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Savvy storage ranks high in Canada

GfK Research survey shows Canadians are willing to pay to be organized

“A place for everything and everything in its place.” The phrase dates as far back as the 17th century, but nowhere does it hold truer today than right here in Canada.

Whether we like our stuff and are looking for clever ways to store it, or are facing the arduous task of fitting everything we own into a space measuring 800 square feet or less, Canadians are getting organized. According to a recent survey by GfK Research, more than one-third (35%) of Canadian households ranked storage space as a top home improvement priority and the results were the same for both men (32%) and women (38%).

The finding doesn’t surprise Toronto-based productivity coach and professional organizer Clare Kumar. “I think we have two challenges: older homes that weren’t designed for big box shopping and condos,” says Kumar, who moved into her own small space at the end of August. “… What this study shows is that people are valuing the quality of life they know organization will bring them.”

Kumar believes the average consumer is savvier about storage design in 2016. Her own move was fast and smooth because her belongings were well organized to begin with and now she’s “living her expertise” as she focuses on making her new living space as efficient as possible.

“I place no judgment on what someone chooses to define as important to them,” says Kumar, pointing out that a consumerist culture naturally leads to the amassing of ‘stuff.’ “It’s about making sure you have the right infrastructure in place so you can access what you need with the right investment in time and thought,” she says.

Interestingly, the two groups most interested in improving home storage are the twenty somethings (36%) and the empty nesters and retirees aged 60 and over (35%) – the two groups mostly likely to be living in condos according to Statistics Canada’s national household survey. As living space shrinks, demand for innovative storage design goes up. But there’s also room to improve organization in older detached homes, says Kumar.

Etobicoke resident Connie McArthur is a self-described “organized freak.” Her top priorities are storage and decluttering, and she is happy to pay professionals to help her organize her 1950s three-bedroom home.

Every closet in McArthur’s home features a system designed by Simply Closets – including the transformation of an entire room from bedroom to closet – and she has also hired Kumar’s services to get the most use from her entry room, installing special cabinets and a basket system to hold gloves, hats and scarves. When renovating her kitchen, she also paid extra for “all of the special little things to help it be organized,” like a pull-down sink front tray to store cleaning supplies and an appliance garage.

McArthur’s mission is to categorize. From books and make-up to clothes and Christmas decorations, she groups like things together. “You know where things are and you don’t have to rush,” she says. “Your head is clear.”

Home organization was the third top home improvement pick (35%) for Canadian women surveyed by GfK Research, along with interior décor (36%). Kumar hopes it’s an indication that the stigma associated with clutter is lessening.

“There are a lot of people who feel shame in asking for help around this and they shouldn’t,” she says.

Author: Dianne Daniel

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