Organize First, Shop Later: Organizing the Organizing Products

plastic containersOrganize or buy organizing products? It’s sort of like the chicken and the egg. Which comes first? Before organizing appointments, clients often ask what they need to buy to be ready for our appointment. I find there’s seldom a lack of organizing products, and because we won’t know what we’ll need until we’re done organizing, there’s no point in shopping up front. Organize first, shop afterwards. 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 also not alone. Many people feel the same way. We all love matching baskets, beautiful bamboo drawer organizers, and colored hangers in our closet. These displays suck us in and the stores get us to buy their products which promise instant organization.

So let’s break it down. There are three categories of products, in my opinion. There are organizing products created for very specific purposes like a junk drawer organizer or baseball cap organizer. You really can’t use those specific products for anything else but what they were created for. Then there’s a decorative category. These products organize items but are beautiful and enhance a space aesthetically. Sometimes the beauty of a product matters because it’s organizing something in plain sight.  I’d say for most of my clients, the look or beauty of an organizing product isn’t a huge concern. It can be, but it’s not often. The final category would be general use. Basic containers of various sizes fall into this category and I contend quite often for this category.

When you are trying to decide which containers to keep and which to toss, I vote for the general use more often than not. If the organizing product has a specific purpose, either you will or won’t be using it for that purpose. That helps you make that decision. If the product is decorative, either it matches your décor and style and will be used, or it doesn’t. These choices are more black and white then general use products. The only versatile containers I don’t like are crates and wire bins. They are hard to maneuver, not easy to use, and things fall right through.

When you’re storing organizing products, nest them as much as possible, like you would with Tupperware in the kitchen. Match like sizes and store all lids in one bin so they aren’t sliding or falling all over the place. Limit how much volume you keep. This will largely depend on how much space your condo or home has. If you have room, you can be more lax about what you keep. The less space you have the more you’ll have to let go.

Do you have organizing products you’ve bought but never used? What are they?

Photo © iStockphoto.com / ozenli

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