The Decorum Diaries

Unapologetically ladylike.

Brand Loyalty: The Lady's Guide to Organized Storage

As a young adult, I read a study that noted how my generation isn't brand loyal. From makeup to cleaning supplies, foods to medicines, we happily flit from product to product, brand to brand. Observation tells me that this is true (maybe even more-so) for younger generations.  Our shopping practices are decidedly ADHD, as we often purchase, and begin using a new brand before finishing the last. The result? Wasted time and money, and embarrassingly overstuffed cabinets. My mother on the other hand has bought the same brand of sugar (for example) for decades. Content in her choice, she is not swayed by sales, flashy ads, or the lure of a new label.  There are pros and cons to each method of shopping, but for the purpose of streamlining and creating clutter free homes, developing brand loyalty is key. 

In the photo of my linen closet above, you can see 26 bars of the same soap. It will be over a year before I have to rethink and/or purchase bath soap. Once you've chosen a brand to be loyal too, keeping your cupboards stocked and free of clutter is a breeze. 

 

  • Brand loyalty prevents poor, experimental purchases ending up as consumable clutter hiding in the back of your cabinets. (We'll talk more about consumable clutter in a future post.)
  • Brand loyalty will lead to using each product up before moving on to the next bottle. (If you have three different kinds of shampoo open in your shower right now, I'm talking to you.) 
  • Brand loyalty automatically muffles another kind of clutter: the barrage of ads we're faced with every day. It calms the mental clutter of an angsty brain that is always on alert for something better while feeling guilt over the junk not used. 
  • Brand loyalty simplifies and brings consistency to your organizing routine. It is so much easier to store products when the size and shape of the packaging remains consistent, and you know exactly how much product your storage space will allow.
  • Brand loyalty can even slow the INFLUX of clutter since it changes how you shop for, and stock household products. Since I can easily store a year's worth of bath soap (and other products), I have drastically cut down on trips to the store and the subsequent impulse purchases.

Cleaning supplies, grocery staples, toiletries, makeup, undies, socks, shoes, regularly used OTC meds- most products not meant to be a permanent investment can benefit from brand streamlining. Once you get the hang of the process, and find products you absolutely love- you'll start looking around for what other products you should be expecting more from.

To get started streamlining by embracing brand loyalty, begin to think about which products you're most picky about. (Bath soap is one of mine, so we'll use it as an example below.) Then think about what it is you want out of that product. Jot it down in list form if that will help. 

 

  • Simple, whole ingredients. My soap has a total of three ingredients (olive oil, salt, and water) which all happen to be edible. If it's good enough for my belly, it's good enough for my skin.
  • Paraben and fragrance free. I like the scents of soap to be a byproduct of the quality ingredients instead of an addition, but if I were going to choose a scented soap I would look for scents that were plant derived and not manufactured fragrance. 
  • Function then form. While I have nothing against pretty soap- I'd prefer my money go toward quality over style. So I don't put a lot of consideration into product packaging, color, decoration, or shape when making a purchase, unless it will sit out on the counter. Besides, fancy soap isn't much prettier than good ol' utilitarian soap- which to me is beautiful in its simplicity.
  • Multipurpose.* I don't want a separate soap for faces, so our soap has to have everything covered from head to toe. Even hair in a pinch. Multipurpose is something I aim for in most of my purchases, consumable or not, that's a clutter clearing strategy in its own right. 
  • Budget friendly.  My bar soap cost me 27 cents an oz. with shipping. For such a quality product, the price cannot be beat. -Knowing what your products cost an oz instead of a unit can make decisions so much easier.
  • Stewardship. I want a soap that's easy on the environment, especially since we sometimes shower outside. (Muddy farmers here, y'all.) My soap's simple paper packaging was a bonus.
  • Streamlining. And because my ultimate goal is streamlining, I want one bath soap that will work for everyone in the family, from my husband with eczema, to my daughter with product allergies. 

    As you can see, I expect a lot out of my products, but what's important is that I KNOW WHAT I EXPECT out of them. 

    Your soap list might look different. You might want to make sure yours is non-comedigenic. The social practices of your chosen label might be important to you. (Easy enough to look up.) Or maybe you want your soap to leave you smelling like a tropical paradise. I'm sure there's one out there for that. 

    Stopping consumable clutter, just like we'll talk about with clothing clutter, is about creating guidelines. Now that you have your guidelines in place you can begin searching for a product that meets your needs. 

    While hunting a better dishwasher soap I spent quite a bit of time googling phrases like "best detergent for hard water", and checking out sites such as The Queen of Clean's, to see what she had to say about cloudy dishes. I didn't commit to a brand overnight either, but I was on alert when anything detergent related crossed my path and tuned in so I could make an informed choice. 

 

  • The final step:

    Once you find a product that fits all of your criteria, you won't even consider experimenting with the next big thing, and product clutter will become a thing of the past. 

 

*One caveat: Parts of this technique were developed years ago for an article I wrote with the goal of helping young families on a budget, streamline their life. I've aged since, and have a more flexible budget, so my purchasing habits have changed too. Looking for multipurpose products was key in my early life, when I had small children, a smaller budget, and very little free time. Now though, my face soap is different than my body soap, and I don't share it with my eight year old. However, brand loyalty is still a huge part of how I organize our home.