Never pile things: vertical storage is the key - Storing your things to make your life shine

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing - Marie Kondo 2014

Never pile things: vertical storage is the key
Storing your things to make your life shine

There are people who stack everything in piles, be it books, papers, or clothes. But this is a great waste. When it comes to storage, vertical is best. I am particularly obsessed with this point. I store every item vertically if possible, including clothes, which I fold and stand on edge in my drawers, and stockings, which I roll up and stand in a box. The same is true for stationary and writing tools: whether boxes of staples, measuring tapes, or erasers, I stand them on edge. I even store my laptop in the bookcase as if it were indeed a notebook. If you have storage space that should be sufficient yet falls short, try standing things vertically. You’ll find that this solves most problems.

I store things vertically and avoid stacking for two reasons. First, if you stack things, you end up with what seems like inexhaustible storage space. Things can be stacked forever and endlessly on top, which makes it harder to notice the increasing volume. In contrast, when things are stored vertically, any increase takes up space and you will eventually run out of storage area. When you do, you’ll notice, “Ah, I’m starting to accumulate stuff again.”

The other reason is this: stacking is very hard on the things at the bottom. When things are piled on top of one another, the things underneath get squished. Stacking weakens and exhausts the things that bear the weight of the pile. Just imagine how you would feel if you were forced to carry a heavy load for hours. Not only that, but the things in the pile virtually disappear because we forget that they even exist. When we pile our clothes one on top of the other, the clothes at the bottom are used less and less frequently. The outfits that no longer thrill my clients even though they loved them at the time of purchase are very often the ones that spent a long time at the bottom of the pile.

This applies to papers and documents as well. As soon as another document is placed on top, the first document recedes a little further from our awareness, and before we know it, we put off dealing with it or even forget about it altogether. So for these reasons, I recommend storing vertically anything that can be stood up. Try taking a pile you already have and standing it up. Just by doing that you will become more aware of the volume of things in that pile. Vertical storage can be used anywhere. Messy fridges are common, but their contents can be organized quickly and simply by standing things on end. I happen to love carrots, for example. If you open my fridge, you’ll find carrots standing in the drink holders on the door.