Home Organizing Basics

Strategies such as labeling and vertical storage will help keep order on the home front.

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Go Vertical

For books, files or papers, vertical storage beats horizontal storage every time. What is horizontal storage? It's a pile. A stack. One thin, rectangular object stored on top of another. A stack of books on a coffee table. Files in a tray on a desk. Magazines stacked next to a table, on the floor. To reach one book, one file, one magazine, you must move them all and chances are, you won’t take time to move them all back.

Vertical storage, like that offered by hanging files or bookcases or tabletop file boxes, makes it easy to find the file or letter you need. Simply flip through the hanging files, peeping at the papers within. In a vertical magazine file, it’s easy to find the issue you want and you won’t disturb the rest of the magazines when you pull it from the storage box.

Our child’s book flip-file illustrates the principle perfectly. Finding the right book is a matter of flipping through the covers; replacing it doesn’t require moving the other books. Similarly, sewing enthusiasts know that hanging fabric lengths from clothes hangers makes it much simpler to find the fabric they’re looking for and with no need to disturb other lengths folded in a pile. In geometry, there’s no preference, but when organizing, take the vertical over the horizontal any day!

DVDs, stored vertically in a box with labels facing up, make it easy to find cinema favorites (image 1). Photo labels provide a peep inside closed storage containers and help you find just the right shoes for an evening out (image 2). Hanging file folders allow quick search-and-replace options for stored paperwork (image 3).

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Excerpted from Houseworks, by Cynthia Townley Ewer

Text Copyright © 2006, 2010, Cynthia Townley Ewer, extracts from Houseworks, reproduced with permission from Dorling Kindersley Limited

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