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Thinking outside the B.O.X.

Inside a box upside down.

While The Berenstain Bears books no longer fill my bookshelves, their words still occupy space in my brain.  But I have my own interpretation of “Inside Outside Upside Down,” one that has always kept me thinking outside the box. And when it comes to being an organizer, this skill is a plus. Some examples:

  1. This summer I reorganized my mom’s jewelry. After first clearing out clutter (“Tell me again Mom how loose buttons wound up with the bracelets?”), we matched earrings, separated out bangles, and I spent a good thirty minutes untangling necklaces. That’s when I

had an idea. Downstairs to the garage I ran and came back with a white plastic silverware divider that no longer fit in any kitchen drawers. She looked at me skeptically as I lay each necklace in it’s own long partition. When I was done, she was ecstatic.

  1.  At a craft fair I saw an artist who made beautiful hand-carved wooden toy trucks and cars, but it was his change holder that grabbed my attention. An old muffin tin! Brilliant. The next day I bought a mini cupcake tin, perfect for earrings.

  1.  For those living in cities, thinking outside the box is a necessity. Take shopping. Without the luxury of a car and a driveway, carrying bags or boxes often requires an assist, and usually one that includes some sort of wheel. Shopping carts are no longer just for little old ladies. But last week while walkin

g along a city street on the Upper East Side, I passed a summer tennis camp that used grocery carts to carry tennis balls. Very clever indeed.

  1. But thinking outside the box is not just reserved for things. Take your job and where you do it. After awhile sitting in a Starbucks can get stale, not to mention expensive. (“How much for a grande soy chai?!”) NYC is pretty unique when it comes to space. Some people share apartments, even parking spaces, but what’s really becoming popular is shared office space. And thanks to the economy, these places are great for the independent worker. From lawyers to graphic designers to journalists, it’s not only smart business, but can be good for networking. For awhile I was a member of Paragraph, a shared studio in the West Village for serious writers. We had our own partitioned desk in a silent room, plus a communal kitchen with endless free coffee and candy. The best part was the socializing, the commiserating, (“I got another rejection letter.” “Me too!”), and best of all, it got me out of my own little box (a.k.a. tiny apartment).

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