December 16th, 2011

Organizing Products: Friend or Foe?

Written by Lucy Sharpe

Organizing Products

I love organizing tools; they are fantastic and can really help people function better in their spaces. But, not all organizing tools are helpful.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when organizing their office or home spaces is that they buy organizing tools before they know the quantity and kind of items they are dealing with, and often assume that the tools will naturally have a place in their space. More often than not this is because we are so focused on and bedazzled by the ‘space saving’ title, or the ‘organize your life’ tagline that we neglect to think about where and how the organizing items will fit into our space.

When we buy organizing tools, we are not always solving our organizational dilemma. Instead, we are often adding to the problem. Now we have 5 blue bins that don’t have a place, a plastic shelving unit that holds items well but has become a ‘trash drawer’ that doesn’t function well, and a photocopier that sticks out into the corridor that has heavy traffic where people frequently pass and where they daily, get a little bruise on their hip.  These are just some examples of buying organizing products before we know what to do with them. The tools themselves can easily become a part of the problem instead of the solution.

We can avoid this trouble by taking care of a few logistical problems before we buy:

  1. De-clutter your space first and see what items you have that need a spot.
  2. Look at the area you would like to buy an organizing product for and measure it. Keep the depth of the product in mind because this will greatly affect your pathways and how it will feel in the space.
  3. Conduct research on the type of storage unit/tool that might work for your items and check the dimensions to make sure they fit your space.
  4. Guard yourself and be careful because this is the point where what we often think is cute or beautiful may not fit in our space at all. It is very easy to say to ourselves “It is two inches too big, but I love it!” The trouble is that before we have even purchased the product we are settling for one that will have problems right out of the gate.
  5. Check what the product is made out of and ask yourself, “Is this product well made? Is it flimsy? Will it last? Will my items fit nicely in it?” If the answer to any of these questions is no, then move onto another product.
  6. If the product requires assembling or mounting, and you are not sure if you can do it alone, make sure you have a pair of experienced helping hands (safety first). When organizing your home or office, nothing is more upsetting than having a product fall on you.
  7. After you bring the product home, test it as soon as possible. Set it up and put all of your items into it. If it does not do the job you hoped it would, return it to the store. All stores want happy clients. They would prefer you to return the item and purchase one that fits than hold onto it and tell 10 to 20 people that you purchased something from them that doesn’t work, or is of bad quality.

Visit next month for tips on ‘How to make goals stick’

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