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Organizing on the Cheap: Sports Equipment

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

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Money-saving products for organizing all that sports equipment.  Organizing on the Cheap: Sports Equipment | organizedartistry.com

 

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:

FREE:

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.

GARBAGE CAN
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.

LOW-COST:

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

BALLGANIZER
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.
Cost: $14.95

*BIG SPLURGE*
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!
Cost: $59.99

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!

Categories: Basic Organizing Principles, Clutter, Organizing on the Cheap

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NAPO Conference 2017: Power Poses, Products, and Professional Organizers in Pittsburgh

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

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A peek into the place where Professional Organizers learn, exchange ideas and find inspiration. NAPO Conference 2017: Power Poses, Products, and Professional Organizers in Pittsburgh | organizedartistry.com

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.

NAPO 2017 Conference: Power Poses, Productivity, and Professional Organizers in Pittsburgh

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!

Itty-bitty Heinz ketchup and pickle pins given out by NAPO-Pittsburgh. NAPO 2017 Conference: Power Poses, Products, and Professional Organizers in Pittsburgh

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.

Over-the-Door Folding Hook by OXO: NAPO 2017 Conference: Poer Poses, Products, and Professional Organizers in Pittsburgh | organizedartistry.com
OXO Large Expandable Utensil Organizer. NAPO 2017 Conference: Power Poses, Products, and Professional organizers in Pittsburgh | organizedartistry.com

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.

Rubbermaid Products, NAPO 2017 Conference: Power Poses, Products, and Professional Organizers in Pittsburgh | organizedartistry.com

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!

NAPO-NNJ at NAPO 2017 Conference Blue and White President's Reception. NAPO 2017 Conference: Power Poses, Products, and Professional Organizers in Pittsburgh | organizedartistry.com

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!

NAPO 2017 Conference: Power Poses, Products, and Professional Organizers in Pittsburgh | organizedartistry.com

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Categories: Cool Product, Media/Publicity, NAPO Conference, NAPO-NNJ, Speaking Engagement

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3 Thought-Provoking Ted Talks That Will Inspire You to Get Organized

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

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3 Thought-Provoking Ted Talks That Will Inspire You to Get Organized | organizedartistry.com

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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Categories: Basic Organizing Principles, Clothing, Helpful Organizing Tips, Recycling, Time, Trash

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5 Products That Will Transform A Shelf Into a Custom-Designed Wonderland

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

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Are you fed up with the shelves in your home? Click through to learn the 5 Products That Will Transform a Shelf into a Custom Designed (and Organized) Wonderland I organizedartistry.com
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
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…

No more toppling piles in your closets! Product review: Large White Shelf Dividers from Storables. You and your shelves will love them. organizedartistry.com

 

 

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.
Helper 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.

5 Products that will Transform a Shelf into a Custom-Designed Wonderland

 


Lazy Susan

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!

Lazy Susan I 5 Products That Will Transform a Shelf into a Custom-Designed Wonderland

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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5 Products That Will Transform A Shelf Into a Custom-Designed Wonderland Click To Tweet

Categories: Closet, Helpful Organizing Tips

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Cool Product: Large White Shelf Dividers from Storables

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

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No more toppling piles in your closets! Product review: Large White Shelf Dividers from Storables. You and your shelves will love them. organizedartistry.com

 

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’sCool 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…

No more toppling piles in your closets! Product review: Large White Shelf Dividers from Storables. You and your shelves will love them. organizedartistry.com

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!

No more toppling piles in your closets! Product review: Large White Shelf Dividers from Storables. You and your shelves will love them. organizedartistry.com

My Purses
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!

No more toppling piles in your closets! Product review: Large White Shelf Dividers from Storables. You and your shelves will love them. organizedartistry.com

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.

No more toppling piles in your closets! Product review: Large White Shelf Dividers from Storables. You and your shelves will love them. organizedartistry.com

The Pantry

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!

No more toppling piles in your closets! Product review: Large White Shelf Dividers from Storables. You and your shelves will love them. organizedartistry.com

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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Categories: Closet, Cool Product

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I ‘Heart’ Container Store Stocking Stuffers – 2016 Edition

Saturday, November 26th, 2016

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Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Here are some fun, useful, and unique stocking stuffers for family and friends! I 'Heart' Container Store Stocking Stuffers - 2016 Edition I organizedartistry.com

 

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…

USEFUL

Maggrip Car Vent Phone Mount $ 9.99

Car Vent Phone Mount - I 'Heart' Container Store Stocking Stuffers - 2016 Edition I organizedartistry.com

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

Toy Screwdriver- I 'Heart' Container Store Stocking Stuffers - 2016 Edition I organizedartistry.com

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

Pocket Monkey - I 'Heart' Container Store Stocking Stuffers - 2016 Edition I organizedartistry.com

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

Retractable Lint Roller- I 'Heart' Container Store Stocking Stuffers - 2016 Edition I organizedartistry.com

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

Angry Momma Microwave Cleaner - I 'Heart' Container Store Stocking Stuffers - 2016 Edition I organizedartistry.com

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

Emoji Cookie Stamps I 'Heart' Container Store Stocking Stuffers - 2016 Edition I organizedartistry.com

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

Corker's Cork Decorating Kit - I 'Heart' Container Store Stocking Stuffers - 2016 Edition I organizedartistry.com

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

Beeped Timer - I 'Heart' Container Store Stocking Stuffers - 2016 Edition I organizedartistry.com

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

Oven Pull Monster - I 'Heart' Container Store Stocking Stuffers - 2016 Edition I organizedartistry.com

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

Handbag Raincoat - I 'Heart' Container Store Stocking Stuffers - 2016 Edition I organizedartistry.com

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

Wine Glass Shade - I 'Heart' Container Store Stocking Stuffers - 2016 Edition I organizedartistry.com

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

Poo-Pourri - I 'Heart' Container Store Stocking Stuffers - 2016 Edition I organizedartistry.com

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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Categories: Container Store, Holiday Season

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Anniversary Post – Seven Years of Blogging

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

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A good question to ask on your 'Blogiversary'--What goals do you have for your blog? Here are a few of mine... I organizedartistry.com

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…

 

I 'Heart' Pinterest I organizedartistry.com

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?????

Using Canva to brighten up my blog posts I organizedartistry.comCreating 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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Categories: Anniversary Post, Pinterest, Time

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Cool Product: OXO Expandable Drawer Organizer

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

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Cool Product: OXO Expandable Drawer Organizer, A Professional Organizer' organizes her sock drawer I organizedartistry.com #coolorganizingproduct

 

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!

 

Cool Organizing Product: OXO Expandable Drawer Dividers I organizedartistry.com #organizesockdrawer

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?

 

Cool Organizing Product: OXO Expandable Drawer Organizer I organizedartistry.com #organizesockdrawer

 

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.

 

Cool Organizing Product: OXO Expandable Drawer Organizer I organizedartistry.com #organizesockdrawer

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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Categories: Clothing, Cool Product, Organizing MY Home

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The Organized Bride’s Thank You Note Handbook: Book Review

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

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There is a small but growing group of Professional Organizers who are also published authors. We like to write. We like to organize. We like to write about organizing–what a surprise! My colleague, Professional Organizer Vickie Dellaquila, CPO, CPO-CD of Organization Rules, Inc. is one of those Professional Organizers. She is the author of, Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash: A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping Seniors Downsize, Organize, and Move.

Vickie recently adopted a mascot for her business and her name is Ophelia. She even has her own Facebook page! Ophelia offers answers to people’s organizing questions and just started doing book reviews. When I saw her post looking for books to review I popped one in the mail for her to read. Boy, am I glad I did–I think she enjoyed it.

The Organized Bride's Thank You Note Handbook: Book Review I Don't walk down the aisle without it! organizedartistry.com #weddingthankyounotes

Her review…

 

“Oh how I wish I had this handbook when I got married! The Organized Bride’s Thank You Note Handbook by Stacey Agin Murray is the perfect guide for overwhelmed brides seeking assistance in the daunting task of writing thank you notes. Almost every bride I know has complained about this task specifically due to the amount of legwork and trying to think what to write to people. Stacey has it all here for you in this handbook down to keeping track of who bought you what present and for what occasion (engagement, bridal shower, etc.) to great examples that are personalized, thoughtful, and truly will show your appreciation for each of your wedding guests. I highly recommend The Organized Bride’s Thank You Note Handbook to brides out there or newlyweds who are dreading the thank you note writing task. This handbook will guide you through every step of the way and keep you organized with the built in charts. Please do yourself a favor and order your copy before starting your thank you notes!”

Thanks, Ophelia (and Vickie, too)!

I’ll be attending the NAPO Conference in Pittsburgh in April 2017 which is Vickie/Ophelia’s hometown. I’m looking forward to meeting them and thanking them in person for their lovely review of The Organized Bride’s Thank You Note Handbook.

Have you read a book lately? Help an author by writing a review on Amazon or Goodreads–they’ll be grateful for your time and words.

 

CLICK HERE to sign up for Organized Artistry’s motivating monthly newsletter!

Categories: Facebook, NAPO Conference, The Organized Bride's Thank You Note Handbook

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Organizing MY Home: Where Do I Put it NOW?

Friday, September 9th, 2016

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As you may have read in my past three blog posts, last year I was a little busy with a home addition/renovation project. I knew it would be a challenging and rewarding process–and it was! But, there was one thing I didn’t realize would need to happen after we had moved back in…

I was going to have to find new ‘homes’ for almost everything we owned.

Although I don’t formally ‘move’ clients as part of Organized Artistry’s list of services, on occasion, I have helped a client  unpack their belongings into a new home. Within that process, I have assisted clients in finding new ‘homes’ for their kitchenware, linens and anything else that needed a home. With all the work that went into making our new house safe and beautiful, it never dawned upon me that I was going to have to figure out new ‘homes’ for everything we owned. Our house barely looked the same after the renovation/addition. Much of our old furniture was gone. We had a brand new kitchen with ample cabinets and pull-out drawers (squee!)–new closets, vanities, and storage options, too.

A Professional Organizer re-creates homes for everything she owns I organizedartistry.com

One of the storage pieces we created–four drawers to hold BBQ and entertaining pieces.

Yup. I’m a Professional Organizer and ‘finding new homes for everything we owned’ had not made it to my To-Do list.

We had lived in our pre-renovation house with mostly the same furniture and storage systems for fourteen years. For fourteen years the tape measure, the check book, and most of what we owned had ‘lived’ in the same place. I always knew where to find things when I needed them. Now, after almost six months in our house, it’s more like…

“Honey, where’s the (fill-in-the-blank)?

or

“Honey, do you remember where we decided to put the (fill-in-the-blank)?

or, once in a while it’s more like…

“WHERE IS THAT (fill-in-the-blank)? I COULD SWEAR I PUT IT IN (that drawer, that closet, that room)!

I’ll be honest–this has been pretty frustrating for me as a person and for someone who finds ‘good homes’ for people’s belongings for a living! It has left me discombobulated and a little freaked-out when I can’t find something.

Like I tell my clients, nothing happens overnight and I have to remind myself of that, too. A task this large needed to be broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks. The joke is, “How do you eat an elephant?” and the answer is, “one bite at a time…” It’s an ongoing process. I broke it down into three parts: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary (like on the color wheel). Here’s how I’ve been breaking down the task to meet this challenge head on…

Primary: What Did I Do First? 

• On move-in day, I set up a bin in my new kitchen–large enough to accommodate papers. Any important papers that I needed to not misplace and have in front of my eyeballs went in there (ex. forms from school, our packing list, a wedding invitation, etc.)

• I thought of what rooms/hotspots HAD to be organized for us to function as a family in the days and weeks post move-in. Those turned out to be the kitchen/panrty, the kid’s homework/supply station, basic bedroom, bathroom, and home office set ups, current season clothing and sporting equipment (for my two boys).

• The tape measure and checkbook found semi-permanent homes!

Secondary: Three Months later–a few examples… 

• I have been slowly determining where items should now ‘live’ based on our new habits and the flow of the house.

• Important papers used to hang on my fridge and I kept some in a magazine holder on my kitchen counter. Now I keep them in plastic sleeves in a binder that lives in one of my kitchen cabinets. It’s now a ‘home’ for papers I need to look at regularly (schedules for recycling, school, sports, phone lists, etc.)

 pre-renovation magnet-covered refrigerator

This is what our old fridge used to look like! We had a ton of fridge magnets–my kids loved them!

• My kids needed a place to put their most popular games/puzzles/books on the first floor of our home. Certain kid games/puzzles/books now live in a dresser that is being used as an entrainment console until we get a new one. Other games/puzzles/books live in the basement and kid bedrooms.

Tertiary: Tasks left on the to-do list… 

• Holiday, BBQ/Entertaining items, Art Supplies are still in boxes. If I need them, I know where the boxes are and what’s inside of each since my packing list perpetually lives in the bin described above. Still haven’t figured out where everything will live–especially since we’re still in need of some furniture that will serve as storage pieces for the items in these boxes. Find the turkey platter, fondue pot, and glitter glue? No problem. Where to store it for the next few years? I’ll have to get back to you on that one…

• When the movers brought some of our boxes up to the attic, they were put up there in random spots. Once the weather gets cooler, hubby and I can organize them better–especially the bins of seasonal kid clothes. Those can be a beast!

• I am still slowly determining where items should now ‘live’ based on our new habits and the flow of the house. I think we’re going to have to live in the space for a year–four seasons–to know where everything should live.

I’m taking it slow and if you’re in a similar situation–you should, too. Find a fork and eat that elephant–one bite at a time!

What have you had to recently find a new home for in YOUR house?

 

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Categories: Basic Organizing Principles, Organizing MY Home

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