As one might imagine, keeping our belongings in some sort of order, while remaining at hand and useful, occupies much time and energy (see Finding Storage Space for Bulk Purchases). Limited space, limited shelf and counter space, a small table downstairs and desk upstairs, all limit what we can do, and how much clutter we can get away with.
Finally, we struck upon an idea, implemented it, and improved our clutter/availability dichotomy immensely.
We purchased three inexpensive plastic totes sized to slide under beds. We also got a few smaller lidded tubs that can fit inside the larger ones. We found that we have just enough space under the living room loveseat to line up these totes. Each of us got one to fill with our laptop computer and whatever else we wanted handy.
We also declared a new family rule that allows anyone to remove someone else’s stuff out of the way by putting it in that person’s tote.
This last condition probably ensures the success of this new storage solution. I am notorious for 1.) leaving my stuff piled around the room in everyone’s way and 2.) complaining if anyone moves that stuff. Under the new rule, if I can’t find something I “just set down five minutes ago!” the first place I should look will be my tote. If we all stick to that, our precious surface space will be less cluttered from now on.
We started this a few weeks ago, and so far, it works great! I even seem to maintain a comforting level of clutter to satisfy whatever urge dictates that I do so within the confines of my tote, where it neither gets in anyone else’s way, nor makes our home look messy.