I asked some of the most successful, well-respected, best-of-the-best professional organizers and experts in their particular fields to name three of their most trusted, must-have, very favorite organizing tools. I’ve collected and posted their responses below.
Top Three Favorites
Regina F. Lark, Ph.D.,CPO®, A Clear Path: Professional Organizing, Los Angeles, CA
- Zipper-seal baggies (all sizes)
- Rubberband ball
- Label maker
Jeri Dansky, Jeri Dansky Professional Organizer, San Francisco Bay Area, CA
- My computer and smartphone because that’s where I keep my calendar, address book, etc.
- I love my excellent scanner.
- My shredder – a high-quality one.
Leslie Josel, Order Out of Chaos, Larchmont, NY
- Planner – paper only
- Binders – to organize everything
- Pegboards – I hang everything in my office, my kitchen, my closet… you name it.
Janine Adams, CPO®, CPO-CD®, Peace of Mind Organizing, St. Louis, MO
- Label maker
- Sticky notes
- Plastic shoeboxes
Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®, Oh, So Organized!, Croton on Hudson, NY
- Label maker – life just wouldn’t be the same without one
- Repositionable write-on tabs
- Smartphone and tablet
Ellen Delap CPO® and Family Manager Coach, ProfessionalOrganizer.com, Houston, TX
- I use zipper cases in my purse, one each for meds and make-up, office supply types stuff, and one for gift cards and coupons.
- Labelmaker (of course!)
- Shoebox-sized plastic boxes for school supplies, corralling loose goods in the pantry, or toys for my grandkids.
Deb Lee, CPO®, Upper Marlboro, MD
- Smartphone (for everything)
- Freezer and food labels
- Dry erase decals for writing grocery lists and keeping track of leftovers
If you want several free, exceedingly detailed, and comprehensive lists, consider enrolling in classes by the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO). Most classes are in the on-demand format. There are classes for new and prospective professional organizers or organizers who may have missed some of the basics on how to start an organizing business. These NAPO classes deliver a lot of bang for the buck: anecdotes, tips, techniques, and suggestions for launching and growing your organizing business. Some classes include tool kits. For advice on which specific tools you should have for your organizing business, book an Ask Me Anything Call.
Below are tools, that according to my successful organizing colleagues, are their very favorites. It’s no surprise that most of these organizers prefer the most simple, basic tools to help their clients get organized.
Barry Izsak, CPO®, CRTS™, Arranging It All, Austin, TX
- Storage baskets with handles, large and small
- Turntables (Lazy Susans) 10″ and 18″ sizes
- Magazine filers
Julie Seibert, Healing through Organization, LLC, Cary, NC
- Repurposing clear plastic zippered containers you get with bedding, curtains, etc. They are clear to see what is inside and identify contents with a marker or label.
- When I speak and demonstrate items to repurpose as organizing and storage tools, I use a wheeled cart to store and transport my stuff.
- I cannot live without dry erase boards. I color coordinate my schedule for current and upcoming events. It keeps me on track.
Julie Bestry, CPO®, Best Results Organizing, Chattanooga, TN
- Dishpans because they work as a drawer under sinks and in pantries
- Brightly colored hanging file crates
Janice Russell, CPO-CD®, Minding Your Matters – Cary, NC
- Packing cubes and clothing folders
- Itso cubes
Cassie Tillett, Working Order, Norwich, Norfolk, UK
- Magazine files
- Plastic wallets
- Bring-forward system (tickler file)
Katherine D. Anderson, CPO-CD®, Anderson Organizing Systems, Albuquerque, NM
- Mesh laundry bags for packing
- Car. I drive to all my clients
Jill Chivers, Shop Your Wardrobe, Australia
- Matching hangers
- Storage boxes
- Small bags for storing and travelling
Jacki Hollywood Brown, Productively Organized, Canada
- Stanley Professional Organizer
- Plastic totes
- Drawer dividers
Shop for organizing tools in these stores:
- The Container Store
- Bed Bath & Beyond
- Office Depot
- Stack and Stacks
- Ultimate Office