Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Is This an Open or Closed Case?

Have you ever found yourself trying to access or put away an item only to find yourself frustrated or irritated by the process? I had this experience just this morning putting away the clip closure from a now empty bag which I had discarded. I went to the drawer to the zip lock bag where the clips are stored. I opened the bag tossed in the clip and closed it up. Then I wondered,

"Why does this need to be closed? Do I think the clips are going to wander around the drawer when not in use and not be there when I want them? Why can't I just toss them into an open container and skip the opening/closing process?"

And why not? Does organizing have to be complicated or frustrating? No, it does not.

Open storage is great for tossing and dropping when the contents are not likely to wander around, when you might want to see the contents. The container doesn't travel - like a lunch box would - and the contents can't move on their own. Open storage is great for children and teenagers and anyone else in the toss and drop stage of life where opening and closing items are additional stages of organizing that will be missed at the expense of the item being stored. Think of toys on a shelf for children or a teenage girl's clothes in open sliding baskets rather than a cupboard. It is also great for a storage container that you can't see - such as the clips in the kitchen drawer.

Closed storage is best for when the items can get out by themselves - think of pulling the flour off the shelf and having it spill on the floor if the storage container is not closed. It is also good for protecting the contents, like the flour, from dust or other dangers. Closed storage is also good for just getting rid of the visual noise or the sight of the item being stored. Think in this case of putting a lid on a decorative box of children's toys that are kept in an otherwise elegant living room or reducing the visual noise of a box of spare computer cables in your office.

Closed storage is harder to get into - open storage is for grab, toss and drop activity. What's in your home or office that warrants change?

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