Organizing Tip: How To Easily Find Stored Items

Printing storage vault, Imagerie d'Epinal, Epinal, France, photography by R. Isip

Printing storage vault at the Imagerie d’Epinal in Epinal, France.

Ever organize and store items at home or in the office…and then promptly forget where you’ve put those items?

How frustrating!

Today’s post offers both practical and creative tips on how to easily find items in storage.

Before we begin, special thanks to T.G. for suggesting today’s post!

Make a cheat sheet.

One of the easiest ways to keep track of what you’ve stored is to make a cheat sheet or short list of where things are kept. How you construct your list is up to you: you could list items stored in various rooms, closets or cabinets, draw a simple diagram, record a short digital voice memo or video to jog your memory, and so on. Find a permanent, visible and well-frequented home for your cheat sheet so you won’t misplace it.

Add storage locations into your to-dos.

If you routinely take items out of storage for holidays or other gatherings, add a little storage location note into your calendar or schedule. For example, if you unpack holiday ornaments on a certain date each year, make a little note to yourself, “Unpack holiday ornaments: they are located in the large oak chest in the attic near the small window.” When unpacking or repacking items, make it a habit to make a note for yourself for next year.

Use color-coding.

Store items with similar functions in color-coded containers, boxes, bag and crates. You could devise different colors for each room of your house (red for kitchen, blue for bathroom, for example) or store by purpose (financial papers in a green storage container, summertime/beach supplies in a yellow container, etc.) for easy retrieval.

Use a mnemonic device.

Are there certain areas or rooms in your home or office that you already associate with certain storage arrangements or functions? If you have a guest room, you might store and easily remember that you keep unused suitcases there (guest=travel=suitcases) or perhaps additional linens and towels (guests=more people=more linens). What about a finding a ring of household keys in your kitchen? Grease in your garage? Or additional bedding in your bedroom?

How about you? Which way (or ways) do you prefer to store items? Do you take a practical or more creative approach…or perhaps both? Leave a comment below.

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    About the Author


    Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based productivity coach and consultant who helps people manage their time and energy so they can reduce stress, work less, and make more money in their careers and businesses. She has been featured in Fast Company, NBC News, The Washington Post, Business Insider, NPR, Huff Post, Fox Business, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.


    1. Todd

      Great ideas as usual! I particularly love the todo/calendar idea, and will be implementing the next chance I get.

      I started putting together a location document (cheat sheet) a while back and then ended up dropping it. I realized that I was trying to get too detailed and putting even insignificant things on the list and trying to include where obvious things were too. I’m taking another shot at it, but this time I’m going to try to focus on adding things to the list when i store them away. That way it won’t seem too overwhelming.

      One thing I’ve been doing for a while now that works really well is to put important but easily forgettable things with things that are easily remembered. Specifically, if I need to put my phone and/or wallet down (or other loose things I have with me like sunglasses), I leave them with my keys. I can’t leave without my keys now can I? I haven’t forgotten any of those things in years now.

      • theorderexpert

        Hi, I’m glad you liked today’s tips. Let me know about your experiences with the todo/calendar reminders. I use them frequently and find they are a real lifesaver when I’m digging out something I stored months ago. I really like your idea about putting forgettable items with easily remembered items. What a great built-in system! Instead of looking around to see if you have everything, you can just look at the pile and notice something isn’t quite right or something is missing. Thanks for your comment and for sharing your ideas! Rashelle


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