In the dead of winter, there is one thing our family can’t get enough of: good lighting. But when you look around your house, do you have a variety of lights and light bulbs that you need to manage and store? Organizing light bulbs is tricky business, since bulbs come in so many different shapes and sizes and need to be stored carefully to avoid breakage. Since the introduction of the CFL bulbs a few years ago, I’m even more cautious, since breaking one of those will create a hazardous materials site. Here are a few ideas to contain and protect your light bulb collection, so you’ll always have what you need.
1. Today’s bulbs have a much longer lifespan, so you can actually reduce the amount of bulbs you have on hand. I’ve seen household stockpiles that look like the warehouse at Sam’s Club. Sure, you need a couple of the household workhorse, 60 watt-equivalent bulbs, but more than two or three is overkill. Since these usually come packaged in sturdy square boxes, keep them stored in their original packages until needed.
2. In our kitchen, we have two overhead recessed lights that take special flood bulbs. I never keep extras on hand, because the likelihood that both will blow at the same time are nearly as good as the odds of winning the lottery. When one blows, I can always get to our local hardware store within a week, so, there’s really no need to store extra indoor flood lamps.
3. Smaller appliance bulbs for night lights, overhead fans, and various other appliances usually come in a two-pack, so there are almost always extras that need storing. Those can be carefully packed in the foam packages that the larger bulbs come in. I keep mine all together in a small produce crate in our utility area. Those little clementine crates are getting harder to find, but this Christmas ornament organizer would be a good stand-in.
4. Light bulbs are being manufactured for special appliances these days. It is worth taking a look at your new lamp before you buy it to ensure that you aren’t committing to some very odd bulb. I had a kitchen fixture in my last home that used a very specific bulb that was very hard to find. I would not buy that same fixture again, given the choice.
5. Flashlights are another type of necessary light. We recently survived Hurricane Sandy here on the east coast, but it’s good to know where your flashlights are even in minor emergencies. Wherever else you keep them (and you probably have more than one), it makes sense to me to keep the flashlights and lightbulbs together in storage.
6. Lastly, this time of year, many of us have strings of lights that we use for decorating. I highly recommend getting some type of reel device, like a holiday light storage box to help keep the strands tangle-free and easy to unroll when you need them. Most strands are now LEDs with super long lives, but you can use egg crates or craft storage containers to help store those extra little bulbs that come with older holiday lights.
Have you found another creative way to store and protect your light bulbs until they are needed?
Get Organized wishes to thank Darla DeMorrow for contributing this post. Darla DeMorrow is an award winning Certified Professional Organizer®, Color With No Regrets consultant, decorator, author, speaker, and owner of HeartWork Organizing. She helps her clients to reclaim control and add beauty in their lives, their homes, and their workplaces. Request your free 31 Simple Tips for Organizing Space, Time and Paper & Information at www.HeartWorkOrg.com. Her book for new moms, ”The Pregnant Entrepreneur”, is available in hardcopy and e-book.
Photo credit: HeartWork Organizing