Inside the mind of a professional organizer: Is your storage on trend?

Jessi Bushman PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Our fashion choices come and go, and our storage solutions also should evolve with time. I encourage everyone to let your imagination run wild and customize a space to compliment your taste.

The amount of space within our home is a good baseline of how much we should store. Logic and emotion is a concept to be considered when evaluating what we are storing.

Also, our discretionary income “in the moment” should determine the funds we allocate toward pretty, functional,

size-appropriate and durable products as we make our way through life.

We need a starting point to begin our organizing journey. Our budget and realistic vision can lead us to our products of choice.

I’ll emphasize how organization stems from our childhood.

I remember bits and pieces of my childhood, but a picture is worth a thousand words, and I have photo albums proving my home was well-organized.

Toy boxes, dressers, bins and shelves were a cost-effective way to store our stuff. The 1980s and 1990s were about function.

Think about your room growing up. Your surroundings and childhood exposure of organization has a huge influence.

Think about today’s options when it comes to storage organization.

If you’re a parent, the example you set for your dependents should provide encouragement for them to do their share. Their stuff, their responsibility.

As adults and parents, we have the ability and responsibility to manage and maintain our stuff, so why not do it with a little flair?

Looking good and functionality is at the top of most people’s organizing wish list today. There are many ways to approach the task of organizing in a cost-effective manner, or by spending a small fortune on organizing accessories.

My primary thought process for accessories is, “You get what you pay for.”

Free-99 is an awesome way to dip your toe into the world of organizing.

Get creative with boxes, lids and plastic trays included with certain purchases, is a good starting point to tackle the junk drawer, bathroom vanity, as well as create dividers in the kitchen, craft and office areas.

If you’re ambitious and want to transform a single room or the entire house, I suggest buying in bulk and sticking with a few varying sizes and brands.

Some questions to ask when selecting accessories:

• Lid or no lid?

• Do I want to layer?

• Clear or colored?

• Label or no label?

• Do I have a theme in mind?

What shape, size, capacity and weight once full can I realistically manage?

Before you go crazy and make your purchases, figure out what you are buying storage for. I recommend decluttering, downsizing, grouping, purging and donating beforehand. Otherwise, you’re spending money and wasting valuable real estate to store stuff you don’t need or use.

I’ve been on an organizing journey my entire life, and I’m proud to say, at 43, I now have a household of matching storage bins and trays. The process has taken more than 25 years to accomplish and includes having moved seven times throughout that duration.

My possessions, interests and physical abilities have fluctuated throughout the years. The easiest way to accept an organizing challenge is to incorporate your lifestyle, while being honest with yourself as you evaluate the inventory of stuff in your home.

Jessi Bushman is a professional organizer, member of the Iowa Professional Organizers Association and owner of Organizer Jessi in Dubuque. Visit her at

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