One of the definitions of a trend is a topic that is the subject of many posts on a social media site or application. Nowhere in that definition does it say ‘works for everyone’ or even works at all. Today I’m going to invite you to join me as I question 3 top organizing trends. We’ll discuss if they’d work for you and if not, what will.
TREND #1 RAINBOWS
Let’s start with my least favorite organizing trend out there today! Rainbows! Who here likes rainbows? Honestly, I love them! I really do. But I rarely use them as a tool to organize.
Do me a favor and close your eyes. Imagine yourself holding your favorite book. Do you know what color it is? Maybe but probably not. Is there any reason other than aesthetics to rainbow books? Nope.
I once had a client who had previously worked with an organizer. The organizer rainbowed her children’s books. How often do you think kids ask to read the red book? Almost never. They ask to read a book based on what they remember about the book – what type of animal it was about, maybe the title, rarely the color. Also, kids are going to pull all the books out so that they can find the one they want. Is it worth your time to put them back in based on color? I didn’t think so.
Now that I’ve told you what won’t work, let’s discuss what will: Do you want to rainbow your books because it will look nice. If that’s the case, go for it! It does look awesome! If you’re organizing so that you have access, here is my suggestion: separate your books by fiction that you’ve read, fiction that you haven’t read, nonfiction that you’ve read and nonfiction that you haven’t read.
But Tori! There are so many more categories! You’re right, there are but I’m here to tell you how often people fall down the rabbit hole of over-categorization. Is it historic fiction or reference? Both? Do I put biographies and autobiographies together? So yes, you can categorize more than the 4 I mentioned but be careful about that rabbit hole. At the end of the day, the majority of the time you look at your books is when you’re looking for something to read. It is very easy to convince yourself that you have nothing to read, unless you in fact you have a to read section! The question is, do you want to stop yourself from buying more books?
As for organizing kid’s books, make your life easier: Put them at a level where they can see and grab them. If you’re a grandparent and you don’t want them out all the time, I suggest a bin. Let me be clear, I understand that it’s not easy to look at imperfection. But I also understand that kids are kids and the best way for them to explore is by having access. My grown-up books can go on a shelf and not be touched for years. My two year old’s books get pulled out and put back every day.
TREND #2: DECANTING
What I mean when I say decanting is taking everything out of its original package to put it into yet another container. This trend is the opposite of helpful. In fact, it’s a fool’s errand.
Here’s what you think will happen: you’ll buy matching containers for your pantry, transfer everything from boxes and bags and everything will run smoothly. The containers will automatically refill when they are completely empty and the system will be maintained with ease.
What will actually happen: within the first day, someone in your home will eat the majority of the contents of a container but they won’t refill it because there’s still a little bit left – much like putting an almost empty carton or container back in the fridge. You will be left with a conundrum – do you eat the remaining food in the container so you can refill it or do you throw it out and waste food? In the end, the original perpetrator will most likely open another box or bag of said snack and eat directly from there, now leaving you with two containers of the snack instead of one. This will happen with the pasta, the rice, and nearly all of the containers. The main issue being that you don’t want to mix new food with old food.
So what’s the answer? Am I telling you this to crush your dreams? When it comes to items that need canisters I recommend baking items like flour and sugar and also cereal. That’s it. Can you choose to put more in canisters? Of course you can, you definitely don’t need to agree with me.
Now let’s talk about how to help yourself out when it comes to your pantry: If you’re not going to separate with canisters, how do you make a distinction? Do you just shove it all in together and hope for the best? No.
Let’s separate the food in your pantry into 5 main categories: cooking, grains, baking, breakfast and snacks. I’m not going to discuss spices, oils and vinegars because alas I have a lot to say and not enough time.
Some of you have a clearly defined pantry and others don’t. That’s fine, it doesn’t need to be all together, just by category. If you don’t bake often, baking supplies can be in a less easy to access area.
Now what is the single greatest suggestion when it comes to pantry organization? The excess shelf! Tori, you ask, what is this excess shelf you speak of?! What I see often in homes is items shoved here, there and everywhere. If you have 3 different unopened ketchups scattered throughout your pantry and your cupboards, how are you meant to know where they are when you need them? Enter, the excess shelf! It’s the one place you check when you’ve run out of an item before you run to the grocery store. It’s where you direct all members of your household to when they ask if you have more _____. When you’re making a grocery list, you check the excess shelf. Excess shelf for the win!
TREND #3 HANGER REPLACEMENT
Who here has heard that they should change out all of their hangers and replace them? Well, as a first I’m here to tell you that it may not be a bad idea. Before you start adding to cart on your phone, let me ask you a couple of questions: do you have enough space for your clothing? If yes, then it’s not something you need to worry about unless aesthetically it appeals to. Second, do you care about how it looks? If yes, change them. If no and cost is a factor, do you know where you probably have a ton of slim hangers from? The dry cleaner!
Now if you do want or need to switch out hangers let’s discuss your options. Have you heard of slimline hangers? The most common are the velvet ones but some people don’t like velvet and for those people, there is a plastic version. Something to note when it comes to velvet hangers is that if color matching is important to you, go with black. A ton of different companies sell these and if you buy cream from one vendor, the cream you buy from another will most likely not be the exact cream you bought first.
Downsides to slimline hangers; they are not the sturdiest so if you hang something too heavy, they will break. I.e. slimline hangers are not ideal for jackets. For jackets you want straight wood hangers like these.
What about all the gimmicky hangers you see out there? The cascading ones? Do me a favor and close your eyes. Imagine yourself carrying a full load of laundry upstairs. Clothing is not light. So sure, you could hang 6 pairs of pants on one hanger but it’s going to be incredibly heavy and I’m willing to bet that you’re only going to use the top pair because it’s annoying to get to the ones underneath.
How do you deal if you have too much clothing and Tori has told you to skip the tiered hangers? Well my friend, we haven’t talked about it tonight but the answer is decluttering. I’m not going to delve too deeply into it because we don’t have time but I’ll going to give you some tips.
When it comes to going through your clothing, the most important thing to do is to take everything out. If that’s too overwhelming, go section by section. Let’s start with blouses. Low and behold, you have 6 black blouses. You love every single one of them. I point out that even though you have 6 that you need and love, the truth is that you most likely always gravitate towards the same one or two. Is this true for you? Rather than getting rid of some of the blouses, let’s think about holding on to the ones you love most. Would it be reasonable to keep 3 of the 6? You admit that number four doesn’t actually fit, you’re keeping it for when you lose twenty pounds. I point out that you are gorgeous in the here and now and that keeping guilt hanging in your closet is not so fun. Number 5 never fit and still has the tags but you’ve held onto it because it was so expensive. I point out that it can’t be returned, making it a sunk cost and that it will make someone’s day to find it at Goodwill. You never actually liked number six, you just didn’t want to deal with getting rid of it. I recommend an open donation bag in your closet moving forward so that every time you pull an item in and out and in and out, it can go directly into the bag.
Now instead of one giant cascading hanger, you only need two hangers.
I’m Tori the Organizer. And I hope today I’ve convinced you that aesthetics are important but function is key. You are a unique individual with a unique lifestyle and you deserve to be organized in a way that works for you.