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Season changes usually prompt a wardrobe turnover. Shorts for jeans, tank tops for sweaters, sandals for boots. And while you're at it, might as well tidy up a few other parts of the house, too. Before you know it, a simple wardrobe turnover turns into a full spring cleaning-adjacent mission every season.
Eliminating clutter and organizing is always a great idea to start fresh and drive out the excess, but there are so many organizational and storage tools out there that defeat the purpose. Instead of tidying up, the wrong products can actually just add even more clutter.
In an effort to figure out what really are the most essential storage solutions and containers for your pantry, clothes, garage and more, we asked a handful of professional organizers who shared the tools of the trade that they use the most in their own lives.
Storage containers and solutions approved by experts
Laura McHolm, home organization expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company, loves expandable drawer organizers because they give everything a home, keeping drawers neat and tidy.
“Don't just use them for cutlery and makeup — use them for anything that gets thrown in a drawer. They expand to fit your drawers perfectly and provide more stage space, as some of the products provide layers,” she explained.
“My favorite product — which I have used since I was in college — is space-saver hanging hangers," said Heather Turk, owner of Organized Chaos NYC. "College closets are small. This product more than doubles your closet. I recommend them to everyone, and they cemented my love for home organizing."
Turntables have endless possibilities. “This can hold your nail products: nail polish, cotton balls, makeup remover. It can hold art supplies in mason jars. It can hold tea bags and sugar packets. It can have sponges and cleaning sprays for under the sink," said Katy Winter, who owns professional organization business Katy's Organized Home. "I use turntables throughout all the houses I organize!”
“For families, it’s so important to contain art supplies. Otherwise, they will travel all over the house and inevitably end up on your walls or carpet!” said Winter.
This mini, three-tier rolling cart from The Container Store is great because it also comes with a handful of compartments to help you organize whatever you are putting inside the cart. It also includes 12 labels to help you label each section properly and six photo cases for any printed photo of your choice.
“Labels are the best way to keep things organized," said Kim Jones of L+K Home Organization.
"These bin clip labels are decorative but a great way to identify what is in the container," explained Jones. "I have found labels to be the key for kids to get involved and put items away. If they aren’t yet able to read, I put pictures on these labels."
“I love these bins for blankets and toys," raved Jones. "Before I had kids, I swore I would never be that mom to have toys all over my house. Well, welcome to reality! My solution to this problem is decorative bins, so it doesn’t scream 'toys' but also allows my kids to have their toys to play within the main area of the home."
"A 'helper shelf' divides the horizontal space of an area, offering more storage space above and below itself," explained Stacey Agin Murray, a professional organizer based in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.
"This is the number one organizing product I use in my home," Murray added. "Before renovating my home, I counted 15 helper shelves doubling the space in my pantry, linen closet, countertop, upper kitchen cabinets and even my freezer. In my honest opinion, whoever invented the helper shelf is an organizing product genius!"
“I’ve been using these for five or six years to hold snacks for my kids, and for me and my husband, too," said Murray.
"The OXO POP collection is made of heavy-duty plastic and is easy for a young child to open and close, as well as an elderly person with decreased hand strength," she notes. "They come in many sizes — my largest one holds the contents of a large bag of Tostitos Scoops and my smallest one holds the contents of a small package of Wonderful brand almonds."
“I use these in several areas in my home," says Robyn Reynolds, owner of Organize2Harmonize. "They are obviously great for shoes because they allow you to see inside plus they stack evenly, whereas the boxes that shoes usually come in are different sizes and don't stack evenly. They are also great to store crafts, tools, sewing items, toys and crayons."
“I've used these hooks for years and I love them," said Katie Corritori, a certified women's health coach and professional organizer.
"I keep these hooks on almost all of the doors in my home. They blend right in with my white doors so they aren't an eyesore, and they are so convenient to have there when I need to steam a shirt, when I am packing for a trip or if I just want to put my outfit out on the inside of my closet door for the next day. I use them daily and recommend them to everyone.”
For more stories like this, check out:
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This article was originally published on March 18, 2019.