With Thanksgiving right around the corner, here’s an item that will help get the meal prepared a little quicker. Oven space is at premium on Thanksgiving, so this 3 Tier Oven Rack from Williams Sonoma will give you the extra room you need. Having the right size bakeware is also something to think about now so you’re not stressed out on Thanksgiving morning when you can’t get it all to fit. Think about your meal now and get what you need to help it run smoothly to make the day more enjoyable. Anything you can make, prepare or freeze ahead of time is a bonus. Remember, organization is about planning now to help reduce stress later.
Every Friday, the professional organizers at Chaos to Order pick the best products and services for helping you get organized.
We all get too much mail. Direct mail marketing is alive and well, so we need to find solutions to reduce the amount of mail we receive. It’s a hassle, as well as a waste of time and resources having to constantly toss what you don’t want. Similar to email, we need to take steps to unsubscribe or hand off the mail in the same way. Here are some suggestions:
- Return To Sender: as long as the mail or package is unopened, simply write “Return to Sender” with a bold marker and the post office will return it at no cost to you.
- Unsubscribe Websites: There are several websites dedicated to helping us reduce mail and the natural resources they consume. Sites like CatalogChoice.org, and 41pounds.org allow you to selectively choose the mail you want and the mail you don’t, for a small donation or fee.
- Stop Receiving Mail: Enlist in the services of a virtual mail box and receive all of your mail via email– with services like Virtual Post Mail or Earth Class Mail. It’s a service that will receive, scan, and forward only the mail you want!
Organization is about investing your time on the front end so you won’t have to waste time. Take some steps now to eliminate or reduce the mail you receive and realize that less really is more.
Did your kids come home with an overload of Halloween candy? You don’t want the candy hanging out in their bedroom neither for bugs nor for the lure of nightime candy snacking. So what do you do with it all now? There’s too much to just eat and get rid of quickly, but if you let the kids have a little at a time, they’ll still be eating it in June—say nothing about the extra trips to the dentist! Here are some suggestions for organizing that candy clutter:
- Start by sorting it. Give your kids some zipper sandwich bags and let them sort and count it all up. Putting like kinds together will also help to keep the candy from getting that awful mixed candy taste and smell.
- Store It Properly. Do not mix treats that absorb moisture like hard candy with treats that lose moisture like fudge.
- Use your candy for baking. Here are 10 Recipe Ideas for Halloween Candy from Real Simple.
- Freeze the Chocolate. Chocolate can be frozen for up to 6 months. The trick is to wrap it tightly with freezer wrap or bags and acclimate slowly in the fridge before freezing.
- Donate it. Check out Halloweencandybuyback.com. Here you can find local places to donate your candy to troops deployed overseas.
There are plenty of alternatives to gorging on all of that Halloween candy. If it’s organized properly, like anything else in life, you’ll make better use out of it, you’ll enjoy it more and it will last longer.
Here’s a great little item from Neatnix to help organize your jewelry. I love that it hangs on the wall using available vertical space, it’s perfect for inside the closet or dressing area. Necklaces can tangle when they’re crowded together inside a drawer, so having them hang can free up drawer space and also keep them visible so you can remember what you have. So often we forget what’s there when things are crowded together. Use a handy item like this Neatnix Jewelry Organizer to get started organizing the items you use frequently so they are readily available front and center.
Good organizational systems must be flexible and easy to maintain. This magnetic strip knife holder from Ikea is a great example of an organizational tool that can be used creatively for much more than just knives. Here are a few examples:
There is usually plenty of available wall space in a toy room, it’s the floor and shelving that are at a premium. Use the knife strip to add decor to the room with matchbox cars. It will not only be a very handy place to store the cars, it will look good too!
In the office or craft room, keep a knife strip close by to keep scissors and other items handy–it will not only save space in the drawers, it will keep them at arm’s reach. Where can you use a magnetic knife strip and what can you keep organized with it?
After doing some organizing in my own garage this past week, I couldn’t help but make Gladiator Slatwall a Friday Favorite. My husband is the main organizer of our garage and he’s really good at keeping it tidy. I was in there rearranging some things and just loved how versatile the slatwall was. You can hang hooks anywhere and move them around so easily. Having a flexible system, especially in the garage is very important. Times change and seasons change, so what we store and how we store it should change accordingly. Keeping what you need accessible is super easy with slatwall. My favorite accessory is the bike hook. This simple hook is a terrific bike hanger. Just lift the wheel onto the hook and voila your bike is off the floor. If you want a garage that’s easy to keep clean, make use of every inch of vertical space and keep all you can off the floor. Slatwall is a great choice for flexibility and superb organization. You can find it at Sears.
Having trash bags handy in the garage (or in any type utility room) is a good idea, especially when you’re clearing out and organizing. Here’s a clever way to keep them handy: Take them out of the box in the roll and hang them on a paper towel holder! This way, bags are convenient and accessible any time. No more digging through shelves to find them, and they don’t take up any prime space on shelves. There’s usually plenty of vertical free space in the garage. What else can you hang up on the wall to get your space more organized?
Here’s a terrific gadget that our organizer Candace suggested: The Boogie Board. It’s an electronic alternative to paper. Great for taking notes, making lists, drawing, etc… What’s different about the Boogie Board is that it’s a writing surface, plain and simple. You write notes or lists and erase them when you’re done–what a concept! For $30.00 you can’t beat it as a quick and simple writing surface. It’s thin and sleek, you can easily keep it in your bag, car or on the fridge. If you want to be able to export and save notes, there is another version called the Boogie Board Rip.
I was cleaning out our organizing supply closet and came across this belt rack that had never been used. I’m not much of a belt collector so I’ve never needed a rack like this that holds so many belts. I thought, there surely must be another purpose for this belt rack, what could all those hooks in a row be used for?
So I decided to hang tanks and camisoles on this belt rack! I’ve been looking for a new way to store them. I had them folded in a drawer and it seemed to be too much work keeping the tanks all folded properly and neatly organized. Then I hung them on hangers, but because I have so many of them, they took up too much hanging space and I was not willing to relinquish that much hanging space in my closet for them. They are so easy to hang back up, no more folding and fitting neatly into the drawer, just place them on the hook! I’ve actually gone out and gotten more of these belt racks so all my tank tops and camisole’s could be put into this system. It’s been a great solution in my closet. It has freed up drawer space, and hanging space. If your a tank top collector, you might want to give it a try!
We tend to think coat closets and entryways for winter storage space. However, in the summer months, we can still make the mudroom or coat hanging area into a great functional space. In my own mudroom, I turn it into a handy place to keep beach towels for on the go, beach bags and sand toys, any items that are used frequently during the summer. Remove the coats, hats, gloves and boots, they can swap places with where you keep summer items. Having these things handy here in the summer can make getting out the door much easier. Think of what you have in your entryway. Is it still filled with school items and winter stuff? Rethink what you should be using the space for now and spend a little time making some changes. Not only will it look well-kept and organized, but it will also be more functional and save time in the future!
Do you have boxes of electrical cords that you have no idea what they are for or what gadget they plug in to? Here’s a great product that can help put an end to cord chaos and help to put labels on objects that might otherwise be cast away. When things are labeled, it may seem like extra work to put something away and go through the effort of adding a cute label, but it pays dividends in the end. Remember, getting organized is planning for the future so you’ll know where to find things and what they are for. These ElasiNotes are great for anywhere you need to add a label and tie it around, they’re also water resistant. Many great uses for things to organize and label. Here are a few visual suggestions:
A must have on my list of office and household supplies is this Scotch Deluxe Desktop Tape Dispenser. I prefer it to all of the disposable and pop up dispensers, and love to use it not only at the desk, but also in the kitchen.
It’s so much more efficient to grab tape that’s out and accessible with one hand and not have to open up and sift around a drawer when you need it. It’s also great to be able to determine the length of tape you need—especially in the kitchen. If I’m sealing a bag of chips, I might need a longer piece of tape than if I’m posting a field trip reminder for the kids. I use it to seal snack bags like chips and pretzels, conveniently post recipes when I’m cooking, hang notes, important school papers and artwork—not to mention fixing cereal boxes when my kids have ripped them open! The 1″ tape that is recommended with the dispenser is best. I’ve tried the 1/2″ and it didn’t do as good of a job—especially in the kitchen. It’s one of those great little gadgets that do their part in helping to keep life organized.
Do you ever get that musty smell from your front load washing machine? Here’s a super easy quick tip to keep the mold away. Simply keep a folded towel hanging on the door of the wash machine and it will keep the door open just enough to let air circulate. The towel provides just enough space to let the air in. Simple, easy tip to keep your front load washing machine free of mold.
I have a plaque in my house that reads, “The Time You Enjoy Wasting Is Not Wasted Time”. It’s there as a reminder that relaxation is a key component in the ability to work hard and do our best at whatever we do. We hear plenty about how to get more done and work harder, but the key ingredient is coming to the table with a clear mind. If you’re running on fumes and struggling to get things done, you’re not going to be as available to go to the next level. Proper rest, allowing your body to go fully through all the stages of sleep, is critical not only to productivity, but also to innovation according to Carolyn Gregoire in 5 things You Should Know About Sleep Health in the Workplace.
In addition to sleep, take a vacation! That’s just what you wanted to hear–right? Well it’s true, taking a break will rejuvenate and allow you to come back to work fresh and ready. We’ve all heard this, but it needs to be told often so we don’t forget to enjoy life as we’re trying to always keep up with crazy, hectic schedules. They say, ” life is what happens while your busy making other plans”. Enjoy today, take a break, get some sleep, go on vacation and come back more productive and ready to go get ‘em!
I recently wrote post about how to toss all the magazines and catalogs that can clutter up your space. Once you’ve weeded them out and set parameters as to what stays and what goes, these Clear Magazine Holders are perfect to organize them all. You can also purchase them in sets of 4. Keeping your magazines and catalogs in containers like this will help to keep piles from growing. When there are too many to fit in the container, you have to choose what to eliminate. Use the container as your guideline for how many to keep. One holder of a particular magazine sounds good to me, but you can choose what works for you and stick to it.
If you want to save some cash (they can get pricey) and you’re a Do-It-Yourselfer, you can try cutting a cereal box and decorating it with wrapping paper, contact paper or even painting it to match your decor.
Any type of magazine holder will help your collection look good on a shelf, hold the magazines nicely upright and will help keep boundaries on how many you hang on to!