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Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

Posted by lynninnewmexico (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 7, 14 at 13:40

January is always the month we seem to get the bug to reorganize things in our homes. Probably because packing away all the Christmas decs/clutter inspires us. I know it does me. As much as I seriously love to organize and am pretty darn good at it, what I love even more is discovering new and better ways to organize.

Soooooo, what are your favorite organizing ideas? For your kitchen, your holiday decs, your closets, your pantry, your laundry room, your purse . . . whatever. Share them here and maybe we can all pick up a few new ideas. And, yes, I realize that there is an Organizing Forum here on GW, but this is where we hang out and we know each other here.

If you could list them each separately, it would make them easier for everyone to read through and come back to find their favorites.
Lynn

Here's just a few
*Patty Cakes mentioned this one yesterday on the linen closet forum: Instead of trying to fold comforters for storage, roll them and then tie them with pretty ribbon. They take up less space this way . . . and for me personally, they allow my cabinet doors to close all the way finally!

* I have a freezer, fridge and shelves for extra food, cleaning and laundry supplies in our attached garage. To keep me from forgetting that I have an extra of something stored already in one of these places, I put a colored sticker dot on the one already in use (milk, peanut butter, dish and laundry detergent, cans of whatever, etc.). as I unpack my groceries and put things away. Now, when something is about used up, we all know whether there's another in the garage or pantry or whether we need to put it on the shopping list. I came up with this solution after ending up with 3 large bottles of balsamic vinegar once. I still have two of them in waiting!

* I've created my own shopping lists for groceries, Trader Joes and Costco on my computer and keep a print out of each, along with a pencil, in a designated spot in our kitchen. This way, my DH, DD and I can list or check off things as we run out of something. All of the lists are designed to flow in the order that I shop through each store., which helps me get done a lot quicker.

* Fold each set of sheets and store them in one of their pillow cases. Keeps them neat, together and easy to identify.

* I buy small notepads, mechanical pencils and small (but not grade schooler) scissors when they go on sale right before the new school year starts and are only $.50 - $1.00 each. I put one of each in drawers and cabs all over the house to use as needed. Having a small pair of scissors right there where I fold clothes, sort laundry or whatever comes in so handy to quickly trim threads, cut off tags on newly purchased clothing, etc., I use the notepads to write myself quick reminders, leave notes for my family or whatever .

* I used small, clear Command hooks on the inside of a cabinet door in our bathroom to hold my necklaces tangle-free and easy to see.  photo newnecklacestorage_zpsb3fae60b.jpg

* I've hung my rubber potholders and microwave pan covers inside the cabinet doors next to my stove and wall ovens, right there when I need them fast.

* I've also used larger Command hooks to hold my 2 favorite chopping boards on the inside of the cabinet door there where I usually prep all my food.

* to keep my dish towel handy, but not hanging wet over my kitchen cabinet doors, I bought a new pottery piece at my local nursery and use it to hold my towel. It dries pretty quickly this way, too. This could work with any number of pottery pieces that work with your own kitchen décor.
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I keep clear, inexpensive plastic shoe boxes in my broom closet to hold tape, extension cords, fire starters to use in our fireplaces, various glues, dog treats, etc. I love that everything is clearly labeled with matching labels, separated, neatly organized and easily accessible .
Well, that's just a start of mine. How about you? What organizing tips can you share with us??
Lynn

This post was edited by lynninnewmexico on Tue, Jan 7, 14 at 22:30


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

Another one:
* I 've made a Christmas ring binder with LOTS of section dividers to keep me organized ~ and sane~during the holiday season. I could also have done this on my laptop, but for me, having a book in my hands that I can pull out and read through just works better for me.
I have a section for each family member I buy gifts for, where I list ideas and then actual gifts I've ordered or bought. I have a section that holds my Christmas card list. One for my letters. A section for Christmas meals I've served from one year to the next. We host a big Christmas Day affair here every year that includes lots of appetizers, desserts and a special dinner. I keep notes on what I served, what went over well, what I don't want to repeat and ideas for the next year.
I have a section to list gifts we receive and then I'm able to check them off as I write my thank you cards. Another section helps me keep track of what I buy everyone (family and friends) from year to year. It keeps me from repeating myself and often inspires me with ideas in future years. Another has a list I keep of any new decs I've purchased, so I don't forget and buy another of the same during the coming year. I don't buy many new things these days, though, as I already have too many (LOL). Another list is what I do and don't need to buy before the next Christmas Season. Things such as I need more red ribbon and bows but have plenty of green ones still. Or that I need more white tissue paper but still have a good supply of colored. My favorite section, though, holds my yearly Post-Christmas letters to myself. I write one every year sometime in the week after Christmas. In it I talk about what we did, major things that happened during the past year, what we did during the holidays. What I'd like to do differently next holiday season. Lots of reminders, etc. They help me a lot and are also fun to read through them years later. It's my own Christmas Season diary, I guess.
Lynn


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

--when closets, drawers, and other areas get too full -- take everything out, clean, discard old/unwanted stuff, and put back in. Voila! magically more space.

--tables covered with nice textiles can hide lots of boxes and crap underneath

--Clear out your plastic containers and lids in the kitchen and keep only two sizes -- big and small.

--I have two baskets on the top of my fridge; one has my clean kitchen towels, and one has the aforementioned plastic containers


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

I 've made a Christmas ring binder with LOTS of section dividers to keep me organized

We have a binder like this with all the instruction manuals, receipts and warranties for our appliances, etc.

I now have two small bins in the laundry room - one for clean rags and one for dirty rags.

All our ski clothes remain sorted and in one suitcase.

All our travel items are stored together in one box on the shelf in the closet -- this includes pre-packed cosmetics bags (I can leave town on a moment's notice and not be concerned about forgetting something - I replace anything I use up immediately upon my return), the tote I use on the plane, money belt and passport holders, noise-cancelling headphones, inflatable pillows, various Eagle Creek cases, etc.


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

I mentioned this one on another thread so I hope nobody minds a repeat. We keep our wrapping supplies sorted by color with the paper stored on end in a large square bin inside a closet. I discovered Neat Roll, which is a flexible band that goes around any size roll to keep it from coming unrolled. It is easy to apply and remove and won't crease even the thinnest paper. They have their own web site as linked below.

Our ribbon gets sorted by color into open topped plastic stacking bins that seem to have been discontinued so I can't show you what they look like.

Here is a link that might be useful: Neat Roll


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

Throw it out!

Seriously, we spend a lot of time organizing things we don't use, but might! and life is so much easier/more fun/better when we pare down.

From someone who has a ton of "stuff".


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

hey, that neat roll is pretty neat. I'll have to look for it at BB&B, because we use a lot of rolled maps and stuff at work


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

Obviously a thread I will be reading, but NOT contributing!!!

Sorry to clutter your organizing thread! Lynninnewmexico, I am amazed!!

Nancy


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I recently discovered another way to keep rolled paper neat. It's not as cute as Fun2's but it's cheap. Get some empty cardboard paper towel rolls and cut one side lengthwise. Then slip them on the wrapping paper roll like a bracelet. It works pretty well.


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

I put pegboard on the sides of my utility closet and LOVE it! Between that and the new shelves, I can fit a -ton- of stuff in there now.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

I filed my fabrics~
This isn't mine because this is way prettier.
I attached the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.thinkingcloset.com/2013/06/06/filing-fabric-a-fabric-organization-round-up/


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

What great ideas! I'm definitely going to be doing the sticker one and the peg board when i redo my hall cubby.

I put some peg board instde the door in my (tiny) pantry cupboard and hung a couple wire baskets on it. One holds those packets of ketchup, soy sauce, etc you get when you get take out. Another holds seasoning packets, and a third holds the manual can opener-since that is also the cabinet that holds canned goods.

I hung measuring cups and spoons by command hooks inside the cabinet door that holds my mixing bowls & bake ware.

I have all my gift wrapping supplies sorted into plastic bins by type-bags, bag filler and tissue, bows, and ribbon. In the ribbon bin I also store tape and scissors. I also do that with the Christmas paper storage (I have two different paper storage containers dedicated just to Christmas things). I also use my label maker to label every bin-I can see at a glance what is in there.

I try to use as much furniture with a purpose as I can-drawers and shelves are my friend. Baskets can be fit into many places and hold many things in a convenient manner.. I also repurposed a trunk into our pellet stove command center-all kinds of supplies-including a scissors attached to a cord for cutting open bags, and a large plastic bin to hold pellets.

I mainly try to keep things in the places that are most likely that they'll be used. Our medications are kept in a pretty basket on the coffee table in the family room. We sit in there and have our coffee in the morning, and in the evening when we have a beverage while watching TV-so they're convenient.

I keep a book of stamps in with my greeting cards and another in a box of envelopes. Also stick our address labels in with them.

Living with a man who has ADD has caused me to be SUPER organized! But I'm always on the look out for new ideas. Thanks for starting this thread Lynn.


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I use a standing papertowel holder in my sewing/craft/computer room to store rolls of painters tape,duct and packing tape etc to have in easy reach when i need them.I do a lot of mailing to grand and great grand kids,as well as family on the east coast.

In keeping with the mailing theme,i also save those grey plastic bags that my prescriptions come in by mail,turn them inside out and use to mail small pkgs..

I also buy blank 3x5 cards at the dollar stores to use for labels on pkgs.
Did i say i do alot of mailings???

I cut down and painted a roll that carpet had come on,glued it to one of those wood boards that you get at michaels to paint on etc,and i use it to store my yardsticks in in the sewing room.

Hung my quilting rulers inside the cabinets in my sewing room and then traced around each one so i can see at a glance which one i need at any given time,or if one is missing'Frees up space on my work table.
Kathi


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

Every year right before thanksgiving I go to Tuesday morning and buy tons of Christmas gift bags and tissue and tags. That's when you have the best selction and they are already deeply discounted, so I don't care that they're not on sale per se. I haven't actually wrapped a package in five or six years! It's also very easy for DH to "wrap" and to get something ready in a hurry for an unexpected guest.

We take pictures of every room after it is decorated each year, so next year we can decide if we want to change anything.


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

I'm adopting at least 3 or 4 of these ideas! (paper towel holder for duct tape, etc., pegboard on door of pantry and wall of "extra" closet, permanent shopping list for grocery-list making). If I were a sewer or crafter, I'd adopt even more!


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

What great ideas! Now if I could only find a way to organize my brain.


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I LOVE that pegboard idea. I could use that in my utility closet.

I took advantage of the 4 inches behind a door in my laundry room to create some narrow shelving:
In Use photo IMG_0771.jpg


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I use a turntable to organize those misc and jars that used to hide in my refrigerator.


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

Great thread!

My contribution is something I read online recently. It's for organizing shoes -- hang them on a coat rack mounted to the wall near the floor. I thought this was a neat idea!

Here is a link that might be useful: coat rack for shoes


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I also have one of those plastic shelf units that you get at home depot and all the bb stores next to my washing machine in the garage.On it we store the soap powder and all kinds of cleaning stuff from the rags,extra cans of paint etc.I use the edge of the shelf to hang the trigger spray stuff,so that leaves more space for other things that have to sit.

Since we're big into gardening I'm always on the look out for things for those areas as well,or using stuff from the garden dept or other purposes.Like pots,i find some very pretty and cute ones in the 99 cent store,i buy them to store pens and pencils on my desk,for scissors and rotary cutters in my sewing area etc.I get pretty and functional at the same time for little money.

Mens shoeboxes with the attached lids make very sturdy boxes for storing lots of things.just cover with contact paper,wall paper,decoupage etc,and use where needed in any room.

Kathi


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

When I remodeled my kitchen, I got extra shelves in the upper cabinets, so I can fit in more glasses, cans, boxes, etc without stacking.

I also designated a cabinet for my purse and tote bag, which used to live on a dining room chair. This is one of my favorites!

I have over-the-door shoe organizers in my coat closet for hats and mittens, and in the bathrooms for all kinds of stuff.

As others have said, getting rid of things always gives more space!

I have a pretty extensive collection of CDs and DVDs, so I built 6"-deep shelves in a hallway:
Complete2 photo Picture006.jpg


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Ankh reminded me, we have baskets on the bottom of the coat closet for gloves, scarves and umbrellas.


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

Two come to mind. Get rid of closet sliding doors and put in regular ones if you have room to open doors out into the room. The amount of room added to the closet provides a lot of space for unique storage on the back of doors . And so much easier to get to the closet contents.

A second clothes basket in the bedroom. When trying on clothes for the day or heading out, a lot from last season's are far more worn than remembered and many not fitting. I throw them in the second basket for a send off.

Have my medicine in sight too, am terrible at taking them and those store bought organizers need a new design. I mark the tops with a sharpie as to time of day and a dose number. Keeps from having to go for the reading glasses.

Lynn, I also caught the solution for storing sheet sets in a matching pillow case somewhere. Have been going through my linens, nice look and clean solution to storing them. They also seem to take up half the room needed prior to this organization idea.

Pesky, Command hooks on back of door for measuring cups and spoons with the mixing bowls, etc. This has been a time saver for me in putting away and finding what is needed. One of the best ideas.

Ideas I am going to use:
A beautiful picnic basket with lid (not being used) to store my kitchen towels in on the lower shelf of the kitchen work bench. Opens up a drawer for other things needed.

Have a half dozen metal storage boxes with tops (once liners for metal cabinet drawers) and hadn't figured out a use for them. The idea of the basket made me realize I can put pot lids and plastic lids in these...right beside the basket and free up more cupboard space.

The hooks for shoes, what a creative idea. I have a bunch of antique ones (not the shoes). Could use them for the back of closet doors. Or a myriad of places...no mud room here. Perhaps all those antique door knobs I have can be used the same way.

Getting rid of those lids which I haven't a clue fit what. Definitely time and then begin using like sizes.

A question: I hate corner cabinets. Even with a turntable, most is lost to me. I tried using expansion shelves on top of the turntable, but they are too short for larger items and really don't fit well or like to fall off. Has anyone come up with a good inexpensive storage idea to take advantage of the space and make it easy to find things? My bottom one is delegated to small appliances which works well.

Reread this a couple of times so not to miss anything. Keep going....


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

When I married DH, I also married his organization system: binders. No files, no file cabinets. Everything is in binders, labeled on the outside. I love it. Last year I got him to color-code the labels, eg green for finances, red for DS1's college color, blue for DS2's school color, etc. Everything is visible, I don't have to thumb through files, nothing falls out, and it's easily carried around.

For smaller, temporary projects like "shopping for a new oven", I use pocket folders (left over from school).

In the kitchen, I have a binder with page protectors in it, whcih hold the instruction manuals for all the kitchen appliances, large and small. Also a binder for my menus, Christmas, and local repair/service.

I DO like using the file cabinet for filing things like fabric!


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I'd looked for a convenient way to organize jewelry and found this at Etsy. I love having easy access and being able go see everything at once.


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For dvds-movies, I remove the sleeve from the case and put the disc in a disc envelope. The plastic case is thrown out. They are all stacked file folder like in a basket in their identifying sleeve and take up very little room compared to storing in the plastic.


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For anyone planning to add pegboard in a closet, let me share what I learned. It didnt seem too hard, so I just decided to go for it and I learned some things the hard way.

-to get the space needed behind for the pegs, use pieces of firing strip. I thought I'd be smart and just put a whole piece down each side, then the reality of how not straight they were set in, and I later realized you will want to use some of those holes too. Cut a piece to go accross the top and bottom, and then 4 to 6 smaller, 4 in or so pieces to put along each side.

-plan on putting the factory edge along the back wall, where it will be seen. Nobody will see the edge you cut if it's along the front unless they step inside and look back.

-measure the depth of your closet on each side, and at several locations. If you have a small closet, like mine, and have only about an inch of wall space before the trim, measure to the edge of the trim instead of the wall. You will almost surely not be able to slip the firing strip and pegboard between the wall and trim all the way down unless you have about an inch and a half to work with. Plus the trigonometry of getting the pegboard in place with that little room for wiggle works against you. Don't ask how I know.

-try your best to attach the firing strip to the studs around the frame of your closet wall. That way, if a few of the screws you use to attach the pegboard don't make it in the studs, you will still have enough support.

-get the right circular saw blade. I used a regular wood blade for the firing strip, but changed for the pegboard. I think I might have used a plywood blade, whichever one was for smooth cuts on stuff that's not solid wood. Just read the little chart at the hardware store.

It's really not a hard project if you can use a circular saw and drill (and measuring tape!). My problem was I thought I'd just screw up firing strips all along the edges, cut the pegboard, slide it into place between the trim and wall (I had 1.25 in, should fit perfect!), and put in a bunch of screws to hold it up. Um, no. If I had planned for reality better, I could have been done in less than half the time.


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

Neat roll is a great idea, but they are really just slap bracelets. I checked Amazon, and you can buy 12 slap bracelets for $5.97 - free shipping if you have a Prime account.

Here is a link that might be useful: Slap bracelets on Amazon


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

Williamsem - thank you so much for the detailed instructions.


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

OMG, what fantastic ideas! There are so many here that I hadn't heard of and love.

Williamsem, thank you for taking the time to post those great instructions (& photos) !!! This is one of many) ideas I plan on using and, after reading your second post, now realize that I would have really screwed it up. I also love the idea of the small plastic trash can in the bottom of that closet to hold your vacuum's extension wands, etc.

Terriks: I thought the same thing when I saw the Neat Roll! Found them on Amazon, too. But either way, what a great idea. I've been using rubber bands and can attest to the tears they cause with wrapping paper.

Bumblebeez: you inspired me. I spent part of yesterday cleaning out my desk and greeting card stash, keeping your advice right there in front of me. Threw a lot of stuff away. Thanks!

So many more wonderful ideas listed above! Thanks everyone for listing each one separately. It's really helping as I/We scroll back and forth rereading all of them. Keep them coming!
Lynn


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Glad to share!

That is not a garbage can with the accessories, it's actually built into the back of the shop vac. It's a little one I got at HD, somewhere in the 4-5 gallon range. It was only $80, but it's been great! Sawdust and drywall dust isn't good for regular vacuums, so I got this. I've had it about 3 months, and both my parents have already purchased one for their homes.


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I agree this is great. It reminds me of a "best ever travel related tips" thread on Fodor's (that's where I got the idea to keep a duplicate bag of all my cosmetics, always ready to leave home).

We're still in construction - about 90% done, but we kicked the contractors out for the holidays, hope they'll be back in about 2 weeks when our counters are due to be installed and our cabinet handles will arrive. Since I'm not the slightest bit handy, and electric tools scare me to death, I'll be sharing some of these ideas with the contractor, who will execute them for me! (Anything he doesn't do DH can do later. I'm good at designing and organizing, but not "making").

Added to my list - storing linens in sets in the pillowcases, and command hooks for measuring cups and spoons.


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Thanks for that clarification, Williamsem.

Here's something that my DH came up with as we were having our kitchen gutted and redone a while back. To keep our new, deep, corner sink cabinet organized and easier to clean and access things stored under there, we had our electrician put in a light. This is just a simple one originally made for attaching under upper cabs to light the counters below. Anyhoo, we had him mount it in the cabinet along one side wall. Now, when turned on, it lights up the entire cabinet wonderfully! I've also added 4 clear plastic bins in there to hold all my stuff (dish soaps, cleaning stuff, rubber gloves, etc.).
They are easy to slide around to access things in one or another. They also keep the cab much cleaner, as things don't tip over and spill now. And, I love how organized it stays.
Lynn
Light Added  In Corner Sink Cab photo UnderSinkCabsLight.jpg


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Just remembered 2 more:

* I keep a Guest Basket filled with small items that my overnight guests might need: small samples of soaps, travel-size toothpaste, shampoos, a few toothbrushes, sunscreens, Chapstick, disposable razors, local postcards and stamps, a hairdryer, etc. I keep the basket up on a shelf in our guest room closet until I need it. I used to keep these kinds of things here and there around the house, but
it's nice to have them all in one place and easy to quickly access.

*Like SJhockeyfan, I also keep my toiletry travel bag, stocked with everything I need and ready to go. I keep it stored in one of three clear plastic boxes, stacked on our MBR closet shelf, along with other travel things we might possibly want to take: extra luggage locks and tags, a travel clock, an Ipod and 2 sets of headphones preloaded with travel music for a flight , travel size packages of tissue and sanitizing wipes, travel pillows, a travel hairdryer, booklights, travel slipper socks, Ziploc, bags for packing, flannel shoe bags, a small container of detergent and a dryer sheet, Tylenol, Tums, etc. I also keep my small travel notebook in there with lists of things I generally like to take along to specific destinations (DD's college, our Summer vacation to cottages on a lake in Michigan, a business trip to Florida or Dallas, etc.). Different things for each and my notebook helps me to remember what I need and don't need quickly. Having everything there in one place when I'm ready to pack saves me so much time . . . and stress! And keeping myself as stress-free as possible before a trip is a huge thing.
Lynn


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Not organizing stuff, per se, but I keep a recipe box with index cards where I list the menu from when I entertain...who, how it came out, where to find the recipes, etc. This way, I can get ideas for the next event, repeat successful dinners with different guests, avoid repeating mistakes, save myself a lot of time trying to figure out what to serve, or avoid being like my aunt who only ever served ham for company dinner.


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I generally like to take along to specific destinations (DD's college, our Summer vacation to cottages on a lake in Michigan, a business trip to Florida or Dallas, etc.). Different things for each and my notebook helps me to remember what I need and don't need quickly

That reminds me of another -- I keep permanent "complete" and "sub" packing lists in Evernote on my computer. When we're leaving on a trip, I print one for each person and then cross things off as they're actually put into the suitcase. We travel a fair amount, so this just makes going easier.

OT - Lynn, how did the Frontgate bed work out for your son?


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SJhockeyfan: the Frontgate aero bed is wonderful! We are so pleased with it. After it arrived I found that it, thankfully, did not need those special, expensive (scratchy, wrinkle-prone) sheets they sell for it. My regular queens fit perfectly. I bought a good quality, very puffy mattress pad and a great king-size blanket to use as a blanket/bedspread on it. Sadly though, DS could not get the time off to come for Christmas after all, although he was able to spend it with his girlfriend and other friends there in Tucson. We're hoping that they can make it home here for Easter and try it out then. They're just happy they'll finally be able sleep together in one bed instead of the old trundle!
I never did manage to talk DD into trying it out so she could give us her opinion on how it sleeps. She's still spooked by our former Indian ghost that used to haunt that room (LOL). There is no way she'll stay in there overnight!
Lynn

This post was edited by lynninnewmexico on Mon, Jan 13, 14 at 11:06


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Annie D, as I have aged and so have those friends who belong to same the social clubs, game clubs, book, study clubs and other organizations, I keep the recipes on foldable (easel type) cards with picture of the prepared food dish which opens to show ingredients. As there are so many with hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, gluten issues, legume and nut allergies, I think it is wise to allow them to know what the food contains before indulging. I do love the occasions when we meet at commercial clubs or restaurants. ;-)


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Call me old fashioned but I have several old wooden file boxes for index cards that I bought from my library when we converted from traditional card files to an online catalog. They can still be found on eBay in different sizes and at many different price points.

The one in my desk functions as my address book and when someone moves or changes phone numbers it's a snap to jot down the new information on a 3x5 and toss the old one away.

My recipes are in a larger box that holds about 500 5x8 cards. It's simple to remove the card while you're preparing the meal and you can easily note the changes you make to the recipe on the card.

I'm in the process of updating my "Home" 3 ring binder. I tease my family that it has everything they need to know in the event that I'm abducted by Martians. It has categories for Emergency contacts, lists of insurance policies, bank and investment accounts, online accounts and log in information. There's a section detailing where documents are located - passports, owner's manuals, deeds, titles, credit cards, our will and other legal documents, extra keys etc.

We keep it in our safe and our adult children know the combination. I hope they never have to use it, but I know how helpful that information is.

To keep wrapping paper from unraveling I use velcro. I bought a package at the fabric store and I cut it into shorter pieces and wrap them around the rolls.

When putting extension cords away I use twist ties to keep them folded.

When we purchase a new appliance I photocopy the sales receipt and staple it in the owner's manual and record the model and serial number.

This isn't necessarily 'organization' but is sure is a handy tip. When we built our vacation home I took photos of all the walls before insulation and drywall were installed to show where the plumbing and electrical wires ran. I also photographed the outside to show the location of the utilities (gas line, telephone line, cable, electric, irrigation etc.)

We put on a large, 2 story addition to our current home and did the same. There have been several instances over the years when we've hired contractors to do work and they've been pleasantly surprised when I was able to show them where the utilities were.

Here is a link that might be useful: file box


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Instead of buying that"neat",when you're at the grocery store,pick up a box of press and seal,in the wax paper/foil section.Cut strips to put around you're wrapping paper.I also use strips of it around my spools of thread,here it serves 2purposes,keeps it from unrolling,plus keeps it clean.

I do a lot of sewing,so you can always find rolls of freezer paper,wax paper,press& seal,zip loc bags of all sizes.I use a lot of the zip locs for cross stitch stuff as well.

I also use fishing tackle boxes to store all my DMC floss,that i use for cross stitch. I have a full set plus of the floss,that's over 400 skeins.
Kathi


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

I bought a remnant of vinyl flooring and cut it to line the cabinets underneath my kitchen and bathroom sinks. So much easier to wipe up spills. But I am also going to add the plastic bins mentioned above.

I also hang my jewelry up near my dresser. I bought a couple of cheap little boards (Ikea) that have little ball type knobs on them and hang all my necklaces from them. They look really cute on the wall and I can find something to match an outfit at a glance. I also replaced a broken mirror that was in a pretty hand painted frame with wire mesh to hang earrings from. Looks like a little jewelry boutique in the corner.
My desk at school holds a plastic tool box from Home Depot with lots of little drawers. I prettied up the see- through drawer fronts with scrapbook paper and labels and now have drawers for pencils, staples, safety pins, coke machine change, etc. Like others have said though, what I really need to do is to get rid of a lot of "stuff".


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

not my idea, but like it!


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RE: Let's Hear Your Best Organizing Solutions!

I LOVE all of your innovative ideas here and know that we're all getting some great new ways to organize our lives with them! Please keep them coming.

Does anyone have some good ideas for organizing and keeping mail clutter down? My kitchen counter seems to have a constant pile of stuff I need to go through and deal with: catalogs, magazines, bills, flyers, etc. I recycle all the paper (and everything else) that I can, but I think they breed overnight.
Lynn


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Lynn, the best way to keep 'mail clutter' down is not to let it accumulate. When you bring it in, go thru it immediately. Put bills in a small desk organizer. I open the mail at the kitchen counter so keep the organizer there. Put junk in the recyclables, and coupons in a small purse in the glove compartment. If you mail out your bills, also keep your stamps in the glove compartment so you always know where they're at. If you receive any checks/credits for anything, immediately put those in your wallet to deposit immediately. I find keeping on top of it definitely keeps my clutter down and once you start, it becomes a habit. I never have junk mail lying around.


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pattycakes is right about keeping on top of the mail (what "real" mail is there anymore anyway?). I've threatened my family with fines for the first one who leaves a pile of junk on my new kitchen counters!


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Lynn, I used Catalog Choice to cut down on the number of catalogs I receive and I pay most bills online so that I receive very few items in the mail. I walk past the outdoor recycling bin on the way in from the mailbox and deposit any unwanted mail there so that it never makes it into my house. Everything else goes on my home office desk to be handled and filed. I do have a small built-in desk in the kitchen, but I use it mostly as a place to stage coffee and dessert for dinner parties as I don't have a butler's pantry. There have been times in the past when the kitchen island and desk became clutter magnets, so I've made new habits to keep that from recurring.

My home office, on the other hand, always has stacks of stuff needing to dealt with because I use it to hold all the temporary homeless items, like packages to be mailed, after-Christmas bargains that need to be put away, clothing that needs to be repaired or donated, the carpet cleaner, etc., etc. etc. Other people have a drawer for miscellaneous items; I have a whole room.


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I am hoping to tame the paper monster (mail plus kids). Magazines, catalogs etc immediately go to recycling or a basket where they are stored (and go through periodically). I am getting a wall pocket for my office and putting file folders in it. When the new grocery sales ad comes in, it goes in the folder and the old one tossed. Junk mail is tossed immediately (a trash can by the garage door, it never makes it inside). Bills to pay are all in their own folder. And a folder for papers that I need to sign/look at for school. If it needs to be filed, I put it in the filing stack and get to that on a designate day if i cannot do it right away.


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Love all these organizing hints! Some I have used myself already, especially the travel hints, and I have a few hints for travel of my own. But I especially love the press and seal plastic wrap hint for wrapping paper. And I too took photos of the electrical and plumbing before the drywall went in when we built! And the lines for the sprinkler system too.

For junk mail, I too go thru the mail daily and toss immediately anything that I don't need. Catalogs go into the recycle bin and junk mail in the trash or shredder. Other things I need to keep get filed (or in the stack to file if I can't do it that minute). I too have a desk in the kitchen area and I try to keep it clutter-free, but it also contains the charging station, pencil holder, and is my landing station for my bag usually, so it's not always immaculate.

I corral a lot of loose items, like batteries and light bulbs, in clear or translucent bins in the utility room cabinets. DH seems to collect these things and never puts them in one place.

When I traveled very frequently (3-4 times/month), I also kept a spare pair of clean PJs and even some undies, socks and a plain white t-shirt in my carry-on. I have forgotten things on occasion, so it helped to have spares in case a checked bag was delayed. I always hoarded samples of products I used and kept them in my travel bags in case I forgot something or ran short. I always kept my alarm clock and the rest of the essentials packed and ready to go in the bag so all I really needed to pack was my clothes and shoes. We keep our ski boot bags full of things like our ski gloves, gaiters, socks, etc too so we don't have to look for them when it's time to pack the ski gear. We've actually learned to pack light and do laundry while we're traveling.


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We aren't allowed to dispose of batteries in our trash anymore.So I took a 2 ltr empty soda bottle,removed the cap and rinsed it out.It lives on the floor by the side of my desk,and I just drop the used batteries in it.We use mostly triple A's,but if you use "d"s you can cut an opening near the top so you can drop those in as well.Doesn't take up much space,so works well,and when it's full we'll drop it off at the recycling center..
Kathi


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I don't have many organizing solutions, but I can share one. We go through a lot of laundry (considering there are only two of us in the house) and there's nothing worse than digging through multiple hampers trying to find all of the right items for a load of laundry. So I bought some stainless steel shelving (24" deep x 60" wide x ~ 36" high) from a restaurant supply store for my laundry room. I purchased Elfa baskets to slide onto the shelves. (Previously I used standard laundry baskets, but the Elfa baskets have more size options and look really nice.) Now all of my dirty laundry is sorted into load before I even begin running the washer. All I have to do is grab everything from a basket, dump it into the washer, and go. The top surface is used some now, but I intend to put some kind of a countertop on it to make it a very functional countertop for folding, sorting, etc.


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Pricklypear, that is a great idea. I looked at the Elfa drawers and am wondering what size you purchased to use on the stainless shelving. Think I might use your wonderful idea for my laundry room.


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I bought one of those clear plastic shoe organizers for the back of our laundry room door and it's filled with odds and ends.

I need to go back and read over these again. Love the peg board idea.

Here is a link that might be useful: similar to this


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On the back wall of my closet, I put up a row of hooks, off which I've looped a chain with large smooth rings in it. I thread my scarves through the links in the chain so they are always unwrinkled and easy to go through to find one to match my outfit.

Instead of a sofa table, we bought an IKEA bookcase that backs the sofa between the kitchen and family room. I then got a bunch of boxes and baskets and it has become our storage for magazines, newspapers, etc. that are waiting to be gone through. It's so convenient as this is where we always are and want our reading material, and it's narrow for the narrow space.


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I'm always on the hunt for creative ideas that make my life easier and more organized. Now I'm glad that we haven't finished our laundry closets off, since we can now incorporate the pegboard sides.

I LOVE the ideas of having a travel bags ready to go. I'm torn with having doubles of things. I'm thinking of having a partial bag with an index card of items to be added. Don't forget that things like toothpaste and medications have an expiration.

When we moved 4 years ago, I brought all of our small misc. cosmetic items like toothpaste & floss from the dentist's office, shampoos from the hotels (great for camping), free trial samples, etc along with our regular cosmetics. We have whittled away to a fairly constant state. When we run out of something, like conditioner, we go to the drawer. Only if it's the last one in the drawer, does it go on our shopping list. The drawer contents has steadily decreased in size.

I was going to try the sheet idea, but realized, I have no extra sets of sheets anymore. We strip the beds, launder and put right back on. When the kids were still in the house, I use to have an extra set for each bed between the mattress and box spring.

We recently moved ALL of our clothes out of dressers and into our closet (average size). Almost everything is hung up except our socks, underwear, gym clothes, I can easily see all my clothes and getting dressed in the morning is a breeze...no more getting things from the bedroom, and have to go back to the closet to get my clothes, and realize I shouldn't wear that black bra, with a thin white shirt, only to have to return back to the dresser. I LOVE having it all together.

I organized our basement last week. We had all our outdoor furniture and play equipment piled up in one big mess "wintering". I decided to actually display the 3 patio sets, ready to for usage. I now can use one of the glass tables for projects with my DGD w/o worrying about damaging. I was going to find a large table cloth to put over our wood set, to make it look more indoorsy. The other one I tucked by the ping pong table. Table isn't much use, but the seating will be nice for others to watch while waiting to play.

Reading all this, is giving me the itch for more organizing...


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This isn't for the house, but our home on the go: the minivan. You used to be able to buy 6- packs of quart soft drinks. The pack was plastic. So one sits under the console and each section is perfect for a tub of hand wipes, a round tissue box, a large cup for trash, a flashlight/window shattered/seat belt slicer, sunscreen, and necessities (reading glasses, lotion, emery board no I don't file while driving). It's like having six cupholders in one place, accessible but tucked away.


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Bpathome: can you post a pic of that? It sounds like a great idea for my own minivan, but I'm having trouble picturing it.

Gosh, I'm loving all these great ideas! They're actually spurring on my own organizing binge right now.
Lynn


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I'm not big on purses, but I do double=purse. I put the essentials in the small one (wallet, money, phone & keys) and put that in the shoulder purse. When I get to the trailhead to go hiking, I just grab my small one out and put it in my hiking pack, and stash the large shell that no longer contains anything of valuable. After hiking, I can quickly return the small one back into the larger one for errands and shopping.


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This idea is from a lady I knew some years ago who had 10 children (3 sets of twins and 4 singles). She went through so many towels and washcloths daily that she would just keep baskets unfolded in the bathroom. I fold towels but liked the basket idea for washcloths, so I buy brightly colored ones and keep them in a pretty basket set on top of the toilet tank.


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Gyr, I do something similar but not necessarily for hiking. I keep all my small "essentials" in a cosmetic bag - tissues, Advil, nail clipper, screwdriver for glasses, etc - and move the little bag from purse to purse to backpack. No more digging in the bottom of my purse for those things.


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Aloha, that is brilliant to store the extra sets of sheets between mattress and boxspring. It would free up a LOT of linen closet space for me!


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This one is from my own sweet mom, who is mother to 9 of us.
To save on bathroom storage space ~ which, let me tell you, was at a premium with 9 kids! ~ she gave us each a simple, inexpensive, plastic tool-type caddy to keep our own personal bathroom necessities (toothbrush, comb, brush, etc. ) in. They were stored on a shelf in our bedroom closets, to be carried in and then back again, as we needed them. This helped a lot to keep our bathrooms uncluttered and organized.
 photo plasticcaddy_zps548e1e80.png

Mom also bought one of this type of plastic baskets for each kid to catch of our dirty laundry. She wrote our names on each of them. The plastic made it easy to keep clean and the holes kept our dirty clothes somewhat aerated . . . which really helped with our brothers' stinky things (LOL). The handles made them easy to carry back and forth to our laundry room.
 photo basketcaddy_zps55442815.jpg
Lynn


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This one is from the Queen of Organization herself, Martha Stewart. It will make everyone who loves organizing, get all weak-kneed and breathless just looking at it. I know I did!
I found it on my new favorite blog called "Live Simply ~by Annie~".
Lynn
"Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Room"

. . . be still my heart!


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walnutcreek - I purchased the Elfa baskets from The Container Store. Basically I picked baskets that would fit in the shelves. I think I have two 20 3/4" wide x 11 1/4" high x 20 3/4" deep, four 16 7/8" wide x 11 1/4" high x 20 3/4" deep, one 20 3/4" wide x 7 1/4" high x 20 3/4" deep, and two 16 7/8" wide x 7 1/4" high x 20 3/4" deep (for a total of 9 baskets). So each shelf has baskets the same height, but wider in the middle. I would have loved to have all the baskets the same size, but I wanted to maximize the storage and could only fit a 60" wide shelving unit into place. I think the 16 7/8" wide x 11 1/4" high x 20 3/4" deep baskets are the best sizes. Plenty of storage room but not too heavy to pick up.


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I love this thread! Great ideas! Things I wish I knew about years ago!

Here is my latest organized closet. We have a very shallow closet and I wanted it to hold my cleaning supplies so that all of the sinks in the house aren't cluttered underneath. So, here it is...Elfa system by Container Store! All baskets are removable and they have different sizes!
We are going to do our closet in our game room the same way but it will hold DVD's and video games!

Pam


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