Closed September 2017

Save Your Money! How to Choose Organizing Products

Organizing products don't work, unless you buy and use them wisely. Five questions to consider before buying the latest organizing gadget.

(Click infographic for a larger view– and make sure to PIN IT to refer to later!)

You see the latest organizing gadget on an infomercial or in a store, and you immediately think, “Could that be the answer to my problem?”

Before you get out your wallet, here are some things you should know about evaluating organizing products.

First, know that a product alone is NEVER the answer. (Yes, I said NEVER!) Even the simplest product does not work if you don’t have the right habits around how you use it. If you have a tie rack but you never hang your ties on it, it doesn’t work. If you have a recycling bin and never put papers in it, it doesn’t work. Your habits and systems are crucial to the success of your solution!

Here are five questions to consider:

  • How sturdy is it? Check the quality of the materials and construction and consider whether it will withstand heavy and long-term use. Ask the store if you can remove one from the package to inspect it and test it, and check moving parts like wheels. If it’s flimsy, think twice!
  • How will I really use this? Don’t rely on the photo on the package. Picture where you will put it, who is going to use it, and how exactly every step will feel, especially if you are in a hurry. One of my favorite examples is the jewelry organizers that feature rows of little holes to fasten your pierced earrings through. Are you really going to take apart your earrings and fasten them into the holes? Most people prefer to toss earrings into small compartments instead.
  • How will this product improve the VISIBILITY I have of my stuff? I always say that one of the main goals of any organizing project is visibility– if you can’t easily see it or don’t have another way to know it’s there (like having an index of archived files), you probably are not going to remember having it at all. Be careful of a product like a pants hanger that holds multiple pairs of pants vertically– you may not be able to see your pants very easily hanging that way.
  • Will it fit? Whenever possible, always measure your items and the space where the product will need to fit before purchasing. Or call from the store and get someone at home to measure for you before you bring it home! Also remember that square or rectangular containers use space much more efficiently than rounded containers.
  • Is it easy to clean? Does it have lots of grooves and crevices that might make cleaning difficult? If it’s fabric, is it washable?

Shop wisely, my friends, or your careless purchases end up creating more clutter!

What are your favorite organizing products, or worse, what have been the FLOPS that you’ve tried out? Share in the comments!

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Linda Cashman

What doesn’t work: back of door towel racks – I’ve tried several.
What does work: tension pole swing-arm towel racks. Our old one worked great. Unfortunately, the new one(s) we tried are not adjustable for ceiling height, and just bow out in the middle. We are not allowed to attach anything permanently. Can anyone suggest a product?


I do my best never to purchase anything I can’t see through. Sometimes the right product (in the size, shape, price, etc. that I need) doesn’t come in clear, so I give in and buy something opaque, but try not to do that too often. I’m not much of a labeler so I know I have to be able to see it.


Lots of good tips here for getting organized, and now I just have to kick my own rear end and get it all done. We have lived in our 2500 square foot split level house with tons of closets and other storage space, for ten years, but we are moving down south to a 1200 square foot ranch in about three months…oh so much work to do, and where to start?

Lorie Marrero

Sounds like you have a lot going on, Sammie! We are getting ready to downsize ourselves so I am really curious to hear how it goes for you. Check back in with us and let me know if there is anything I can do for you.


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