Working as a professional organizer for the last 10 years, I have had the great joy (and it really is a joy, because I LOVE organizing products!) to source organizing containers for my clients. As a result, I have learned a lot about what which types of containers work well, which ones hold up over time and continue to look great — and which ones aren’t worth the money. Here’s what I have learned about organizing products, so you are fully informed the next time you go to the store to buy new bins:
Buying containers before you have fully sorted through everything just turns those containers into more clutter. It’s REALLY fun and inspiring to walk through The Container Store or Target and buy a bunch of organizing products before you start your organizing project. For some people, that even gives them the juice they need to get started organizing. But in my experience, people tend to underestimate how many things they have and how much room their things take up, so they end up buying containers that are too small. Then the containers just become more clutter sucking up space in your room. Even though it’s not as fun, it really is best to sort everything into piles first. That way you can get a solid visual of how much space your items are occupying, so you can get the right-size containers.
Straight-sided containers will always make the most of your space. But I have noticed that sometimes you will pay more for straight-sided containers. I think this is because they don’t stack, so they cost more to ship and you can’t fit as many on a store shelf, all of which raise the store’s prices. But it’s not that much of a cost difference, and they’re worth it when it comes to saving space in your cabinets!
Wire, farmhouse-style containers look amazing on the shelf — but look really cluttery once you put all of your stuff in them. All the stuff is visible AND pokes out of the little squares in the wire, so it doesn’t make for a neat, clean look. Go for a solid material in your containers instead.
Cardboard-based pull-out bins (like the kind that fit in cubbies from IKEA or Closetmaid) aren’t worth the money because they get bent and distorted so fast. Instead, get pull-out bins made of sturdy basket-material or plastic in order to withstand frequent use. Spend the extra few dollars to spring for non-cardboard based bins.
Having all matching containers can instantly make your room look more organized, more pulled-together, more Pinterest-y. Oftentimes, containers will go on sale in January, so that’s a great time to swap out all your old stuff with matching new stuff.
Putting labels on your containers ensure that your containers don’t just become black holes of stuff sitting on your shelf. You can find inexpensive stick-on labels at Office Depot. Or spring for clip-on, chalkboard-style, or even magnetic labels at places like The Container Store or Storables. For the ultimate in Instagram-perfect labels, have your labels hand-lettered on Etsy.
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