Are you looking to make changes to your spaces in 2024? The pros–including Abundance’s own Mindy Godding–have been weighing in on this year’s best options for new beds, desks and other household essentials. It got us thinking about how we plan our important purchases as organizers, particularly when we’re investing in improvements to the systems in our favorite spaces. If you’re planning to pick up new gear for the new year with organization in mind, check out our processes and recommendations below. And happy organizing!
Identifying Your Hero Areas
When looking to invest in new furniture and equipment for the home, it’s important to identify your “Hero Areas.” Everyone’s lifestyle is different, and part of what differentiates them is what we value. To some, the amount of work done in their home office lends much greater importance to extra or higher-end equipment. Others may prioritize the time they get to relax, making it worth the cost to spend extra in their lounge rooms on seating, entertainment systems and so on.
Once you identify your Hero Areas, you’ll be able to implement a key organizing principle: investing in and taking care of what you use the most. Heavily trafficked areas where we spend the majority of our time, whether they be inside a pantry or outside on a patio, are also the areas most susceptible to clutter and disorganization. Investing in good systems for these areas in particular can greatly improve our quality of life.
Common Hero Areas and corresponding organization investments include:
- Interests: Cooking, baking, hosting.
- Organizing Investments: Pantry bins, drawer dividers, spice racks, tray dividers, turntables.
- Interests: Films and TV, reading, gaming, hosting.
- Organizing Investments: Gaming/family media centers, linen baskets, shelving systems.
Garages and Sheds.
- Interests: Sports, landscaping, maintenance.
- Organizing Investments: Tool chests, utility racks and stands, pegboards, storage racks, baskets and carts, custom workshop solutions.
- Interests: Work, home and family management, gaming.
- Organizing Investments: Desks, drawer dividers, cord lofts and dividers, specialized computer and monitor stands, filing cabinets.
The first step to being a sustainable consumer is buying smart, i.e. only acquiring what you need and choosing products that will last. The second step is paying attention to who you are purchasing from. If you’re interested in going that valuable extra mile, here are a few things to look for when choosing between products from different brands:
Some companies throw more weight behind their “going green” initiatives than others, particularly when it comes to their production practices. Most climate conscious companies include sustainability information on their websites. They may detail initiatives to reduce carbon emissions and non-recyclable waste or to convert to repurposed and recyclable materials. These efforts are huge positives for any sustainably-oriented consumer.
Shipping and Packaging.
Sustainable practices extend beyond what the products themselves are made of: shipping materials matter, too. Keep an eye out for brands and companies that include plastic/Styrofoam-free or all-recyclable packing materials in their green initiatives.
Maximizing What You Have and What You Get
Measure, measure, measure!
Before making your trip to the store or placing an order online, be sure to take (and double-check!) measurements in all the spaces where you plan to use product. It’s also a good idea to “stage” your items: placing sorted kitchen utensils in drawers, arranging sorted electronics in cabinets, etc. That way, in addition to getting measurements for the storage space as a whole, you can approximate what sizes of product (bins, dividers) will work best with your inventory. Less guessing on the front end means less trial and error on the back end, saving you time and money in refunds and re-ordering.
Match product as much as possible.
It’s always smart to reuse equipment. We often work with clients who already own a fair amount of product, whether it’s drawer dividers, bins, turntables, etc. While this old inventory is useful, new organization projects usually call for updated items to meet new needs. The key to successfully meshing items from different years or brands is to match product as much as possible within sub-spaces. Examples include matching bins on individual pantry shelves, matching dividers within individual drawers, and so on. That way, the space as a whole can make the most of the mixed inventory while retaining clear systems and visual consistency.
New gear is always fun, but that doesn’t mean it’s always 100% necessary in order to get organized! Is your junk drawer full of rubber bands and twist ties that you’ve been squirreling away “just in case”? Gather them all up and tackle cord management in the office! Do you have an array of old baskets spread out across the attic, garage and shed? Dust them off and integrate them where you can as open storage on shelves and surfaces where they match your preexisting decor. See this great article in Country Living for more DIY and repurposing ideas, but don’t be afraid to innovate on your own!
Be sure to keep us updated on your organizing journey through our Abundance Declutter Group on Facebook!