My daughter came home from school the other day with these “treasures.” Her school is purging items for a giant garage sale they are having and my daughter is not one to pass up free stuff! The first day she brought home the blue container and said, “We can use it for organizing!” (She is very proud that mommy is an organizer and likes to organize at home with me sometimes.) I should have been really proud right? Wrong! While her heart was in the right place, she had no idea what she was really going to do with the bin and would need to ‘find’ a use for it. Not the best way to get organized, so I wanted to share 7 reason NOT to buy organizing bins/baskets/tools.
1. It’s FREE
While free may save you money, it is not a good reason to get an organizing tool. Free just means you didn’t have to pay for it, it doesn’t mean it will actually help you with your disorganization. My daughter still hasn’t found a way to use this blue bin, so it just sits around and waits…. as more clutter.
2. It’s on sale
Again, it may save you money but it doesn’t solve your clutter problem just because it costs less. In fact, when items are free or cost less, we tend to be more inclined to purchase them than we normally would be- and still no idea how you will actually use it. And even worse is buy one get one free or 50% off (because you know you always buy 2 for that price!). Now instead of just one bin you have no idea how you will use- you have TWO! yikes- even more clutter waiting to be used.
3. It looks useful
This in one reason my daughter chose this blue bin- it looks useful. She thought maybe we could put pens/crayons in it or even painting stuff. True, we probably could. But we already have those things organized. She was just trying to come up with a way to use it because it looked like such a cool thing. It can be so tempting to see something in a store, or online, or in an ad and think “That looks useful.” But is it useful for YOU?! That is really the question you should be asking.
4. No plan how to use it
That leads us into the #4 reason not to buy an organizing tool- you have no plan for it. If you get something “just because” but have no idea how you will actually put it to use- you shouldn’t get it. That is why we always tell people to purge your items, match like with like to determine what exactly you have and THEN make a plan to buy organizing bins. That way you will have an exact purpose for it when you buy it.
5. You didn’t measure the space where you will use it
I can’t tell you how many times I have not followed these rules and decided to buy an organizing bin/basket anyway – only to get home an have it not fit anywhere that I thought I could use it. SO frustrating!! Have you ever walked around your home/office with the organizing bin to see – “Will it fit here? Will it work here? Maybe I could use it over here.” That is no way to get organized! Make sure you have already organized your stuff, know what you need to fit inside the bin and know WHERE it will go, making sure to measure (be sure to take all the measurements- height, width and length.) I am usually pretty good that this, but for one client I measured the inside of the kitchen cupboards- no the actually opening. So while the inside was 10 inches, the opening was only 9 (because of the molding/frame) ooops! I had to take all the bins back and get new ones.
6. Someone else you know uses it
It is important to remember that organizing is very personal and each person’s solutions will be specific to them. Just because a friend/neighbor/co-worker has something that works for them, doesn’t mean it will necessarily work for you. However, I will admit that learning from others is a great thing and of course it is often someone you know who teaches you about that latest great thing. If you think it will work for you give it a try, but if it doesn’t work be sure to get rid of it so it doesn’t become clutter.
7. It’s cute
I saved the best for last! So many times I hear people in places like the Container store say, “Oh this is cute!” and then buy the bin. NO< NO<NO! Remember- have a plan, measure, know what you are storing, make sure it is useful- don’t just buy organizing items because they are cute! Cute doesn’t get you organized, (But yes, whatever bin you buy should appeal to you- don’t buy the useful bin if is ugly and you don’t like it or you won’t use it either.)
It’s really pretty simple- you need to have a reason/need for buying organizing tools. I will say that the clipboards in the photo above were brought home with purpose. My daughter has been needing a clipboard and I haven’t bought one yet, so these free items are a score (and one is even CUTE!- bonus!)