Organize + Energize: 9 Things to Remember When Purchasing Organizing Supplies

Tuesday, May 09, 2017
Kristin MacRae, GoLocalProv Organizing Expert

I know you get excited and want to run to the store and look at all the fun containers, but next time you need to purchase organizing supplies, stop and read this article. It will save you time, money, and will help with the feeling of overwhelm.  

Here are 9 tips you can follow:

Get organized first.  You have to tackle this before you can purchase anything. Empty the area you’re organizing. Itemize and categorize.  Once you can see what you have in front of you, you can decide which container will best suit your needs.

Figure out if you even need containers. You may have a stack of organizing containers stored in the basement or floating around the home from previous projects.  Check your inventory before you head to the store. 

Recycle and re-purpose containers. You don’t have to spend tons of money on containers. You may have old shoe boxes, business card holder boxes, plastic recycled food containers, or you can be creative and make your own.

Purchase the right size.  There are so many different types of organizing containers out there today. There is a container for everything. Think about what you have and how you can best utilize it. 

Get the most out of your space, maximize! Containers will allow you to maximize your space and give you room to store other items. 

Measure the space.  As you know, not all containers are created equal. Be sure that your container is going to fit the space. Measure the height, width, and length of the space. 

Plan ahead and search online. Do your research. Search for the best deals and prices. See what stores have in stock so you aren't running all over the state searching for the container that you need.

Don’t forget to make a list. Bring your measurements and list of containers that you need to the store. Don’t forget to bring coupons if you have them.

Once you have the containers, label them if you must. Your family will get in the habit of putting things back if they are labeled. Organize your items into the container as if you were putting a puzzle together. Do not just throw the items into the container. Make the most of the space in the container.

Most people will purchase the incorrect product for the space and use it anyway. The system becomes broken because the space isn’t functional and then people don’t want to take the time to re-work the system.  Save yourself the stress and take the time to refer to this list before you head out to the store.   


Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, is an organizing & efficiency expert and owner of Organizing in RI. Kristin teaches her clients that living an organized lifestyle will save them time and money, decrease their stress levels and help them become more efficient and productive. Her articles have been published in local and national magazines. She has also given over 70 presentations throughout the state. Watch Kristin LIVE every Thursday at 3pm here on GoLocal LIVE with Molly O’Brien.

  • Spices

    As you take all of the spices out of the cabinet, check for expiration dates and smell for potency. Categorize and itemize your spices to how you utilize them. Contain them in a spice rack that fits the space where they are kept. Don’t purchase a spice rack until you are finished organizing. You want to measure the space and make sure the rack fits and holds all of your spices. There are a variety of spice racks out there. Choose the one that best suits what you need it to hold.

  • Makeup

    How many items do you touch in the morning to find what you need?  You want to be as efficient as possible in the morning and having your makeup organized will be a big time saver. Do you have difficulty deciding what to keep or toss? When is it time to throw away makeup?  Aline Sarkis, a Providence, RI-based makeup artist, states lipstick can be used for 2 years or until it starts to smell like a crayon. Mascara is good for 2-3 months. Eye shadow is good for 2 years and foundation is good for 1-2 years. Aline also states that some makeup and skincare will be marked with an expiration date of 6-12 months. Begin counting once you start using the product

  • Women: Purse

    Depending on the size of your purse, and what you keep in your purse, this may take you a little longer than 10 minutes. Empty the entire contents of the purse on a table. Declutter, categorize, and itemize the contents. Break this process  down and take it one category at a time. Develop a system going forward so the inside of your purse doesn’t look like a cyclone hit it. Contain receipts, gift cards, money, and makeup.

  • Men: Wallet

    It’s time to empty all of the receipts out of your wallet. Do you also store receipts and random items in your car? While you are tackling this project, head over to your vehicle and declutter the center console and glove compartment.

  • Underwear drawer

    If you aren’t using drawer organizers, you should start now. They are very inexpensive and will maximize the space in the drawer. How many of you wear the same item over and over again? With drawer organizers in place, you will be able to see everything you own and can categorize and itemize. Nothing will ever get pushed to the bottom of the drawer again.

  • Under the bathroom sink

    If you haven’t taken everything out of this area in awhile, you may find some scary items under the sink. Empty the contents, itemize, and categorize. Throw away anything that you can’t recognize. Contain items in containers that fit the space like a puzzle. Once again, utilizing containers will maximize the space and allow you to store more items. Develop a simple system where you can locate items and locate them quickly.

  • Pets

    Ninety percent of my clients have a pet. It’s time to organize their belongings. Medicine, leashes, bandanas, clothes, dishes, food, etc. Take this time to also organize any paper work related to your pet. Set up a filing system for your pet. Keep their medical records, rabies and vaccination information categorized in these files.

  • Junk drawer

    Nobody says you can’t have a junk drawer. Junk drawers can be organized. You just have to think about if you need everything in this drawer and if there is a better place to store the items. Remember, store like items together. If you have tools in the junk drawer, maybe you should keep them with the tools in the basement.

  • Office supply drawer

    So many people have office supply drawers that are out of control. Money is wasted on purchasing duplicate office supplies. It’s very difficult to figure out what you need to purchase if items are scattered all over the office and are disorganized.

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