Are Home Organization Products A Miracle Cure For Organizing Your Home?
The market for home organization products is on the rise despite the recession. Both Peachtree Consulting and The Freedonia Group predict annual growth in this market over the next few years, resulting in consumers spending a predicted $8.6 billion in 2015.
Some studies suggest that this increase is in fact due to the recession. Packaged Facts state that:
“Consumers are opting to funnel their strained funds into home organization products designed to make their homes more comfortable, less cluttered, and ultimately less stressful.”
As householders are struggling to afford big ticket items, they are opting for more affordable home organizing products to make them feel better about their home and life.
However, are these purchases having the desired effect?
Apparently NOT for the 71% of consumers surveyed by NAPO, who said that their:
“Quality of life would improve if they were better organized”.
So what is going wrong?
Consumers are buying more home organizers but are still not better organized. Why? Because they are NOT a miracle cure.
Why should you care?
If you are one of the many wannabe organizers who are thinking of buying some products to help you get organized, STOP.
As OrganizedHome.com explain in their Tightwad’s Guide To Getting Organized, thanks to savvy retailers, the phrase ‘Getting organized’ is synonymous with ‘Buy Me’. But you shouldn’t confuse the two as getting organized doesn’t necessarily require spending money.
You cannot buy an organized home (unless you hire a professional organizer to do it for you). You need to spend time and effort, and only sometimes money, to achieve your goal.
If you are a wannabe organizer, who is currently using the cost of organizers as an excuse to stay disorganized, TIME’S UP. I’m calling you out, stop hiding, get off your butt and get started. You don’t need to spend much, if anything at all.
Housekeeping at About.com report that “I can’t afford to get organized” is one of the top 3 excuses people give for not being organized. Well now YOU can’t use that excuse anymore!
Some say home organization products are a necessity
MarketResearch.com confirms that consumers believe they can buy a more organized life. They state that:
“US consumers, particularly middle- and upper-class households, are willing to pay more for items that will make their lives easier and more organized.”
Is it any wonder that this is the belief held by many? Just walking round a home store or flicking through a home magazine can make you feel as though you can’t get organized without the latest spice rack, knife block, or decorative storage box.
And then you go online and read things like:
“Organizing tools are not luxuries, they are necessities.”
from a forum thread at FrugalVillage.com. So you can be forgiven for thinking that the first thing you need to do to get organized is to buy a load of organizers.
(NB: The rest of that forum post is actually useful in giving ideas of where to find organizers without spending a lot.)
But let me remind you that shopping for organizers is in fact one of the last things you need to do, if you need to do it at all. Remember:
The trouble is shopping for organizers is fun. Using them on the other hand is less so, unless they are the decorative kind. This is perhaps the only time that buying an organizer first will actually get you started as you’ll be so excited to get it on display.
But for the most part, if you can afford to buy organizers, you should use their purchase as a motivational tool. Declutter first and THEN treat yourself to an organizer if needed.
I say home organization products are not a miracle cure
Organizers are not the answer to your home organization problems. You could have a truck load of storage boxes, bins, racks and holders delivered and STILL not be organized. You could also have none of the above and be super-organized.
This quote from Alejandra Costello, a Certified Professional Organizer, is typical of what can happen when householders fall into this trap:
“We find abandoned organizing products all over the house, all of which means, they bought a bin, it didn’t fit or solve their issue and now it’s in storage in their basement or garage. Sound familiar?”
And here’s another great one from OrganizedHome.com:
“Nobody ever got organized by buying stuff. Instead, they ended up holding a yard sale.”
So what is the answer?
In a word – Decluttering. Sorry to disappoint you but organizing is not a problem that you can throw money at and it will go away. You will have to set aside some time (I recommend regularly every day) to go through your things and toss or donate everything you don’t NEED or in some cases WANT.
Here are some tips from Oprah’s organizing guru:
So are home organization products a waste of money?
No, that is not what I’m saying. Organizers can be bought for just about any purpose in the home, from kitchen drawers and cabinets to closets, garages and home offices. Most are affordable and functional and they have a place in getting you organized, IF you have already decluttered.
They are not a necessity, like say your trash bin. Many times, after you have decluttered, you have the available storage space to store all of your items without them.
They do not need to cost a lot of money. There are plenty of ways to find organizers cheaply, perhaps at yard sales or by using cheaper boxes meant for something else. You can also get organizers for free. Think of things you already own to repurpose or things you can make, such as this cereal box desk organizer from MarthaStewart.com.
Don’t add organizers to your pile of clutter
For years, I thought that buying organizers would make me organized. Now my home is cluttered with empty plastic storage bins, flat packed cardboard boxes that have never been opened, shelves that are not put up etc.
Why? (1) Because I haven’t finished decluttering yet and (2) because I now realize they are too big. I prefer smaller organizers, like old margarine tubs in my kitchen drawers, rather than huge ones that just allow the contents within to become cluttered.
I grew up in a super-organized home and it was only when I had my own house that I realized what a full time job it could be to get organized. I thought organizers were the answer but they’re not.
Researching for this website taught me that time and effort are what are needed to get organized – not organizers. As I begin to implement my 5 minute clutter crack down routines, my cabinets, closets and rooms are slowly becoming organized. I have not bought an organizer yet (but will do soon as a treat!).
It’s true that there are no immediate shopping highs from walking out of the shop with your organizer. It’s not like New Years Day when you’re still optimistic about sticking to your resolutions. But then there is also no guilt when a few days or weeks later, you stumble across the un-used organizer. Don’t buy organizers until you have decluttered and you will avoid the yo-yoing of emotions that you may already be used to.
Buying an organizer is not the time to think ‘job done’. Learn to see regular decluttering as success and shopping as your reward and you will soon achieve positive results.
Practical ways to give up your organizer obsession
I want you to practice organizing without purchasing an organizer so you can prove to yourself that it can be done.
So here are 5 ideas of things to do – try a few:
- Start keeping cardboard boxes or empty margarine tubs or even egg cartons so you have some free organizers in stock for when you need them.
- Choose a kitchen drawer, empty it and be ruthless with your decluttering. If you don’t use the utensil or whatever it is in there daily or at least weekly, either toss it, donate it or if you can’t bear to part with it, put it in one of your cardboard boxes, neatly labelled with kitchen goods, and store it in your basement or garage. Organize the remaining things into groups of like items. If they really all should go in the same drawer, either cut up some of your cardboard boxes to make drawer dividers or play Tetris and arrange smaller boxes or margarine tubs so that they fit perfectly. If you don’t like the cereal box décor – cover it with contact paper or gift wrap.
- Instead of focusing on the products you’re feeling deprived of buying, look for online resources that show you how to make them and spend that shopping time, crafting. You could even get your kids involved.
- Instead of rushing to order the latest organizer that you see in your magazines, clip out the details and start a scrapbook. Think about where you would use it and make a plan to declutter that drawer, cabinet or closet before you buy it. You will probably find you no longer need it when you’ve finished.
- Find out when the next yard sale is on in your area. Make sure you declutter a drawer, cabinet or closet before you go. Measure the space and see if there are any bargain organizers on offer that would suit your needs.
Check out these great ideas for “How to get organised with non-traditional items” from Home Life Simplified.
I’m sure that once you move past the idea that storage and organization products are the answer to your organization problems, you will feel liberated. You will be able to grab 5 minutes here and there to declutter without having to have gone shopping for an organizer first and you will not feel guilty for buying organizers that you either don’t need or use.
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