We live in a rapidly changing world – styles, fads and fashion can shift in one news cycle. It feels impossible to keep up with the trends, even when it comes to organizing your home. We buy the latest bin or gadget in hopes that it will keep us organized forever. Months later, that bin is collecting dust in the basement with everything else that’s lost its appeal.
New products won’t solve your organizing issues – a good system will. So before you invest in the shiny plastic bins that are all over Instagram, find a working system with products that won’t break the bank (or the earth).
A great place to start the declutter process is the tupperware drawer (or area where tupperware is thrown in haste). Match all the pieces together with their lids. Got some leftover bins with no lids? Great! Don’t throw them away – reuse them! These containers make great dividers for deep drawers, office & craft supplies and even small toys.
You can do this with a lot of products – sturdy bags, Iphone boxes, metal cookie canisters – they can all be used to separate items within drawers and cabinets. So before it goes in the garbage, think about where else you can use it in the house.
Top Tip: Use old cake pans with a few marbles in between and voila – a lazy susan! Lazy susans are the best way to access a deep cabinet or a tricky corner.
This is not just a trendy word. This is a really affordable way to take someone else’s trash and make it your treasure. Thanks to the internet, we are connected to everyone in our cities and neighbourhoods. Look into your local Buy Nothing, Freecycle, Buy or Sell or Donate groups on social media to see who is getting rid of their furniture & household items. This is also a great way to donate anything you have in your home. Top Tip: Looking for something in particular? Set alerts on your social media pages so that you know right away when new items are posted.
In Manitoba, we are blessed to have an incredible network of thrift stores, located in almost every area of Winnipeg. Not only are you able to receive FREE pickups for your donations, but you can source anything from furniture to electronics to yes, organizing supplies. If you want to re-do your pantry, visit a few thrift stores and look for quality baskets, bins and glass canisters. Any of these can contain your items and also keep your wallet happy.
Top Tip: Bring your thrifty finds together by using a uniform labelling system. It will make it look like it was meant to be!
Cardboard is your Friend
I love using cardboard to contain and work in areas that don’t need to be visually appealing. It’s heavy duty, super sustainable and will corral all your bags of pasta in your basement storage. Use them to keep cords from tangling, as bin dividers or drawer separators. They work great in a deep freeze to keep smaller frozen items separated from the rest of your supply.
Top Tip: Cut the flaps off the top of a box, flip it on its side and use it as a shelf divider in a basement or garage.
Invest in the Best
Ok, so you’ve done your homework. You’ve found the right system. You know what works. NOW, go ahead and invest in some products that will stand the test of time. Stay away from cheap plastic and flimsy materials. Good products will be costly but will save you from re-buying in the end.
Top Tip: Look into companies that work hard to be sustainable. I once wrote Swiffer to see if they had any plans on making their products more eco-friendly, since I liked they way they worked. Guess what? They said NO. I committed to stop buying from them and invest in better products. It might seem like more work now, but it will save you (and our wonderful planet) in the end.