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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Contain It

We’ve all heard this buzzword: boundaries. Just like your significant others, your children, your pets, and yourself, your stuff needs boundaries too. If you let it just do its thing, pretty soon it will be walking all over you, metaphorically speaking, and you’ll be literally walking all over it.

How do you set boundaries for belongings? With containers! Whether you prefer things put away or in sight, some degree of container usage is necessary.

A container is anything that keeps your stuff together. It can be a drawer, a cabinet, a box, a basket—anything with edges (actual walls or implied stopping points like the edge of a shelf) that you do not allow your stuff to cross.

Sometimes the only "container" in your life is your home: If your stuff isn’t falling out the front and back doors, it’s contained (well, technically). But you want to do better than that, right? Start thinking of your home as a collection of nesting containers, like in Figure 3.1. The main one is the house or apartment. Within that are rooms, and within those are fixed storage such as closets. Within those closets are free-standing containers such as shoe boxes. Within those boxes, you might have even smaller containers such as medicine bottles or grooming products.

Figure 3.1

Figure 3.1 Your home is one big set of nesting containers: Pills are contained by a pill bottle, which is housed in a medicine cabinet, which is built in to a bathroom, which is a subset of the entire home.

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