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Sustainability at Organized Living

Organized Living has been providing high-quality products for the home for more than 100 years. We plan on organizing homes and improving life for another 100. To expand on our legacy, sustainability is at the forefront of everything we do. Through leveraging technology and innovation, we help improve climate protection in the building industry.

Our sustainability philosophy stems from our core values: Do the Right Thing; Act with Passion; Build Winning Partnerships; Think Long Term; and Learn, Grow, Change, Excel.

Holding to Our Values

In holding ourselves to our core values, we continually consider our environmental responsibility and ask our suppliers and partners to do the same. We ask our customers to consider our sustainability efforts when they are choosing a storage and organization shelving provider.

Sustainability efforts come from people, and our values attract thoughtful people who find they can make a difference in our ecological footprint. We are proud of our commitment to sustainability and welcome discussion and ideas to continue improving together.

We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Organized Living because of their genuine commitment to sustainability as well as their spectrum of high-quality, cost-effective, beautiful storage solutions.
Sara Gutterman
CEO | Green Builder Media

Do the Right Thing

Doing the right thing for our environment starts with building high-quality products; it is one of the greenest things we do. Quality products that last a lifetime reduce replacement by three to five times during the needed lifespan of the product. This dramatically reduces the impact on landfills, energy used in manufacturing replacements, and recycling. By doing the right thing when designing and manufacturing our products, we have significantly reduced the impact on our environment better than the competition.

Collage of three images of closet dealers
How We Act

Quality Materials

Organized Living uses only furniture-grade wood board with thermal fused laminate versus paper laminate which is susceptible to watermarks, scratching, and swelling. This quality ensures that our wood shelving and components will last a lifetime of daily use. They will not need to be scrapped, recycled, or replaced during the product's expected life.

Steel Usage

When it comes to our steel products, we use the right amount, not as little as we can get away with. We use the thickest gauges of steel in our industry. You would think it would be greener to use less steel; however, that dramatically reduces the product's lifespan. We know using the right amount of steel in our Wire Shelving, brackets, braces, and hardware will make our products more robust so they last longer, won't fail under load, and not need to be replaced.


We choose to coat our steel shelving and hardware with a proprietary epoxy powder hybrid coating. This enables us to coat and cure our products with zero waste and zero release of harmful VOCs. The baked-on finish is hard and smooth, providing a lifetime of use that won't get sticky or yellow over time. Although epoxy powder coating is more expensive, the alternative coating is vinyl which is lower in cost but releases Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) when manufactured. Vinyl continues to off-gas in the home and breaks down over time. When it comes to wire coating, there is no greener, healthier choice than our epoxy powder coating.

Hardware Systems

Shelving must stay on the wall; using the correct hardware is imperative. All our hardware systems are designed not to require any extra blocking. We are the only storage and organization manufacturer that uses a true hollow wall anchor when attaching to drywall. The proprietary anchors' rosette behind the wall so they won't wedge out over time through repeated use and loading. Because of the hardware's strength, installers can use less hardware to achieve a strong install. We do it right when it comes to our hardware systems, creating a more efficient installation and Shelving that won't fail and need to be scrapped and replaced.


Act With Passion

Our passion means we focus on the big picture as well as the details when it comes to sustainability. We improve the little things that add up to make a big difference. We do more than recycle 100% of every raw material we can. We first look to reduce, then reuse, and then recycle. It's understood that recycling requires a substantial amount of energy compared to reusing the same component, so we take any chance possible to extend the lifecycle of material. We can make a real difference by reducing production days and water consumption, repurposing packaging, and reusing energy.

How We Act


To securely ship our finished goods, we use pallets, separators, and fillers. We repurpose packing materials from vendor shipments rather than constantly sourcing new materials. We utilize every piece of scrap material possible in our production and ask customers to partner with us and tolerate that our packaging is not always consistent. In looking for multiple uses of material, our packing could be on its fourth lifecycle by the time it arrives at the jobsite. 

Water Usage

In our manufacturing process, we need cold water to circulate and cool our welding equipment and hot water to clean our Wire Shelving. Rather than separately heating and cooling these closed-water circuits, we invested in an integrated heat exchange system. Today the heat exchange system takes the heat energy produced after cooling the welding equipment and yields hot water to clean the Wire Shelving. Utilizing the energy already in existence is greener and a system well worth the expense.

Energy Reduction

In our manufacturing division, we moved from five eight-hour days to four 10-hour days. Our manufacturing team now drives to work one less day a week (a 20% reduction). One less production day significantly reduces the energy consumption used to heat our equipment. This initiative is a win, win. We substantially reduce our carbon footprint and energy use, and our people are happier to have a day off and enjoy the great outdoors!

Test workers

Build Winning Partnerships

As a major consumer of raw material goods, we do not see it as enough to just look at our processes. We see it as our duty to go beyond and work with and challenge our suppliers to be greener where they can. The winning partnerships we have built over the years with our suppliers and customers are one of the most significant assets in our efforts to be sustainable. Many go back 30, 40, and more than 50 years. We visit and learn from them and encourage them to learn from us. By asking the right questions, we have been able to make improvements in reducing the chemical and energy pollution of the raw materials we consume.

Build Award Winning Partnerships
How We Act

Water and Chemical Reduction

As part of our water and chemical usage reduction efforts, we analyzed and found chemicals accumulating in our cleaning tanks. Through our partnership with our steel suppliers, we could trace the compound back to a coating they applied to protect the raw steel before processing. By working together, we developed and implemented an inventory flow system that ensures the steel we buy is processed before it would need the chemical protectant. Not only can we drastically reduce and, in most cases, virtually eliminate the use of this chemical, but we can also reduce our water, cleaning chemicals, and energy usage needed to clean the steel before epoxy coating.

Process Changes

When visiting our steel rod suppliers, we observed them treating the large steel coils with heavy-duty acids and other chemicals to remove the carbon oxidation from the steel rod coils. We saw an opportunity for improvement. We were able to add the ability to mechanically remove the hard carbon oxidation as part of our manufacturing process. By taking on this responsibility, we made it unnecessary for our supplier to treat the steel chemically. We provide the same high-quality product and reduce harmful chemicals and water usage by our supplier in our production pipeline.

A Greater Impact

When it was time to upgrade our plant air compressor system, we partnered with the equipment supplier and their systems engineers to create a complete solution. We wanted the most efficient air compressor and challenged ourselves to see other ways the system could be greener. The result was not only the development of a much more efficient compressed air system, but we were also able to re-apply the heat energy from the air compressors and use it to heat our building. The new air compressor system allows us to shut down the natural gas heaters we employ in the winter and use the heat off of air compressors to heat the woodworking department, reducing our energy consumption and carbon footprint. The engineering group that developed this system with us then used this solution in other factories. By building winning partnerships and challenging our suppliers to do more, we have made an impact greater than our own production.


Think Long Term

Thinking long-term comes naturally to us. As a privately held company operating for over a century, we instinctively make longer-term investments in upgrading equipment, running a clean factory, or investing in our packaging production. When making recommendations, our people know they can look for and make suggestions that monetarily take a long time to pay off but are the greener and more efficient choice.

How We Act

Upgraded Equipment

Investing in the highest quality, most efficient equipment substantially impacts our environment. During production, we use pumps, motors, presses, and other manufacturing equipment and make sure we purchase the most efficient, longest-lasting equipment available. When we commission machines, we require they be spec'd with the most energy-efficient and durable components. Financially, the energy savings may take a decade to recoup the extra cost of a greener machine, but we do it anyway because, day to day, we care about the environment. We know equipment with a longer life cycle is the best choice, and we only replace equipment when it's past its functional lifecycle. A shining beacon of this value of buying quality is a forklift we acquired in 1968 that is still running in our facility. The forklift has been appropriately maintained, and its battery has been replaced. It stands as a perfect example of our purchasing ethos. By reducing the demand for new equipment, we make a broad impact.

Clean Factory

We take pride in operating a clean manufacturing and distribution facility. Not only does this benefit our employees' health, but it also highlights sustainability opportunities. The strides we have taken to eliminate scrap and waste are achievable because, in our factory, clutter sticks out. Our efficiencies in equipment use are possible because the equipment is kept in pristine condition. We signal to everyone that works at Organized Living that details matter. Having a work environment that is cared for has a positive ripple.

Corrugate Reduction

We have a dedicated work cell that produces corrugated boxes. In the past, we purchased and inventoried boxes to package our products and ship orders. However, we were limited to standard sizes, which caused inefficiencies. When we updated our product line, some of our inventory of boxes would become obsolete. Waste is the antithesis of our culture. We decided to invest in our corrugated box manufacturing cell. We make our boxes in-house to fit the exact dimensions needed. We increase freight density by producing packaging customized to our product and job boxes that fit the order. As a result, this dramatically lowers the freight and fuel needed to ship our products.

Think Long Term

Learn, Grow, Change, Excel

Learn, grow, change, excel, is the guiding path for improvement at Organized Living. We must learn to identify growth areas and enact change to excel. This core value guides our personal development, sales, and sustainability efforts. We continuously strive for sustainability improvement by running specific improvement programs, including but not limited to Distribution Center flow and scrap optimization. By recognizing that we must constantly learn, grow, and change, to excel, we also acknowledge that our sustainability programs of the past are not our programs of today or the programs that we will develop in the future.

How We Act

Energy Usage Optimization

Every minute of energy usage in our 680,000 sq ft manufacturing and Distribution Center is an opportunity to be more efficient. We have a fully automated energy management system to determine when machinery and lighting are on. This ensures the ovens, boilers, heating, manufacturing equipment, and lighting is turned on only at the exact minute needed and turned off when not. This safeguards against human error and the waste of energy. These changes continue to save thousands of BTUs of natural gas and kilowatts of electricity.

Distribution Center Flow Optimization

Our Distribution Center analyzes traffic flow during order fulfillment every year. They re-layout the department to bring higher volume units to the forefront. This optimizes the flow and increases efficiency in picking orders. Another initiative in which we excel through learning, growing, and changing is backorder reduction. Backorders require additional handling, packaging, and freight. They cause extra waste and pollution. With the goal of prevention, several major department heads performed a post-mortem and root cause analysis on every backorder this year. They then found and implemented improvements to reduce backorders. In 2022 we were able to diminish backorders to 0.29% of sales, resulting in several months with zero backorders. This is a considerable achievement when you ship thousands of products in hundreds of orders while staying 99% on time and completing in 4 days.

Scrap Optimization

As part of our ongoing manufacturing programs, we routinely re-run scrap analysis on our product lines' wood and steel components. We see the need to consistently evaluate this data as sales trends and product lines evolve. We then reconfigure and change the manufacturing process as needed. It is not good enough that we reuse scrap material whenever possible. We want to reduce its existence in the first place. Sometimes the gains we see on scrap are small, but the consistency by which we make them keep our finished goods yield one of the best in the industry. By constantly learning through new data, we can grow and make the changes that allow us to excel.