But nearly as often, they are wrong.
The thing with storage is that it can be part of the clutter problem. When it’s right, it’s brilliant and useful. But when wrong, it’s cumbersome, annoying and limiting.
However tempted you might be, always wait until the end of the decluttering process before you buy storage. I fully appreciate that there are a wealth of pretty products out there and that they promise the world. But there is simply no way of knowing what will suit you until you have just the right amount of stuff in your home.
And no excess.
Although I don’t recommend a lot of products to people (the focus is on simplifying rather than adding) over the years, I have collated a list of my favourite organising products and storage solutions. If I see a need, I often give these to clients as freebies, so strongly do I feel about their worthiness.
All the below products happen to be budget ones. It’s not that I’m allergic to high end products – it’s just that I feel these are all perfectly adequate for purpose and I like the simplicity of them. They won’t last forever (I can’t imagine IKEA storage ending up on Antiques Roadshow) but then nor will the uses assigned to them.
So here they are – my absolute wonder products – designed to make your home function that little bit better!
1. Command Hooks/Self Adhesive Hooks
To be honest, hooks as an invention in general should be given a medal in my opinion!
Wall space in general should be utilised hoever first thought of storing things vertically on a wall should be applauded.
But these hooks are just one of those simple solutions that seem too good to be true, only they aren’t. You literally need nothing else to hang them as they’re self adhesive. Command hooks (in the image on the left) remove cleanly leaving no mark. Other types will need to be leveraged off with a screwdriver and patching up will be required.
Happily, these come in clear to blend in with the décor and the large ones hold up to 5lbs (we’re talking an ironing board here) For ideas of what to store on these just check out Pinterest but literally anything from belts to jewellary to towels to keys.
Tip: always check the weight of what you are trying to hang (there IS a reason I carry digital weighing scales in my professional organiser kit!)
Here is an example of toy storage baskets hung on the wall in my home, freeing up valuable floor space:
2. Handbag Insert
My first thought when I saw this was “unnecessary” Now though, I am a total convert.
I use several different bags and this fits inside each one, holding all my essentials within its compartments. I can slip it in and out of bags, negating the need for repacking everything, which saves time and hassle. I no longer spend time rummaging around for your keys because they ‘live’ in a specific compartment.
3) IKEA Dragan Boxes
Bamboo is a class act of a material.
It’s hard wearing, waterproof, long lasting AND it looks good.
It ticks the ‘beautiful and useful’ box perfectly. I use this Dragan to store cosmetics in the bathroom. I prefer essentials to be in easy reach on open shelving or a windowsill rather than in drawers or a cupboard (why create the extra step of retrieving and replacing?) Storing this way also means no rooting around in a toiletries bag and the products can be stored upright as they should be. The Dragan comes in three parts and the two smaller fit on top of the larger. I store daily used products on top and store the lesser used ones underneath.
4) Letter Rack
It is essential to have something in the way of a system for incoming post.
A letter rack often works well because of its compact size (it’s impossible to let papers build up too much)
You need at least 3 compartments – one in which to place incoming mail if you don’t have time to deal with it immediately. A second to place mail that needs to be actioned in some way. And a third to place a paper which needs to be filed. The one in the picture was an old wooden one that I upclycled with black paint.
There’s an important caveat within all of this: your recycling box and shredder should be nearby! The idea is that you get rid of what you don’t need as close to the source as possible. Try to apply the OHIO (only handle it once rule) Your goal is to either dispose of the paperwork then and there or action immediately. Only select pieces will be longer term actions or filed away.
Which bring me to….
A must really. I use mine daily.
You don’t need anything big and fancy unless you run a largeish business from home.
I spout this stat so frequently that it sounds a bit robotic, but it’s true! “80% of paperwork that enters our home, we never look at again” It gives you an idea of how much you really need to keep.
Get it shredded.
Tip: If you generate a large amount of shredding during the decluttering of paperwork, it’s definitely worth using a local shredding company.
6) Cable Tidy
The above picture is of these self adhesive, little round pieces of magic. There’s nothing worse than the end of your phone charger disappearing behind the bed or shelf and having to fish it out (okay clearly there are worse things in life than this but still it is annoying) Use one of these and you can create your own compact charging dock for devices – anywhere.
I have to keep myself in check with this one, because using a laminator can be addictive!
The concept is brilliant. It enables you to transform a humble piece of paper into something much more hard wearing. I laminate kids artwork, special cards and notes before they go into the memory box (choose sentimental items carefully though – see this post to find out why)
You can also use it to make meal plans and To Do lists. Write on them with a dry erase pen and you can rub out and reuse over and over.
Tip: A trimmer/guillotine is handy to easily cut laminated materials down to size – though I’m not advocating buying things for the sake of it and scissors will do the job.
8) IKEA Skubb Boxes
These are a such genius product. Mainly because they are so incredibly versatile! They come in a number sizes and they fold flat when not in use.
The list of uses is endless. Use them as drawer dividers to store anything from underwear to accessories. They are nice enough to have on show as storage for this items which tend to be homeless, such as phone chargers and TV remotes. Or on open shelves for bathroom or office essentials. Likewise use them inside cupboards to contain kids crafts, food items or medication.
9) Ultra thin, non slip Clothes Hangers
These are the only hangers I use. If you switch to these, you will save 30% of space in the wardrobe immediately. They also create a uniform, aesthetically pleasing look. They have a felt coating and come in a variety of colours – I choose the cream ones as I feel they blend in.
10) Label Maker
Many of my Professional Organiser colleagues love these and I’ve converted a good few clients and friends too. If you don’t label a closed box or file, you WILL forget what’s in it. Time and energy spent checking would be better spent else where. You can label…well anything you like really! won’t regret joining the label maker club.
11) Plastic Popper Wallets & Sandwich Bags
These are sturdy, keep papers protected and you can see at a glance what’s inside. They also come in A5 as well as A4.
I use these to store important documents such as passports and driving licences, warranties or instruction manuals (you DON’T need a box file for your manuals! Tip: tear the language you speak out of the instruction booklet as it’s generally only one sheet! Or better still, access them online)
12) Ikea Trones Unit
The adaptability of these is a wonder. The obvious use is for shoes but they are great for scarfs/hats/gloves. Also, do you ever find that you constantly have a few items in your possession that you need to return to someone else or lend to someone (i.e. they need to leave the house but instead they sit around looking like clutter) I have a Trones specifically for such items and it’s placed by the door so I can grab the item on the way out.
It’s all about systems!
I hope this post gave you an insight or sparked an idea. I’d hate for you to buy something for the sake of it but I can hand on heart say that I use each of these products in my home everyday. They may not look like much but they make home a little bit tidier and life that little bit easier. Functionality is fun!
Thank you so much for reading!
A Tidy Mind