Product Panacea Baskets

Product Panacea

The organizing industry is big business.  A recent Newsweek article reports that home-storage products are a $4.36 billion industry “with sales of objects like wire shelving and acrylic Q-tip holders up a prodigious 10 percent a year since 1998.  This trend is an indicator that as a culture we are attempting to gain control of our surroundings.  We rush to warehouse stores to fill our carts with plastic boxes, bins, and drawers, and we triumphantly return home to throw these products at the problem.  We continuously collect organizing products, searching for the latest and greatest. 

Now, I am not against organizing products, but I don’t like the mass-produced plastic stuff that is made from a mold.  I believe that the right products at the right time have their place in the process of organizing.  When I am working with a client on a pantry organizing, for example, I want to understand the family’s eating habits and favorite foods before we buy products.

The correct purpose of an organizing product is to meet an established need, not to simply contain stuff.  Used independently of a process, products may be attractive and even functional.  However, products cannot truly solve problems and help sustain change unless they are partnered with a useful discovery process.  

By containing, storing, stowing, stacking, and labeling our belongings, piles and paper, we feel like we are making progress, but we are only applying a panacea.

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