Trading Places

Posted by suevenman on Sep 19, 2013  

The cold wind doth blow, and we shall have snow, and what will poor robin do then, poor thing? ~ English Children’s Rhyme

Let’s continue last week’s Seasonal Swap theme with a look at household items, other than clothes, that we store when warm afternoons turn into frosty nights.

Gone are the days when we replaced cotton or rattan floor coverings with warm wool carpets. But we still need storage for lawn furniture, air conditioners and those cute little garden gnomes that don’t like the snow. The good news is that each swap comes with the opportunity to get clearer about what goes where (admittedly, I might be the only one in the room who thinks of this as good news).

What goes where is a version of the organizing principle, Containerize and Label. Storing an item based on where and how often it is used allows easier access and less crowding. Adding a label lets other people know that you’ve made a decision about storage and expect them to follow it.

Without specifically assigning a space to an item, it’s easy to “reassign” that space to whatever needs storing in the moment: where the air conditioner was last winter now houses the box of inherited tools that someday will be put up on EBay. Or, in a most-extreme case that I came across during one organizing adventure, the winter storage space for the gas grill was “reassigned” to a bargain basement coffin. Hmmm…

The best solution to this seasonal swap dilemma is when items are paired: snow shovels and garden rakes; studded snows and not-quite-all-season tires; the snow blower and the lawn mower; screen and storm windows. You get the idea. With a paired-swap, the storage space is never empty, a situation that tempts Fate and the Midnight Brownies to sneak in to store their random stuff.

Seasonally paired items should be similar not only in size, but in storage needs. A lawn mower and snow blower both need the same kind of space and are thus a good paired-swap. But carrying the third floor air conditioner down to the basement (unless you have a football player in the house) is not practical, no matter what you’re pairing it with.

Time to get creative! Pair away, Organizing Adventurers!


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