With Ziploc Bags, Size Matters

When people ask me what my favorite organizing product is, I think they are surprised by my answer: Ziploc bags.

I’m actually brand-agnostic, so I use the term Ziploc to mean any sealable, transparent bag. One of my favorite things about them is their transparency. When we store things in opaque bags or boxes, we think we will remember what is inside, but much of the time, we just don’t. I can’t even count the number of times a client has been surprised by the contents of an opaque container.

I keep four sizes of Ziploc bags in my kitchen: gallon, quart, sandwich, and snack. While I use them all with food, I use them for many other things as well. Most of my clients have one size in their homes, maybe two. I find that having a variety of sizes will ensure that you can store things most efficiently.

When I’m helping clients organize a pile of stuff, I frequently ask them to bring me a Ziploc bag of a certain size. Here are some ideas for what you might use them for:

  • Gallon: good for keeping the manual and cables together for a specific device.
  • Quart: good for keeping note cards and envelopes together.
  • Sandwich: good for storing open packages of hardware, such as picture hooks or nails.
  • Snack: good for storing business cards.

Many brands of bags have a white strip on which you can write the contents with a marker. If your brand doesn’t have it, add a piece of masking tape or a label if you need to identify the contents. For example, if you have a lot of electronic cables, you can sort them by type, put each type into its own bag, and label the bag (such as “USB-C to Lightning”). Next time you need a cable, it will be easy to find the one you need, rather than wading through a drawer of tangled cables.

Just today, I found a Ziploc bag very handy. I had a dentist appointment scheduled right after a client appointment to which I had brought my lunch. Not wanting to go to the dentist with food in my teeth, I brought along a toothbrush and a package of floss. It turns out that a sandwich-sized bag was the perfect size for these items. They stayed clean in my backpack and the bag prevented my backpack from getting wet.

If you don’t have multiple sizes of bags, you can always store things in a larger size than what you really need. But this creates a lot of extra bulk and becomes a deterrent to using a Ziploc bag when one would be the best solution. I guarantee that if you start keeping multiple sizes, you will find a use for all of them.

Capturing Contact Information

It always surprises me when someone asks me for my address even though this person has been to my house before.  Everyone has a way of capturing contact information, don’t they?   It may be in electronic form, or it may be in a physical address book.  So why would someone have to ask me for my address again?

I think it’s because it is just not a habit for most people to retain contact information beyond its initial usefulness.  But it’s really worth it, as it will save time later.

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Business Cards: Information or Clutter?

They’re everywhere – those cute little 2- by 3 ½-inch paper rectangles with colorful logos, attractive graphics, and snappy tag lines.  We pick them up at stores and doctors’ offices.  People hand them to us at business meetings or social events.  We feel empowered and connected because now we have information.

Now what?

If your business card collection is sitting in a big pile with a rubber band around it, or in a shopping bag in the back of the closet, then that’s not information.  That’s clutter!

The purpose of a business card is to communicate contact information so that future contact can be made.  Unless you make that contact information available to you, you might as well throw the card away.

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