Messy chest drawers lead to both stress and frustration for many people. So how can we create order and make things easier to find in a drawer? And how can the inside look just as good as the outside of the chest of drawers? Product Developer Karolina Ringefelt found both the problem and the solution in all homes that she's visited over the years.
'Show me your chest drawer and I can tell you who you are'. Well, maybe a drawer with just socks and underwear doesn’t tell you a lot about someone. But the fact that there are great differences in how people structure drawer contents is something Karolina Ringefelt can easily acknowledge. She's seen a lot of chest drawers when visiting the homes of customers all over the world. Both in her previous job as an interior designer and in her current role where she develops new products for IKEA.
"It's exciting, regardless of where or how people live, as most have exactly the same things in their drawers,” says Karolina. "It’s underwear, socks, t-shirts, and shirts. But how people fold – or don't fold – their clothes varies and often depends on tradition and their surroundings".
Karolina has seen many smart solutions and systems for keeping things in order in chest drawers. In some homes, people sort based on colour, in other homes based on material or style.
In the American city Philadelphia she visited a college guy who just bought white sport socks."By doing this, he could always fish up a pair of matching socks even though they were all jumbled up in the chest drawer".
But Karolina also understood how frustrating it is for many people when they don't manage to keep things in order – when the drawer's inside just feels chaotic since everything is just lying untidy in a mess. And morning routines take too long when people need to look for matching socks (unless they've gone with the 'only white sports socks' strategy).
These insights triggered the product developer in her: how could IKEA help people to organise their drawers in a better way?
Almost immediately Karolina and her colleagues knew that they wanted to develop something that divides and separates the space in the drawer so that each item can have its dedicated place.
"In Asia I've seen many examples of how people divide a chest drawer into smaller sections using boxes and compartments. But they're often made of hard plastic and are not very flexible, which means they can't make use of the entire space".
The work culminated in RAGGISAR – soft boxes, adjustable dividers, and various compartments that can be stacked on top of each other. All in the same pressed felt material that gives a nice textile feel which is also ideal for storing clothes.
"The flexibility is important so that people can combine them how they like and create their own optimised drawers", explains Karolina.
The result was just what Karolina and her team had hoped for. So does this mean that she will stop peeking into people's drawers and wardrobes? "No, no, that project is something I’ll never finish. People's lifestyles and storage needs change all the time. We want to keep up and always be able to contribute to making everyday life a little easier and more organised".