Organizing products and containers: the basics

Filed Under: Basic Organizing

Organize or buy organizing products? It’s sort of like the chicken and the egg. Which comes first? Before organizing appointments, clients often ask me what they need to buy to be ready for our appointment. I find there is seldom a lack of organizing products in their spaces and because we won’t know what we’ll need until we’re done organizing, there is no point shopping up front.

Organize first, shop later. That’s the best strategy. Organizing products are abundant. Every store, even a grocery store, has some sort of container to sell us. If you love looking at them and are inspired by them to organize, you are not alone. Many people feel the same way. We all love matching baskets, beautiful bamboo drawer organizers, and colored hangers in our closet. Store displays suck us in and entice us to buy products that promise instant organization.

Let’s break it down. In my opinion, there are three categories of products.

  1. Specific: These products are created for specific purposes like a junk drawer organizer or sweater drawers. You really cannot use these products for anything other than the intended purpose.
  2. Decorative: These products organize items, are beautiful, and enhance a space aesthetically. Sometimes the beauty of a product matters because it is organizing something in plain sight, or the client wants the inside of closets or cabinets just as beautiful as outside décor and furnishings. The look or beauty of an organizing product in a system sometimes outweighs the functionality.
  3. General:  The final category is general use products. Basic containers of various sizes fall into this category and can be used in various areas and organizing systems throughout the home. The only versatile containers to steer clear from are crates and wire bins. They are hard to maneuver, not easy to use, and things fall right through.

Storing containers to use later on

If you are storing excess organizing products, nest them together as much as possible, like you would with Tupperware in the kitchen. Match like sizes and store the lids in one bin so they are not sliding or falling all over the place. Limit how much of these unused containers you keep, depending on how much space your condo or home has. If you have room, you can keep more of them around, but these organizing products should never become more clutter! If you have storage space in your attic, basement storage room, or crawl space these are great places to stash “extras”. Avoid the garage as they will get too dirty over time.

Finally, when you are trying to decide which containers to store to keep versus which to toss, ask yourself will you be using the container for its specific purpose? If it is decorative, does it match your decor and style? And most of all, will you USE it? The answers will help make the decision easy. This is also why I prefer the general use products because as our storage/organization needs change, we can repurpose these containers easily.

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