No matter how organised you are, there are always little bits and pieces that float around your house that don’t really have a home. Your blood donor card, the spare shoe laces that came with your new sneakers, the instruction booklet for your Kindle, that bit of metal that fell off the door in the bathroom. These kinds of things tend to pile up on surfaces and never get put away because they don’t really have a place to be put. I’m about to give you places to put them. You’re welcome.
Screws, alan keys and small pieces of black rubber
I’ve found so many small pieces of unidentifiable black rubber on the floor of my houses throughout my life and it’s just infuriating. Bits from the bottom of chairs, seals from fridges and tiny little cords with little plug imports that look super important. I used to have this giant bowl that I’d throw them all in but the last time I moved, I found three dead moths in it and I totally creeped myself out so now that’s not a thing. The best place to store things like rogue screws and little bits of hardware that you find around the place is in a plastic container or jar with a lid that’s stored in the same area that you keep things like light bulbs and tools. When you find a random screw or Weird Thing and you don’t know what it is, pop in the container. Then each time you move house throw anything away that you couldn’t find what it belonged to. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a lifetime of carpet savers that have fallen off chairs that you haven’t owned since the late 90s.
Loyalty cards, coupons and take away menus
There’s no point in keeping loyalty cards, coupons and gift certificates in a drawer where you can’t see them and they’ll expire. I also don’t like to carry them in my wallet because if I carried every card, certificate and voucher around with me I’d need a butler. Next time you’re at an office supply store buy a cheap pinboard and stick it to a wall near your door. So when you find something like a coupon or a voucher for an online shop that you love, pin it to the board so you don’t forget about it. Every now and then clear the board of anything that has expired or any menus from takeaway stores that you didn’t like. It’s a much better system than leaving them crumpled in a drawer, or worse still in a pile on your desk or kitchen bench.
Take all your instruction booklets and put them in a folder like the ones I mentioned in this post. If you have instruction booklets for things like the vacuum cleaner that you’ve had for ten years, just throw it away. If you have any instruction booklets that you haven’t looked at since you bought the item, throw them away. Most instruction booklets are available online. Mr Smaggle made me throw away my camera instruction booklet and I actually needed it for something so I Googled it and it was available on their website, despite the fact that the model was about 7 years old. Only keep what you absolutely need and throw the rest away. It’s also a good idea to keep things like warranties and receipts of warranted goods in this folder too.
Chargers, cables, batteries and cords
The best storage solution I’ve come up with so far for storing items like this to keep them in flat document drawers. I have a stack of about 5 sets of document drawers next to my desk at home with things like extra iPhone cords, business cards, phone cases and accessories like headphones. They’re fantastic because they’re really shallow so they don’t get messy and it makes it difficult to lose anything. You can also allocate whole drawers to single category items like travel adaptors or batteries. If you keep each drawer labelled correctly, this system will never fail you.
Buttons, shoelaces and bra straps
I keep a small drawer divider in my underwear drawer where I store things like spare bra straps, buttons and those little packets of spare thread and beads that you sometimes get when you buy a new top or dress. Some people keep these items in a sewing box but I found that my sewing box tends to get buried in a cupboard and it’s a pain to get it out. I go to my underwear drawer every day so I’ve always got a place to toss important little things like spare buttons. Again, clean it out regularly and ditch any bra straps and buttons from clothing that you no longer own.