You may want to think twice before adding these popular organizational tools to your cart.
We've all been influenced to buy something that's trending online—whether that's beauty supplies, clothing, or, yes, even home organizational products. While scrolling through the picture perfect and pristinely organized homes on TikTok, it's easy to believe that a few featured products could be the solution to all of our organizational woes. However, home organization isn't one-size-fits-all, and just because an influencer raved about a product, doesn't mean it'll work for your space.
To prevent post-purchase-regret, we asked a couple of professional organizers what products you don't actually need—even if social media is telling you otherwise. Here are the five things they said to skip.
Washable Drawer Dividers
First up is your dresser. This can become a problem area for many, says San Diego-based professional organizer Jennifer Du Bois. “We invest in dressers to maintain order in our bedrooms, but oftentimes the opposite becomes our reality,” she says. “Our dresser drawers become a chaotic mess of wrinkled clothing and a source of stress.” Your first instinct might be to buy drawer dividers, but not all drawer dividers are made equal. Despite their popularity, Du Bois suggests skipping the washable variety. For one, their fabric sides don’t hold their shape, so they’ll look messy over time. They’re also a one-size-fits-all solution, which isn’t practical since dressers aren’t, well, one size. Because they’re not customizable, they also only work for specific garments, like shirts or sweaters. Instead, Du Bois suggests expandable bamboo dividers. These clever contraptions will fit any drawer and you can use them to separate and categorize any type of clothing.
All Clear Pantry Containers
If you’re here, we’re guessing you love organizing as much as us. And that can only mean one thing: You’ve definitely gone down a rabbit hole of pretty pantry photos. While there are plenty of tips we can glean from those inspo pics, Brianna Rogers and Kimri Madrid, the professional organizers behind Phoenix-based Tidy Citrus, see one mistake time and time again: all clear containers. “We don’t recommend using all clear bins because it can be very hard to maintain a streamlined look without constant tidying,” Rogers says. “The visual clutter can get people discouraged about their organizing journey,” Madrid adds. Instead, the duo suggests using a mix of products like wood or rattan bins, wire baskets, or opaque plastic bins. This way, you can hide lesser-used items (brown sugar for baking) and tuck away opened items (like that half-eaten bag of chips) without looking messy.
Stacked Cutlery Organizers
Another common pain point is the utensil drawer. There are plenty of trays on the market to separate your forks from your spoons from your knives. But one product, the stacked cutlery organizer, has gained popularity thanks to its space-saving promise. The problem? It saves on horizontal space by adding vertical storage. Stacking and staggering the cubbies (one for forks, one for spoons, and so on) sounds great in theory, but the design is flawed, Du Bois points out. Most utensil drawers are quite shallow, so the cutlery will clash with the cabinet when you attempt to open the drawer—if you can get the drawer closed at all. Instead, look for low-height solutions, like a classic bamboo utensil tray.
The quick solution for an overstuffed closet? Slim hangers. But when you’re buying a new, matching set of hangers, Rogers and Madrid suggest steering away from velvet. Their slim profile and grippy material are definite pluses, but other drawbacks make them worth avoiding. You should never hang damp or wet garments on velvet hangers, because the dye from the velvet can seep into your clothing. Who wants to deal with those stains?! And who wants a second set of hangers just for your hang-to-dry clothes?! What’s more, hangers flocked in velvet often have loose fibers that can shed onto your clothing. This material also clings on to other debris like dust or lint, so they get dirtier, yet they’re harder to clean than their plastic counterparts. Your best bet? Slim plastic—but heavy duty—hangers with a rubber grip, like this pack from Amazon.
Narrow Shoe Organizers
Thanks to their varying and irregular shapes, shoes are a notoriously tricky category to organize. For an orderly looking closet, give each pair room to breathe. That means avoiding narrow shoe bins, Du Bois says. The promise of extra closet space might be tempting, but if you look closely at the product images, you’ll notice they’re most likely styled with the same type of shoes. In reality, two sneakers won’t fit side-by-side the way that two sandals or heels nestle together. Your organization products should work for any type of shoe, not just specific ones.
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