7 tools professional organizers can't do their job without

Want to organize your home like the pros do? You’ll probably need the right tools to hand…

A set of acrylic drawer organziers on a white tabled filled with bathroom tools
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Admittedly, we perhaps can’t organize our homes in the exact same ways as the professionals do, but there are a few tricks of the trade we can nab for ourselves in the quest for a perfectly organized home – one of them being the items that expert organizers and declutters simply can’t live without.

We know what you’re thinking; you don’t actually need any products to organize your home, do you? Doesn’t that defeat the point of decluttering? While you absolutely can organize your home without spending any money, there are a few tools that can be very useful in creating a streamlined home that works better for you – whether that be products that help to categorize your belongings, or tools to help keep surfaces clear and streamlined.

The products pro organizers can’t live without

What items do the professionals actually use time and time again, then? Luckily, a couple of professional organizers have given us a peek into their toolkits, and shared the items that they simply couldn’t do their jobs without…

1. Museum putty

Living room alcove with small gallery wall

(Image credit: Future)

This is perhaps an unlikely tool that you may not have thought about using previously, but professional organizer Lisa Dooley at Your Organized Life confesses that one item she swears by when organizing is Museum Putty, which she explains, ‘has a multitude of uses.’

This product is essentially putty that works like glue to secure items around the home. Lisa explains, ‘Museum Putty is malleable and it works great to secure wooden drawer organizers without using glue or other adhesives, making it ideal for permanent organizing solutions.

And, once your belongings themselves are all properly organized and where they should be, it's also a great option for displaying your curated items without the risk of them falling.  'As in museums, it’s great for delicate items on display on bookshelves and in china cabinets,' Lisa says. 

Quakehold! 2.64-Ounce Museum Putty: $7.50 at Amazon

Quakehold! 2.64-Ounce Museum Putty: $7.50 at Amazon
This putty is removable, reusable and non-toxic – perfect for securing antiques and collectibles from falling and breaking. 

2. A label maker (and temporary labels)

A white kitchen pantry with pull out shelves

(Image credit: Brakes & Kropp)

Though you may not have used them to organize your home before now, many of the professional organizers we spoke to agreed that some sort of labeling product is an absolute must-have – particularly when everything has been decluttered and you are sorting items into their correct place.

'I can’t work without Super Sticky Post It notes and a Sharpie fine point marker to create temporary labels as we sort items and create "homes" for them,’ says Lisa Zaslow, professional organizer and Founder of Gotham Organizers. 'Then, once systems are finalized, there’s nothing like creating a proper label with a label maker. I’ll label shelves and even the outside of cabinets and drawers to remind clients where we’ve put things.’

Lisa Dooley agrees, sharing that labeling organized spaces is essential for her and her team in order to finish the job. 'A label maker is, hands down, one of the most used items we carry,' she says.

NIIMBOT Label Maker Machine |

NIIMBOT Label Maker Machine | $36.99 at Amazon
You can connect this wireless label maker to your phone to print out handy labels for various rooms in your home. 

3. Storage Bins & Baskets

A minimal clutter-free laundry closet with laundry baskets and storage baskets on tidy shelves

(Image credit: Getty Images)

We all saw this one coming! Storage bins and baskets are a must-have, both for novice organizers and the pros. Lisa Zaslow says, 'The tried and true organizing principle of “a place for everything, and everything in its place” requires containers to put things in! When you’re sorting and organizing, you need a few empty containers to separate different categories of items.

Shantae Duckworth, professional organizer and Founder of Shantaeize Your Space, shares that she wouldn’t do a job without both fabric bins and clear plastic bins: 'Fabric bins can be used to store seasonal clothes, home decor, and other items. They are a budget-friendly option that can be easily labeled and stacked on shelves and won't hurt anyone if they fall on the floor!'

'It’s also always super helpful to have clear plastic bins in the house for organizing and storage,' Shantae continues. This pack of 10 small storage bins with lids, from Walmart, can be stacked, labeled, cleaned easily, and stored nicely under the bed. However, it's worth noting that some items should never be stored in plastic bins

Lisa Dooley notes that any kind of bin should be labeled properly to ensure they don’t cause more of an issue than they’re worth: 'Bins are helpful for many organizing tasks, but opaque tubs, unless color-coded, can be problematic when it comes to finding what you need,' she says.

Professional organizer Lucy Wahl, Founder of LMW Edits has a personal recommendation for bins that will keep your belongings safe and secure. 'I swear by the weathertight ones from The Container Store. They really do seal out moisture, dust, and critters, and they come in a wide variety of very useful sizes, plus they're clear so you can see inside. We do all our garages using these totes when possible!'

4. A rubber mallet

Axel wooden clothes rail by Nordic House

(Image credit: Nordic House Axel wooden clothes rail)

Though it’s not necessarily the first thing you'd think of when you think about an organizational tool, Lisa Dooley shares that something she can’t go without when organizing her client’s homes is a rubber mallet.

'Every professional organizer has a unique process, but we all rely on some basic tools, including a well-stocked toolbox of DIY tools. And one of my favorite tools is a rubber mallet,' she says. 'It’s great for assembling shelving, securing shelf brackets, and adjusting rods without the damage that a hammer can cause.'

This also makes it a great choice for novice DIYers and organizers; if you’re uncertain about using a hammer in certain spots to adjust the storage space you have, a rubber mallet eradicates much of the potential for accidents! 

5. Lazy susans

yellow pantry cupboard appliance garage painted in farrow and ball hay

(Image credit: Alice Grace Interiors)

A lazy susan is beloved as an organizational tool, and for good reason. A container that swivels and is designed for tall items, it’s a keen favorite among the professionals, especially when it comes to organizing a kitchen.

'The lazy susan is one of my favorite kitchen organizational tools,' Shantae says. 'A lazy susan maximizes storage space by allowing easy access to items stored in deep cabinets or corner spaces, where items often get forgotten or become difficult to reach.

'Its rotating design enables users to quickly locate and retrieve items without having to rummage through cluttered shelves, which is why it’s something I couldn’t organize a kitchen without!' 

This is why lazy susans make for fantastic pantry organizers and are especially helpful when organizing a small kitchen.

6. Closet dividers

Closet, ensuite

(Image credit: Kitchen Architecture)

If you're on the lookout for closet organization ideas, Lisa Zaslow explains that rail dividers are one of her go-to tools, allowing her to easily separate out different categories of clothes.

'Closet rod dividers let you easily categorize different types of hanging clothes. You can simply move clothes around on the rod – which is so much easier than taking everything out of the closet at once.'

You can use different coloured organizers here to differentiate between categories, or opt for labels to make sorting as easy as possible. Lisa also points out that in order to truly optimize your closet, you should always opt for the least bulky hangers you can find. 

'Skinny velvet hangers really do save space and they keep your clothes from falling off to remind clients where we’ve put things,' she says.

64 Pcs 8 Colors Hanging Closet Size Dividers |

64 Pcs 8 Colors Hanging Closet Size Dividers | $17.99 at Amazon
Color-coordinate your closet with the help of these handy dividers.

7. Drawer and shelf dividers

skubb drawer organizers at ikea

(Image credit: IKEA)

Our drawers and shelves can easily become unruly, so many of the professionals we spoke to shared that they rely on some sort of product to organize the chaos that can often reign inside them. 

'Drawer dividers make it easy to separate different types of items in a drawer, though you must be sure to choose the right size for your drawer,' Lisa Zaslow says.

Shelf dividers can also be incredibly helpful in not allowing the clutter to pile up on open surfaces. Lucy shares that she always opts for acrylic purse dividers for a more streamlined look (and feel) on an open shelf. 'I love using these to display and preserve small bags and clutches. They give a closet or shelf a pretty, merchandised feel while keeping everything visible so you can wear and enjoy it,' she says.

And if you don’t have any purses to store, these are also ideal for storing smaller items like scarves, gloves, underwear and t-shirts in a super organized fashion.

Taliyah Organizer Set |

Taliyah Organizer Set | $25.99 at Wayfair
This set of 12 storage boxes is ideal for organizing smaller items in your drawers.

It’s clear that there are plenty of products out there that will help you to transform your home into a calm, serene and easy-to-use space, recommended by the experts themselves. However, it’s important that you don’t dive straight into buying all of the above before really considering what it is you need, and what will actually improve the organization of your space.

'I don't encourage my clients to buy new products to organize until they truly go through everything in the space, declutter, donate, and then decide what they need - and what the space needs!' says Shantae Duckworth, professional organizer. 'I have had too many clients order a ton of expensive tools and products only to find that's not actually what they need or they don't fit the space; so don't do that'

Contributing Editor

Amy Hunt is a freelance lifestyle writer and editor primarily covering homes and interiors, wellness, travel and careers. She was previously Lifestyle Editor at woman&home, commissioning and editing the homes, books and features sections of the website,

In 2019, she won the AOP Digital Journalist of the Year Award, for her work on womanandhome.com. Having worked in the industry for over eight years, she has contributed to a range of publications including Ideal Home, Livingetc, T3,Goodto, Woman, Woman’s Own, and Red magazine.