Spend smart when organizing

With so many home organizing products on the market, deciding which ones to splurge on or skimp on — or those to skip entirely — can be more challenging than actually getting organized.

The bottom line: Don’t buy products that will just end up being a waste of money, and possibly create even more chaos in your home.

cleaning and storage for home

Organizing: When to save vs when to splurge

“Getting organized can be overwhelming – so many products claim to be a remedy for clutter,” says Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart.

The magazine’s March 2015 issue featured 21 essentials to help declutter every room, and here they offer a few examples of organizing products — those to spend on, to save on, or to just skip — to help you get your whole house under control.


Here are some of the organizing products ShopSmart suggests spending some extra cash on:

Food storage containers. Bring order to a fridge by scrapping mismatched deli containers. Opt for see-through class containers that can be used to safely store, reheat, and serve food in them.

Hangers. Ditch wire and mismatched hangers for sturdy matching ones. Use space-saving nonslip flocked hangers, which keep garments put. For most garments, choose an all-purpose hanger made of sturdy plastic that can help clothes retain their form. For heavier coats and jackets, use sturdy wooden ones.

Charging station. Instead of charging gadgets throughout the house, do it in one spot with a charging dock. Pick one that fits with the décor because it will be on display.

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Exposed bins, baskets & boxes. When storage for magazines, remotes, video games, and other livingroom essentials needs to fit in with the décor, spring for the nice stuff. Visual order may inspire dwellers to put things away.

>> 18 five-minute decluttering tips to help you get organized


If you are on a budget, here are some items to cheap out on.

Plastic boxes. Sturdy see-through boxes bring everything to order — mani-pedi supplies, crafting materials, and more. Pick a style that is stackable with a hinge top so the lid doesn’t pop off, especially if the box is overstuffed.

Shoe rack. Good shoe-organizing systems aren’t always pretty, but the best ones make it easy to grab a pair and go, and can handle increased volume. Avoid wire racks and those that hang on the inside of a closet door.

Wall-mount organizers. These corral mops, brooms, and other cleaning supplies without hogging precious closet space. Many cost $25 or less.

Storage bins. Inexpensive fabric bins keep closets from becoming a dumping ground, and there’s no reason to spend a bunch on ones that will be behind closed doors.

>> Home sweet messy home: How much mess can you stand?


Finally, here are a few money-wasters ShopSmart says to skip:

Bulletin boards. These can encourage paper hoarding. For those who don’t have a desk with a drawer, opt for a hanging file box that looks neat on a desk and does a better job of keeping track of important papers.

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Tomato keeper. These can cost $6 or $7 dollars and can take up space. Use Ziploc bags instead.

Bra organizers. These contraptions require extreme folding skills and take up more space than gained. To keep bras neat, fold soft-cup bras in half and tuck them in a drawer; stack padded bras. (Also see The best way to wash, dry & store your bras.)

Products shown at top: 1) Home-It Mop and Broom Holder. 2) Winsome Wood Leo Storage Baskets in Walnut. 3) Gourmet Home Products Signature Home Brands Velvet Hangers in Purple. 4) Mainstays Plastic Food Storage Container, 14 Pieces, Multicolored.

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