Organizing, Redesign & Staging

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Too Many Extras

Being prepared sometimes is a disadvantage when it comes to having extras of foodstuffs, paper goods, housewares, etc. Whereas you might think you're being organized by having extra or back-up items, sometimes there is too much of a good thing. You have to deal with the storage of the regularly used items plus the ones you're keeping in the kitchen.

Here are some thoughts on the rationale I hear when trying to sort/purge/reduce inventory:

  • "I need all of them because sometimes when we have parties or people over, we need that many". > Use an annex or pantry to store extra foodstuffs, servingware and utensils as well as special or one-occasion kitchen items. That way, when you need them, you have them, assuming you truly do. Things you don't use often should be taking up valuable real estate in the kitchen.
  • "This item is for (insert special type or situation) and that one is for (insert another special type or situation). I cannot possibly intermix them or use that one for something else". > Back in the olden days, when there was less variety and fewer options, people dealt. They survived. Just remember, the more stuff you have, the more you have to store, clean, move, deal with, etc. Consider whether you are creating rules and procedures that really don't need to be in place.

  • "We use all of those." > There is no way you can or probably use a large number of glasses or utensils in a given week. Normally we use then wash things in a 2-day period on average, and then likely grab the same or another similar item the next time they are needed. One tip is to take all of the contents of a drawer or shelf out and put into a box on the counter. During a normal week, when you need one of the items from the box, pull it out and when done, it goes back to its spot in the drawer or on the shelf. At the end of the week you'll know what you use on a regular basis, and whatever is still in the box is not one of those!