5 Times an “Organizing Solution” Will Solve Your Clutter Problem and 2 Times It Won’t

updated Jun 14, 2021
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Credit: Anna Spaller

Just spotting messes at home can manifest stress in your mind. Then, when it’s time to find something among the rubble, that disorganization causes frustration when you can’t put your hands on what you need. It’s a classic case of your environment affecting your mood and mind.

Addressing organization issues at home, therefore, can relieve a constant source of stress and give you an instant mood boost and sense of calm. Consciously or not, most people know this and are driven to impose order on chaos — to different degrees, depending on how sensitive they are to disorder.

But turning to organizing solutions or products to create order isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. There are definitely times that an organizer is the answer, but sometimes adding a tool is a shortcut that doesn’t actually solve the problem. A mess with an organizer imposed on it is still a mess.

Here’s how to know when an organizing product will solve your clutter problems and when it wont…

Credit: Alexis Buryk

It’s good when: Your organizer helps you access unused space.

If your organizing solution creates more space to store or access items, it’s likely that this will alleviate your clutter problems. A space that’s cluttered because it’s too small or too inaccessible (like a deep cabinet, for instance) instantly becomes more usable when you “create” more space.

Some space-creating solutions include:

1. Shelf Risers

By adding another “shelf” to your cabinet, you’re able to take full advantage of vertical space and simultaneously make your dishware or food storage lids more accessible. For instance, if you stack small plates on top of big plates, this makes it harder to access your bigger plates. But insert a shelf riser and put the small plates on top, and getting out a big plate involves zero unstacking. So much less fuss.

2. Hooks

Wherever you choose to use them, hooks make storage space out of vertical surfaces and free up space inside drawers or cabinets. For instance, you could hang hooks on the inside of your under-sink cabinet for hanging bottle brushes, or hang hooks on a wall near the sink for your rags. I use hooks on the wall of my pantry to hang our aprons, making use of space that would otherwise go unused.

3. Drawer Stackers

Drawer stackers are another innovative organizing solution that create space out of thin air. If you have an overfull drawer and find yourself shuffling cooking tools or utensils when you need the slotted spoon or the whisk, a drawer stacker will add order and make it easy to see and access all your items.

4. Pot Racks

Whether you use them vertically or horizontally to “file” baking sheets, cutting boards, and the like, pot racks also take stacking out of the storage equation and eliminate the need to deal with toppling piles when you need to get something.

5. Turntables

Adding a turntable to a shelf corner or cabinet gives you instant access to items that would otherwise be hiding in the far recesses of your storage space. Rather than digging into the depths of shelves, a flick of the wrist puts what you need at your fingertips.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

It’s not a real solution when: your organizer just adds separation.

Separating clutter is not to be confused with true organization. If your drawers or cabinets are overcrowded or you simply have too much stuff, containing items without first decluttering and then sorting them might neaten up your clutter problems, but it isn’t going to solve them.

Here are some examples of organizers that separate but don’t, on their own, organize:

1. Drawer Dividers

Drawer dividers are excellent organization tools, but without some prep work, they won’t give you the true organization you seek. To make sure you’re using them well and not just adding them to a mess, first empty out your drawer. Sort items by type, get rid of duplicates or items you don’t use, and then put like with like back into the drawer divider.

2. Baskets

Baskets group and corral items and can even act like makeshift drawers that you can pull out on shelves. But, again, if you don’t lay the groundwork of decluttering and sorting beforehand, they won’t do much more than hide your mess. In fact, without clear differentiation of what items are in which baskets, you run the risk of not knowing what you have, making it just as frustrating to try to find what you need and causing you to run the risk of buying duplicate items. Instead, only store like with like and consider labeling your baskets and bins to eliminate the guesswork of where to find something and, just as important, where to put it away.