New storage products for the home

As I mentioned last week, I recently attended the National Association of Professional Organizers’ 24th annual conference in Baltimore. One of my favorite parts of the conference is the exposition hall, which is filled with manufacturers, retailers, and service providers who work closely with the professional organizing industry. Many of these providers use the conference to introduce new items that aren’t yet on the market, as well as to solicit suggestions for how professional organizers think products can be improved.

Today, I want to feature some more of these new and yet-to-be released products so you can see the latest trends in organizing. A couple of the items are in the “new-to-me” category, but most of them will also be new to you. To be clear, I’m not getting any sort of payment or kick-backs for writing about these products. These are simply the items I found interesting and helpful for common organizing problems.

I’ve grouped the items into themes, and today I want to feature storage solutions —

The Rubbermaid Company has two new products that make me very happy. One of my biggest complaints about large storage bins is that they are more like buckets than useful bins. Small items always sift down to the bottom and to find anything you have to dump everything out to get to it. Rubbermaid is addressing this problem first with their Bento Box with Flex Dividers:

It’s difficult to tell from this image, but inside the box are dividers that are attached to the side of the box that pop out if you want divided interior space or rest flush against the sides of the box if you don’t want dividers. The Bento Boxes are available online and at Target stores.

The second Rubbermaid item is a tray insert for their Clever Store plastic bins. The trays make it easy to store small items in a separate compartment from the deep bin below the tray. I think they’re perfect for toy storage where a doll and her small accouterments can be stored in the tray and then all of the doll’s clothes could fit in the lower bin.

Next up is a custom drawer organizer that has won my heart after just a week of use. The organizer consists of a flexible mat (mine is neon green, I won a sample during a workshop) and 15 dividers. The mat can be cut to fit any drawer and the dividers can be placed anywhere you need them. The dividers grip to the mat and can be repositioned easily. I thought the dividers were going to pop off every time I moved a utensil, but they don’t. I’ve decided the whole DrawerDecor Organizer is magic:

The last product I want to discuss is something that I saw and instantly knew would be perfect for all the visual processors who read the blog. The product is called Pliio and it is a product that fits inside your clothes when you fold them. (It stays in the clothes.) You can use it in your clothes that you put in drawers like a filing system, but that isn’t my favorite way to use the product. What I like best about it is that it allows you to put your clothes on shelves like books:

If you’re someone who puts things in drawers and then instantly forgets those those things exist, the Pliio is great for you. Being able to line your clothes up on your shelves lets you see each item in a highly organized fashion. The product creator (her name is Clare and that is her in the picture on HSN) told me there are versions of the Pliio for sheets in the works, which I think would work wonders in linen closets.

Have you seen any new storage products that can help to organize the home? Share your finds and/or comments about these items in the comments.

31 Comments for “New storage products for the home”

  1. posted by Tanya on

    Thanks for sharing these neat new organizing tools. Pliio is a product that would be fantastic in the linen closet!

  2. posted by Elizabeth on

    I love the Pliio for the shelves but if it also allows you to stack things on their side in drawers that would be fantastic. Looking at the picture, if you were able to pull out one of the boxes on the shelves and see there your clothes slotted in horizontally by colour (in the same way as they are done vertically on the shelves) that would be great.

  3. posted by Lisa on

    Saw those rubbermaid boxes in Target this weekend. Genius!

  4. posted by luxcat on

    I love the bento box with dividers but in viewing the larger images on Amazon I have some questions about how tightly the lid fits, how much it stays in place, and how stackable it is….

  5. posted by ali on

    The Pliio looks interesting and I’m someone who puts things in drawers and forgets about them. So I checked it out. But they said in the video the Plioo is only for youth medium to adult xl. I wear a women’s 2x so it doesn’t sound like it would work for me. Which is too.

  6. posted by Kandice on

    This is awesome! Really excited about the one for sheets. I can never fold them right and they take up way too much space.

  7. posted by Nana on

    Fold sheets (one top and one bottom) and either wrap a pillowcase around them or put them into said pillowcase. Pull a ‘complete set’ out of the linen closet each time. One of the best organizing tips I know.

    Wonder how wrinkled things get in the Plio.

  8. posted by Erin Doland on

    @luxcat — The lids aren’t tight fitting, but you can stack the boxes with them. The lids set on instead of snap on, if that makes any sense.

  9. posted by Anita on

    I love the bento box. I was cleaning up this weekend and that’s exactly what I was wishing for. Now to wait for Target stores to finally open in my area (there’s been rumors of it for about a year now).

  10. posted by luxcat on

    yes, that does make sense. Thanks Erin!

  11. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Anita — Rubbermaid tells me that you can order them through and They also informed me that is one of the top five retailers on the internet. I was really surprised. I think of Amazon and zappos as being really large, I never thought of Macy’s being a huge online retailer until they told me that. Crazy.

  12. posted by Betty on

    I thought the Pliio looked interesting until I looked further…it won’t work on anything with a collar or sleeves and seems to increase the bulk and volume by two or three times. Plus the price is crazy, 20 dollars to fold seven items?! If you wanted to do something similar, you could just cut up some cardboard or large plastic milk jugs and score them twice so they fold in the same way.

  13. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Betty — All the samples she used at conference had sleeves, and I don’t remember her doing polos with collars but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. The little folding things wouldn’t be in the way of a collar like on a polo.

  14. posted by Another Deb on

    I love the look of the shelves with side-stacked shirts. However, I believe the novelty of using these devices would wear thin pretty fast. You will need to corral them just as you do empty hangers, plus take the extra time to fold and stack/file the clothes.

    If I was going to use this system, I believe I could make something similar with cardboard or foamcore. That way I could customixe it for sizes as well as shelf dimensions.

  15. posted by snosie on

    The drawer liners came up on the forum recently. I do like them, and considered them, then I looked at what I had. I had a thick absorbent ‘thing’ you put to dry dishes on (friend in Canada gave them to us). Cause it’s cushiony, it takes the utensils, it happened to fit perfectly in my drawer, things don’t move, and when it inevitably becomes dirty, I’ll toss it in the washing matching (not sure the above product would be as wipe down-able as I’d hope, sometimes they are too stick to work.

  16. posted by Claire @ Safehouse on

    I always Struggle with storage for cloths on shelves. Hope they are available in the UK.

  17. posted by mediumfromholland on

    I found a tray insert at Ikea similar to the Rubbermaid’s.
    Here is the link of the Ikea US website.
    I used the big one (here in the Netherlands they have also smaller ones)for my paint-, plaster- and wall decoration tools. It’s a bit wobbly, because I stacked too much in the bin underneath the tray, but everything is well organized now. (Please don’t mind my English!)
    Erin and posters, my compliments for all the inspiration!

  18. posted by Paula on

    On the Pliio, $20 for 7 blouses/shirts is crazy expensive (and let’s face it, if you only have 7 or 14 shirts, you really shouldn’t have a problem folding, storing or finding them). As an idea though, it’s very good and probably something one could replicate fairly easily.

    I’m not even sure I’d use Pliio for travelling, because it does add bulk and given the number of folds (3 to 4?) I’d probably still need to press the shirts once I arrived. For travellers, I highly recommend Eagle Creek products!

  19. posted by Erin Doland on

    @mediumfromholland — It was weird, Ikea wasn’t at the expo this year and neither was Container Store. They’ve been staples for years and it’s weird that the largest conference to date they were absent from …

  20. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Paula and others — I don’t love the current price, either, but I know it’s the amount to cover the cost of production. Since it’s not like a big company is producing them, things are more expensive from a small producer.

  21. posted by Anonymous on

    Does anyone know what the laundry folding device in this clip from “The Big Bang Theory” is?

  22. posted by KarenG on

    The Big Bang show had a for shirt folding

  23. posted by Vonnie in Ga. on

    The Pliio seems like a Unitasker if I’ve ever seen one! I agree with the comments that it looks like it takes up extra space. As far as sheets–just practice and you can get the hang of folding them neatly, even the fitted ones. There are videos on YouTube that demonstrate. It just takes patience to learn.

  24. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Vonnie — To a visual processor they could be a godsend. To other types of processors, they probably seem unnecessary. Displaying shirts won’t make much sense.

  25. posted by Clare Kumar on

    Hi everyone and thank you for your comments. Here are a few answers to your questions.

    Ali – You’re right – the medium size filer (in the video you saw) is best for t-shirts youth size 8-10 through adult XL. We are hoping to introduce other sizes later so please keep in touch.

    Nana – there are folding lines with Pliio, just as with regular folding. It depends on the type of fabric whether the folding lines will make creases (easy to happen in linen for example). I have folded silk dresses and polyesters with Pliio for travel and unwrapped them ready to wear. The greater the disorder in the way they are stored without Pliio, the greater the benefit provided by Pliio. If you are a lover of hanging t-shirts to avoid folding lines, then best to keep on hanging them. I hope that helps.

    Elizabeth – exactly right – the picture doesn’t show it but there is a drawer below full of clothes folded with Pliio (height of drawer should be 6 inches), and the drawers hold them just as you have suggested.

    Betty – great question. Sleeves can be accommodated. Collars (ie golf shirts) can be folded flat and aligned with one flat side of Pliio. We think that they work best for unstructured items. Re your DIY ideas – love to see what you come up with – might be like some of our early prototypes! I’ll be setting up a pinterest board and welcome your posts.

    Betty and Vonnie –
    Re the extra volume – yes – you are adding material to your drawer. What I have found in many “Pliio makeovers” is that the lack of uniform folding in ‘before’ states means that even with the added material, there is effectively space for more clothes in the drawer. On average I’ve seen 20-30% space savings, BUT it does depend on how you store things now.

    Karen G and Anonymous – The Flipfold is also available on HSN.

    Re price – thanks for your feedback. Erin – you’re right in your summation. Note that the $20 pack included the organizing drawer which is helpful but not critical to using Pliio. The filer only packages sold out on HSN very quickly so we’re looking at that as we plan our next offer.

    Another Deb – We did some time trials and found Pliio to be the fastest way to get a uniform fold.

    Claire – we are working on it. Lovely to hear from you! I was born in the UK and would love to travel to launch Pliio there. : )

    Thanks again everyone – much appreciate the time you took to share your thoughts.


  26. posted by MaryJo @ reSPACEd: Budget Organizing on

    I have Drawer Decor and I love it! To answer someone’s question, I find that it wipes clean quite easily and isn’t too sticky. The little wedges that come with it keep heavier things from sliding around, which is why it is more useful than just a spongy drawer liner. Here is my review of the product, if you want to see how it worked in my house. I found some other uses for it too:

  27. posted by Jude on

    As a relatively poor person who loves the Pliio idea, I figured out a method using file folders (which I have too many of since I’ve scanned almost everything using ScanSnap). A Cheez-it box is probably a better thickness, but I don’t have as many of those. I highly recommend the idea, however. It’s working really well. If you can afford the real thing, go for it.

  28. posted by Liz M on

    I saw the Bento Boxes in Target the other day and fell in love! Only when I realized that I didn’t know what I’d put in them did I put them back on the shelf. But it energized me to start cleaning out some boxes that I have just moved from apartment to apartment without sorting!

  29. posted by Jessica @ FPL on

    My mom keeps her gift wrap in a container with one of those tray inserts, and it’s a pain in the butt. The wrapping paper is in the main body of the container and then there are bows and ribbons in the insert (there are actually two smaller inserts), so you have to take the lid off and take both inserts out, then pull the wrapping paper roll out, then put both inserts back in… Personally I think they are useful if they are smaller than the full width of the container and whatever’s in the main part of the container isn’t so big that you have to take the insert out to get it out. Or if you would never use what’s in the main container part without also using what’s in the top part.

  30. posted by Dustin on

    I am really enamored with the Pliio. I think this will be perfect for traveling abroad later this year. I am wondering about a Pliio for denim jeans, though. That would be great.

    On the price…preferably I’d like to see double the number of Pliio inserts for $20 before I order.

  31. posted by Deanna on

    I love this idea, but not the price. I think I may get some thin sheet plastic and some material to make some of my own in different sizes for shirts as well as other things…

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