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A storage solution for tiny treasures

My daughter has been, and continues to be, a collector of objects. Rocks, shells, tiny plastic toys, shiny things, buttons, feathers. The common denominator? They’re small. The tinier the better.

Her preference for the diminutive extends to her craft projects: tiny food sculptures made from polymer clay, tiny flipbooks bound by a single staple, tiny works of detailed art drawn on index cards.

It’s all exquisite. But while she was born with a natural attraction to tiny things, she lacks the knack for keeping her collections organized…or even findable. We argue pretty rarely, but when we do, it’s usually about her treasure collecting: her constant desire to keep “special” things and my constant nagging to organize it or put it away.

When the opportunity presented itself to write about storage for The Home Depot, I seized upon it as a way for Mimi and I to take charge of her tiny treasures. She obviously gets great joy out of collecting and curating, so figuring out a way to organize and store her collections would make us both happier.

The first step was to identify our needs. Too often I try to solve a storage or organization problem with a new container/shelf/set of drawers when, really, we first need to figure out which product will fit the bill.

Before: Nature treasure bin

Before: Nature Treasure bin

The current storage setup for her “nature treasures” is an example of just that sort of impulse purchase. An undifferentiated bin (above) did a good enough job keeping objects contained and portable. But (like me) my daughter’s preferred cleanup method is “shove it into the nearest drawer,” and so very quickly her nature treasure bin morphed into a junk bin (see “sparkly treasure” bin, below).

Sparkly treasure bin

The Sparkly Treasure bin morphed into a junk bin.

Our new storage solution had to do the following things:

  • Make each item in the collection visible
  • Make the entire collection portable (she loves to re-sort and play with her rocks and shells)
  • Be self-contained enough that non-nature treasures wouldn’t find their way in.

 

Voila. This Husky Deep Pro Organizer did the trick. Not only are each of the individual containers large enough to handle bigger rocks, the entire collection is easy to store on a bookshelf or transport to a friend’s house. The cover keeps the collection safe from contamination by non-nature treasures. And, compared to similar organizing products I’ve seen in storage and art supply stores, the well-built Husky is a good value at about $15.

After: The Nature Treasure organizer

Not surprisingly, when my husband caught a glimpse of the Husky organizer, his mouth started watering. He comes from a highly organized family, and he’s a container junkie. (I once joked that my mother in-law buys containers for her containers.) I anticipated this and bought an extra Husky for him. Within minutes, my husband’s collection of board game paraphernalia looked like this:

Rael's board game paraphernalia is happy in its new, tidy home

Rael's board game paraphernalia is happy in its new, tidy home

This would work well for any collection of small parts or toys: Legos, sewing or craft notions, stickers and scrapbooking supplies, Matchbox cars, tiny plastic doll collections. The organizers stack nicely, too.

How do you store your kids’ collections of tiny treasures?

A big thanks to The Home Depot for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.


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More on The Accidental Expert:
♦ No brainer dinners: Five meals to assemble and heat
♦ A summer of self-care in six simple steps

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