Least Favorite Organizing Tools

One Size Does Not Fit All in Organizing

By | Least Favorite Organizing Tools, Weekly Tip | 2 Comments

I think we can all agree that Pinterest is both a blessing and a curse.  As a whole it provides amazing ideas, recipes, inspiration and laughs (I could spend all day on the humor page), but it also gives an incredble influx of information that not everyone can handle and sometimes (okay a lot of times) makes us ungrateful for what we have, jealous for what we don’t have, envious of someone else, and sometimes we spend more money than we should, just to keep up with what we see on Pinterest.  I’ve searched MANY Pinterest pages and boards looking for ideas and inspiration for my clients and if there’s one thing I’ve learned , it’s that, when it comes to organizing, you have to create your own system.  You can’t copy someone else’s work and expect it to work flawlessly for you.  Yes, you can grab ideas, find bins, labels, organizing tools and more but don’t find a picture on the internet and say, “This works for them therefore it will work for me.” It’s not going to happen.  Each space is as unique as the person/family using it and should be organized that way.

Here’s why – your space won’t have the same items the other space has, your needs and expectations are different from the other person’s needs and expectations, and your space as a whole is probably different, even if it’s just slight.  Or maybe it’s not.  Maybe it’s a cookie cutter build and you have an exact match to a space you love but guess what, you’re not that other person!  You’re you!  With your own life to live and with your own life that will fill that space differently.  No two closets I’ve worked in are ever the same.  My clients have different preferences.  There may be similarities, but never identical in the items they hold.  No two pantries are the same.  Again, there may be similarities but I have never come across an exact match for any pantry I’ve seen or worked in.

And I don’t know about you, but I love that.  I love the challenge of coming up with new ideas that will work for my clients.  I love the process of transforming their space to fit their specific needs.  I love seeing the satisfaction on their faces when it’s done and they realize what we’ve done can be maintained after I leave because it was organized with them in mind!

So yes, do your research, find ideas that will work for you, get inspired!  But when it comes down to it make sure the way you’re organizing fits you and your lifestyle.  You’re unique and your space needs to reflect that.

Have any stories to share about your own way of organizing?  If you do, share it with me! Let me know in the comments below!

A Simple Test to See if You Have Too Many Clothes

By | Least Favorite Organizing Tools, Weekly Tip | No Comments

It’s now mid-August.  Most summer vacations are over, or are just about to end, and everyone is mentally gearing up for the fall and all that comes with it: school, colder weather, cute boots, football…  But wait, is something drawing you back to that vacation you took earlier in the summer?  It’s not the pictures on your phone, the amazing tan you got, the great souvenirs you purchased (which, by the way, did you REALLY need to buy them?) or even the wonderful memories you made… No, what’s drawing you back to that vacation is the unpacked piece of luggage that’s sitting in your closet. It’s drawing you back along with giving you a sense of guilt every time you look at it.  Maybe it’s wide open with clothes spilling out, or perhaps it’s still closed and you don’t even remember what all is in there, but there it sits… for weeks… And the more you look at it the more you think, “I really don’t want to empty you”, so you don’t.  Instead you just ignore it and wear whatever clothes are available.

So, here is this week’s tip: DON’T let your suitcase sit unpacked for more than 12 hours after returning from your trip.  If you get home and simply can’t get to it right away because of work or it’s late at night and you want to sleep I completely understand.  But if you arrive home from your trip and have time to unpack, then just do it.  The most it’ll take is 10 minutes, and that’s assuming the clothes are clean and you’re putting them away.  It will take less time than that if you just dump everything into your laundry hamper.  Once it’s done you can sit and relax without it hanging over your head.  Doesn’t that sound wonderful?  Yes!  It does!  You can’t deny it!

So the next time you get back from a trip, however long it lasted, give this tip a try just to see how quickly unpacking takes.  I promise you, you’ll reap the benefits of having all of those clothes out of the suitcase and you won’t have to suffer the guilt of looking at the unpacked luggage for weeks on end or the disappointment of throwing something away that was wrecked because it was packed away too long (hello moldy, musty smelling, stinky clothes).

Do you agree with this post?  Or do you have a very good reason for keeping your clothes trapped in your suitcase?  Let me know in the comments below!

This is One of My Least Favorite Organizing Tools

By | Least Favorite Organizing Tools, Weekly Tip | One Comment

This organizing tool is one that can be found in dorm rooms all over America, which is fine.  In my opinion they should stay in dorm rooms.  They are handy, they do provide extra storage when needed, and they are affordable, but please, do NOT bring this item into your home once you’re out of college and in your own place.

Okay, so what is this item?  Plastic stackable drawers.  These guys are magnets for dust and dirt in every tiny little corner, they bend, warp and break very easily because they’re cheaply made and, quite frankly, they just aren’t nice to look at.  If you’re willing to do just a bit of research you’ll see there are so many other great options out there.

One such item is IKEA’s Raskog utility cart.  This consistently is one of IKEA’s top sellers and everyone who has one raves about it in all the reviews and online articles.  If you don’t like the look of that particular cart or the price is higher than you’d like there’s other carts out there such as this one from Wal-Mart or this cart from Amazon.  Or, maybe you want to go in a completely different direction and buy something like this from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Whatever you choose to use, do yourself a favor – donate those plastic drawers to someone going off to college in the fall and find a new way to store the items it contains.

**Well this post has been up for 3 hours and has already drawn discussions and disagreements so let me add this note – when I say I don’t like theses drawers I mean out in a kitchen, bathroom or bedroom. In some ways they do make sense, such as LEGO storage or for craft supplies. The point of my post was more to draw attention to the fact that if they’re being used as regular storage in ‘public’ rooms, there are other options. Yes, there is a place for those drawers, but it’s hidden away, out of sight. This is my personal opinion.

Do you agree with this post?  Or do you like the plastic drawers? Let me know in the comments below!

This is Not a Display Case

By | Least Favorite Organizing Tools, Weekly Tip | One Comment

For this month’s “Don’t” post, I’m going to use a personal example from my home growing up (get ready mom and dad).

When I was younger we used the doors on the refrigerator as “catch all” spots for various items.  We left notes on them, showcased “works of art” on them, displayed photographs and other mementos on them, and, my personal favorite, we taped up any comic strip from the daily newspaper that reminded us of someone in the family (mainly from the comic strip Foxtrot but Garfield had a few appearances as well).  I LOVED reading those different comic strips and finding one in the paper that reminded me of one of my sisters (which inevitably highlighted an annoying habit of her’s) made me giddy with excitement to show it off… but was that really the best place for them?  Nope.  Do I even remember which comics were showcased on the fridge?  Nope.  Do I remember how cluttered the two doors looked? Yep.  And do I remember where all of those papers, notes, works of art and beloved comic strips ended up?  Yep.  In the recycling bin and trash can…  Because the fridge is not the ideal space to show things off for a long period of time.

Now hear me out, if a special picture gets colored and your child wants it displayed on the fridge, I have no problem with that, but keep in mind moderation is key.  If you’re not careful pretty soon the fridge doors can look like a cluttered desk top – covered with so many items nothing is actually seen.  I’m not in the camp that says “if something is on the fridge it just gets overlooked” because I know from personal experience that’s not always true.  And I’m not even in the camp that says “a fridge door must be completely clean” (unless, of course, you’re getting your house ready to be put on the market).  But I AM in the camp that says “try to find a better place for it” because a cluttered and busy refrigerator just adds to the cluttered and busy feel of a kitchen, much like making your bed makes your bedroom feel less messy.

Whether you use a complete command center in the kitchen, a diy message board hanging on the wall, or a simple collage picture frame to show off your latest memories, there are plenty of options available to show off what you want without cluttering up your refrigerator doors.

Do you agree with me?  Or do you love showing things off on your fridge?  Let me know in the comments below!



picture used courtesy of:

Don’t Go On a Shopping Spree

By | Least Favorite Organizing Tools, Weekly Tip | One Comment

The 3rd week of the month is supposed to be a post about an organizing tool I don’t usually recommend or something that I use differently than how it’s marketed, but I also want to include some general “Don’ts” if you’re serious about getting organized.

My first “Don’t” is: don’t go out and buy a bunch of random containers without knowing what you need.  Generally, before I start a job I do a consult with the new client and we discuss what needs to be done.  We create a general game plan for the upcoming space and then I do research and send different ideas to the client.  Sometimes we need to buy containers and sometimes we don’t.  While it is nice to have an assortment of options when I come in to get a space organized, I would rather have something that I know will work, as opposed to trying different options and settling for one just because it’s already there.

Now don’t get me wrong, when I come into a new job and see a bunch of baskets and bins already there I get really excited but sometimes it creates more of a headache later on because it can also limit what can be done in that space. And, if you over-buy bins then you either have to take some back to the store or you have to find storage for them somewhere and either way you’ve wasted money.

So whether you want to tackle your organizing job yourself or you’re hiring a professional organizer to come in, please make a game plan first and then shop.

Do you have your own organizing “Don’t” to share?  Let me know in the comments below!

A Least Favorite Organizing Tool

By | Least Favorite Organizing Tools, Weekly Tip | 2 Comments

This is similar to last month’s post – it’s not that I don’t like this specific item, I just prefer to use it for other things than what it’s marketed for (and little insider info – a lot of other organizers do as well).  This item is a back of the door shoe holder.

First, before I offend anyone who uses one of these for their shoes, let me say that I don’t hate them and I don’t look down on people who use them, in fact I’ve used them in clients’ homes before… for shoes no less!  I just think there’s better ways to keep shoes organized instead of using a clunky item on the back of the door that knocks every time the door closes.  Not only can it scratch the trim at the top of the door frame (if it hangs from hooks that hook over the door) but it also doesn’t help nice shoes hold their shape, it can get really nasty if you put dirty shoes in the pockets and it can also take up precious space in tiny closets.  I know the point of them is to save space, but if a closet isn’t very deep anything extra on the door gets in the way when trying to close the door (personal experience from a job talking here).

If there are too many items on the floor for your shoes to be stored there then it might be time to reorganize the closet and find new spaces for those other items on the floor.  Or if you have so many shoes they won’t all fit in the space then it might be time to go through them and pare down (ha pun not intended) and see if that makes a difference.

If none of those are possible or going to help here’s a few alternative ideas:

Floor Shoe Rack
Hanging Shoe Organizer (this one goes directly in the closet, not on the door)
Stackable Shoe Rack
Bench Shoe Storage

I hope that by looking through these links you’ll begin to see different ways shoes can be stored in different parts of the home.  Shoes don’t HAVE to go in a closet.  They can go in the front entry way, in the mud room, in the garage… There are other ways to keep them organized.  It just depends on your space and your creativity.

Do you agree with my thoughts?  Disagree?  Use an over the door organizer for something else?  Let me know!

One Least Favorite Organizing Tool

By | Least Favorite Organizing Tools, Weekly Tip | No Comments

Before I get in to this post, let me clarify something – it’s not so much that I don’t like this item, I just don’t like what it’s marketed as and what most people think it should be used for.  This item is a spice shelf, but only when it is used for holding spices.

Why don’t I like using a spice shelf for spices?  Well, I really don’t think they’re very useful.  They don’t make it easier see all the spices and they don’t make it easier to reach all the spices.  Depending on the height of the cupboard shelf above it, reading and reaching the ones in the back is almost impossible and usually causes a domino affect crash of the ones in the front…  Very annoying.

Also, when you can’t see all that you have, you usually end up buying more, which means you’re throwing away money buying something you don’t need.

Here are some great alternatives for spice storage for all different spaces:

spice carousel – countertop
spice drawer organizer – drawer
spice liners – drawer
spice rack – wall

And this isn’t even all of the ideas.  If you search on Google or Pinterest there are so many more options out there.

So, if you’re tired of digging around in your spices and you want to stop wasting money buying spices you already have, think about using one of the alternative options above or maybe find something else that will work for you.  Every kitchen is as different as the person who cooks in it.

Do you agree with my opinion? Disagree? Do you have a different way of storing your spices than one I listed above? Comment and let me know!

Also, happy birthday dad!! I love you!


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