used during my work day. All of my oils have a home in my bathroom, but for sake of efficiency, it made more sense to have zones for the oils that I used more frequently in different areas of my home on a regular basis.

2. What would be better?: After utilizing the new temporary container for a few weeks, start paying attention to what’s working and what isn’t? Is the location making sense? Is the tray too big or too small? What color would disappear into the background? Would labeling the container be helpful? Would a box make more sense than a tray?

Example: My box lid was proving to be a bit too small. I needed to fit about 5 more bottles and the taller roller bottles were tipping over. Even though the blush color was pretty, it didn’t coordinate well with my current palette.  


3. Measure and source: Once you have realized the size, shape and color that would work best, take some quick measurements and start looking online or in stores to see what they have. Keep in mind that this may be the first of many containers you may choose to add to your space. It’s always best to stick with a neutral color as you may have to use different sources to find the sizes you need. Also, think outside of the categories they are sorted into. I have found great office trays in kitchen departments and pencil holders in the bathroom departments. Shop for the look and feel you are going for.

Example: I found the perfect container for my oils at Muji. I stopped there for another reason and was pleasantly surprised when I found this odd sized bin that was perfect for my needs. I went with a bamboo box as I have another bamboo container already on the shelf it will be sharing, and I like to stay away from plastic and use renewable resources like bamboo when possible. 


There are a few more collections for me to create before my office is complete. Little by little it’s getting there, and I’m grateful that I’ve managed to stay patient and do it the right way.