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Method For: Organizing Products

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Who doesn’t love the look of beautifully organized & styled open shelves? A set of baskets that blend seamlessly with the existing decor in the room and gently signal that something interesting is inside? A perfectly labeled row of cubbies concealing the chaos of kid-clutter in a playroom? Expertly decanted pantry staples lined up in a pantry?

It’s fun to troll Instagram for inspiration on how to use organizing products in your home, but before you run out and fill up your cart with Container Store product I have a few considerations for you to chew on.  You don’t necessarily need product for every space in your house to be organized. In fact, some areas are best served without extraneous bins and baskets.  I have 4 guiding principles I use with every client:

  • Keep only what you need and what you love

  • Make things you use often visible and accessible

  • Minimize motion waste

  • Use beautiful, functional storage where you need it

The last principle may seem a little obvious but it’s worth stating because a lot of people think that organizing is just about the product, which isn’t the case at all. There are 3 scenarios in which organizing product will enhance the beauty and functionality of your home, let me take you through them.

visual appeal

There are different degrees to which visual appeal is important in a project.  In almost every case where items are stored on open shelving, bins or baskets provide a uniform look that enhances the design aesthetic of the room while concealing the items that don’t fit in.  A good example of this is using baskets in a family room to house remotes, headphones and other gaming paraphernalia.  

Sometimes visual appeal is important in hidden storage areas as well because it can make an otherwise unappealing area or task pleasant.  Think of uniform wooden hangers in a closet, or an acacia wood organizer in a silverware drawer.

Not everyone cares about visual harmony to the same degree, but organizing products certainly help solve the challenge of containing beautifully.

visual cues

Even when you’ve made the effort to organize your home it’s often challenging for the whole family (especially the smaller members) to remember where things go. When it’s difficult to find where something goes it doesn’t get put away. When things don’t get put away they pile up, and so on, and so on, and so on. Labels are helpful cues to make it very obvious where things go. If the word is sitting there staring at you it’s hard to ignore. Labels on everything is redundant but with certain areas of the home they provide very helpful visual cues. If you’ve decanted pantry products into containers labels can prevent you reaching for the sugar when you need the flour. In a playroom with lots of kid things labeled bins make it easy for small people to pick them up and put them away. In a home office boxes of memorabilia can be categorized by time frame, person or event using labels, making them easy to find when you need them. If you are investing in storage products to contain your clutter the next step is to consider whether labels will help your family keep things contained.

time savings

I wrote about Macro and Micro categories in the June Mixed Bag but am using the concept again here as an example of how organizing product can save you time when you are looking for something. Macro categories like ‘Toys’, ‘Memorabilia’ or ‘Snacks’ have underlying Micro categories with a lot of pieces. Think of rooting through an enormous toy box looking for the train tracks, locating your varsity letter to show your high school friend who is visiting from out of town, or rooting through a drawer full of snacks because your 6 year old only wants the chocolate chip Z-Bar in their lunch bag. Depending on what you are looking for it may take you an extra few seconds or 15 minutes, but it all adds up over time. You can eliminate a lot of that motion waste by using organizing products to Micro sort your Macro categories. It’s so satisfying to know exactly where to find something you need the moment that you need it. Organizing product can help you grab and go, very helpful whether you are short on time or short on patience!

One thing I want to make very clear, do not buy product until you have sorted and purged. Many people are so excited about a trip to The Container Store that they end up buying way too much and in the wrong sizes You need to know how much space you have and how much stuff you have in each category before you do any shopping. Another important reminder is that bins and baskets take up space themselves so you may not be able to fit as much as you think you will. All good reasons to do the good work of sorting, editing and assessing your needs before the shopping trip. You will also save time and frustration on the back end having to make a second trip to the store or dealing with online returns. Product can make a beautiful and material difference in your home, just be smart about where and how you use it!

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