Organizing Myth: Bins and Labels Make You Organized


Liz Jenkins

kiva storage bins

Having a bunch of organizing products does not mean you are organized. It just means you have a lot of organizing products!

You know I love my organizing tools & products. Bins, drawer organizers, baskets, labels…it all makes me happy. Especially when they match and fit perfectly in their space! Just look at how many Pinterest and Houzz pages there are devoted to organizing products and projects!

But products are not organizing. They further the goals and add the finishing touches but are only as good as the organizing process itself. Think of them as the frosting on the cake.

When I work with clients in the organizing process, the most fun for them usually is seeing the products I bring to the project. And the final result of the organizing when everything is in its place and labeled. It’s the most tangible part and it’s always fun to see new and cool stuff! I love the ooh’s and aah’s when it’s all finished.[/fusion_text]


But the products always come after the hard work, which are:

  • Sorting the items in the space
  • Making decisions on what to keep
  • Letting go of unwanted items
  • Creating zones or groups of items
  • Determining how and where items will be used or stored
  • Determine what storage or organizing products are needed

Once this is done, only then can we determine the best products to be used in a space. As a Professional Organizer, most of the time I can tell this up front as I’ve worked in enough spaces to know. And I’m not afraid to bring a lot of different materials to try based on my expertise of what will most likely work to create the systems that are needed. It always makes me sad to have to tell clients that most of the nifty organizing tools they bought ahead of time won’t really work in the space no matter how much we want them to. If the product doesn’t serve the need, we can’t force it to do so.

Tip: It’s much easier to make the products fit the space, than try to make the space fit the products.

Before buying any organizing tools or products:

  • Do the above steps FIRST
  • Measure your spaces, inside and out
  • Know what you are storing or using in each space so you can find products that suit the need
  • Look for products that are versatile, sturdy and attractive
  • Look for products that have been around for a while so if you need to add more, they will most likely be available
  • Look for products that not only fit the space but hold your stuff properly

Tip: When your organizing products match in style or color or both, a space feels cleaner, more streamlined and less visually chaotic.

But wait until you’ve done the hard work before the reward of buying fun products. Don’t be swayed with bright and shiny until you know they will work for you. Organizing products pull us in with an image of how things could be, but they don’t actually make a difference unless you do the organizing work and process first. The products just become more clutter to be dealt with.

Take a deep breath. Dive into the organizing process by sorting, purging and zoning. Only then will the wonderful world of organizing products be of use to you and your space.

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