By Mary Lynn Bruny

It’s January, which means some of us feel a biological imperative to organize our mass amounts of stuff. Along with the additional poundage some of us have incurred over the holidays, we (and our offspring) also have more belongings – gifts – that have weaseled their way into our abodes. Suddenly we look around at our holiday-worn homes with their bedraggled decorations and gifts strewn about and think, “This place is flipping out of control. We need some dang order.”

And lo and behold, smart product marketers have been at the ready for this exact moment, this very thought to skitter across our fired-up brains. Visit any home improvement retail establishment (if one now dares) after December 25th and the holiday merchandise has been whisked out of sight like a distant memory and swiftly replaced with mounds of storage solutions of every size and type.

During “normal times” it’s at this juncture – standing before isles of products – my mind seizes up. There are just too many options with associated style choices – which apparently will reflect who I am at my very soul. Am I “urban neutral” or “eclectic colorful” or “vintage industrial”? This is simply too much of an identity crisis for me. Thus I usually opt for clear plastic tubs for big stuff and clear Lucite containers for little stuff. According to my buying patters, I lack personality and originality. But lacking personality and originality, I’m okay with this.

But of course this year – the year of living dangerously – we’ll buy storage products differently. Like everything else we’ve started ordering on-line (entertainment, food, items we don’t need yet feel inclined to buy nonetheless), we will order storage products. We will get boxes delivered with other boxes inside so that we can put yet other boxes of stuff in those. I’m not sure but this may be the definition of insanity or the end of rational civilization. That being said, I wish I had invested in cardboard box manufacturing companies years ago.

But this now gets us to the most challenging organizational step: Where to put our stuff now that it’s in other stuff? Most of us simply do not have enough storage space. When have you heard someone say: “Gosh, we just have way too many places to store things.” Answer: Never. It’s never been said in the history of the world since the dawn of time. Even cave people bitterly complained about not having enough room for their spears, hides and dried mastodon meat.

Some of you sharper readers are now thinking, “Well, just get rid of some of your stuff.” Such an elegantly logical solution but of course one not embraced by most of mankind. Most folks like to hoard things like squirrels in the fall in case of an apocalypse or perhaps a worldwide pandemic. I mean it could happen, right? Oh, yeah, it did.

For whatever reason, I am an anti-hoarder and like to get rid of stuff I’m not using. My husband used to root around in the bags of clothes I collected to give away. “Why are you getting rid of this? It looks nice on you,” he’d say. I found my way around this: Some people hide shopping bags coming into their house; I hide bags for charity going out of the house.

Due to my semi-spacey brain, my biggest organizational problem is I often forget where I’ve stored this or that. If I were a squirrel, I definitely would not survive an apocalypse or probably even a mild winter. Good thing I am a human with see-through storage boxes. Boring but practical, just like me.

By Mary Lynn Bruny, At Home Colorado. Mary Lynn writes about local real estate and home-related topics. Contact her at [email protected].