Can you be organized without cool stuff?

In my work with clients, I often tell them not to buy anything to help organize until after we meet. People waste a lot of money on “stuff”–cute bins, shelving, containers, boxes, bags–only to find out some of it doesn’t really work, or is the wrong size, or just creates more clutter. One of my little organizing mottos is “it’s not the products you buy, but the systems you build that help you get and stay organized” — and I really believe it’s true!

With that said (and to totally contradict myself), I’m jonesing for some organizational stuff! We just spent a really fun weekend with our best friends in Richmond, VA. Nevermind that they just moved into a new house last week, and are having their third child TOMORROW. We just thought we’d pop on up for a visit, make a mess of their new house, eat their food and distract them from all of the important things they need to do before life comes to a screeching halt in 24 hours. I did offer some free organizational services while there, so hopefully it wasn’t a total loss for them.

They just bought a fantastic old house with LOADS of storage space. Their basement is the size of our entire house and has shelves, shelves and more shelves. My friend and I spent most of Saturday turning that space into a “Sleeping with the Enemy” style storage facility for bulk items, baby equipment, toys, cleaning supplies and holiday treasures. It was glorious. Stainless steel shelves, clear plastic bins, hooks, Lazy Susans …an organizer’s freaking dream. Seeing this made me realize that my own organizational tools (cardboard boxes, re-purposed shelves, not a Lazy Susan in sight!) leave a little to be desired. I’m in need of my own organizational make over.

I won’t be rushing out to buy any stainless shelves anytime soon (no where to put them anyway!), but I did realize that there’s something to having a few cool organizational tools to help motivate you to keep things put away in their proper place. I’m all about organizing on a budget, but once this accumulation freeze is over, I owe it to myself to do a little shopping (all in the name of market research, of course) and spruce up our own nooks and crannies.

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