Tuesday, August 8th, 2017
I’m not old but I’m out of the loop when it comes to certain things like Netflix, iCloud and Instagram. I think all that came out when I was in the middle of parenting two children under the age of five. Sleep deprivation and very little extra room in my brain didn’t allow for much more than me learning how to use Facebook and Pinterest (and oh, yeah–taking care of my little ones, too…).
Another new ‘thing’ I wasn’t familiar with was podcasts. I had heard of them. I knew they were recorded audio, not on the radio–but where were they? Were they in that ‘cloud’ I had no knowledge about either?
Embarrassing, but I had to look up exactly what they were and where I could find some.
I don’t have a ton of time to listen to podcasts, but I decided to find some time in my schedule when I discovered a guy in Los Angeles who had a podcast on–you guessed it–organizing! The guy in Los Angeles, is James Lott, Jr. and his podcast is called The Super Organizer Show. He is a highly energetic person who truly loves what he does. One of his wonderful characteristics is that he believes in giving thanks out loud and living in gratitude–that’s how he starts all of his shows. Isn’t that great?
I found out about The Super Organizer Show on Facebook. James had interviewed Ellen Faye, the Past President of NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals) and because I ‘like’ both Ellen and NAPO on Facebook, it came up in my news feed. I dug out my infrequently-used earbuds and carved out some time to listen to a few of the podcasts from The Super Organizer Show. I found them to be funny, fast-paced, and informative. On iTunes, I reviewed the list of past show topics and saw that there had never been a guest on the show talking about weddings. James is an author–I thought maybe he’d want to interview someone who wrote a book on a topic in organizing. I looked up James’ contact info and dropped him a line about me and The Organized Bride’s Thank You Note Handbook and the rest is history! He loved the idea of talking about wedding thank you notes and he booked me on his show for the day after he was attending his friend’s wedding.
How did I prepare for my first podcast?
• I read my book two times a few days before recording the podcast.
• I created an outline of my chapters.
• I flagged pages in my book that I thought James might reference.
• I brainstormed some stories and anecdotes related to my book I thought I might want talk about.
• I buried our home telephone under some sheets in our linen closet in case it rang during the recording of the podcast (I used my business line for the podcast).
• And yes, I used the restroom ten minutes before dialing in–I had no idea how long I’d be on the phone with James. Good thing I did–we were on the phone for an hour!
In a nutshell–I got organized to talk about organization! And (off mic) James even recognized and mentioned how prepared I was.
I had a ton o’ fun with James talking about my book, wedding thank you notes, sleep deprivation and it turns out we both have pen fetishes and love trying out different pens when we see a display in a store (ahhh, to be a writer…). He was engaging, came up with creative questions, and made me feel very at ease. A very positive first podcast experience!
Wanna listen to the podcast? Here are three places you can find it:
On You Tube (audio only)
For more information about James Lott, Jr. and The Super Organizer Show:
The Super Organizer Show on Facebook
The Super Organizer Universe (blog)
Thanks, James for having me on your show and for making my first podcast a very enjoyable one. Now that I know about podcasts, I guess now it’s time to carve out some time for Netflix!
Monday, July 31st, 2017
If you watch HGTV or read Real Simple magazine, you’ve probably heard of’ ‘Professional Organizing.’ It is the art of helping people create and maintain systems and processes using basic principles of organization.
But have you heard of ‘Virtual Organizing?’
Virtual Organizing is the art of helping people create and maintain systems and processes using basic principles of organization–virtually. When I say ‘virtually,’ I mean helping people get organized via the phone, Skype, FaceTime, email–as opposed to working with them in person.
Virtual organizing has evolved over the past few years. Although there are thousands of Professional Organizers in the United States, not every Organizer lives in a densely populated area that might provide them with an adequate amount of clients. Not everyone wanting to hire a Professional Organizer has one in driving distance of their home. Thus, a new way of organizing was born. If people could use technology to communicate with friends, relatives, and business associates, why not use it for helping people get and stay organized?
Why I started offering Virtual Organizing services…
I have been doing Residential Organizing since I formed Organized Artistry in 2002. I love rolling up my sleeves and working side by side with a client to help them reach their organizing goals. I work with clients within a 30-minute radius of my home and wished to somehow widen that radius without having to travel far. With school-aged children, I wanted the option of working close-to-home. At the 2016 NAPO Conference, I heard a veteran Professional Organizer speak about how she added Virtual Organizing to her business model so she could work with people around the country who were in need of her specialized skills. She developed a tele-class in Virtual Organizing and offered it to colleagues so they could learn how to organize virtually, too. A few days later, I signed up for it. I successfully completed the course and now offer Virtual Organizing as part of my list of services. I still work with clients in their homes but I’m excited to organize those in different regions and time zones, too.
Have you been thinking about getting organized but didn’t realize that Virtual Organizing was an option for you?
Here are 5 Reasons Why You Should Try Virtual Organizing:
• You don’t have a Professional Organizer in your area
Although there are over 4,000 members of NAPO, you may not have a Professional Organizer in your immediate area. Maybe you need a Professional Organizer with a specialization or particular skill set. That Professional Organizer is just a phone call, email, or FaceTime session away from helping you reach your organizing goals.
• You want/need accountability or support for your organizing project
You started organizing a space in your home but the project stalled for a multitude of reasons. That’s OK–it happens. Working with a Professional Organizer ‘virtually’ can provide you with someone to check in with, help get you back on track, and to your measure progress. They’ll be a cheerleader, resource, teacher, and provide ideas, motivation, and support. Consistently moving your organizing project forward is key to it’s completion–Virtual Organizing can make that happen.
• You don’t want a stranger in your home
There are hundreds of reasons why you may not want a stranger in your home. Maybe you have small children, a sick family member living with you, or maybe you have white carpeting and want to keep it as white as possible by having as few people in your home as possible. Or, you may have something in your home that you don’t necessarily want people to see (besides the disorganization). Virtual Organizing is a way of inviting a Professional Organizer into your home without actually having them walk inside.
• You would prefer to do the ‘physical organizing’ when it’s convenient for you
Does your work schedule change often? Are you a night owl or an early riser? You may want to do the physical work of organizing when you have a pocket of time or when you have the most energy. This might not necessarily be when a Professional Organizer could come to your home (I don’t know many Organizers who start at 6am or see clients at midnight…). So, schedule your ‘virtual’ appointment with your Professional Organizer and block out time on your calendar to do the required sorting/purging/labeling/filing when it works best for you.
• You prefer to be comfortable. Really comfortable.
Organizing ‘virtually’ means you can organize in your PAJAMAS! No need to get dressed if a Professional Organizer won’t be coming to your home for two or three hours. Other Professional Organizers might mind, but I don’t care if you FaceTime with me in your pajamas or bathrobe. I, on the other hand will be dressed (unless we mutually agree on a ‘pajama day…’).
With today’s technology, Virtual Organizing makes perfect sense. Can you picture yourself getting organized ‘virtually?’ If the answer is ‘Yes,’ click here to see how Organized Artistry and Virtual Organizing can bring organization to your home and life from miles away.
Transform your home from the comfort of your home…with Virtual Organizing.
Sunday, July 2nd, 2017
Who plays sports in your family? You? Your kids? All of you? Even if there’s just one person in your household involved in sports, it can be a challenge to keep the equipment organized. Sports involves equipment and equipment has the potential to become a disorganized mess.
Stumped as to how to store it all? Try some of the following systems for keeping your sports equipment organized:
• Group by type
Example: baseball bats with the baseballs, mitts, and cleats
• Group by need
Example: all equipment needed for lacrosse practice
• Color coordinate
Each family member gets assigned a color. Place a dot of that color on their equipment and accessories. You’ll always know who didn’t put away their gear!
• Make a trade
Switch out off-season sports equipment. In the summer, have tennis rackets, water wings, and fishing poles at arms reach. In the winter, be able to find your skates, skis, and sled at the first sign of snow.
You’re already spending big money on sports gear–you don’t want to spend much more trying to keep it all organized. Here are a few free and low-cost products to keep your equipment ‘grab-and-go ready’ and safe from damage:
LARGE CARDBOARD BOX
Everyone gets packages delivered–keep your eye on your neighbor’s front stoop for the delivery of an item in a large cardboard box. I’m sure they won’t mind you taking the empty box–it’s one less thing for them to have to recycle! You can use that box to corral medium to large sized balls. Have the kids decorate it with sports pictures and stickers to make it look like it’s more than a cardboard box. Giving them ownership of it will help when it’s clean-up time.
Changing your home’s décor? Don’t throw away that old garbage can! Repurpose it for holding sports equipment. Use old garbage cans to store tall items such as hockey sticks, baseball bats, ski poles, and lacrosse sticks. You may want to wash it out first…
WINE BOTTLE BOX w/SEPARATORS
You need a box with compartments. Liquor stores are dying to get rid of them. It’s a win-win situation. Look for a box with cardboard separators still inside. These separators will divide the box and create spaces for items such as whiffle ball bats, baseballs, tennis balls and rackets.
* Tip: Whether it’s a box or a can, don’t store anything more than twice the height of the container you use, or it might tip over.
LARGE, EXTRA-LARGE and XXL ZIPLOC BAGS
I hope the person at Ziploc who came up with the L, XL, and Jumbo bag concept got a promotion and a raise. Genius!
With built-in handles and a double zipper seal, they’re perfect for storing and toting balls, skates, protective gear, and uniforms. They’re made of a heavy-duty plastic making them moisture, dust, and pest-proof. The fact that the bags are transparent is an added bonus—you’ll know exactly what’s inside, saving you time and brain space. Find them in the supermarket or in your local home improvement store.
Cost: Approximately $5.49 and up per box
POP-UP MESH HAMPER
Pop up mesh hampers are the perfect receptacle for storing large balls, lightweight equipment or protective gear that needs ‘airing out.’ These round or ‘squarish’ shaped hampers are lightweight, easy to open, and come in breathable fabrics. Consider purchasing a different sized or colored hamper for each person in the family or one for each sport.
Cost: $7.99 and up
Do you find yourself tripping over balls in your home? Trip no more with The Ballganizer. This hanging 5-ball capacity organizer offers a home for large balls such as footballs, soccer and basketballs. Hang in the garage, your kids’ bedroom or the playroom.
You’ve saved a few bucks by using the ideas above–that’s great! If you are a multi-stick sport playing family and want to spend those extra bucks on something to organize them all, the 12-Compartment Utility Storage Unit is the organizing product for you. It’s perfect for holding bats, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and other tall sporting items. Maybe even a few fishing poles, too!
Now that your equipment is organized, searching for it all is no longer your pre-sports warm-up. Do some stretches, grab your gear, and go have fun!
Sunday, May 7th, 2017
I just flew home from the NAPO Conference in Pittsburgh and boy are my arms tired! But, seriously folks…
Over a week ago, I attended the NAPO 2017 Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. Over 500+ Professional Organizers descended upon ‘The Steel City’ to learn, network, and talk organizing. I had a fabulous time doing all three.
The conference was held at the Westin Pittsburgh which is attached to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center–the two buildings are attached by a short sky bridge. Even though I sat for the workshops, I got a lot of exercise going back and forth between the two buildings (happy Fitbit). And apparently, the Heinz Corporation is headquartered close by. Look at what the NAPO-Pittsburgh chapter gave out to us–itty bitty ketchup and pickle pins. They will definitely be a part of my wardrobe during BBQ season!
After attending the Opening Keynote, I went to the first workshop which this year centered around three TED Talks. I attended the session based on Amy Cuddy’s popular TED talk: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are and learned all about the idea of ‘Power Poses.’ Next, the EXPO–where organizing-related businesses/organizations showcase their products and services to the attendees of the conference. It’s the perfect place to find out about the newest innovations our industry partners have to offer.
This year, I had two EXPO favorites:
OXO. I Love this company. They are experts at combining good design with functionality. I’ve owned and currently use some of their kitchen products since receiving them at my bridal shower sixteen years ago. On display were two of my personal favorites: OXO POP Containers and their Expandable Drawer Organizer. But, two products that were new to me were their OXO Good Grips Over-the-Door Fold Away Valet and their Large Expandable Utensil Organizer. I love the idea of the retractable valet–great for putting together outfits or for hanging the dry cleaning before it goes back on good hangers in a closet (that’s a not-so-subtle reminder that you need to give those wire hangers back to your dry cleaner…). And, when OXO says ‘large’ they mean LARGE. The utensil organizer is one of the largest I’ve seen.
Rubbermaid. My favorite company for bins/totes. They are some of the sturdiest ones you can buy. On display this year were items from their ‘Auto Collection.’ I was oohing and aaaahing over some of the pieces. They had a small trash receptacle and a ‘wedge’ to place between seats for pens, paper and other slim items that might otherwise fall through the crack between the seats. Then I saw what I needed for my car–the Single Headrest hook. I’ll be looking into buying those for my kids so they have a place to hang their baseball hats, knapsacks, and neck pillows in the car.
The conference is more than the EXPO–there’s learnin’ to be done! Workshops I learned a lot from:
How to Prioritize When Everything is Important
I wasn’t going to take this workshop because I thought I had some pretty decent prioritizing skills. And I do. But, I learned how I can prioritize my work and life EVEN BETTER. I had seen this speaker (NAPO member, Mridu Parikh) at a conference a few years ago and greatly enjoyed her workshop then and now. So glad I decided to make learning about priorities, a priority!
Workshop Tip: If you need help focusing on your work, try using a Pomodoro app.
How to Succeed at Speaking for Fees
After having my second child, I took a break from public speaking. It’s been seven years, and I just jumped back into giving presentations. I was thrilled to leave this session with many helpful take-aways that will enable me to grow the public speaking part of my business.
Workshop Tip: Create a title for your presentation that is engaging, clear or intriguing, and shows a benefit to the audience.
How to Get and Keep Media Attention
Most of my media exposure has been in print and online. But, on the off chance I break out of my comfort zone and try to get on TV or Radio, I’ll be prepared thanks to this workshop. Lots of talk about the media and how to pitch them stories–my pen worked overtime taking notes in this session!
Workshop Tip: If you want to get on TV, start getting comfortable on video with You Tube.
If you thought all Professional Organizers like to do is sort and measure things, you’d be incorrect. We like to party! Good food, good music, and a little Cha Cha Slide makes for happy organizers. I danced half the night away and got over 14,000 steps on my Fitbit (really happy Fitbit!). Here’s many of my NAPO-NNJ colleagues before we hit the dance floor–lookin’ great in NAPO blue and white!
I have to give a shout-out to the peeps of Pittsburgh because everyone I encountered–the staff at the Westin, the airport, the SuperShuttle, and restaurants, were SO NICE! Across the board–helpful, courteous, and pleasant. And boy, do they love their sports–Pirates, Penguins, and Steelers. Lots of people walking around dressed in yellow and black and it’s not because they love bumblebees…
A big thank you goes to my hubby for holding down the kid/homework/baseball/meals fort while I was in Pittsburgh. I could not succeed in my business without his support!
At our last lunch of the conference, 2018’s conference location was revealed. Next year, something new–a corporate retreat in Chicago. Did they say RETREAT? I’m all over THAT in a big way. I’m starting to relax just THINKING about it. Pardon me while I go register for the retreat…um, I mean conference. Then it’s off to do laundry and get back to organizing!
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Sunday, February 26th, 2017
Do you ever watch TED Talks? I love watching TED Talks.
If I get to watch at least one a day I’m a happy camper. I watch them while I’m cooking, while I’m on the treadmill, and while I’m eating lunch at my computer. If I don’t have the time, I use one of my favorite apps, Pocket to store them until I have a free 20 minutes to watch.
TED began as a conference in California in 1984–five years before the birth of the World Wide Web. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. It’s mission is to spread knowledge and since it’s inception, TED Talks have had attracted over a billion views online–there’s a lot more knowledgeable people in this world thanks to TED!
With all my TED Talk watching, I was curious as to whether there were any talks on the topic of Organizing. Well–there are! No one is sorting through papers or an overstuffed garage on stage, but the TED Talks I’ve selected are based on an ‘organizing’ theme. Carve out time in your day to watch them–you may learn something new just like I did…
Jessi Arrington: Wearing Nothing New
In my opinion, Jessi is one brave woman. She packed seven pair of underwear for her trip to Los Angeles to do her TED Talk. My heart is palpitating just thinking about it. When she got off the plane with her very tiny suitcase, she went shopping for clothes at local thrift stores in order to “reduce the impact of her wardrobe on the environment and her wallet.” I don’t expect you to watch this and then travel light, but listening to what she has to say, might cause you to take a good look at the clothes in your closet.
Laura Vanderkam: How To Gain Control of Your Free Time
Laura Vanderkam writes about Time Management. She says, “Time is highly elastic. We cannot make more time but time will stretch to accommodate what we choose to put into it.” Basically–it’s all about priorities. Your priorities. Your schedule and your choices. Listen to her TED Talk and think about how you use your time…
Tim Urban: Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator
Do you procrastinate often? Whether you do or not, you’re going to get a good laugh out of this funny TED Talk. You might even see a bit of yourself in Tim Urban. Think about what you might be procrastinating on and watch out for the ‘monkey.’
*BONUS* TED TALK–Yes–I said ‘3’ in the title but this one is short–only around 5 minutes long: Mundano: Pimp My…Trash Cart?.
The unsung heroes of the organizing world are garbage men. They take away what we no longer want in our lives and are not always highly regarded for their work. Watch how one artist in Brazil took the work of Catadores, people who collect recycling, and transformed their work into an art form to be celebrated and appreciated by their communities.
Which Ted Talk resonated with you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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Sunday, February 5th, 2017
There are no cave paintings to prove it but I suspect the first shelf was commissioned by a frustrated cave woman.
The conversation probably went something like this:
Cave Husband: “Honey, I’m home! I brought berries and bagged another buffalo!”
Cave Wife: “That’s nice, dear but this cave has no storage. Stop hunting and gathering and start building me some shelves!”
Though shelving is standard in homes today, it can sometimes feel pre-historic. That’s because pre-fabricated and pre-installed shelves don’t always fit our specific storage needs. Some of the problems with shelves are that they are:
– too shallow
– too deep
– too high
– too low
– can’t be adjusted
If you have some of these shelving issues in your closet, pantry, cabinets, or garage, here are five products to transform your shelves into a custom-designed (and organized!) wonderland:
Shelf dividers prevent stacked items from toppling over. Use dividers to separate piles of sweaters, tablecloths, or towels. You can also use them to create ‘parking spaces’ for your handbags. Dividers come in acrylic, plastic, or chrome (depending upon your style and budget).
I reviewed this product for STORABLES last month and I use them in my home. Take a peek…
Under Shelf Basket
Clustering small items on a shelf leaves you with dead space above it. The Under Shelf Basket solves that problem by creating an area in that ‘dead space’ for storage. It creates the perfect spot for storing dishtowels and washcloths in a linen closet, small canned goods/spice packets in a pantry, and food wrappings (like aluminum foil and waxed paper) on a cabinet shelf.
I love Helper shelves! I have over ten of them currently in use in my own home. They turn wasted shelf space into prime real estate for dishes, canned goods, or any stackable item. A helper shelf offers two levels of storage–below (for small items) and above (for larger items).
Pull Out Shelf
If you’re tired of rummaging for items at the back of your shelves, consider a sliding shelf (also known as a rolling or pull-out shelf). It pulls out so you can reach what you need that lives in the back of your shelf/cabinet and then pushes right back in. Great for items that are heavy and not often used.
This product is perfect for those hard-to-reach corners in a cabinet or shelf. You can purchase a lazy susan with one or two levels depending upon your needs. In my home, I use them for vitamins and spices–both located in tight cabinet spaces. Spinning the lazy susan to reach and retrieve what I need towards the back of a shelf makes my life a whole lot easier!
Use any of the above products to optimize your home’s shelf space. When your spouse calls to tell you he’s bringing home berries and buffalo–you’ll be prepared…
Which product would you like to try on your shelves?
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Sunday, January 22nd, 2017
Normally, I do product reviews of organizing tools I use in my work and personal life but today I am writing my first Sponsored Post! The lovely folks at Storables contacted me a while ago and asked me to review a product of theirs–my choice. Hmmm…what to choose? This was like letting a kid run wild through the aisles of Toys ‘R Us…
I had so much fun perusing the pages of their website. My pick? A product I had never used before–a shelf divider. Today’s ‘Cool Product‘ is: Storable’s Large White Shelf Dividers. I am doing this review in exchange for the product and a gift card.
Big thanks to my sponsor, Storables for reaching out to me with this opportunity. All words, opinions, and photos are my own.
If you’ve been following my blog for the past year, you’ve read that I just went through a major home renovation. We have a lot of new closets (yay!) so when Storables told me I could review any product from their website, I gravitated towards the ones that would work best in a closet. I had always seen shelf dividers similar to these in pictures and thought they were pretty ‘cool’ so I selected their Large White Shelf Dividers. A great idea–that is until they arrived and I realized they were too big to use in my clothes closet as well as my husband’s. Oops. (They do come in a smaller size in Chrome.) I’m a stickler for measuring but I think my excitement got the best of me…
But, have no fear! I found many uses for this product in my home besides my clothing closet. All I did was use some ‘out-of-the box’ or in this case ‘out-of-the-closet’ thinking.
Here are four ways the Large White Shelf Dividers from Storables worked brilliantly in my home:
My Son’s Closet
The kid has a lot of sweatshirts. Piling them more than 4-5 high is useless because they’re just going to topple over. Enter Storable’s Large White Shelf Dividers. This product makes it easier for my son to put away his own sweatshirts. Wait, did I just say that? Ha ha ha! I must be dreaming…he’d prefer to pile them on his chair instead. Not folded. Ummm…thrown over the chair. OK–this product is for me, not him–I freely admit it! It’s going to make MY life easier!
I’m pretty practical–I don’t have a huge collection of purses. I use the same purse everyday for Fall/Winter and a different one for Spring/Summer. I own a few larger ones for carrying more and a few dressy ones for special occasions.
On the flip side, I have worked with clients who own 50-100 purses. And that’s after we’ve purged the ones they don’t like/need/want anymore. Whether it’s a collection made up of 5 or 50 purses, no woman wants them piled one on top of another in her closet. It doesn’t look good, piles can cause damage to a handbag, and it’s challenging to find the purse you want when you need it. See below how beautifully the shelf dividers function? These shelf dividers act as ‘parking spaces’ for purses. If these dividers work for my tiny purse collection, think about how well they’d work for someone who really likes purses!
The Linen Closet
Towels, sheets, blankets–if there’s more than one person and one bed in your household that can add up to a lot of linens. Piled high. Toppling over each other in your linen closet. Not with these Large White Shelf Dividers. The shelf dividers keep those linens piled high but not falling over onto another stack.
This may be my favorite use for the Large White Shelf Dividers. I use paper bags from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s for recycling and paper organizing projects with clients. I need easy access to them and a ‘front-and-center’ place to store them. Since my recycling lives in my pantry before being taken outside, I created a space in my pantry for the paper bags. I slid the shelf divider onto a shelf in my pantry close to a wall to create the space for the bags. When I get more bags, I can adjust the divider to accommodate more. This is working beautifully and will make my life much easier!
So, if you have large shelves with spaces that need dividing or maybe you have piles of sweaters/towels/purses that are constantly topping over each other, consider purchasing Shelf Dividers (in any size or color you need) from Storables. As a Professional Organizer and a homeowner, I recommend it!
How would you use Storable’s Large White Shelf Dividers in your home?
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Saturday, November 26th, 2016
Remember when you were a kid and you couldn’t wait for that holiday season Toys ‘R’ Us catalog to come in the mail? The excitement! The anticipation!
Well, that’s how I feel about The Container Store’s Stocking Stuffer Collection catalog. I know sometime after Halloween it’s going to find it’s way through my mail slot. Lucky for me, I live ten minutes away from The Container Store in Paramus, NJ but instead of driving over there ahead of time, I wait for the catalog. I like to flip through the pages and pick out the items I like before heading to the store to see and possibly buy them.
What I found most interesting about this year’s Stocking Stuffer collection is that there are very few ‘organizing’ products. Most fall into the fun/kitchy/useful item category. Some I looked at and didn’t really understand their purpose. That’s OK–I’m sure somebody does–and that’s who will buy them! Something for everyone…
Last time I did a Stocking Stuffer Roundup was in 2013. Some of my favorites included a Dressing2Go container and a vintage rubber ducky shower cap. It’s been way too long–it’s time for another roundup!
I’d be writing until next Friday if I featured all of The Container Store’s Stocking Stuffers so I picked a handful to share with you. They’re split into three categories: Useful, Cute & Fun, and Makes You Go Hmmm…. If you’re in need of some stocking stuffers or small gifts for the people in your lives, consider these and the others in the collection…
Maggrip Car Vent Phone Mount $ 9.99
This product secures a smartphone to a car’s air vent for clear, safe viewing. Has 5-star rating on the website.
ToyDriver Screwdriver $ 9.99
My kids are 6.5 and 10 but I remember when they were little and EVERY toy had a battery. And every toy had a battery compartment held together by the tiniest screws. Boy, could I have used this a few years ago! Comes with a flat head and Philips head bit. My cousin had a baby last month and I am considering sending this to her!
Pocket Monkey $ 11.99
It’s a bottle opener. It’s a multi-head screwdriver. It’s a phone stand, an envelope opener, and much more. TSA-Compliant and thin as a credit card. You never know when you’ll need one of it’s many features…
Flint Retractable Lint Roller $ 8.99
Ever go to a dog lover’s home and come home with half the dog on your pants? Keep this in your purse, glove compartment, or travel bag and be dog-hair free! Works for white lint napkins on black pants and anything else your clothes can be covered in. Comes in Slate Gray and Copper. Refills sold separately.
CUTE & FUN
Angry Mama Microwave Cleaner $ 9.99
I usually use lemons in hot water to steam-clean my microwave but wouldn’t this be a whole lot more fun?
Emoji Cooking Stamps $ 5.99
Emojis are all the rage now! Take a departure from baking gingerbread men and snowflakes this season to create some cool kid-friendly cookies.
Corkers Cork Decorating Kit $ 5.99
I’m allergic to wine so I don’t exactly have corks hanging around my kitchen. But, for those of you who do, here’s a cute ‘adult’ art project for you! Choose from airplane, deer, dog and pino figurine. A nice add-on if you’re bringing a bottle of wine to a party.
Beepegg Timer $ 19.99
A bit pricey, but if you like soft and hard-boiled eggs, this could be a good investment piece for your kitchen. Store in the fridge with your eggs for best results. You’ll always know where it is when you need it if you store it near your eggs!
MAKES YOU GO Hmmmm…
Oven Pull Monster $ 2.99
This seems useful but it’s not the most friendly-looking kitchen gadget out there. It looks a little freaked out–as if it knows it’s about to go head first into a hot oven. For the chef in your life with a good sense of humor…
Handbag Raincoat $ 19.99
I get it. It’s raining. You don’t want your handbag to get wet. But, a raincoat for a handbag? Where does it drip dry? It comes with a pouch but if you’ve ever tried to get an umbrella (wet or dry) back in it’s ‘pouch’ then I can’t imagine trying to do the same with a handbag raincoat. A bit pricey for what it is but if you carry an expensive bag and live in a rainy area, it could be worth it.
Wine Glass Shade $ 12.99
Like I said above, I’m allergic to wine. I own wine glasses for when company comes over but I never thought of ‘setting a mood’ with one of them. For the wine enthusiast in your life…
Poo Pourri 2 oz. – $ 9.99
OK, Container Store. You had to go THERE? Travel-sized for a purse, backpack, or diaper bag. What disturbs me most is that on this page (and all other pages) on The Container Store website, there’s a spot where you can upload a picture of the product in use with the hashtag #containyourself. I dare anyone to buy this product and upload a picture of themselves using it!
For more of The Container Store’s Stocking Stuffer Collection click here. There are stocking stuffers for kids/teens, pets, travelers, techies, chefs and many others in your life.
If you’re driving to The Container Store to peruse their stocking stuffers, consider donating an unwrapped book, toy, gift card, or toiletry to their Holiday Hugs program. They’re partnering with children’s hospitals around the country to deliver ‘Holiday Hugs’ to their patients. Program ends December 18th.
Three hundred and twenty-five days until next year’s Stocking Stuffer catalog!
I’d love to know–which stocking stuffer is YOUR favorite? Share in the comments below…
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Tuesday, November 1st, 2016
This October marks the 7th anniversary of my blog!
In the Spring of 2009, I attended the NAPO Conference in Orlando and signed up for a workshop on how to start a blog. I loved to write and I enjoyed sharing my organizing knowledge–blogging married those two loves together.
I started my blog shortly after my then three year old started preschool. I began on the Blogger platform and a few years ago my blog moved to WordPress coinciding with the redesign of my website. I reviewed ‘Cool Products,’ offered ‘Organizing Quick Tips,’ and wrote about anything I thought my readers would find helpful. Then child #2 came along and I did my best to keep up with blogging. Three years later (when he, too went to preschool) I decided to resurrect and complete a ten year old manuscript and self-publish a book. Still kept up with my blog. It was a challenge–but when you’re writing a book, the writing somehow just flows off your fingertips.
Recently, I was reviewing my posts and noticed I hadn’t written one for my 5th or 6th anniversary. I didn’t write a 5th anniversary post because I was heading towards the self-publishing finish line and needed to focus to complete the enormous task. The 6th anniversary post never got written because I stopped blogging. Completely. Not one post for fourteen months. What happened?
A home renovation/addition project.
We purged our home, packed it all up and moved out for nine months. My brain was making so many renovation-related decisions and adjusting to living in temporary quarters–I just had no brain bandwidth for blogging. Took it off my plate completely. It was a bit weird–not writing at all. But sometimes in life we must put certain tasks on the back burner to accomplish a goal.
It took fourteen months, but in July of this year I got back to writing for my blog. I wasn’t sure how I’d jump back into the blogging pool so I decided to write about what I knew–my home renovation/addition experience. I thought about my experience and the knowledge I could pass on to my readers and the words started to flow. After a year’s+ hiatus, I had some time to think about the steps I wanted to take to move my blog forward.
In past ‘blogiversary’ posts, I’ve talked about my blogging goals for the year ahead. Here are a few for 2017…
Boosting Pinterest traffic to my blog
I ‘heart’ Pinterest. I could be on that site all day if I had the time! There is a wealth of information in those millions of pins for both personal and professional use. I am planning on joining a few group boards and posting my blog posts to them to grow my blog traffic. I’m learning how to write more descriptive, keyword-rich pin descriptions for my blog posts and communicate more with those who are pinning them. Did I mention how much I ‘heart’ Pinterest?????
Creating Images in Canva
Canva is an online tool used for designing professional-looking graphics. If you’re on Pinterest or read a ton of blogs, you’ll see many utilizing Canva or similar tools to create eye-catching images for their blogs, later to be pinned and posted to social media sites. I used to be a graphic designer and I wasn’t happy with the look of my blog photos so I started learning about and using Canva. My first ‘creation’ can be found here.
Creating a Blogging Calendar
I’ve tried this in the past but it hasn’t worked for me. Maybe I wasn’t using the right calendar? Maybe I’m not spending enough time on the planning process? This is something on my to-do list for December so I can start in January.
Stop Comparing Myself to Other Bloggers
This is a tough one. I read many blogs and I wish I could have a larger readership and stunning photography like them. I’ve come to realize that for many bloggers out there, their blog is what they do for a living. That’s their main focus and they can create beautifully written and photographed posts 5-7 times a week. My situation is different. I work when my kids are in school. I travel to and work with clients for a large chunk of that time. I just started a newsletter. I’ll be adding Virtual Organizing services to my business model in 2017. I am working on the three goals I stated above. I blog when I can. I just have to keep reminding myself that there are only 24 hours in a day and that I’m moving my blog and my business in a positive direction…
It’s not easy to come back from any kind of hiatus. I’ll be coming back to blogging slowly–keep an eye out more pretty pics, ‘cool products,’ gotta-tell-a-friend ideas and of course, organizing know-how.
You don’t have to wait ’til January 1st to set goals. Do you have any goals for your blog, business or personal life? Share them in the comments below.
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Sunday, October 9th, 2016
Stylists recommend matching your shoe and sock color to make you look taller. As a petite woman, I don’t want to appear any shorter than I already am so I try to match my sock color to my pant or shoe color. Sometimes all three are the same color and I’m feelin’ pretty tall!
Then one day, I left the house wearing black pants and navy blue socks.
Some of you might say, ‘So, what?’ Some of you might be shrieking in horror. I was shrieking.
When I got home later that day, I looked closely at my sock drawer. One side was for lighter colored socks and one side was for darker colored socks. The lighting in my bedroom wasn’t that fabulous. I could see that my navy blue and black socks (especially the knee-hi’s) were looking a lot alike. Something had to be done to prevent another fashion faux-pas!
Now, this scenario pre-dates my professional organizing days by about five years, but organizing is in my DNA so I set out to find a solution. I needed an easy, low-to-no-cost product that would separate my socks so I could find the color I needed quickly. I ended up getting a box from my neighborhood liquor store, took careful measurements and cut the cardboard. Twenty minutes later, I had sock drawer dividers!
Almost twenty year old cardboard!
Believe it or not, these pieces of cardboard survived three moves and many sock drawer purges. But after close to twenty years of service, I decided to retire my cardboard drawer dividers. We had recently renovated our home and the built-in dresser in my new closet had different dimensions. It was time to look for an upgrade.
I took to the internet to assist in my search for souped-up drawer dividers. After reviewing sizes, colors, and pricing, it was a no-brainer. It had to be an OXO product–The OXO Expandable Drawer Organizer (set of two).
I love OXO products. To put it bluntly–they’re made well with ergonomics in mind. I love, love, love my OXO POP Containers and other OXO kitchen tools I own. For years. Still working. Still in great condition.
From their website:
“OXO is dedicated to providing innovative consumer products that make everyday living easier. OXO was founded on the philosophy of Universal Design, which means the design of products usable by as many people as possible.”
But, did I really need an OXO product in my sock drawer? Once you install the drawer dividers, they just sit there doing their dividing job–right?
Here’s why I purchased the OXO Expandable Drawer Organizer…
Reputation – OXO has a long-time reputation for creating products with the user in mind. They’ve been around since 1990 and continue to create innovative tools for everyday life.
Design – I liked the way the dividers looked. They’re white and match my drawers. They have rubber ends so they don’t damage the inside of drawers.
Construction – OXO makes their products out of sturdy plastics and these drawer dividers are no different. When I took them out of the box, I felt the expansion mechanism was sturdy and would hold up to repeated changes in size if I needed to use them elsewhere someday. I was willing to spend a little more money on them because I felt they would last.
Reliability – I’ve had OXO products in my kitchen that were given to me as bridal shower gifts. Sixteen years later, I’m still using many of them. If kitchen tools I use multiple times a week can last almost two decades, so can drawer dividers.
Bonus: I also had a 20% off Bed Bath and Beyond coupon which made the purchase a little easier on the wallet. And it makes me happy to look at them every time I open my sock drawer. There’s something to be said for that, too. I’ve been using them for six months and no complaints from me or my socks. They’re working well, looking great and my black and blue socks live on opposite sides of the divider.
My organized sock drawer!
So, if your socks drawer needs some organization, consider using one or two sets of The OXO Expandable Drawer Organizer. It’s my latest ‘Cool Product’ pick.
What have you done to make your socks easier to find?
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