The desire to live in a neat and tidy home with all its different spaces has led to lots of new products and suggestions from experts in the field, beginning with the forerunner - The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. In this book she says that «when a person experiences a perfectly tidy home at least once, they feel as though their entire existence changes. This way, they will never go back to their original disorganisation».
We talked to some Italian retailers who confirmed the growing importance of this issue. It has even created a whole new retail category, both in terms of innovative products from companies as well as new services supporting retail. MariaGrazia Cardini at Merli in Foggia is exploring this issue, in fact she advises her clients to work with an influencer, who is an expert in organising spaces and decor.
It has emerged just how important it is for consumers nowadays to keep unseen areas tidy too, for pure personal pleasure: from kitchen drawers to bathroom cabinets, from every corner of the wardrobe to cupboards, with special focus on the waste recycling area.
This desire for organisation is also a result of smaller living spaces, as confirmed , so «apartments are smaller and thus the space available has to be exploited to the full».
Though not yet one of the main criteria guiding consumer choices – largely oriented towards a harmonious blend of aesthetics and function – sustainable products are appreciated and recommended by retailers.
Certain rooms are more present than others – the kitchen and bathroom.The kitchen – an increasingly more open and clutter-free space – receives the most attention in terms of reorganising, for both visible and invisible spaces. According to MariaGrazia Cardini, saving space is top priority and says that «it’s more about reorganising than tidying.
Paolo Facchinetti at Idea Regalo in Dalmine says that aesthetics combine with functionality, such as the glass jars mentioned by Giuseppe Gallo at Cose di Casa F.lli Gallo in San Giovanni in Fiore, both as an expression of culinary traditions which are still relevant to his Calabrese clients, as well as ideal containers for storing food.
Separating spaces in order to personalise and optimise them is a growing trend at the moment. In fact, MariaGrazia Cardini says «drawer dividers are in high demand: they are perfect for keeping cutlery and utensils tidy», while Giuseppe Gallo underlines that «storing dishes, pans and lids away in kitchen drawers. using dividers is becoming more and more common». Lastly, Mimmo Villa, advises his clients to use extendable shelves in the kitchen to personalise storage «they are very useful for storing small containers».
Products for the table which save space are in high demand with di B&B owners (a segment which should not be underestimated) and holiday homes, MariaGrazia Cardini says: «everything in one space so that it can be easily accessed by guests».
Experimentation and innovation from and of brands, this also refers to the “fridge environment” where organisation strategies are closely linked to the efficient storage of both cooked and fresh food.
Another interesting topic is recycling rubbish. Often located in the kitchen, rubbish containers are the new must-have product: appealing shapes and design, in attractive colours, elegant and even made of recycled materials. Gisella Fontana and Giuseppe Gallo in particular, underline this: in fact, Gisella says, When tidying up becomes easyit is young people who come in asking for a nice rubbish bin». Following the increasingly common desire for wellbeing, the bathroom is also of major interest to consumers, this interest also involves details. This is why retailers within the world of homeware are always very focused on this room of the house, always in pursuit of products which are functional yet eye-catching, particularly on an aesthetic level. MariaGrazia Cardini says that neat shelves in the bathroom make cleaning faster and better, but elegant lines and colours are of central importance - «chromatic harmony: white sometimes co-ordinated with green or light blue».
According to Gisella Fontana «co-ordinated bathroom accessories make the room look organised».
Giuseppe Gallo, confirms that a tidy bathroom boasts perfectly organised drawers, so that accessories can be found easily, from brushes to tweezers, stored in «plastic or fabric containers or baskets When tidying up becomes easy».
Lastly, separate laundry baskets for different colours make housework faster: «we have functional, efficient containers for laundry, separate ones for whites and coloureds», explains Fontana.So, the issue of tidying up is crucial for the future because, as Angela Guaitoli, Interior Stylist and expert in wellbeing in domestic environments underlines on her website, «order and organisation help people find themselves, given that our living environment is the harshest and most intimate reflection of our personality».The desire to feel comfortable in one’s home has led to an increase in interest in products related to tidying up and organisation in the home
First of all Functionality
Specialised in the production of plastic-covered wire storage solutions, during the Covid pandemic Metaltex saw a leap in sales in the homeware sector. «When people had to stay at home - explains Rodrigo Marcos, Marketing Communications Manager Metaltex they focused on tidying the house and cooking, this meant buying various utensils for making bread and baking. After two years of this positive trend, we have no idea what will happen tomorrow. For sure the pandemic taught us the importance of feeling comfortable at home and managing space more efficiently, but it is too soon to see if this trend will continue. In any case, we are working on the creation of new products which can satisfy all future requirements». «I think that people expect a certain linear quality and discretion from functional products - he continues - so that they can go anywhere in the house without creating stylistic clashes». Minimalism also refers to colour: «For years we sold silver and white wire products very successfully. When we launched the Lava (black) version in 2020, the scales tipped the other way. Personally, I think that functional products for the home should be in neutral colours. Today, the neutrals palette is quite broad and includes all the different shades: greys with a bluish or beige tone, such as the so-called “greyish”, or muted greens, such as sage, bay, olive and moss». Metaltex also focuses on the issue of sustainability: «This trend is crucially important in any sector - concludes Marcos. Today, the average consumer is very careful about what they buy and so it is very important to not disappoint them».
«In recent years - explains Nicolò Salvetti, Commercial Manager at Tescoma Italia - people have been forced to spend much more time at home, and this has led to the need to optimise private space. So Tescoma has introduced different product lines for organising the areas of the home, such as the kitchen, wardrobe and bathroom, which can satisfy all the different consumer demands dictated by different habits». Formally characterised by clean, rational lines and therefore suited to any domestic context, Tescoma’s products all feature neutral colours: «These accessories - continues Salvetti - must optimise the space available and maximise the features, so, if they are textured, they should be pleasant to the touch and never excessive». Tescoma Italia has a green vision. «We want to offer our consumers products which stand the test of time - confirms Salvetti-. What’s more Tescoma’s packaging can be easily separated and therefore recycled».
Organize with (green)style
«As far as we are concerned, consumer interest in organising the kitchen is constantly on the rise, both on a national and international level- says Gianni Romandini Marketing Manager at Fratelli Guzzini -. We specialise in organisation on display, intended as a form of decor, and so we provide products which combine function and beauty. This positive trend is motivated by new ways of experiencing rooms in the house which are often cramped and therefore multi-functional, used for different activities depending on the time of day: preparation and eating of meals, conviviality, work. It is clear that in this context the relationship between people, objects and space is a fundamental driver of the proper interpretation of the domestic organisational needs and requirements». As with all Guzzini products, the items within this sector prioritise style: «Functional style makes an effective contribution to building a product narrative and the relative value positioning. For example, in our latest collections, such as Tierra and Eco-Kitchen, highly environmentally sustainable thanks to the use of post-consumer recycled plastic and 100% recyclable, this attention to style, in terms of shape, finish and nature-inspired colours, provided us with an effective vehicle for the message of eco-sustainability. As for colour, being able to co-ordinate products with the kitchen decor is a must for consumers. Incidentally, neutral shades, which are easier to match with other colours, are the most popular, particularly shades of white, grey or natural, warm earth tones». One last question about sustainability, an issue ’which is very dear to Fratelli Guzzini: «This topic always generates interest, particularly in terms of involving young people, a strategic aspect for the homeware sector which has to invest more in relations with younger consumers. We have seen that for the vast general public in our sector, at least in Italy, sustainability in itself does not justify a higher positioning, but it can positively influence spending behaviour and it certainly has a positive effect on the reputation of the brand and of the retailers involved».
A sustainable organization
«It was Covid -says Mattia Prestifilippo, Market Manager at Brabantia Italia - that turned people’s attention to organising and tidying different areas of the home, beginning with the kitchen sink for which we have created an exclusive line. The same focus is given to food storage, there was a real boom in sales of our jars. Other popular trends nowadays include drying clothes naturally, thus saving energy. We satisfy this demand by offering laundry baskets and clothes racks. As far as the latter product is concerned, we have two types and both boast a linear style. Speaking of style, what makes Brabantia products stand out? «The style is Scandinavian and minimalist - answers Prestifilippo without missing a beat-. Our motto is attractive, practical and sustainable. In other words, no unnecessary frills.» Brabantia has the same minimalist philosophy regarding the choice of colour: «In fact, we mainly use black and white, but not because we don’t want to use more expressive colours. For example, for the kitchen there are lines of different colours and waste bins in platinum, red and yellow, but the figures show that almost 50% of sales are made up of dark grey, a colour which is very similar to black. White sells well too, but other colours less so» . Sustainability is an integral part of Brabantia’s DNA. «We have always used recyclable materials, even though years ago consumers were not really interested in this issue which, in fact we didn’t even communicate it. It’s very different today, people are increasingly sensitive to green issues and we have devoted subpages on our website to the issue where we explain our approach to the topic. But facts and projects count more than words, so I can tell you now that as from 2035 Brabantia will be 100% sustainable! »
When tidying up becomes easy
«Interest in products for reorganising wardrobes and protecting clothes - explains Carlo Zerbi, Country Manager at CIE IT- Compactor- could be seen before the pandemic and it increased when Covid forced us to live in isolation for a long time at home.» People took advantage of that time to reorganise their living space, including the wardrobe. The decluttering trend was also popularised by the writer and influencer Marie Kondo- and her books on home economics». Specialised in products for reorganising the wardobe (boxes, lidded and open containers that can be used in drawers or on shelves, space-saving bags, storage for clothes, blankets, bedlinen... ) CIE Italia saw a boom in sales of these products during the pandemic thanks to online shopping. Characterised by a minimalist design, the same which, according to Zerbi, is currently dominating various areas of the domestic environment, the products are devoid of pattern and decoration and come in muted colours. Like most companies in the sector, CIE Italia-Contractor is also committed to eco-sustainability issues: In fact, Zerbi explains: «We have a product line made of rPET, this material is obtained from recycled plastic, it is a way to satisfy consumer needs, as for packaging we have replaced plastic with paper which is far more sustainable. These green changes will be applied in stores where the product range will be so vast as to appeal to even the most ecology-sensitive consumers. Considering consumers’ keen interest in these issues it is our job to give detailed information regarding the importance of certain decisions. We do this through specific pages on our website, with our packaging and advertising campaigns about low-environmental impact products with a low impact on the environment».
The positive trend of these products is due to the following:
• More time spent at home has led people to take care of various parts of the house and create tidier areas
• Increasingly smaller houses
• Success of influencer authors such as Marie Kondo- the creator of the KonMari method, a system designed to reorganise spaces more efficiently as a way to improve one’s quality of life.
The minimalist style dominates these collections of products. The choice of colours follows the same logic: neutrals dominate, plain colours, mainly white, black and dark grey. The range of neutral colours is very broad and includes different shades: greys with a hint of blue or beige, or muted greens such as sage, bay, olive and moss.
• Consumers are increasingly knowledgable and aware, this has made companies deal with the issue of sustainability and come up with eco-product lines and communication campaigns.