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Thursday, August 30, 2012

What to Look for When Buying a Household Organizer

1) Does the organizing piece have a handle? An organizer (such as one for holding your hair-care products) with a handle is always a good thing, if it's available. If that handle is removable, will fold down or tuck around the organizer when not in use, so much the better. A handle will make your organizer more portable, easier to carry and/or open, will usually make it safer & quicker to pick up plus sometimes leaves it more attractive in appearance.

2) If it's woven, is all of the weaving in good condition? Is the coloring on it even & attractive? Is it coated or sealed to help resist spills, animal scratches & it's own rough texture damaging fabrics that brush against it?

3) Is the organizer washable? Consider carefully if what's being stored in the container could leak or stain potentially- if the answer a yes, then naturally you need to try & choose a washable organizer. Or at the very least, an organizer with a washable liner? If the organizer has a liner, is that also machine-washable? A basket liner is NOT an item you'll want to have to get dry-cleaned...

4) Will the organizer work with myriad paint tones, wood tones, flooring changes, decor styles & in a variety of rooms? Choosing an organizer in clear acrylic, plastic or polycarbonate can sometimes be answer. Ivory, white or other very neutral-toned baskets, cloth caddies & liners usually make sense in today's homes. Remember that while you love that lime-green basket today, a year from now you may be incredibly tired of it. While some people have the funds to replenish these items or redecorate frequently, that is an assessment that you'll have to make for yourself. Forewarned is forearmed.

5) Are there any reviews available on the product itself? Read the lowest-rated reviews first. Sometimes it'll just be some sneaky competitor throwing a bad review on a product, but a good volume of negative reviews warrants looking into. Watch for defective units repeatedly being discussed, poor vendor customer service complaints & admonishments of a short product lifespan.

6) Always, always, always measure the available height, depth & width of where you are going to place the organizer and write down those measurements. I recommend that you keep a divider with loose-leaf paper set aside in your control journal OR have a labeled notebook where you keep these measurements written down alone. Don't mix this information up with a bunch of miscellaneous note-taking. This will serve as a valuable reference guide, now & in the future, so treat it accordingly. I've been doing this for years- you will not remember these measurements off the top of your head later unless you are some sort of super-genius with a memory like an elephant. Trust me on this.

7) Does the organizer you're spying address every storage need that you have for the space? If it holds products in a drawer, does it store every single item that you own plus leave a little room to spare (hopefully)? Will the organizer take up vital space that you need to hold printer paper or some other large, loose item? Addressing every single piece that will need to be stored in the space beforehand is absolutely imperative before you shell out the $$$ for the storage container. If you desire to put new items in that storage space (including ones currently elsewhere in your house which are longing for a permanent home), think about that, too. This new unit should serve you for the foreseeable future. With today's plentiful variety, there is no reason to accept anything other than the perfect unit for your storage need & space available.

8) If applicable, watch for loose threads, unnecessarily-sharp edges, chipped paint & other signs on the organizer that the quality of the item is lacking. Buying Fair Trade and/or locally-made products can be the answer to quality woes at times. If you're buying an item off of the Internet, be mindful of the return policy of the vendor you're purchasing from. If possible, keep the original packing & the receipt for thirty days under normal circumstances. If the product has a warranty, keep a copy of that & your receipt for whatever length of time that the warranty is good for. Make a manila folder up for the item's papers & put it under an appropriate file folder (I titled mine, "Handbooks & Warranties"). This will make it easy to locate the paperwork, should you ever need it. If there are any product note cards to be filled out (the company will often ask for a serial and/or model number on these cards), write them up & send them off immediately.

9) Comparison-shop: Is the store where you're buying it from the one with the best price? If applicable (and this is true with the larger, more expensive items), is there a warranty & how good is it? Are the directions for putting the item together clear & concise, if applicable? Do you have the tools to put together this organizer, if required? How's the customer service of this company, based on previous customers' ratings? (If ratings aren't available to review anywhere online at all, BEWARE.)

Below are some shots of my favorite soft caddy in existence. It's available on I hope that they will inspire & motivate you to get organized. There's nothing mystical or magical about staying organized, quite honestly. You just have to purchase or make the tools that aid you in storing the items you've kept after de-cluttering & cleaning your home.

For my bedroom- it holds my body lotion, perfume, pillow mist, lip balm, saline spray & so much more. For less than $11.00, I get a caddy that organizes all that stuff here, there & everywhere on my nightstand. If you're struggling with keeping neat surfaces, let me tell you- unless you have a caddy & you're just lazy about putting stuff back, there is nothing wrong with you. It is the lack of a storage solution- in other words, a technical error- that is causing your problem. Stash your gear in an awesome caddy & never look back! Hey, some may think this is simplistic advice I'm giving. But I'm telling you what- no one ever sat me aside & told me to store my stuff in a caddy so it wasn't creating a clutter problem. Now when I'm dusting I can just quickly lift up my caddy, dust around & underneath where it normally is, then just sit it right down. No more pushing around & replacing bottles, knocking them over or losing track of them in a drawer. Drawer organizers are great, don't get me wrong. But the older I get, the idea of "out of sight, out of mind" applies to me!



Here is the same caddy, this time holding my items I use in the living room, just in a different color. I keep this right next to my favorite chair. (I'm like Archie Bunker when it comes to my recliner- anyone who sits in better move their tush to another seat, pronto. ;) This stores my eyeglasses in their case, a roll of paper towels, a back scratcher, Post-It Notes, hand sanitizer, Purell wipes, lots of pens & markers in loops that keep them upright, rewetting contact lens drops, throat spray, a flashlight, a candle lighter, my kitty's claw clippers, brush & comb, my scissors plus my own nail clippers & file/uffer. If you're a formally messy person like me, doesn't the idea that all of this stuff is in one safe, easy-to-reach, easy-to-see caddy wonderful??? If you need to haul your things out in an emergency, too, isn't this the most awesome way to store the items? I just adore this caddy.

Below are photos of my second teal caddy, which I use to stow away my hair-care products. As you can see, I'm able to make nice use of the pockets, inner loops & Velcro separators in my caddies. This caddy makes hair-care fun, quick & easy. Nothing shaves time off your morning schedule like being organized. I must once again advise- you HAVE to put stuff back in the same place after using it EVERY TIME. You'll be doing your brain, your schedule & your sanity an immense favor. I promise that this is the truth! It's a little take-off on religion here; I once was lost (in terms of organization) & now I'm found. If you want to buy this caddy, it comes in teal, purple & black. Forgive me for the photography. I'm not a pro at taking pictures & my digital camera isn't much of a help. :D 

Here's the link for the caddies online:

Here's to being an organized minimalist,

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