As a professional organizer, I often see this happening: someone sees clutter in a part of their home and visits the Container Store to purchase containers, carts, and gadgets. They believe this will solve their organizing problem. When clutter returns, they repeat. Another container or two enters the house to ‘fix’ the problem. Pretty soon, they’re not only still struggling with a house full of clutter, but they’ve added a container graveyard to the mix!
Here are a few of those ‘fix-it’ tools that I recommend avoiding:
- Big, square fabric boxes. My pet peeve with these is that they are so deep that things get lost in the bottom. Because they’re fabric you often can’t see what’s in them. Shallower is better. See-through is a good alternative.
- Using too many metal and plastic mobile carts: If you look around and you discover you have more than 2-3 of these, it’s likely that your stuff is crying out for a better type of storage solution. Though I love the Container Store (my Disneyland!), they and other retailers sell mobile carts that are flimsy. Watch out for drawers that come out (and spill everything on the floor) if not properly secured.
- In and Out Boxes: Instead of calling them in-and-out boxes, they should be named in-and-go-nowhere boxes. I’m uber-organized but even I don’t go through those ‘out’ boxes on a regular basis! There are other ways to deal with incoming information. As a professional organizer, I help people to come up with a system that works for their lifestyle.
If you struggle with clutter even after your best attempts to manage it, you may benefit from working with a professional organizer. We think about clutter differently and have strategies that help you get it under control once and for all. Here’s a great article on what professional organizers really do and how I can help you!