Skip the Storage Container Sales This January and Get Truly Organized

storage container sales

Some things in January are as predictable as clockwork.

New Year’s resolutions. Regret over how much we consumed during the holiday season. Packing up the holiday decorations. And storage container sales at seemingly every store around.

Being inundated with reminders that we need to buy more plastic storage containers, bins, tubs, totes, or whatever you call them (and at a deep discount!) is admittedly smart marketing by retailers.

Many of us are feeling that urge to get our homes organized to start the new year off on a positive and productive note. And picking up some more storage containers probably seems like a practical way to help us do that.

But are storage containers really helping you get organized or are they actually (and ironically) adding to your household clutter?

Here’s why you should think twice before buying from any more storage container sales.

Buying from storage container sales won’t help reduce clutter

Merriam Webster defines clutter as “to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness” and “a crowded or confused mass or collection”.

Merely moving loose, scattered things on your floors or in your closets into storage bins doesn’t subtract from that confused mass or collection, however.

An average-sized storage container holds approximately 50-60 L. Its length is about 16″ wide and 24″ deep. That means the container alone takes up about 2.7 square feet of space.

Even if that container is filled to capacity with other clutter, the overall footprint of the amount of “stuff” in your home logically increases with each new storage container that’s added.

Storage containers really just give you the illusion of being organized. You think you’re managing your clutter by providing a mini storage space for it.

In some cases, there’s a certain level of practicality and organization involved when using them. A couple of examples would be when containers are used for storing out-of-season clothing or a bunch of toys that your kids regularly play with.

But more often than not, they’re used to quickly stash unsightly clutter in order to make a home more presentable for visitors or to store odds and ends we just can’t find the time to properly go through and declutter.

Storage containers don’t encourage you to declutter

Even Marie Kondo had to learn that storing more things than she really needed in an organized manner didn’t lead to fulfilment with her living space. As the organizing guru wrote in her 2012 bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, “Why does my room still feel cluttered when I’ve worked so hard to organize and store things away?”

While researching this blog post, I came across a thread on Reddit (the world’s biggest online forum platform). Someone was asking whether or not it might be a good idea to start a business renting out plastic storage containers to people who were moving.

One of the responses perfectly summed up why storage containers don’t solve clutter issues: “I like the plastic boxes especially for long term storage. About half my belongings are boxed up and they have been for years.”

While this is just one person’s viewpoint, it undoubtedly reflects how many of us are fooled into thinking that storage bins help keep our homes organized. We would ask the person quoted above “Why do half the things you own have so little use to you that they can be stored away in containers for years on end?”

Using storage containers doesn’t encourage you to declutter. Instead, they facilitate an out of sight, out of mind mentality for a lot of things you’d be better off just getting rid of.

plastic storage container with wires and cables

We’re pretty sure every home has at least one of these – the plastic storage container or cardboard box filled with ancient wires, cables, remotes, and computer peripherals you’ll never use again.

You’ll eventually need to deal with the root cause of your clutter

It’s not a stretch to say that in most circumstances, storage containers are essentially a clutter enabler.

As an example, take that tote or cardboard box filled with miscellaneous cables, wires, remote controls, and old computer peripherals that virtually every home has (and a lot of homes probably have more than one of them).

There’s probably several rolls of previously used phone line and coaxial cable alone sitting there that you’ll never use again. The same goes for that VCR remote, pre-2K wired mouse, and USB 1.0 and 2.0 hardware and cables that would be torturously slow to use today.

More common items we needlessly keep in storage containers include:

  • old toys
  • outgrown kids clothing
  • sports equipment that’s no longer used
  • linen sets with missing pieces
  • clothing we hope to fit into one day
  • odds and ends like a glove without a partner or a pair of broken heels you never got around to repairing
  • things that hold sentimental value but are never (or rarely) looked at

Why do we hold onto most of this stuff? We suspect that the fact they’re all hidden away and have a “home” in a storage container (even if that isn’t a true home) isn’t helping matters.

Eventually, you’ll need to deal with the root cause of your clutter and start purging the excess items you never use and probably never will. Any thorough decluttering project involves some tough decisions with those items you’re on the fence about keeping, but that’s part of the process.

Clutter is known to be a contributor to higher stress levels, so eliminating as much of it as possible from your home will only benefit you. That includes another quality of life improvement like freeing up space in the home to do something more productive with a room.

This could include adding a new furniture piece or some plants to a room, or simply leaving a decluttered area empty to create a more open space.

Storage containers have their uses – just don’t over-rely on them

Don’t get us wrong – we’re not saying that storage containers have no place in the home whatsoever.

Compared to using cardboard boxes for storage, plastic totes are more stable when stacked, don’t require tape and have lids, provide an airtight seal for their contents, and are much more durable.

Fabric storage baskets or handwoven baskets are pricier, but provide a homier, more stylish look of your storage containers compared to the dull, utilitarian look of standard plastic containers.

Storage containers are ideal for the long-term storage of things you absolutely can’t part with, such as physical photos, treasured family mementoes, and important documents.

They’re also practical for storing things that aren’t used every day, week, or even month, but are used at least yearly – holiday decorations are a good example.

Seasonal clothing is also commonly kept in storage containers, which makes a lot of sense. Keep in mind that the long-term storage of clothing and linens (for years at a time) in sealed plastic containers isn’t recommended, as the fabrics need to breathe a little.

While storage containers can be useful, it’s important not to over-rely on them for too many of your storage needs.

Because it’s so easy to just toss something into a spare tote and plan to give it a proper home later, you want to avoid having too many storage bins that have essentially become junk drawers filled with odds and ends that won’t be easy to find when (or if) they’re ever needed.

Storage containers in garage overhead rack

Although plastic storage containers are useful, don’t over-rely on them for your home storage needs.

Consider the environmental impact of buying more plastic

Another reason to reconsider buying more plastic storage products for your home is the environmental impact they have.

On top of the carbon footprint from the container’s manufacturing process, unrecycled plastic takes an eternity to break down naturally (it can take hundreds of years or more).

It’s estimated only 10-20% of the world’s plastic gets recycled. Plastic storage containers can be tricky to recycle because they’re usually too big to fit in a recycling bin. Some municipalities accept large plastic products for recycling at a depot (not unlike where you would drop off old electronics), but that’s not a guarantee wherever you live.

And unfortunately, that extra little bit of effort required to dispose of bigger plastic products only increases the likelihood they’ll just get put out with the regular garbage for pickup.

Another recycling problem is that older plastic products may be made from materials that make them impossible to recycle.

If you do need to buy plastic storage containers, be sure to buy products made from recycled plastic.

What about your unused storage containers?

After successfully eliminating some of your home’s clutter, you may have a bunch of now-empty storage containers left over.

Sure, it makes sense to hold onto a few empty containers that will come in handy down the road, but don’t keep more than you need.

Because empty storage containers conveniently nest inside one another, it can be tempting to keep a few stacks of them around because they don’t seem to be taking up much space when stored that way. Once again, only retain what you think you’ll actually use.

Remember, those stacks are still taking up space, will need to be vacuumed around (or moved when you vacuum), and are going to collect dust that you’ll have to eventually clean.

Try recycling them as recommended or try to donate them to a local charity.

Try renting storage bins when you move

One undeniable benefit of plastic storage bins is their sturdiness, which makes them ideal for using when you move.

Before stocking up during one of the storage container sales you come across for a future move, check to see if the moving company you’re using or a local business has storage containers for rent.

Cardboard boxes remain the most cost-effective and practical way to move your belongings. They’re easy to recycle, cheap (free in some cases if your local grocery store makes them available to their customers), and can be flattened to take up less space when not in use.

Corrugated plastic boxes are a little less common and still contain plastic, but they’re more rugged than cardboard and are a slightly more eco-friendly option than plastic containers.

Get rid of some of those old food storage containers, too

food storage containersThose storage container sales going on during January might also find you contemplating picking up some new plastic food storage containers. 

We’ve always wondered – do food storage containers multiply in our pantries? Because it seems like we have way more of these things than we actually need or will ever use.

The main reasons food storage containers accumulate to the point where we have too many is because:

  • we’re unsure if the plastic is recyclable
  • friends and family send you home from a dinner with leftovers in containers that don’t get returned
  • attractive sales that seem too good to pass up lure you into buying more of them
  • we hold onto higher quality plastic take-out containers that seem wasteful to throw out

Like larger storage containers, containers for storing your food are obviously perfect for sending leftovers home with a dinner guest, taking leftovers to school or work, or just storing your own leftovers in.

We’re just saying that you don’t need a hundred of them stored in your pantry.

Even with something as unremarkable as food storage containers, a by-product of having too much of anything is the guarantee that it will be more difficult to make a decision on choosing a container when the time comes. It’s something that goes by a few different names including overchoice, choice overload, choice paralysis, analysis paralysis, and the paradox of choice. 

Before buying from any more food storage container sales, take stock of how many containers you currently have. Decluttering your pantry will free up valuable storage space and save you from wasting time looking for that one particular container and lid hiding amongst everything else.

Can’t mind a matching lid or the container for a lid? Has a container started to disintegrate from one too many trips to the microwave? Away they go.

Getting rid of storage containers that have started to break down is recommended because chemicals from the plastic can leech into your reheated food. Even if a container and lid is still in good shape, but just really old (like, 70s Tupperware old), it may not be as safe to use as you might think. Ceramic and Pyrex food storage containers are always a safer storage option for food than plastic.

Skip the storage container sales and use real organization solutions

Avoid the disappointment of admitting defeat with your New Year’s resolution when you realize those purchases from January storage container sales haven’t translated into a more orderly home in February.

Talk to Organized Interiors for real solutions to your home organization problems instead of relying on stopgap measures that aren’t effective in getting your home tidied up.

We can suggest more practical and efficient ways to maximize your home’s storage and organization capabilities.

For example, our built-in bedroom cabinetry has under-bed drawer storage, which is an upgrade over using flat rolling plastic storage containers that get covered in dust bunnies.

Are you currently using cheap plastic storage towers with drawers in a closet or the corner of a room? If so, you’ll be amazed at how how much nicer our custom cabinetry storage towers are, both in terms of looks and functionality.

It takes less than a minute to schedule a complimentary in-home design consultation with us.

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20 Smart Solutions to Organize Your Home in 2020

organize your home, woman in walk-in closet

When the calendar flips over to January, research shows that approximately 60% of us make New Year’s resolutions.

Getting in shape, eating healthier, and learning a new skill consistently rank as the most common New Year’s resolutions that people make.

Right up there with them is the desire to get our homes more organized in the new year.

Focus on fixing once space at a time

Most of us have more than one area of our homes that needs some TLC. That means a quick fix for all of your home’s organization or décor issues isn’t very feasible.

Taking on too much at once usually leads to a less than optimal outcome that is rarely as satisfying as you would like.

Pace yourself, have a smart plan you can stick to, and commit to improving your home one space at a time. That way you won’t need to go back and tweak or improve your home upgrades, which just isn’t productive.

As organization expert Christina Scalise once said, “Organization isn’t about perfection. It’s about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time and money, and improving your overall quality of life”.

How will you organize your home in 2020?

From getting your home better organized to improving your décor, most houses and condos present opportunities to upgrade every room in ways both big and small.

Taking the time to improve your living space will deliver a boost to your home’s functionality and enhance your comfort level.

But nothing happens without taking that first step. So where will your efforts to organize your home in 2020 start?

1. Reach-in closet

If keeping your closets organized is a battle you can never win, it’s time to look at some solutions that will make it easier to maintain a tidier reach-in closet space.

Our closet organizer systems range from simple to extravagant designs that can be customized to maximize your storage space.

Do you need a tower of shelves and/or drawers in the closet’s centre? How about extra hanging rods or some decorative touches like new baseboards, crown moulding, and stylish hardware to spruce up your closet space?

Just ask us and we’ll work our magic to create a reach-in closet space you’ll love.

two organized reach-in closets in home

2. Walk-in closet

You’ve been eyeing that spare room, contemplating its next incarnation, and plotting the takeover. 2020 is the year you’re going to finally transform it into a dream walk-in closet as a solution to help organize your home.

The extra storage space a walk-in closet provides eliminates the headaches that come with managing a large wardrobe collection in a traditional closet space that can’t meet your storage needs any longer.

Walk-ins customized with wall-to-wall cabinetry, a makeup area with a vanity, a full-length mirror, and a host of additional stylish design features also create the perfect private personal space for getting dressed.

3. Sliding closet doors

Our sliding closet doors have multiple types of applications and can be customized with your choice of glass, mirror, or melamine inserts in a variety of styles to match your décor.

They can be used as traditional sliding doors for a reach-in closet. If you need to create closet space in a room, we’ll install custom-built gables and sliding doors that add instant closet storage anywhere.

Sliding closet doors also work nicely as room dividers to partition off an area of your living space for more privacy when needed.

closed sliding closet doors

4. Guest room with a Murphy wall bed

Another spare room idea worth considering is turning that underutilized part of your home into a useful guest room. Including a Murphy wall bed in the room’s design is a great idea, too.

A Murphy wall bed’s biggest benefit is that it takes up very little space. Until they’re needed, the bed stays folded up and out of the way. You can surround the bed within beautiful custom cabinetry that provides storage space for your guests’ linens and pillows.

Having a guest room always-at-the-ready is a wonderful thing to have, not just for unexpected overnight guests, but any time. Your guests, especially if they’re older, will appreciate sleeping on a comfortable mattress that’s a lot friendlier to their backs than an air mattress or lumpy couch.

organized room with lowered Murphy wall bed

5. Wardrobe closet

Your main bedroom closet has gotten the makeover treatment and you’re still not satisfied with how much storage room is available for all of your clothes. What can you do?

Let a wardrobe closet be your clothes storage saviour! Custom wardrobes can be built to the size you need to alleviate the problems caused by an overstuffed bedroom closet.

Whether it’s for extra shoe storage, more hanging space, or extra accessories, wardrobes are ideal as a supplementary bedroom storage solution. They can be designed as a built-in or standalone furniture piece.

And if that shared closet space with your partner just isn’t working so well for either of you, eliminate the frustration you’re both feeling by getting a wardrobe that one of you can use.

open wardrobe closet in kids room

6. Home office

A home office that’s cluttered and lacks tasteful décor is not a space that encourages a high level of productivity.

We have plenty of home office ideas that will refresh your workspace and increase your ability to get more done while working at home.

Choose from our wide selection of finishes and styles available to create a more comfortable room that’s custom-designed to accommodate your work needs.

7. Study space

Your kids might benefit from having a private, comfortable area in your house or condo to study in with fewer distractions like a home study space.

We can transform a spare room or even a small area of your home into such a space to help your kids focus better with their studies.

If space is an issue, a study area could also be combined with a home office as part of a multi-purpose room design.

Find out more here about creating a learning-friendly study space in your home.

8. Laundry room

Even at the best of times, doing laundry isn’t anyone’s idea of a fun way to spend a few hours. Laundry tasks can be a whole lot more miserable to tackle, however, when the room you’re working in feels like a dungeon.

An increasingly popular way to organize your home and improve one of its hardest working rooms is to update the laundry room’s appearance and functionality.

With more aesthetically pleasing décor, improved lighting, maxed out storage, and useful features like a pullout ironing board and hampers to keep dirty clothes sorted, laundry rooms are capable of being comfortable spaces you won’t dread setting foot in.

washer and dryer in laundry room

9. Wine room

Is your wine collection in need of more storage space? Perhaps your wine collection has never had a proper home and is being stored on wine racks in your basement or living room.

The perfect solution is to turn your spare room into a walk-in wine cellar or a wine room that’s stylish enough to use as an entertainment space.

For smaller spaces or more modestly-sized wine collections, a reach-in wine closet is another option to keep your bottles organized and in ideal storage conditions.

10. Wet bar

With a little imagination, inspiration, and customization, you can set up a wet bar in almost any room in your home.

Custom bar cabinetry is a great way to keep your liquor organized, in addition to adding an aesthetically pleasing touch of class to any room.

Entertain in style with one of our custom-designed cabinetry units, island-style bars, or mini-bars.

11. Entertainment centre

Your home entertainment space needs to efficiently accommodate the wide array of audio and video equipment and accessories we use every day.

Keeping all of these devices and cables organized requires more than a few shelves or a small TV stand with a couple of drawers. A built-in entertainment centre is the answer.

It doesn’t merely provide storage space for your TV and all of your other “home entertainment stuff”, an entertainment centre becomes a home showpiece and the focal point of your living room or home theatre.

Choosing a custom solution over a prefab furniture unit has many advantages. Find out why custom entertainment units are better than prefab units from big box stores.

man with drink relaxing in front of fire and TV

12. Linen closet

The linen closet doesn’t get a lot of home improvement attention because it’s a utilitarian storage space that’s typically small and has a fairly straightforward layout.

That’s exactly why you should think about a linen closet makeover, however. There’s plenty of room for improvement in most reach-in linen closets, which do their fair share in helping to organize your home.

You can have the closet redesigned to freshen up its appearance, maximize its storage space, and keep up with the daily use it gets storing the many linens in your home.

Discover more linen closet ideas here.

13. Built-in bedroom cabinetry

For a stylish solution to a good night’s sleep, look no further than built-in bedroom cabinetry that is custom-designed for your space, creating a seamless blend with your bedroom’s decor.

Our bedroom cabinetry combines your bed with surrounding built-in storage below, above, and around your sleeping space in a smartly designed integrated furniture piece.

built-in bedroom cabinetry in home

14. Makeup table

With makeup application being such a staple of the daily routine for so many women, it makes a lot of sense to have a makeup table in order to streamline the process.

A posh makeup area where your beauty routine occurs almost every day is certainly practical, as it helps you to stay organized. It’s also nice to have a personalized space to complete your beauty ritual more comfortably.

Learn more here about why a bespoke makeup table could make a great addition to your walk-in closet, dressing room, master bedroom, or bathroom.

15. Mudroom

Mudrooms are rather underappreciated when it comes to rooms that are highly valued when it comes to helping to organize your home.

Whether your mudroom is a small room near an entrance, is combined with your laundry room, or is a dedicated space in the hall of your home’s entryway, there are many ways to enhance its functionality.

Shoes, umbrellas, jackets, and other outwear can all have a proper home using hooks, custom cabinetry, shoe racks, and other solutions to keep this transitional space orderly.

organize your home, bench in mudroom

16. Basement

Basements provide ample room for home storage, but they’re rarely given much consideration to keep the things you’re storing organized and easy to find.

Adding better storage systems like custom cabinetry to maintain order and to eliminate visual clutter will help make the basement look more presentable.

An unfinished basement leaves a lot to be desired in the looks department. Make the space cozier by:

  • finishing the walls and ceiling and upgrading the basement’s insulation
  • adding a raised “floating floor” that is more comfortable (temperature-wise) to walk on
  • replacing old carpeting with new carpeting, carpet tiles, or interlocking floor tiles
  • further reducing the chill in the basement with an energy-efficient electric fireplace

electric fireplace flames

17. Library/reading room

If you’re an avid reader and have a large book collection, dedicating a spare room or smaller part of a room for storing books on custom cabinetry shelves keeps things looking tidy and easier to organize.

Make a few more practical additions to the room by complementing your books stored within stylish furniture with some of these ideas:

  • a comfortable accent chair
  • a high-quality reading light
  • an ottoman
  • a side table for beverages

Now you have the ideal personalized space where you can indulge your passion for reading in privacy and blissful comfort!

18. Craft room

Another smart use for a spare room if you or someone else in the family is the creative type is to turn it into a craft room.

From sewing, to scrapbooking, to playing music, to creating art, make a unique space that is bright, fun, and allows you to spend time doing what you love.

craft room

19. Closet accessories and decorative hardware

To get even more out of your closet spaces, take advantage of the many helpful closet accessories Organized Interiors carries.

Accessories like extra hanging rods, valet rods, pullout shoe racks, and racks for ties, scarves, and belts elevate a closet space’s functionality to the next level.

Decorative hardware that accentuates the custom cabinetry and complements your décor is also an important consideration when having your storage systems designed.

20. The garage

Plans to organize your home in 2020 might include getting your garage in order. If your garage clutter has relegated your vehicles to being parked in the driveway every day, talk to Garage Living.

They specialize in transforming disorganized, visually unappealing garages into highly efficient storage spaces that look as stunning as a luxury car showroom.

Let us help you organize your home this year

It can be difficult to decide where to start with your New Year’s home organization project.

For some homeowners, it may also be a bit overwhelming trying to decide what storage solutions and design changes are most practical for their living space.

Instead of struggling to figure everything out for yourself, rely on pros like Organized Interiors to help you organize your home this new year. Our storage solutions and expertise are abundant and available!

Get 2020 started off on the right foot and schedule a free in-home design consultation with us today.

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Donate A Coat: Winter Coat Drive

Organized Interiors is pleased to once again be participating in The Children’s Breakfast Club’s Winter Coat Drive.

Our goal is to collect 55,000 clean, gently-used coats, and warm clothing items. All donations will ensure that no child in the Greater Toronto Area is cold this winter.

About The Children’s Breakfast Club

The Children’s Breakfast Club is a non-profit charitable organization that began in 1984. They believe every child is entitled to a nutritious breakfast and currently has more than 20 clubs in the Greater Toronto Area. An estimated 4,000 meals are served by the organization every week.

The Children’s Breakfast Club’s other objectives are to:

  • encourage children to develop healthy nutritional, behavioural, and personal hygiene habits
  • provide children with emotional support and social and intellectual stimulation
  • encourage and develop the skills of staff, volunteers, and other community members

What is the Winter Coat Drive?

The Winter Coat Drive collects and distributes new and gently-used winter clothing to children and their families in need of proper winter attire. The Children’s Breakfast Club began the Winter Coat Drive in 2014.

2015’s Winter Coat Drive collected more than 30,000 items of winter clothing. That number grew to more than 40,000 pieces collected the following year. 2017’s Winter Coat Drive was another huge success. Each year we receive more and more coats, thanks to the generosity of our local community.

All donations end up at The Children’s Breakfast Club’s Coat Warehouse, which operates throughout the winter season.

Toronto Police will hand out vouchers to families they encounter who are most in need of this winter clothing. The vouchers can then be redeemed by the family members for a winter coat or item of clothing they’re most in need of.

Organized Interiors’ involvement in the Winter Coat Drive

Since 2015, Organized Interiors has been collecting coats for this worthy cause.

Our participation in the Winter Coat Drive was inspired by Toronto’s very own alumni, NBA all-star, assistant coach and community ambassador of NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors, Jamaal Magloire, who challenged all of Toronto to “donate a coat and warm a heart”.

Five truckloads of winter clothing were delivered from our showroom to the Coat Warehouse last year!

The drop-off centre at Organized Interiors is the first in Vaughan. Help us fill our bin with warm winter coats.

How you can help

You can get involved by making donations for the Winter Coat Drive at the Coat Drive drop-off centre in the Organized Interiors showroom at 201 Chrislea Road in Vaughan.

Along with new and gently-used winter coats, we’ll also be gratefully accepting donations of any of the following (in all sizes) until December 31st:

  • hoodies
  • sweaters
  • hats
  • mitts and gloves
  • scarves
  • all sizes from children to adult are accepted

Donate a coat and warm a heart

Warm winter clothing is something most of us take for granted. But consider the ways in which inadequate winter clothing can impact a child’s daily life.

Inadequate winter clothing can cause kids to get sick more often, which may affect their school attendance. Unsuitable winter clothing also limits the ability of children to participate in outdoor winter activities.

Your generous donation can help make this winter a little more comfortable for someone in need. We look forward to seeing you at the Winter Coat Drive drop-off centre in our showroom!

Please help to spread the word about the Winter Coat Drive by sharing this post with your family, friends, and co-workers.

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The High Cost of Clutter: 5 Effects You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Whoever came up with the expression “we’re supposed to own our stuff, not let our stuff own us” no doubt spoke from first-hand experience.

The realization that you own far more than you need or use is a sobering one. It’s also the perfect time to re-evaluate what’s truly worthy of occupying space in your home.

Clutter is a nuisance, a productivity killer, and has a negative impact on your finances, health, and overall quality of life.

The high cost of clutter can be found in ways that are quite obvious and others that you may be completely overlooking.

high cost of clutter storage units

Renting a self storage unit is nothing more than a long-term drain on your finances.

How much does the cost of clutter affect you?

Any room in a house or condo that’s disorganized and cluttered has some type of detrimental impact on the occupants of that home.

And belongings that are stored remotely from your residence may not be taking up living space or slowing down your productivity at home, but they sure are a constant drain on your finances.

If you take the time to “edit” your belongings, you’ll end up saving money, getting more out of your living space, and feeling less stressed.

Here are five ways the cost of clutter may be affecting you.

1. Clutter affects your health

It’s an all-too-common occurrence where someone looks around their cluttered home, wonders how their living space got so disorganized, and gets incredibly discouraged.

Clutter is known to be a liability to your mental and physical well-being. Being surrounded by physical clutter ironically adds to your mental clutter, making you feel unsettled and not in control of your surroundings…in other words, stressed.

This can affect your sleep, your confidence level, and your mood. You’ve undoubtedly had a few run-ins with a family member at some point over their (or your) organizational shortcomings.

Like any problem, the longer you avoid dealing with decluttering, the more daunting the whole process seems. This overwhelming and hopeless feeling only exacerbates your lack of motivation to take action.

A Huffington Post poll found that 55% of Americans cite their home’s lack of organization as a major source of stress. 84% of them worry about whether their homes are clean enough. This reveals another cost of clutter – it tends to be an embarrassment and makes you less likely to have visitors over.

In extreme cases, excess clutter literally makes a home less safe. Stacked piles of junk become tipping hazards, loose floor clutter presents tripping hazards, and a home becomes a greater fire risk. The higher presence of allergens like dust, mould, mildew, and various bacteria types also contribute to a less healthy living space.

2. More clutter = less living space

It’s a natural inclination for us fill up any empty space in our homes with stuff. If you set down roots in the same spot for a long time, that can lead to a lot of stuff you don’t use much (or at all) taking up valuable square footage.

For most people, their home is their most sizable investment. And high real estate prices, particularly in major cities, makes every square foot in your home even more precious.

Consider these statistics:

  • One in seven Americans have a room in their home they cannot use because it is filled with things they rarely use. (ClearVoice Research study)
  • 20% of the 1,500 North American respondents to a Garage Living poll say they’re unable to park in their garage due to clutter.
  • Only about 20% of the things we own are actually used. (LexisNexis study)
  • Disorganization (not lack of space) causes 80% of household clutter. (Soap and Detergent Association study)

As one of the above stats points out, garages are particular clutter magnets, as are spare rooms. If it feels like your home is just too small, eliminating the junk you don’t need and making better use of your home’s underutilized storage space will open up a wealth of space that can used more effectively.

Your garage could actually start accommodating parked vehicles once again or perhaps that spare room could be turned into a craft room or home office.

cost of clutter messy garage

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

3. Storage units waste your money

There are more than a few stories online of people who came to the realization that the money they’ve spent renting a self storage unit for years actually cost them more than the estimated value of the items being stored.

This is an extreme example, of course, but in most cases it’s hard to justify renting a self storage unit long-term. Exceptions could include any of the following instances:

  • you’ll be out of the country for an extended period of time and it doesn’t make financial sense to keep your current residence
  • a recent move to a smaller home has left you with more belongings than you have room for
  • you’re using a storage unit temporarily to hold the belongings of a recently deceased friend or family member

A Self Storage Association stat shows that one in 17 American households rented a storage unit in 1995. Today, that number has increased to one in 10 households.

Maclean’s magazine reports that there’s a boom occurring now in the self storage industry in North America. Americans use a whopping nine square feet of self storage space per capita, while Canadians use two square feet.

Comparatively speaking, that might not seem like much, but it’s still a lot. The price for a 10′ x 10′ storage unit (the most popular size) in the Greater Toronto Area can cost anywhere from $190-$395. If we use the amount that’s right in the middle of that gap ($292), that works out to $3,500 per year in storage fees.

Trust us, self storage facilities want you to forget about your stuff or not deal with it. Here are three more reasons to reconsider using them:

  • there are often hidden fees that drive the advertised cost of a storage unit up (for insurance, more secure locks, or an easier-to-access unit location)
  • you’re leaving the safekeeping of your belongings to strangers and a (hopefully secure) lock
  • the climate control and lighting costs for the massive amount of space storage facilities occupy has a huge environmental footprint

The remote storage business model has evolved in recent years, too. Startup companies in major cities like Toronto, New York City, and Los Angeles now offer a “valet storage” service. They’ll pick up and store your things and return them to you when needed, if you can believe it.

4. Clutter slows down your productivity

Whether it’s at work or at home, clutter unquestionably slows down your productivity.

Naturally, there’s the time that gets wasted searching for things like car keys, makeup, home office supplies, a remote, a tool, or a wallet. It’s estimated the average person will waste a full year of their lives looking for lost or misplaced items.

“Choice overload” is another time waster. An example of this would be taking more time than you should to choose an outfit because your reach-in closet is overloaded and disorganized.

Having too many things to choose from can also be caused by duplicate purchases being made because you’re unable to find something and buy it again.

Digital clutter is another problem. If you’ve ever gone for a long period of time without replying to emails or deleting messages from your email account, you know how it feels to be staring at an overwhelming amount of digital clutter that needs cleaning up.

It’s a simple fact that “standard” clutter (like stacks of boxes or storage bins, unused furniture stacked against a wall, or obsolete electronics stashed in a closet) makes it less easy to clean a home.

You have to clean around it, move it around, or ignore cleaning certain areas altogether if you don’t feel like moving things.

Here’s another sobering statistic for you – a National Soap and Detergent Association study estimates that the average home would have 40% less housework to do if its clutter was eliminated.

cost of clutter open closet

A tidy closet like this one improves the efficiency of your daily routine by cutting down on time that’s wasted searching for things.

5. Hiring pros to deal directly with clutter gets expensive

A lack of time or simply not knowing where to start cleaning up are common reasons clutter doesn’t get dealt with.

If things really spiral out of control with your clutter, hiring a cleaning service, professional organizer, junk removal service, or renting a dumpster bin may be your chosen course of action to fix things.

Most of these clutter cleanup services don’t provide lasting benefits, especially if you’re unwilling to change some bad organization habits.

Your home will need cleaning within a week or two. It’s going to refill with clutter eventually and need another visit from a junk removal company.

And consider the pointlessness of the time and expense it takes to transport your clutter if you’re moving and hire professional movers.

Instead of spending money on services that don’t deliver substantial long-term benefits, invest in better storage and organization systems that will serve your home well for years to come.

Cut the high cost of clutter in your home

Cleaning up your home’s clutter won’t be a one day project. Focus on organizing one room in your home at a time. You’ll be carried by the momentum that comes with seeing each untidy area of your home become tidy and functional once again.

Why not speed up the process of achieving your goal of a clean, orderly home? Our organization systems aren’t merely “one more thing just taking up space in your home”.

They’re highly functional and will actually improve your living space by making it a lot easier to keep your home tidy and running smoothly.

Book your free in-home consultation with one of our design consultants today to begin taking action to minimize the cost of clutter in your home.

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7 Home Air Quality Tips to Freshen up Your Living Space

home air quality bed

With your spring cleaning efforts currently in full swing, it’s worth taking a little time to consider your home air quality.

Most of us take it for granted that our indoor air quality is fine. Scientific research, however, has found it to be an area we should be paying a lot more attention to.

Studies by the Environmental Protection Agency and other environmental health organizations show that the quality of most indoor air is actually worse than the air outdoors.

Air pollution levels in indoor spaces are typically 2-5 times higher than pollution levels outside. So how can that be?

What causes poor home air quality?

A big contributor to poor air quality in homes and other indoor spaces is, quite simply, that not enough time is spent cleaning them, especially when it comes to vacuuming and dusting.

The products we buy and the chemicals they contain are another major reason our home air quality suffers. Unless you’re ultra-vigilant about what’s being brought into your home and used there, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy level of indoor air quality.

Indoor airborne pollutants also come from things like cooking residue, pollen, mould, and pet dander.

The fact that we inhabit tightly sealed environments that don’t get much air flow exchange with the outdoors doesn’t help matters, either.

How to improve your home air quality

Because the average person spends about 80-90% of their time indoors, it’s important to do what you can in your living space to improve its air quality.

The spring time is typically when a home is most in need of a refresh. Those long Canadian winters keep us indoors a lot more and don’t give homeowners many opportunities to open some windows. That keeps stale air, allergens, and other pollutants trapped inside.

Of course, leaving screen doors and windows open can also bring in outdoor pollutants, particularly in high traffic areas, downtown areas, and during hot weather. It’s a tricky balance, to be sure.

Here are some tips to help you improve your home air quality by reducing the number of pollutants in your living space.

1. Clean your home regularly (and properly)

Finding the time to clean your home as much as it really needs it is always a challenge. But as you would expect, regular cleaning is one of the single-most impactful ways to reduce the number of toxins indoors.

It’s generally recommended that regularly used areas of your home should be vacuumed a minimum of once per week. Higher traffic areas should get a little more attention, perhaps two or three weekly vacuumings. Carpeted areas in your home will also need more vacuum maintenance than hard floor surfaces.

Cleaning properly is another key to make your cleaning efforts more effective. Avoid using dusters, for starters. They don’t actually remove dust, they merely disperse dust from one surface to another. Wipe shelves and other surfaces with a damp soft cloth or microfibre cloth.

Thorough cleaning is also important. You can’t realistically get to every single nook and cranny in your home every time you vacuum, dust, and mop. It is important, however, to occasionally attend to those areas of your home that aren’t the main floor surfaces, such as curtains, ceiling fans, baseboards, walls, and behind large appliances.

To eliminate the headache of vacuuming underneath beds and sucking up all those elusive dust bunnies, consider getting a bed surround. They replace all of that wasted empty space underneath beds with useful drawer storage and incorporate additional storage space around the bed.

home air quality woman mopping in kitchen

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

2. Control home clutter

Let’s expand upon that “clean your home regularly” point and specifically address home clutter. You might not see a direct connection between excess clutter and poor home air quality, but it’s there.

To illustrate how clutter affects the air quality in your home, picture several stacks of boxes in the corner of a spare room that haven’t been touched in months.

Those stacks (and floor clutter in general) make it harder to vacuum the room, which gives you an excuse to not to do it.

Extra clutter also impedes the airflow in a room and gives dust more surface areas to rest on and accumulate.

Take advantage of the wealth of effective storage and organization products available to keep your home tidy with less effort.

3. Look closer at the products you buy

The most popular laundry and cleaning products boast about how fresh they’ll make your clothes smell and how immaculate and spotless they’ll leave the surfaces in your home.

The irony is that while these products may be effective at cleaning and eliminating germs and bacteria, most of them also add pollutants to your home’s air when used.

Even getting your dry cleaning done can bring pollutants into your home (from the chemicals used in the cleaning process).

Here are just a few more of the common household products that release chemicals into your home’s air:

  • beauty and grooming products
  • spray and plug-in air fresheners
  • certain types of clothing (including water-repellent apparel and some polyester and fleece fabrics)
  • many plastic products
  • building materials
  • home furnishings

It can take a big effort to make major changes to what you buy and to check on the environmental impact of every product you purchase. But controlling the source of indoor pollutants will help to improve your home air quality.

4. Get an air purifier

Adding a standalone air purifier (or two) to the areas of your home that are most frequently used is another solution for improving your home air quality.

Bedrooms, the kitchen, and the living room are ideal locations. If you don’t want to deal with moving a standalone air purifier from room to room, whole-house air cleaning systems are available which are integrated into your HVAC system.

Air purifiers remove contaminants from the air and can help improve the comfort level of those with allergy and asthma issues. Air purifiers are also recommended for homes with smokers.

Ionic and HEPA air purifiers are the two most popular types of standalone unit choices. Do your homework before buying, as features (such as whether the unit can remove odours, square footage covered, and operating volume levels) vary widely from model to model.

5. Change HVAC and kitchen air filters regularly

Dirty air filters that trap pollutants and allergens recirculate poor quality air indoors, so they need to be maintained to keep your home’s air quality healthy.

Timely air filter replacement on HVAC systems, range hoods, kitchen and bathroom air vents, and vacuums tends to get overlooked. Staying on top of this task is a cost-effective way to maintain healthy home air quality.

Energy Star recommends changing your HVAC filters monthly during the winter and summer seasons, when your furnace and air conditioner are being used most. Change them every three months at the very minimum, regardless of the time of year.

Unclogged air filters improve the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling systems and can reduce your utility bill.

Energy Star also recommends a yearly tune-up for your HVAC equipment to keep them operating at peak efficiency and to prolong the life of your heating and cooling units.

You should also have your air ducts inspected and cleaned periodically. Whichever air duct cleaning company you use, ask them about their maintenance process. Some professionals use sealants and chemical products that kill and inhibit bacteria and mould growth, which you may wish to avoid.

6. Get home air quality-friendly plants

Adding several air purifying plants to your living space won’t just improve your home air quality, they also enhance a room with character and colour.

House plants convert carbon dioxide into fresh oxygen and certain plants are very efficient at eliminating or reducing household toxins like benzene and formaldehyde.

Here are some of the most effective plants for reducing toxins in the home:

  • Philodendron
  • Spider plant
  • Rubber plant
  • Dracaena
  • Snake plant
  • Ficus
  • Bamboo palm

Be mindful that even plants which are known for their air purifying benefits aren’t practical for every home. If one or more house occupants have sensitive allergies, some of these plants may not agree with them.

home air quality potted aloe plant

7. Prioritize the air quality in your bedrooms

Taking steps to improve the indoor air quality throughout your home is important, but it only makes sense to prioritize the quality of air in the room your family spends most of their time in – the bedroom.

A Statistics Canada study of the sleep habits of 10,000 Canadians between the ages of 18-79 found that they averaged 7.12 hours of sleep every night.

With approximately a third of our lives spent sleeping, your bedrooms should undoubtedly be one of the cleanest, most organized rooms in your house.

In addition to managing your bedroom clutter, using an air purifier, and adding some plants to the bedroom, consider changing your mattress.

Switiching to an eco-friendly mattress that’s chemical-free will be beneficial for your bedroom’s air quality. At the very least, vacuum your existing mattress regularly to get rid of dust mites and get anti-dust mite mattress and pillow covers.

Get organized to help improve your home air quality

Our lifestyles make eliminating 100% of indoor pollutants at home virtually impossible.

However, with simple regular maintenance, making changes to the products you buy, and investing in appliances to monitor and improve your home air quality, you’ll reduce your family’s exposure to indoor air contaminants.

Consider having your home air quality tested. An expert can help you gauge what areas of your home might benefit from some measures to reduce indoor toxins.

Organized Interiors can also help you to get your home organized so it’s easier to clean on a regular basis.

Schedule a complimentary in-home design consultation with us today.

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