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Roundups

The Organizational Products That Have Been EHD-Vetted (Room By Room)

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Ok, so…the world’s on a BIG organizing kick right now. I think it’s probably 70% because of The Home Edit’s new Netflix show and 30% because it’s nice to have ONE. TINY. THING. that you can actually control in your life. Whatever the impetus, actually getting organized can be kind of annoying and overwhelming because there are about a billion bins and specialty products and like, how’s a person even supposed to know what’s good?!?!? 

And that’s where I come in. I was birthed and reared by the best lady in the universe, Brenda, who has been a lifelong advocate for the organizational bin and basket. For years, my mom would come to visit me in LA and by the end of her trip, I’d be a bit more organized — whether it was adjusting storage in my bathroom, figuring out under-sink bins, or sorting the miscellany in my closet, I learned THE WAYS OF HOME ORGANIZATION (should I trademark this???) from Brenda and from her mastery of The Container Store.

To that end, I’ve learned that there’s a lotta stuff out there that you actually don’t need, so I pulled the all-time best picks for 5 key areas in your home. As I was linking this post, I realized that every. single. item. also had a 5-star rating, so it’s not just me being biased — this is the certified GOOD STUFF. (PS. This is not sponsored. All honest reviews from your org pal over here who has spent years trying pretty much everything!) 

So since the weekend is kicking off and a whole bunch of this is available for pickup at a store near you… let’s get started with the best, most affordable storage and organization tools out there. YOU COULD BE IN A TOTALLY ORGANIZED HOME BY SUNDAY. Imagine that!!! Kicking it off with the heart of the home, your kitchen…

Kitchen

1. Baker’s Storage: There are SO MANY options out there for airtight baking containers, but this is the best choice for casual bakers. (I know, because I am a casual baker.) There are so many special details here — snap out levelers, flip-out spouts, dusting spoons, terra cotta inserts — and it’s a great price for six containers. (If you’re a more serious baker, they have a set of 10 for only $20 more.)

2. 5-Piece Modular Canister Set: Your search is over. After examining nearly every container option, this one came out as the winner. These don’t feel bulky or heavy, they’re easily stackable, and the size is perfect for actual consumption. (Sometimes I feel wary of food I decanted a while ago — this doesn’t happen here because they’re not jumbo and I can actually eat everything in a canister in a week or two.) They’re about half the price of the equivalent OXO product and while they lack that signature airtight button seal, I actually think the food tastes less plastic-y and I eat it fast enough that it’s never been an issue. 

3. Lazy Susan: There are a lot of clear acrylic lazy Susans out there. This is the best one AND it’s nearly 20% cheaper than a similar one that’s branded with the name of a certain organizational company with a new Netflix show. (No shade! Just love a deal over here.) 

4. Pet Food Containers: Did anyone else grow up with a big, round, plastic bin of dog food looming somewhere in the kitchen vicinity? This is an even better version of that — the wheels make it SO MUCH easier to manage and the locking clamp means that food will be safe from even the smartest of pups. This also could work for litter or garden soil or road salt or…you get it 🙂

5. Expand-a-Shelf: This can stretch from 13” to 25”, so it’s the most flexible tiered shelf on the market — you’ll be able to use this in nearly ANY cabinet you have in ANY kitchen for the rest of your life. After testing out a can rack like this and these shelves, I give these the edge as I like being able to see everything AND you can organize by tier (e.g. nut butters on top, cans in the middle, spices on the bottom, vitamins upfront on the actual pantry shelf). 

6. Steel Wire Stackable Basket: These are a dream for organizing snacks or perishables that need a little breathing room (potatoes and onions, this one is for you!!!). They’re stackable, so you can customize the height to fit tiny cabinets or larger open spaces. 

7. Undershelf Basket: If cabinet space are at a premium in your home, this opens up a whole new world for ya. These are sturdy (there are review photos of one of these baskets holding up 5 cartons of almond milk in a pantry) and they come in a few sizes, so they can fit anywhere you need a little extra storage. 

8. Wire Dividers: These are a dream for lids and for things like muffin tins and casserole dishes, which I had previously just stacked on top of each other. If the sound of clanging glassware or pans grinds your gears, this is a GREAT option.  

9. Pull Out Cabinet Drawers: OH MY GOSH y’all, don’t spend money on custom cabinets when you can grab these for UNDER THIRTY DOLLARS. If you have deep cabinets and trouble accessing everything OR if you have any mobility issues (where are my fellow pals with bad backs and knees????), these are a total game-changer. There are so many sizes available and installation is a breeze. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? 

10. Fridge Starter Kit: If you want a custom fridge solution, start here. As pictured, these products are only 50% of the price of the previously mentioned branded equivalent and the quality is AWESOME. You can customize to fit your needs (like, I love wine and eggs — not together, though maybe I should try??? — so I could increase the number of those respective pieces) and there are some BEAUTIFUL fridge inspiration pics in the reviews. 

11. Mesh Drawer Organizers: Eschew your standard cutlery tray for these bad boys! I live in a 1930s building with original, not-2020 standard sized cabinets, so these are a dream for wrangling all my forks and knives and openers and peelers and general kitchen miscellany. They maximize space and I’m not left with some weird larger leftover tray spots, like I am with most standard all-in-one options. (I know those spots are for like, serving spoons or different sized forks or something, but I don’t own any of those!!) ANYWAY, take a peek in your drawers, figure out what you ACTUALLY need, and make these work for you. (PS. I prefer silver mesh over acrylic here because you can avoid water spots if you’re also kiiiiinda lackadaisical on the “drying” portion of doing the dishes.)

12. Spice Organizer: There are obviously a ton of traditional options for spice storage (racks, caddies, lazy Susans, etc.) buuuuut I am very partial to this one, which can slide into a drawer. It takes away a layer of work required by some of the other options (like decanting or labeling) and I’m a big fan of seeing everything laid flat. Would recommend if you have a drawer to spare! 

Garage

1. Corner Double Tool Rack: This comes as two pieces so you can definitely rock a semi-circle like the photo (arches are very 2020 so this is actually an #ontrend storage option, which is fun) but you can also separate them and push each piece into a corner. It takes up virtually NO SPACE and holds SO MUCH STUFF. Brooms, rakes, shovels…give them a home here instead of leaning them against a wall!

2. Utility Bike Rack: Remember Em’s garage and Brian’s organizing plan? I have on good authority that once the moving dust settles, they’re eyeing a WHOLE garage makeover, including this bike rack. The Elfa line is awesome (it’s what Sara picked for her closet, so there are interior options too) and perfect for those of y’all who love a simple, clean, organized space. 

3. Cargo Organizer: I am notorious for having a wreck of a car (both interior AND exterior, if you must know), so my godmother Shannon bought me this for Christmas. I had time during the beginning quarantine (didn’t we all??? Remember March?) to FINALLY clean everything out, and now I’m hardcore for this. Thanks Shannon! I keep it in my trunk to organize all the emergency stuff, but my favorite use is for flea market finds — when I get home, I can plop everything safely into a separate portion and carry it all upstairs at once by myself. There are smaller sizes too, but I loooove this 40” one. 

Bathroom

1. Sectioned Trays: There are a lot of bigger bathroom organizers, but I vouch for these sectioned trays instead. They’re the best-priced option, you can pick the sizes that best fit your drawers or your needs AND they’re extra perfect if you have a super thin drawer that can’t fit traditional organizers. Also great for kitchen junk drawers or craft areas! 

2. Handled Bin: Once you get one of these in your bathroom, you will *never* be able to go back. I keep two on the vanity — one for my skincare bottles and one for my hair products. Having things corralled makes such a difference and makes cleaning a breeze, as I can just grab a bin and clean underneath instead of having to move a bunch of individual bottles. Definitely would recommend, especially for those of y’all with kids or partners who clean *just* up to where products start on the counter! (Formerly guilty.) 

3. Dual Canister Set: If you’re looking to decant cotton balls and swabs, the price on this can’t be beat. Again, it’s connected, so it’s EXTRA EASY to pick up and move for cleaning purposes.  

Closet

1. Drawer Organizers: JUST TRY THESE. There are TONS of different sizes (there are also some VERY good inspo photos in the reviews) and they will make your dresser feel like a custom closet. I went from haphazardly dumping my underwear in a drawer to putting each pair in their little custom cubby. They make me feel like a person who really has my sh*t together, which is an IDEAL way to feel when you’re getting dressed every morning.  

2. Hanging Clothes Organizer: Life-long convert over here. I have two VERY tiny closets in my bedroom so while I’m good on hanging space, I definitely needed more “bulkier folded clothes” space. I use one in my primary closet for jeans and one in my ~sportswear~ closet for sweats and pajamas. Love them. 

3. Mesh 2-Drawer Unit: Gone are the days of the plastic dorm room storage!!! The product photo shows this being used as extra folded clothing storage, but I recommend this for corralling alllllll those little tiny purses/clutches/wallets or for folded scarves. 

4. Tall Solid Shelf Dividers: OMG I LOVE THESE. If you also have a tiny closet and you find yourself stacking sweaters on a high shelf, you may be familiar with the tilt, where everything just leans and looks kinda sloppy. I’ve tried a couple solutions for dividers but this is the best one because it hooks onto your shelf and is super stable — your folding work will be preserved AND your top shelf will *finally* look tidy.

5. Belt & Tie Rack: You can wall-mount these and they are the BEST for belts. The spacing is perfect. 

6. Bedside Caddy: Ok, is a bedside caddy the most beautiful thing in the world? Probably not. Will it be gracing the covers of a magazine anytime soon? Signs point to no. But OMG does it deserve more love? It sure does!!! The uses are endless: tiny room with only one nightstand? Caddy on the other side of the bed. Bunk bed in a dorm? Caddy on the top bunk. Cat knock everything off your bedside table in the middle of the night? WOULDN’T HAPPEN WITH A CADDY.  

Office

1. Letter Tray: Love a letter tray! I use the top for partnerships contracts that I’m currently workshopping and the bottom for contracts that are active. (Finished contracts go in a folder in a credenza…in case you were wondering.)

2. Portable File Box: If you don’t have one of these on hand already, they offer up a lot of peace of mind — it’s nice to know that you have all your family’s most important documents (birth certificates, passports, medical records, etc.) in one place where they’re ready to grab in case of an emergency. 

3. Erasable Labels: The person who designed these deserves an award. These are just the labels (so you can grab your own cute folders!), but you can actually use them ANYWHERE and they’re also perfect for canisters, bins, or shelf labeling. 80 of these will last you FOR. EV. ER. 

AND THAT’S IT FOR ME. This is the good, good stuff and an actual jumping-off point if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available out there. I would like to once again extend my gratitude to Brenda, my mom, for instilling in me a near-encyclopedic knowledge of every item at The Container Store. (Again, not sponsored, but I wish it was!!! What kind of partnerships gal am I, writing posts like this for free??? One who’s dedicated to acrylic bins and who wants to spread the word about pull-out cabinet storage, I guess.)

And because I can’t leave you without tipping you off to a final really good deal: The Container Store is currently offering 25% off custom closets, which is 100% worth exploring if you’re in the market for upgrading your own place. 25% off here can equate to like, hundreds or THOUSANDS of dollars, and you know I love a discount!!!! Sara picked the Elfa, their most affordable option, for her own closet (reveal coming soon to the blog!), so I can vouch for quality AND aesthetics. I sound like a spokesperson (and yes, I would happily accept the position), but just wanted to make sure it was on your radar in the event that you had been budgeting for a little closet makeover.

ANYWAY. What org products do you love??? Anything I should try next??

Fin Mark

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SARAH

Wow. Going to go organize my baking cupboard now 🙂 I grew up in a messy house (bless my full time working, volunteering, soccer mom of three.. sheesh how did she survive??) so just learning about all these possibilities! Also those kitchen drawers are for sure game changers. Thank you!

Maxine Becker

Have Elfa shelving in both my pantry and master closet. Container Store designer patiently helped me create useful, attractive storage online and shipped everything needed for the install. It is all adjustable and perfect for my needs.

Jennifer

“WOULDN’T HAPPEN WITH A CADDY”. Dying. Caitlin you have a great written voice.

Lori Alexander

I’ve been using glass jars for food storage for a few years now. The first best thing about them is that they are not plastic. Plus you can get them completely clean and odor and stain free. I can get my whole hand in to wash a big mouth jar if necessary. You can put canning lids or plastic lids on; order whatever style you like. AND they will last forever if you don’t break them so they can’t get much more sustainable. Really love the variety of sizes and shapes but my favorite is the giant 64oz one.

I think I need a bike rack and that Belt & Tie Rack. Thank you for sharing the post!

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