Square Rules Organizing

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red squares with white circles on them separated by blue lines with title text overlay reading Square Rules Organizing

Recently I’ve come to the realization that my favorite organizing philosopher is Huey Lewis.  Do you see it coming?  Yes, it’s Hip to Be Square!  I just can’t help myself sometimes.

Being a military family and having lived in over 25 different homes, I’ve learned the number one most important organizing secret.  Use square or rectangular storage bins, box, tubs, baskets, can, whatever.  If I only ever share one tip with you, this would be the one.
 
Why is square (I’ll use square here to mean both square and rectangular) better, you ask.  This diagram is worth a thousand words attempting to explain that square maximizes usable storage space.
 
red squares with white circles on them separated by blue lines
 
You can see that on the same shelf if you use round storage containers, you’ll lose all the red areas.
 
If you live in a large house or don’t have much stuff, you can stop reading now.  And I’m guessing that most of you are like me, your house is not large and you do have a lot of stuff.  I’ve lived in tiny homes where using that extra red space in the diagram above made the all the difference in having an organized space. 
 
an organized closet shelf
 
You can see here in my coat closet how much more space is maximized by the square basket on the right as compared to the round orange bin.  I do keep the round orange bin because I use it for Halloween and for summer parties.  But if I had 3 of those round bins on that shelf, there would be a lot of wasted space.  In contrast, if I had 3 of the square baskets, I’d have even more usable space than I do with my current set up.  
an organized bathroom drawer
 
Using square baskets in my bathroom drawer enables me to use every inch of the space in the drawer.
 
an organized silverware drawer
 
Using square bins in addition to my cutlery tray allows me to use all the extra space in the drawer.  And if you look closely, there are even corners in the back of the drawer that aren’t used right now, but could be if I need them in the future.  
an organized junk drawer
 
Sometimes round containers do serve a purpose. (Two of the three round ones I use in my junk drawer are keepsakes my children made for me).  But I put those round containers in a square one and then I can use those little slivers of “un-usable red space”.  
an organized pantry
 
I use square containers to maximize the useable space in a smallish pantry (I don’t think that there’s a pantry out there that would be too big).   The round white lids are on square repurposed containers.  They are some of my favorite you can read about my love affair with them {here}.
 
There are beautiful round storage containers that tempt me every so often, but I’ve learned my lesson over the years.  So, next time you’re looking to organize a space in your house, put on a little Huey Lewis and the News for inspiration.  For you young’uns, here you go.
 

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10 Comments

  1. Got it loud and clear — a square maximizes storage space better than a circle does! Therefore, all circles go inside any square or rectangle! :)) Thanks for this! I’ll remember the principle the next time I do 7S in my cabinets and drawers! Got you from Serenity Now Weekend Bloggy Reading.

  2. important for the square/rectangular containers to have straight sides in order to maximize space. the ones that are wider at top than bottom are space hogs that leave a lot of red space.
    [note the second shelf from the top of the pantry].
    as much as i love the square/rectangles this quirk has been a thorn for me in all my organizing efforts.

    1. Brianna, I am so with you. But those angled-sided square containers irk me mainly because I can’t Mod Podge paper to them as easily as the straight-vertical sided ones.

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