We recently organized our freezer with a shelf riser and a couple of storage baskets from the Container Store and learned two things:
- I had been buying bag after bag of frozen chicken thighs because I kept thinking we were out. I think there were four bags in total, two opened.
- Once we had the riser and baskets in place, it was much easier to get to everything (and tell whether we were indeed out of something), but less total stuff fit in the freezer.
This second observation is an instance of a general principle: organization takes space. There’s the volume occupied by the organizing tools themselves (often very small), but the arrangement puts such a constraint on what shapes are left to be filled—under the riser, inside the baskets—that less of what we might want to store there will fit. That’s why we still have a “junk drawer” in our kitchen that contains all of our small kitchen tools higgledy-piggledy: if we tried to put in neat little dividers so that everything were easily accessible, it wouldn’t all fit inside.
But sometimes the space taken up by organization is worth it. We’re very happy with our new freezer system, and now that we can tell what’s inside, it doesn’t need to hold four bags of frozen chicken thighs. I’m also much happier with how I’ve spent my day when I make a plan and check in with it throughout the day, even though it takes time and effort that I’m not always happy to spend in the moment, and even though it means I do more chores and have less time for fun things. And if, like me, you have trouble with negative self-talk, investing a little of your brainpower in keeping your other thoughts in check can pay massive dividends.
I’m curious: what are some areas of your life where the space taken up by organization is or isn’t worth it?