If your friends often joke that you are “too organized” chances are they are jealous of your skills to have a place for everything. I am still amazed that people pay thousands of dollars to have someone come in to their home to “organize” things. Over the years I have bought and used a lot of different totes, carriers, organizers and product that were designed to make life easier. Some of them worked, some of them failed miserably. Every person is different so not everyone is going to need the same type of products to get organized.
Wal-Mart and Target have better prices on most plastic organizers and totes; if you go to a home improvement store you are going to be paying three to four dollars more for a tote so if you need ten of them you could be paying an extra thirty to forty dollars more than you would elsewhere. Online deals may look attractive but you have to factor in the delivery price; some websites charge more for oversized items so even though you might save a dollar on the product you are going to get nailed for the shipping fee.
Weeding out the junk can be tough for some people. That box of craft supplies that hasn’t seen the light of day for two years is nothing but a hindrance. How many times have you moved boxes around to get to something on a shelf? Do you even know what’s in the mystery boxes? Buying items that are stackable can help with storage space limitations but you do need to make sure the items you are keeping are things that you actually need to keep.
Plastic Totes: Sterilite makes a lot of great kitchen gadgets, storage products and things to get you organized. One of their most popular latching plastic totes is the 18 gallons size. This falls in the middle of their tote collection so in a way it is their medium size. It’s the perfect size for storing toys, seasonal decorations, craft items and things that are used but that are not used all that often. The plastic is strong, the lids are durable and they can be stacked to save space. The 18 gallon size is also a nice pick if you are going to a picnic and need something to store food and condiments in to transport them. It’s a lot easier than having to carry bags and worrying about them ripping.
For kid’s rooms these are perfect for storing toys (with or without the lid) and the sides can be painted or decorated if you want to personalize them. There are a ton of sizes to choose from but you have to make sure that you get the correct lid for them so always check that the lid matches the size tote that you are purchasing. Most of the companies that make plastic totes have seasonal products; this makes it easy to sort and store things for Christmas (red and green totes), Halloween (black and orange totes) and Easter (pink and purple totes).
Under The Bed Storage: Most people don’t realize that there is a lot of unused storage space under their bed. Even if you have a futon you can maximize your storage possibilities by getting an under-the-bed styled storage tote. There are several sizes available from Rubbermaid and several of them have wheels on them to make them easier to retrieve. The clear totes fit perfectly under any type of bed and allow you to store things like books, magazines, toys and other commonly used items that would otherwise cause a clutter situation. You can use these under couches too so if you have a lot of stuff on end-tables or coffee tables in your livingroom you can invest in one or two of the under-the-bed totes to improve the look of your room and keep things in a common space so they are easier to find when you need them.
Cereal Containers: One thing I hate is having tons of half empty cereal boxes on top of the refrigerator. Most of the time they are cereals that are comparable like Cocoa Rice Krispies and Cocoa Pebbles so mixing them together doesn’t really make much of a difference. Tupperware has a great line of dry food containers that you can use to store things like rice, cereal, oatmeal and flour in. This keeps the food fresh, reduces the chances of bugs finding their way into it and allows for easy use when cooking. They are semi-clear so you can see exactly what is inside it as well as when you are running low on something and need to add it to your grocery list. These are also nice if you are traveling and want something sturdy to store items in. You can fit a bottle of shampoo, hair ties, a brush and comb and other toiletry items inside it so you never have to worry about leaving things behind in hotel rooms.
Stackable Drawer Organizers: If you are looking for something to store smaller items then a three or four drawer organizer is awesome! You can use these in almost any room in the house as a catch-all for smaller items that often get misplaced. These are also an essential for crafters that use a lot of markers or colored pencils. You can see exactly what is in each of the drawers and the plastic is thick and strong enough to be able to handle a good bit of weight. For the bathroom they can be used on a vanity top or in a closet and they are great for little girls who have a lot of hair ties or clips. The plastic can be personalized with markers or puffy paints and you can take the drawers apart to clean them. They are stackable so you can have more than one of these on a desk without them taking up a lot of room but I do suggest using poster putty or double sided tape to adhere them together so they don’t come loose when you are opening drawers on other units. Most of the larger companies have these but I prefer to get the InterDesign brand because the underside of the drawers do not buckle or warp.
Modular Systems: These are the perfect choice for tween and younger kids; the basic sets come with twelve blocks that can be moved around using a bottom-slide system. They can stack them or move the sections around to personalize them. Sterilie has a six piece system that features larger compartments that are the perfect size for shoes, paperback books and video games. A modular system can be expanded so you can always add more sections to it; I would avoid the colored blocks through because some of them make it hard to see what is inside the drawer. They can be taken apart to be cleaned and reassembled without any tools. They will hold a good bit of weight but always store the heaviest items on the bottom.
Caddy Carriers: A lot of time is wasted making trips back and forth to the kitchen to get cleaning supplies. Save your time and give your feet a break by getting a personal caddy. They are large enough to carry five or six cleaners and a roll of paper towels and can save you a lot of time when cleaning different rooms. While it does take up a little extra room in a cabinet when being stored I can almost guarantee that once you use this a few times and don’t have to run around looking for cleaning supplies you will make room under the kitchen sink for this caddy. It is made completely of plastic but it is strong and will last years. This can also be used if you have a garden and want to have all of your tools in one place; since it is made of plastic there’s no chance of it rusting and you can drill a few holes in the bottom so water can drain out of it if you opt to leave it outside and it starts raining. Another version is made for the shower; this has an open weave design on it and is perfect for college students who share a bathroom with others.