On-demand Storage Services: 9 Reasons You Shouldn’t Use Them

on-demand storage hero

Numerous on-demand storage companies have sprung up in recent years. They all promise an easy solution to solve the problem of not having enough home storage space.

The business model of these companies is a creative evolution of the traditional self-storage concept. Instead of someone taking all of their extra stuff to another location for storage, these companies come right to the customer to pick it up.

On-demand storage is also known as “pickup storage” and “valet storage”. 

One of the common selling points of these companies is how convenient their services are for people to use. The longer you look at how these businesses work, however, it becomes quite evident that it just doesn’t make any practical or financial sense to use on-demand storage companies.

Why is there more demand for on-demand storage?

It’s not surprising that this type of service has gained traction in the home storage marketplace. A lot of us simply have too much stuff and don’t spend enough time paring down the number of things we own.

That makes what storage companies offer look a lot more attractive in desperate times when clutter has overwhelmed a household.

These eye-opening statistics shed some light on how our homes are organized:

  • Having a lack of storage space was the number one pet peeve of homeowners. (HSH.com survey)
  • Disorganization (not lack of space) causes 80% of household clutter. (Soap and Detergent Association study)
  • Having an untidy home was the fifth most common stress trigger for homeowners. (Huffington Post survey)
  • 25% of people with 2-car garages don’t park in them at all due to clutter. (U.S. Dept. of Energy study)
  • 61% of women who have a hard time finding anything in their closet end up buying new clothes. (OnePoll survey)
  • Only 20% of the things we own are actually used. (LexisNexis study)
  • 9% of Americans rent storage space, even though 65% of those homeowners have a garage. (Self Storage Association survey)

The very fact that on-demand storage companies exist and that people are using them is a reflection of the consumer culture we live in. The rise of e-commerce over the past 20 years has only added to the problem of our homes being more overstuffed than ever.

How does on-demand storage work?

Here’s how on-demand storage companies work:

  1. The customer contacts the company and tells them how much of their stuff needs to be stored at the company’s warehouse.
  2. A time is scheduled for the company’s empty lockable storage containers to be dropped off at the customer’s home. Some pickup storage services will allow customers to use their own storage boxes or bins and may offer packing help as well (the latter costs extra, naturally).
  3. When the storage containers are filled, a pickup time is arranged.
  4. All items being stored are inventoried and photographed before being shipped to the storage warehouse. Monthly fees are charged to the customer based on the amount of storage space they use.
  5. Whenever the customer needs anything from their stored inventory, the company delivers it to them upon request for a fee.

Most customers will use a self-service phone app or web portal to check and manage their stored inventory and arrange pickup and drop-off times.

If all of that extra time, work, and expense just to store your own belongings seems impractical and, quite frankly, downright silly, you’re beginning to see why hiring one of these companies is usually a bad idea.

Using a storage company on a short-term basis could be practical if you found yourself in one of the following difficult situations:

  • if you’re in a bind with a sudden job relocation to another city or country
  • a job loss that forces you to downsize
  • if your home is undergoing a major long-term remodel
  • a change in your living situation (like a separation, divorce, or end of a live-in relationship) that requires you to move

Otherwise, there’s no reason anyone should be wasting their hard-earned money on this type of service. Let’s take a closer look at why you shouldn’t use on-demand storage services.

1. “Out of sight, out of mind” isn’t a storage solution

If a home can’t fit everything a family owns, the home is too small or the occupants own more things than they need (or both). In most cases, it’s the latter.

The “kicking the can down the road” approach to dealing with clutter by just storing it remotely doesn’t solve anyone’s organization problems. “Out of sight, out of mind” simply isn’t a storage solution.

The biggest reason people avoid getting organized is the time it will require to get the job done. Somehow, they conveniently forget just how much time we waste from being disorganized. It makes no sense.

The only way to solve a storage problem is to address the root cause of the issue and put in some time and effort to declutter occasionally. Hiring a storage company to house the stuff their home should be storing only encourages someone to keep buying more than they need.

One day, all of that stored stuff will need to be dealt with anyway.

man taping storage box

Instead of shipping things you can’t find room for in your home to another location, just take the time to declutter.

2. On-demand storage drains your finances

That “one day” when someone finally gets around to dealing with their stored items is what these companies count on to make their money. It’s in these companies’ best financial interests for their customers to forget about their belongings or procrastinate on getting rid of them.

Derek Naylor, a former president of Storage Marketing Solutions (a self-storage industry marketing and advertising agency) told The New York Times, “Human laziness has always been a big friend of self-storage operators.”

This extra monthly expense naturally adds up if you have things stored for a long time. You’ll find plenty of cautionary tales online like this one from people filled with regret about using storage companies. In many cases, their story is the same: a plan to store some things on a temporary basis turns into a long-term period of using remote storage, which results in thousands of wasted dollars.

The pickup storage service model only adds another expense on top of the monthly storage fee when someone needs to have things delivered occasionally from their storage warehouse. Delivery fees varied anywhere from $15 to $35 for the various on-demand storage companies we looked at.

Read the fine print

Then there are the extra charges you need to pay close attention to in the service contract you sign. They may not exactly be hidden, but they’re certainly not easily identified in all of that fine print, either. Here are some examples of extra fees you can face:

  • heavy item charges for delivering bulky items that require more than one person to handle
  • mandatory insurance fees
  • penalty surcharges if you store less than the company’s minimum storage requirement
  • a one-time administrative fee when you open an account
  • hefty late fees if a monthly payment is missed or late

3. Why pay someone to store your junk?

Junk is defined as “something of little meaning, worth, or significance”. If something is so inconsequential in your life that you don’t even need to keep it under your own roof, chances are that it’s junk. If you’ve ever watched an episode of Storage Wars, you know that most of the contents kept in storage units is junk.

Feelings of nostalgia make it difficult for many people to part with their belongings. Others are reluctant to throw things away because it feels wasteful.

But as Ann Gambrell (founder of the National Association of Professional Organizers) explained to Consumer Reports about why people waste money on storage fees, “It’s typically all about procrastination. People end up spending money because they can’t make a decision.”

Holding onto junk and letting it take up space in a home limits the functionality of a living space. That’s not cost-effective. And it’s even less cost-effective for someone to ship away their junk and pay someone to store it.

Don’t waste your money on fees to store things you’ll end up selling or throwing away eventually anyway. There are two huge upsides of downsizing the number of things you own: you’ll save a lot of money and feel great after liberating yourself from the clutter that’s caused you stress for years.

4. Investing in home storage upgrades is a lot smarter

It’s ironic that the excess clutter that prompts someone to try and create more storage space in their home also makes it harder to identify where those potential storage spaces are. It’s like trying to find a parking spot in a crowded parking lot – finding that open space is much harder when everything is so congested.

The average homeowner who looks around their house or condo for more space to store their belongings also doesn’t have the experience of a home organization design pro. Companies like Organized Interiors, who specialize in storage and organization solutions, can leverage a home’s underutilized spaces for improved functionality.

Instead of falling into the bottomless pit of monthly storage fee expenses, it’s a lot smarter to invest your money in home storage upgrades that also add value to your home.

Skilled design professionals can improve existing home storage areas and find new storage spaces that most people wouldn’t have considered. Here are some examples:

  • a closet makeover that maximizes the storage space for clothing and accessories
  • converting an unused attic space into additional storage or living space
  • making better use of a spare room and converting it into a guest room, home office, walk-in closet, or hobby room
  • optimizing the storage capabilities of the garage
  • using dual-purpose furniture like storage beds, built-in wall units, and seating with hidden storage
Bed storage with bedroom cabinetry

Instead of wasting money every month on storage fees, invest in home storage upgrades. This custom cabinetry featuring a storage bed maximizes a bedroom’s storage space.

5. On-demand storage isn’t as convenient as it may seem

The “convenience” these valet storage companies promote makes rather selective use of that word. Is it more convenient for someone to have all of their extra stuff picked up and shipped off somewhere else so they don’t have to declutter and make more storage room in their home? Sure, that saves them time now.

It’s not so convenient, however, on a long-term basis when they need access to anything that is stored remotely. Then they’re dealing with the busywork of arranging a delivery time and waiting for the delivery to happen.

There’s nothing convenient about anyone having less access to their own belongings and getting charged a fee to have them delivered to their home. All of the on-demand storage companies we looked at don’t even have an option that allows customers to pick up their items from the storage facility when needed, even for a lower fee.

Even in a cluttered home, someone can probably find anything (even a misplaced item) in less time than it would take to arrange and wait for a valet storage company delivery.

6. Not all storage warehouses are safe and secure

All storage companies promote the fact that customers can enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that their belongings are being stored in a safe, secure storage facility.

However, we all know that there are plenty of shady companies out there who will promise one thing and actually cut corners with how they operate.

Anyone entrusting a company to store their belongings should be asking a number of questions about the storage warehouse where their things are being kept. This includes asking:

  • does the storage facility have 24/7 security personnel and monitored video surveillance?
  • how safe is the neighbourhood the facility is located in?
  • are strict pest control measures being used?
  • how carefully monitored is the warehouse’s climate control?

7. Storage companies avoid taking responsibility for lost and damaged items

Anyone considering using a storage company doesn’t only need to do their homework on how secure their stored belongings will be, they also need to get detailed information about how liable the company is in the event of damage or theft of their property.

Traditionally, storage companies will do everything they can to avoid having to pay you the full amount to replace damaged or stolen items.

Look at the terms and conditions page on the site of any storage company. They’re guaranteed to be the longest page on the site and filled with legalese that seems to absolve the company of virtually any responsibility for items that are stored with them…unless you have a protection plan. And even if you do have a protection plan, the level of coverage you get isn’t very impressive.

Here is a sampling from a couple of storage companies about what they won’t cover unless you have a protection plan:

  • loss or damage incurred in transit or during loading or unloading
  • loss or damage resulting from unknown or mysterious causes
  • damage caused by moths, vermin or other insects, rust, fire, water, changes in temperature, fumigation, or deterioration
  • loss or damage resulting from theft

And that’s only a fraction of what they list. Some companies protect themselves from any liability to such a high degree that they even list acts of war and nuclear accidents as events for which they’re not responsible for damage to property stored on their premises. Talk about covering all of your bases!

8. On-demand storage is bad for the planet

Using on-demand storage companies isn’t eco-friendly in a couple of different ways.

There are thousands of storage warehouses occupying billions of square footage across Canada and the U.S. That massive amount of space needs to be lit and climate-controlled, which leaves a large carbon footprint.

Valet storage companies are also part of the growing business movement that provides on-demand services to consumers who crave convenience. Nowadays, everything from Amazon packages to fast food to groceries to pet grooming services can come right to our front doors.

The trade-off for all of this convenience, unfortunately, is more traffic on the roads (including on-demand storage vehicles) and therefore more vehicle emissions.

on-demand storage companies increase traffic

Traffic congestion in the GTA is already bad enough. More on-demand storage company vehicles on the roads only adds to the problem and increases vehicle emissions.

9. There are restrictions on what you can store

It makes sense that storage companies would have some restrictions on what you can store in their facilities, including things like illegal items, perishable goods, and materials that are combustible, hazardous, and toxic.

Once again, you need to really read the fine print in their terms and conditions to ensure you’re complying with their storage guidelines and not breaking any rules that could result in a hefty fine. A number of things on the restricted items lists from a few different companies surprised us. Here are some examples of what can’t be stored:

  • heavy items like a piano, pool table, or large grill
  • vehicle tires
  • boxes weighing more than 70 pounds
  • some types of exercise equipment

Most storage companies will only store fragile goods under certain conditions, if at all. For example, furniture that incorporates glass and furniture made from particleboard needs to be disassembled. Electronics like a TV or computer need to be packed in their original boxes or in one of the company’s special boxes.

Even after complying with these rules, customers typically still have to sign a fragile items waiver that takes the storage company off the hook for any responsibility if the items are damaged, even if the customer bought the protection plan.

Make more space for your belongings at home, not a storage facility

By now it should be quite clear that hiring on-demand storage companies isn’t worth the hassle and expense.

Talk to Organized Interiors about how we can improve the storage functionality in your home. We offer more practical and cost-effective ways to solve your home organization challenges than storing your belongings in a remote location.

Schedule a free design consultation with us today.

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How to Share a Closet and Avoid the Battle for Closet Space

shared closet

When you share a closet, patience, making some compromises, and being selfless towards your partner or spouse are the keys to organizational harmony.

That’s all easier said than done, of course. Even two people who have previously always been able to keep their closets tidy can find sharing a closet very challenging.

The different dynamics of how the storage space is used takes some getting used to. Some people never quite figure out how to successfully share a closet, even after years of being with their significant other.

Here’s how hard it can be to share a closet

How much can someone’s organizational habits (or lack thereof) get under the skin of their partner? Clutter was the cause of 48% of the arguments between couples who lived together, according to a survey by SpareFoot, a self-storage company.

You can guarantee that a healthy percentage of those clutter-related disagreements were sparked by the untidy state of some shared closets.

The stress of managing a single closet space being used by two people is very real. There are plenty of things you can do to end the battle for closet space in your bedroom, however.

Here are some practical solutions to help any couple share a closet peacefully.

woman sorting clothes in reach-in closet

If you share a closet, prioritize storage

When you’re attempting to overhaul a dysfunctional shared closet, space considerations will be your biggest concern before you even begin to figure out how much room each partner will get.

The logical place to start with a closet revamp is to have each person reduce the number of items they want to keep in the closet. Prioritize using your respective storage spaces for important things only, not things that can sometimes go a year or more without being worn.

We’ve previously written about what items shouldn’t be taking up space in your closets. A few of them include:

  • sale items you’ve never worn
  • unfashionable clothing
  • damaged and old clothing
  • clothing that doesn’t fit

Agree on how you’ll share a closet space

Author Heidi Catherine Culbertson wrote, “Your abundance is not measured by what you have, it is created by what you share.”

That’s a selfless, ideal mindset for both parties to have as they hash out a plan for how to improve their shared closet situation.

Once you both have a better idea of what will be going in the closet, come up with an equitable and agreeable split of the closet space, whether it’s 50/50, 60/40, or 75/25, etc. If it’s the latter in your favour, congratulations – your generous partner is a definite keeper!

That whole “compromise” thing factors heavily into this step. Hopefully, the individual with fewer clothes sees the practicality and fairness of making some space concessions to the partner who requires more room for their wardrobe.

man holding shirt in front of closet

Hire a pro to custom-design a shared closet

Two heads are better than one, right? Then why not follow that logic and add another head to the mix when envisioning your shared closet’s design? Not just any head, though. We’re talking about someone with lots of closet design expertise who can help you and your partner create the perfect shared closet space.

A professional closet designer brings more to the table than what you’ll get with DIY closet organizer systems you can buy in stores or online.

Mass-produced, one-size-fits-all closet organizers like these can’t compare to the level of design flexibility offered by a custom closet organizing solution.

Custom closet systems are built just for you

An experienced designer will tailor the closet’s design for each person. Factors like the heights of each person are taken into consideration so the heights of hanging rods, shelving, and other storage areas are more easily accessible.

Your individual functional needs are met with smart design choices like adding a hanging rod below the traditional upper closet rod to double-up on your hanging space.

Remember that hanging rods don’t have to go across the entire width of a closet. We can add shorter rods on one side or both sides of a closet in one of those narrower spaces that might otherwise be underutilized. Those other “dead space” closet areas that can get wasted, such as in corners or up high, can also be put to work for you.

Design for style and function

A pro won’t just help you come up with a smart shared closet layout that satisfies everyone’s functional needs. They know that the closet space you’ll be using every day needs to look appealing, too.

Here are some of the stylish decorative touches that can be included in a reach-in or walk-in closet design:

  • crown moulding
  • cabinetry finishes that complement your bedroom décor
  • under-mount LED lighting
  • elegant decorative hardware

Share zones in your closet

A shared closet should be just that and not necessarily a space where each person’s things are exclusively in separate zones and never the two shall meet.

If your items can co-exist in the same area of the closet (or more accurately, if you and your partner can share the same zone of a closet and maintain the peace), by all means, team up.

Sharing zones in the closet is an effective way to maximize your storage space, especially if the closet is smaller.

Use a pullout pant rack and split the hanging space with each other. The same applies for the upper rod in the closet, which each of you can use for hanging your longer clothing items. A shoe rack and belt rack can also be shared.

shared closet shoe rack

Sharing storage zones with your partner helps maximize your closet storage space.

Add a closet storage tower

For clothing items that are better off being folded instead of hung (like sweaters), having some drawer space and open shelf space in the closet will come in very handy.

Adding a storage tower to the closet with a few drawers on the lower half and open shelving and cubby dividers on the top half keeps all of your wardrobe items in the same area. That allows you to free up space in the bedroom by getting rid of a wardrobe closet or dresser.

Give yourself a drawer or two and your partner gets the rest. Organized Interiors can incorporate drawer dividers or jewellery drawer inserts into the storage tower’s design to keep both of you more organized.

A custom closet storage tower can be designed to be freestanding (sitting on the floor) or wall-mounted, which leaves space underneath the tower.

Make use of helpful closet accessories

We’ve already mentioned a few great closet accessories like pullout belt, tie, and pant racks. They may be small details in a closet’s design, but these convenient helpers have a big impact on the space’s overall functionality.

Here are a few more closet accessories you might want to consider including in your closet’s design:

  • retractable valet rods
  • necklace hooks
  • versatile four-position hangers
  • pullout laundry hampers to keep dirty clothes sorted and tidy

All of our closet accessories are designed to save space, make your daily dressing routine more efficient, and add a sophisticated decorative touch to any closet with their sleek metal finishes.

Venture beyond the closet border

Even with the best closet organization and storage systems in use, it’s just a reality that sometimes you can’t fit 10 pounds of potatoes into a 5-pound sack (to paraphrase an expression that uses slightly more colourful language).   OKAY TO USE?

Downsizing and decluttering may only get you so far. If the number of clothes you and your partner own simply won’t all fit in one closet, it could actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

If your bedroom has some open floor space, setting up a separate wardrobe space for one of you may be the best and easiest solution. This is especially true if one of you is, shall we say, a closet slob.

There are a variety of ways to create more space for storing clothes outside of the closet. Here are some bedroom storage ideas that go beyond the borders of a traditional closet:

Any of these bedroom storage solutions are better than hanging extra clothes on a garment rack in a room corner, which can look unsightly.

White wardrobe with open doors

If you and your partner have too many things to fit into a shared closet space, look for other bedroom storage solutions to help out like a wardrobe closet.

Respect each other’s space

Those three noble virtues we listed in the very first sentence (patience, selflessness, and being willing to compromise) will serve you well as you share a closet with your better half. We’ll add “respect” to that list, too.

Even with a seemingly sound closet-sharing strategy in place, things from one partner’s side may slowly start to encroach into the other person’s territory.

Try to respect each other’s space. After all, both parties agreed to the allotment of closet space each of you would get.

Make an effort to keep your portion of the closet tidy. Even if everything is contained in someone’s designated area of the closet, if it all looks like a disaster zone, it can fester negative feelings and lead to an argument.

And be flexible and willing to make improvements to your shared closet space if things aren’t working as efficiently after some time has passed. There are always ways to tweak and modify a closet’s functionality based on your changing storage needs.

Make it easier to share a closet with your partner

If your efforts to share a closet with your significant other just aren’t working out, Organized Interiors can solve your closet-sharing problems. Read about how we helped a Toronto couple with a custom shared closet design.

We know that having a closet space with a smart design makes maintaining a shared closet significantly easier.

Organized Interiors has been designing shared closets for over 40 years so couples can enjoy their main clothes storage space, not argue over it.

Organized Interiors customer review

A review left on Facebook from a satisfied Organized Interiors client.

Schedule a free design consultation with us to get your shared closet space design plan in motion.

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9 Clutter Hotspots in Your Home To Conquer Once and for All

Clutter hotspots abound throughout our homes, attracting all types of miscellaneous items like bees to honey.

Essentially, they’re the dumping grounds in our living spaces.

Junk drawers, closets, front entryways, and garages are just a few of the common clutter hotspots that restrict your home from functioning at peak efficiency.

A Professional Organizers of Canada study found that 83% of Canadians described themselves as “extremely disorganized”. 91% of Canadians believe that their life is negatively impacted by clutter.

clutter hotspots hero

Photo by Curtis Adams from Pexels

The causes of our clutter hotspots

Those numbers are alarmingly high. It’s no wonder we’re drowning in so much stuff – and unhappy about it.

We live in a time where you can’t drive more than a minute or two without seeing a Walmart, Costco, or dollar store dotting our suburban landscape, luring shoppers with aisle after aisle of cheaply priced merchandise.

The massive growth of online shopping makes it easier than ever to buy almost anything. Jeez, who knew that being able to purchase something in only a few seconds by tapping a phone screen (without even needing to get out of bed) and having it delivered to our front door might be too much of a good thing?

Clutter starts to multiply in our homes because, let’s face it, the vast majority of us dislike spending our cherished free time doing tasks as admittedly tedious as decluttering. We also let clutter accumulate because we get too attached to things and have a hard time letting go of them.

But you can’t ignore clutter forever.

Why your home clutter shouldn’t have a home

Allowing too much clutter set up permanent residency in your home affects your life negatively in a number of ways that are costly (literally and figuratively).

Clutter costs you wasted time searching for things. When things get misplaced, they get purchased again…only to have the misplaced item mysteriously turn up shortly thereafter with frustrating frequency.

Clutter is costly to your mental health and can cause stress and contribute to poor sleeping habits.

A home’s ability to run efficiently is limited when there’s too much clutter around. Trying to function in a messy garage, laundry room, or bathroom simply isn’t as easy as it is to function in the same spaces if they’re organized.

Tackle these clutter hotspots

Target the areas of your home where clutter always seems to end up.

Dealing with these clutter hotspots is only half the battle. They’re the most sensible places to start, though, as you work your way towards organizing your home once and for all.

Here are 9 common clutter hotspots in your house or condo to focus on fixing.

1. Garages

Garages are perhaps the most popular go-to space in a house for stashing clutter. Ironically, clutter often ends up in the garage because it’s such a large space, but that extra space is there because the garage is designed to accommodate vehicles for parking.

Instead, junk that collectively isn’t worth more than probably a few hundred or a few thousand dollars (at the most) occupies prime real estate in many garages.

Meanwhile, vehicles that are worth tens of thousands of dollars sit parked in the driveway or on the street where they’re far more vulnerable to theft and vandalism.

Garage remodel experts Garage Living have a number of helpful articles on their blog that can help you get the room more organized and functional.

Get started by following their guide listing 15 different things you can toss from your garage that you won’t miss.

clutter hotspots garage

25% of people with 2-car garages don’t park in them at all. A third can only park one car. (U.S. Dept. of Energy study)

2. Junk drawers

Anyone living in a country in the Western world who disputes that we’re a wasteful, consumerist society has to defend the junk drawer. We’re pretty sure they’re a foreign concept in countries like Japan, where they wouldn’t even think to attach a name with the word “junk” in it to an area of their home.

Junk drawers may not take up a lot of space (unless you have a few of them spread throughout your home), but there’s no reason these notorious clutter hotspots are even a thing. Most of the stuff in a junk drawer is, by definition, junk.

Turn your junk drawers into odds and ends drawers

Spend an hour or two tossing out or recycling all those grease-covered delivery and take-out menus. Bookmark the websites of your favourite restaurants on your phone or computer.

Those menus will probably be faster to find online compared to hunting through your junk drawers for a particular menu. Some of those businesses likely have a phone app available to make ordering from them even easier, too.

Clear out that collection of junk drawer pens (soooo many pens) and figure out which ones still even work. The same goes for the assorted batteries that most junk drawers contain. All of those plastic cutlery packages, condiment packets, outdated cables and cords for your electronics, and loose change can take a hike, too.

Now you’ve gotten your odds and ends drawers (which has a nicer ring, doesn’t it?) down to a manageable number of items. To keep your drawers more organized, add dividers and keep the items you’ll use most at the front.

3. Closets

The National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professional’s (NAPO) Public Survey of Residential Organizing Attitudes found that closets ranked first as the most disorganized storage area in homes.

55% of the 1,005 people polled in the NAPO’s revealing 2019 survey gave that response. Garages, cabinets and shelves, and attics/basements also took the top spots in this category.

Cultural shifts like the aforementioned online shopping boom and the rise of fast fashion (when high-fashion clothing is mass-produced and sold for low prices) has led to our closets becoming overstuffed.

A different NAPO survey found that about 80% of your clothes are only worn 20% of the time. To streamline your home’s closets, edit their contents at least once a year to prevent them from becoming clutter hotspots.

Maximize the storage space in your closets by having a closet design expert like Organized Interiors give them a makeover. Closet organization systems and accessories for added functionality will help make your wardrobe and other items stored in your home’s closets easier to manage.

woman in walk-in closet

Closets were the most disorganized storage area in homes, according to a survey conducted by home organizing professionals.

4. Kitchen cupboards

Kitchen cupboards and pantries tend to harbour a lot of clutter. Some examples include:

  • expired condiments
  • appliances you never use (we’re looking at you juicer, slow cooker, and waffle maker)
  • plastic food storage containers
  • more glasses, mugs, bowls, and dishes than you ever use
  • tote bags
  • stale dry food and old canned goods
  • expired spices

You can only use so many food storage containers, so recycle what you can and only hold onto your favourite items. To cut down on the amount of plastic in your home, consider investing in some microwave-safe glass food storage containers.

Thin out your kitchen pantry by getting rid of spices you never use and spices you’ve had for a while. Ground spices have a shelf life of about three years and whole spices are good for around four years before they lose a lot of their flavour.

Tote away those extra tote bags

shopping tote bags end up in clutter hotspotsReusable shopping bags are a fantastic concept that are so ultra-practical, it’s a wonder it took us so long to embrace using them without a second thought, as most of us do nowadays.

They’re way more reliable than using paper or plastic shopping bags and can hold more groceries. And most importantly, of course, tote bags keep billions of plastic bags from ending up in recycling facilities, landfills, and nature every year.

That being said, the rise in the usage of tote bags has resulted in virtually every company on the planet giving away bags with their logos on them willy nilly. Now our kitchen cupboards, closets, and cars are filled with more bags than we’ll ever need.

Clear out the bag clutter by donating them, using them when giving things to friends, having the tote bags recycled, or tossing them out when all else fails.

5. Entryways

It’s logical that our entryways accumulate clutter because they’re the first point of contact when anyone enters the home.

Your front entryway, in particular, should always look organized because it’s the area visitors to your home see first.

First impressions count

A survey by The Independent Network powered by VEKA (a UK organization representing window and door manufacturers) found that guests judge your home within 38 seconds of entering it.

Your home’s entryways shouldn’t just be kept tidy for the benefit of visitors, however. Anyone living under your roof should appreciate entering their living space and being greeted by a clean, organized doorway that gives them that home sweet home feeling.

Assign homes for your kids’ school bags, sports equipment, apparel, and footwear. Wall hooks and cubby storage systems are ideal for keeping the space tidy. If necessary, use labels with your kids’ names to encourage them to put things away properly.

Ensure out-of-season clothing is stored anywhere besides your high-traffic entryway areas. Set up a doorway spot for placing car keys, house keys, and mail.

To keep your home’e entryways tidy, ask Organized Interiors about our mudroom design and storage ideas.

6. Home offices

The 2019 NAPO survey shows that home offices were the second-most disorganized living area in our homes, just slightly below the kitchen.

More people are working from home and numerous studies over the years consistently find that one of the biggest factors that lowers workplace productivity is clutter. Messy desks and workspaces impede our ability to focus and slow down our productivity.

Set up a paper management system

Excess paper is one of the main things that clogs up your work area and makes an office look untidy. Set up a practical paper management system that includes a shredder and filing system. To simplify things even more, make your paper management system one that involves handling barely any paper at all!

It’s the 2020s, so most of the statements you receive that outline your monthly expenses, due payments, and financial portfolio should be getting to you via cyberspace, not your mail carrier’s truck.

Desktop computer screens and monitors also come in large sizes like the latest iMac’s 24″ display. That lets you have multiple documents and windows open on your computer desktop at once, instead of having paper documents spread out on your desk.

If you’re working full-time from a home office now, you have every reason to optimize your work setup to encourage better productivity.

files in home office

Create an efficient paper filing system in your home office.

7. Bathrooms

It’s no surprise that bathrooms, one of the busiest rooms in our homes, end up as a clutter hotspot.

We use a lot of different products to clean and groom ourselves and most of them are kept in the bathroom.

Go through your medicine cabinets and bathroom storage cabinets to get rid of expired medications, first-aid products, and beauty products. Your skin can have a bad reaction to expired makeup that is applied to it. Most makeup products have a shelf life of about three months to two years.

Also get rid of any mini-sized shampoos, soaps, or other toiletries you’ve accumulated that never get used. Call a local homeless shelter or charity to find out if they will accept them.

Avoid storing extra bath towels and linens in the bathroom

If you’re coming up short on bathroom storage space for all of your toiletries, you may wish to reconsider keeping your extra bath towels and other linens stored in the room. The reasons for why you shouldn’t store linens in the bathroom may surprise you.

Old bath towels lose their softness and absorbency over time and can start to fray. Get them out of the bathroom and use them as rags. Some veterinarian clinics and animal shelters will welcome your old bath towel donations, which can be repurposed as bedding for their furry patients and residents.

There are lots of practical reasons to have a linen closet in your home that is located in a hallway or somewhere else outside of a bathroom.

8. Nightstands and dressers

The tops of nightstands (or bedside tables if you prefer) don’t have much space, so whatever items are put there can make them look cluttered in a hurry.

Most nightstands have at least one drawer, which should be used whenever possible to keep the surface organized. Prioritize keeping only essential things on top of a bedside table, such as an alarm clock, sleep mask, reading glasses, and lamp. It’s also nice to have a little room beside the bed to place a hot beverage or glass of water.

Things like magazines, night creams, tablets, and phones should be put away in the nightstand drawer(s). This makes extra sense for your phone, so alerts or late calls don’t disturb you as you fall asleep.

Professional organizers recommend keeping any flat surface beside the bed as clutter-free as possible, which can help you get a better night’s sleep.

Another area of the bedroom to look at is the top of your dresser. This space is another clutter hotspot that can become an eyesore that is covered in things like:

  • spare change
  • jewellery
  • car keys
  • watches
  • wallets and purses
  • sunglasses

By all means, make use of this handy space. All it takes to keep things tidier is to use some drawer dividers or a few organizing trays and mini storage bins on the top of the dresser.

plant clock lamp on nightstand

The tops of nightstands don’t offer much room, so only use the surface for keeping essentials. (Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels)

9. Kids’ bedrooms and playrooms

A list of home clutter hotspots wouldn’t be complete without including our kids’ bedrooms and playrooms.

Try as they might, most youngsters don’t have it in them quite yet to keep their spaces tidy on a consistent basis.

If you’re frustrated that your kids’ rooms can’t stay clean, see if there are any ways to make it easier for them to keep their rooms more organized. Adding better storage systems and making the storage they use for their toys, craft supplies, clothing, and other things more accessible can help.

For their bedroom closets, parents should be working with their growing kids by going through their closets and dresser drawers together at least once a year to remove outgrown clothing.

Conquer your clutter hotspots. Need some help?

Identifying the clutter hotspots in your house or condo is a positive first steps towards ridding your home of the unnecessary things that cause you to feel weighed down.

One of the questions from that NAPO survey was “What prevents you from effectively addressing the clutter in your home?”. The top reason people gave for not dealing with their home clutter is, “Dealing with clutter is overwhelming.”

Yes, it is. But that’s why professionals with home organizing solutions like Organizing Interiors exist.

We specialize in helping our clients feel a lot less “whelmed” when they’re making the effort to get their homes organized.

Schedule a free design consultation with us to get your home on the path to becoming a tidy, clutter-free space you can enjoy more.

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How To Do a Wardrobe Refresh for a Post-Pandemic World

green and white walk-in closet

So many things have changed in the last year and a half, to the point where we’re not sure if we’re coming or going.

When will we be going back to the office or be able to start travelling again?

Do we still need all the clothes that are currently in our closets? How do we assess what might be needed in the future and determine what clothes we can get rid of?

As life slowly returns to normal, doing a wardrobe refresh will be one of the tasks calling for your attention.

Take it slow and easy with your wardrobe refresh

Some of us are a little worse for wear after more than a year of pandemic life. A lack of natural light and fresh air has us craving outdoor activities. However, our lack of physical movement may hinder some of those ambitions.

Make sure to take it slow and easy with your wardrobe fresh and other activities. If gardening or exercising, do so in short spurts. Give your body a chance to recover so you don’t end up back on the couch with back spasms.

As a result of the enforced cocooning and new-fangled cooking aspirations while on lockdown, certain items in your wardrobe may not fit quite like they did pre-pandemic.

We’ve been living under a false sense of reality, where elastic waistbands, stretchy fabrics, and kick-off slippers became the uniform of the day.

We won’t even go down the road of unattended hair growth. It’s likely that the sales of soaps and shampoos were down from 2019. As for razor blades, chances are that they are going to benefit from a summertime buying spree.

Reconsider the Marie Kondo wardrobe refresh approach

Marie Kondo suggests that we discard everything in the house that does not spark joy.

There’s no doubt that she’s a master organizer and Organized Interiors can get behind her philosophy of designating a space for each item. If you can see what you have, you can appreciate all that you have.

At this time, we’re going through a transitional phase and don’t quite know what the future holds yet. That makes it difficult to make final decisions on whether some wardrobe items should stay or go.

Until the fog of uncertainty with the future lifts a little more and your needs become clearer, take a more conservative approach to curating your wardrobe.

woman sorting clothes reach-in closet

There is still uncertainty about what a post-pandemic world will look like. Taking a conservative approach to curating your wardrobe right now is a good idea.

Throw out the “one-year rule”

When organizing your closet, many professional organizers recommend using the “one-year rule”. That means getting rid of a piece of clothing if you haven’t worn it in the last year.

But hold on – we haven’t even had the opportunity to wear most of what we own for well over a year. Our business attire has sat untouched and we haven’t dressed up to go to a party or worn select pieces that we’ve saved for special occasions.

What we have to do now is a “test-of-time assessment” and ask ourselves the following questions about what is in our closet:

  1. Does it still fit?
  2. Is it still in style?
  3. Do I still like it?
  4. Have my tastes changed?
  5. Are there any moth holes in the clothing after sitting in the closet for so long?
  6. Do I have a friend who would be better served by this garment, purse, or shoes?
  7. Has my job changed?
  8. Will I ever be going back to an office? If so, has the dress code changed?
  9. What is practical and will I need this item moving forward?
  10. Do I have space to hang on to things that I’m not sure about?

This litmus test will help you to prioritize and reassess, rather than doing a full purge of what you haven’t worn in ages.

As a result, you may have to re-organize your possessions in a new way, so that you can reconsider their importance. Also, it will give you a renewed sense of appreciation for items that you haven’t paid attention to in a very long time.

man choosing tie in walk-in closet

Some of the usual methods of deciding what clothes to keep or get rid of aren’t ideal in this unusual time. Ask yourself a few new questions when assessing your wardrobe needs.

Refresh to impress

We’re heading into uncharted territory with our closets and “excavating” for the best possible outcome.

Even though we haven’t worn a large percentage of our wardrobe in many months, certain things may require cleaning since they were last hung up.

Better yet, go through your closet and determine what should be sent to the dry cleaners so that the items that need it receive a refreshing boost.

You’ll feel better when you put them back on and leave a much better impression with others when socializing returns to normal.

Back to front, front to back

Did you even switch up your winter and summer clothes last year? Or are the pale shades of summer still hiding in the back?

It is time to rearrange what you have. Pull out forgotten pieces and coordinate them with unsuspecting pairings.

When you have distance from something (and we’ve had lots of distance from some things) we tend to see them in a new and positive light.

Clothes shopping as part of a wardrobe refresh

As part of your wardrobe refresh plans, you might be planning on enjoying a shopping spree at some of your favourite clothing retailers that have been closed for much of the last year and a half.

You’re not alone. 65% of Canadians plan to buy new clothing as pandemic restrictions become more relaxed, according to a recent NPD Group survey.

28% of the Canadian adults surveyed between the ages of 28 and 34 said they planned to buy and wear only new clothing.

This enthusiastic attitude from consumers is welcome news to the retail and clothing industries, who have experienced their most challenging period ever.

There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to a few new wardrobe items after such a difficult year and a half. Hold off on that spending spree until you’ve taken the time to properly assess your wardrobe needs, however.

Reorganizing your closets first can lead to discoveries of misplaced or lost items that have barely been worn. Once you have a better idea of what items have passed the “keep or toss?” test, then you can make a more informed decision when buying new clothes.

shirts in clothing store

Organize your closets and get rid of things you no longer need before buying any new clothes. (Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels)

Get your wardrobe refresh started

In many ways, the pandemic was a wake-up call to re-examine our lives. Our priorities were measured against life and death scenarios, in some instances.

Our mindset was required to regroup and to rearrange into a new way of thinking – and a new way of doing. With a renewed gratitude for the belongings that you’ve decided to hang on to, it will also help you to re-evaluate what’s important in life when moving forward.

At this point, you may require pros like Organized Interiors to give you help with a wardrobe refresh by transforming your closet system.

From concept to completion, we can reconfigure your wardrobe storage spaces for maximum efficiency. Schedule a free design consultation with us to get your wardrobe refresh started.

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Update the Storage Space in Your Home and Get Organized

white built-in wall unit

You know that it’s long overdue – it’s time to update the storage space in your home and get organized. If the pandemic did one thing, it heightened all the areas in your home that just weren’t working.

On a typical day (pre-pandemic), you’d be rushing to get ready in the morning and encouraging everyone else to get their skates on, as you tossed breakfast dishes into the sink or dishwasher, lined up lunch boxes, and helped child number two find suitable footwear for the day ahead. Once home, after work and school, dinner, homework and nighttime routines took over, and you continued on as you did the day before, and the day before that.

Even if things weren’t working, you didn’t have time to think about making changes, let alone actually doing it.

Now you’re able to reassess how you’ve set up your house, and if it’s really working for you and your family. Are there obstacles in the way? Are there things that you do by rote when there might be a better way?

An organized home creates a feeling of calm and efficiency

Tripping over shoes when you enter your home isn’t welcoming. Tossing your coat on the back of the couch infringes on your seating area, and turning a blind eye to things that never got put away only ups the frustration level and leads to a chaotic atmosphere.

white mudroom

There’s a feeling of calm and sensibility that is derived from an organized home. Similar to the feeling that you have after cleaning, you want to maintain that status quo for as long as you can. Family members and pets are banned from traipsing in from the outside on a recently washed kitchen floor, and heaven help the person who makes the first spill on a freshly shampooed carpet.

Nate Berkus, a favourite designer of Oprah Winfrey, says, “Your home should rise up to greet you. And, at the end of the day, it should ground you in a sense of peace.”

Consider every inch of valuable storage space

Floor surfaces aren’t the only place where you can arrange things. Look up – way up. All that wall space affords many options and alternatives when it comes to storage, shelving, and wall units.

white built-in storage in a den

You may be too close to visualize the breadth of possibilities, or even know what options are available. For this reason, you’ll benefit from a design consultation from Organized Interiors.

One of our design consultants can analyze your space, to understand how it is that you live and what specific requirements are applicable to your family’s needs. You’ll be amazed with the design solution we come up with, and you’ll begin to see your surroundings in a more manageable way.

5 steps to creating an organized home environment

  1. Edit: Pare back your belongings. Go through clothes that your children have out-grown, and items that you haven’t worn in years. Get rid of paper – magazines, newspapers, and outdated bills. When’s the last time that Johnny played with that train? Donate items to charity and recycle toys with other families. Be ruthless. If you don’t use it – get rid of it.
  2. Space planning: The layout of a room should support its function, as well as have a natural flow. Reclaim space that isn’t being used to its full potential.
  3. Proper lighting: This is so important to the function of any room or storage space. If you can’t adequately see the contents, then you’ll become frustrated in your search, and all that you’ve organized will be for naught.
  4. Zone designation: If room permits, have designated areas for playing games, crafts or personal collections, and then have display cases made, and storage designed to accommodate specific items.
  5. Comfort and compatibility: Ultimately, this is what you’re going for. You want your home to be comfortable and well-organized – a space that is tailor-made to its occupants and everyday living.

Update the outdated

Editing your belongings does not mean that your home has been decluttered. It’s how you organize what you have left that ultimately provides a feeling of living in a cohesive environment.

It could be as simple as using hooks, instead of hangers, for everyday outerwear, so that family members actually hang up their coats. And using the ‘right’ hangers for specific closets also helps to maintain order.

Depending upon the age of the house that you live in, closet space might be at a premium, and what little you do have doesn’t accommodate all that you own. What’s behind those closet and cabinet doors is what’s important.

closet storage

Each grouping of items needs to be defined and accounted for. A simple shelf isn’t adequate. Instead, drawers, dividers, rods, shelving, and angled shoe shelves, as well as belt, tie, scarf and jewelry racks are just the tip of the iceberg. Once you’ve redesigned your closet space, and moved on to the laundry room, the office, and the mudroom, the need for order will become a condition of the household.

The possibilities are limitless in terms of how a space in your home can be reconfigured and re-adapted. Start anew with a fresh perspective on a better way of living.

Request a free design consultation

Organized Interiors can transform any living space to adapt to your specific requirements. If you are considering a closet makeover or a bigger-scale project in your home, contact Organized Interiors for a free design consultation today.

From concept to completion we can reconfigure your space for maximum efficiency.