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

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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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Cool Product: Large White Shelf Dividers from Storables

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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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5 Must-Haves for Spring Cleaning Your Clothes Closet

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Great ideas! 5 Must-Haves for Spring Cleaning Your Clothes Closet | organizedartistry.com

 

Where I live, it’s kinda cold. And it’s the first day of Spring (insert frowny face here). As much as I’d love to start doing a little spring cleaning in my closet, I still need my polartec tops and flannel lined jeans. May have to start elsewhere this weekend…

But, if you live in a warmer climate or just can’t look at your boots one more day, then by all means start spring cleaning your clothes closet.

 

Here are the 5 ‘must-haves’ you’ll need for this project:

Garbage bags

Despite their name, these bags won’t all be used for garbage. Grab two colors–black, white, and a third bag can be a reusable tote. Designate black for trash, white for donations, and the tote for repairs. Why use this system? I have heard stories of people accidentally donating their trash and putting their donations to the curb because they used bags of one color.

As you are sorting through and purging clothes from your closet, place them in the correct bag. Clothes with repairable tears and shoes/handbags that need a little TLC from the shoemaker go in your tote bag. When you finish, place the black bags wherever you keep your trash, put the donation and repair bags in your car or at your doorway, and mark off a day on your calendar to drop off them off at their next destinations.

Pad of paper and pen or cell phone

As you go through your clothes, you may find that they have an old stain, they’re too loose or tight, or you just don’t love it anymore. When getting rid of garments, keep a list of items you’d like to replace. That way, when you’re at the mall, you don’t have to think about what clothes you need–just refer to your list and you’ll know exactly what purchases to focus on. Use pen and paper or your cell phone to create the list–whichever works best for you.

Bottle of water/snack

Spring cleaning a clothes closet is a physical activity. Handling some sentimental items and items with ‘bad karma’ attached to them can be emotional as well. Even if you’ve eaten a large meal before starting, I’d recommend having a bottle of water and a snack at arm’s reach. You’ll need a break to clear your head and refuel–how often you do that during this task is up to you and your needs. But, I always advise my clients to bring a snack and drink into the space we’re working on. It means they don’t have to leave the room and lose focus while we’re working.

Large flat or multiple small flat surfaces

When going through a clothes closet, it’s important to have a place to put the clothes while sorting them out. If your closet is in your bedroom, use the bed to place the garments down as you make decisions. If your clothes live in a room without a bed, use folding chairs or storage tubs to separate your clothes by category. The floor is NOT a good option unless absolutely necessary. If that’s the case, please open a flat sheet, lay it on the floor and place your piles on top of the sheet.

Time

A basic organizing principle to follow for spring cleaning or any organizing task is. ‘Make an Appointment With Yourself.’ We make appointments to see doctors and to make our hair look fabulous and we wouldn’t consider canceling them except in an emergency. Do the same with Spring Cleaning. Take out your calendar and pick a day to start. Pencil in 15 minutes, a half hour, an hour–whatever amount of time you think you can manage. Keep that appointment. You’ll be glad you did.

What do you think you’ll find in your clothes closet this Spring?

 

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Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom

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The last week of November was a busy time in my household. It was Thanksgiving. It was Hanukkah. And it was also my birthday. Lots of food and festivities. Not a lot of downtime.

But, my hubby and I chose to carve out a small amount of time that weekend to make our home more organized. The colder weather was upon us and we had to come up with a solution to a recent organization problem.

We have a front door and an entry-way closet next to that door. Coats, shoes, umbrellas and accessories are kept in that closet.

Problem: My children and I enter and exit our home most days through the garage, not the front door. No closet next to that garage entrance door. Instead, we have a tiny laundry room with an even tinier broom closet that we converted to a storage closet years ago. We installed a row of hooks across the top and at the bottom of the closet we store shopping and recycle bags of varying sizes.

Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
On this closet door, we installed a 4-pocket organizer from Babies R’ Us which has proved to be an extraordinarily helpful organizing product. Each of us has a pocket to store accessories and one is for infrequently used items like snow gloves.
Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces

This worked well for a while. My children were young and had little coats and my jacket fit just fine next to theirs. Now, my kids are bigger and so are their coats. They have more hats and mittens, too. With all three of our winter coats in there, the closet door no longer stayed closed. And the hooks were so high, I was the person in charge of hanging everyone’s coats.

What to do?

I had suggested a hall tree for the room adjacent to the garage which just so happens to be my home office. It wouldn’t thrill me to have coats and backpacks hanging in my work space but it was better than having them spill out of the storage closet–especially when I was doing the laundry.

My husband did not like the hall tree idea for two reasons:
1) He thought a hall tree would have looked messy. (I agree)
2) The hall tree would have to stand in the space currently occupied by his grandmother’s table which he loves and it would not fit in our attic.

So, for a while we thought about it, spent the summer leaving camp bags in the garage but then Autumn came and the problem was back. Backpacks and diaper bags were dropped as we entered the house and coats were dumped on a couch that sits opposite my desk in this room. (No picture is available–too embarrassing for this Professional Organizer to admit!)

Besides the fact that it looked terrible, it didn’t exactly instill the importance of being organized to our two young children.

Once again we asked ourselves, “What to do?”

Solution: One day, my husband looked at me and said, “What if we move the ironing board and vacuum cleaner out of the laundry room and use that space as a mudroom? I measured the space. It was 24” wide. I was skeptical but I grew up in a 5’x12′ bedroom. I knew I could make this work.

Challenge accepted!

Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
I’ll give my husband credit for thinking of utilizing this space. I probably never considered it because my husband likes to iron despite the fact he doesn’t do it much anymore (Yes–he does laundry, too. I’m a lucky lady…). We had not hung an iron in the iron holder since our first child started crawling six years ago. It was a great iron/ironing board organizer from Rubbermaid but it’s time was up. We relocated the real vacuum to the garage with the ironing board and the toy vacuum went to the basement playroom.
Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
I thought to myself, “Where am I going to find what I need to fit into a two-foot wide space?”
I looked in Home Goods and online and didn’t see much that would fit my tight secifications. Then one day, I was in Target and went to check out their Closetmaid collection. I’ve used their products in the past for organizing my kid’s toys and got to check out their new products at the NAPO Conference last year.
I walked down the aisle and not only did I see what would work for me, it was on sale!

Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
The Closetmaid 24″ Horizontal Stackable Organizer

 

Twenty four inches wide, too! What luck! My plan was to have the boys keep their backpacks on the top shelf, store their sneakers on the middle and bottom shelves and since their feet aren’t too big, maybe there would be room for a basket to hold accessories.
Now, I needed to figure out the second half of the mudroom–a place to hang coats. There are so many hook choices out there from the simple to the whimsical. We just needed simple. And, we needed more than one set of hooks. One was to be placed at the top of the space for my coat/handbag/hat and the other was to be placed so my kids could hang and retrieve their own outerwear.
Before Thanksgiving, I attended the holiday party for the local organizer group I belong to–NAPO-NNJ. Besides a lovely dinner, we had a Yankee Swap. The table was filled with gifts and I had pulled the last number for picking. By the time it was my turn to pick, there was one gift left on the table. You’ll never believe what it was?
A SET OF HOOKS!
What else do you think Professional Organizers would bring to a Yankee Swap??? It was meant to be!
And, the person who bought the hooks hadn’t removed the price tag entirely. They were from Bed Bath and Beyond. You can’t imagine how giddy I was over a set of hooks!
The next day with my trusty 20% coupon in hand, I bought another set. I was ready for construction to begin.
We charged our electric drill, connected with our inner Bob Villa, and made Mudroom Magic. Hubby and I put together the Closetmaid shelf in less than ten minutes. We measured and hung the hooks making sure they were straight with the iHandy level on my iPhone.
Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
Measure twice, make hole once!

 

My kids tried putting their backpacks on the bench–plenty of room!

Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
Hooks were hung and so were the coats. The laundry room is tight–here’a a few pics of what it looks like now.
Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
My kids have been using it everyday–I am so proud of them! Sometimes I find my husband staring at this space with a big grin on his face. I love it, too. No more coat clutter. It looks great. It keeps us organized. Twenty-four inches of space. Challenge accepted. Challenge met. Challenge complete!
What organizing challenges have you resolved in your home recently?

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On Hurricanes, Organization, and Being Thankful

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It’s been almost a month since Hurricane Sandy blew through the Northeast.

I am thankful that my family came out of the hurricane fairly unscathed. We had power and heat–our only loss was internet and cable for about a week. We know many who slept in chilled houses and went wherever they could to charge their phones and laptops for weeks on end. And that’s nothing compared to people who completely lost their homes…

But I was nervous…

You see, in the spring of 2010, a month before giving birth to baby #2, a storm dropped our neighbor’s huge tree onto our home. It came through a window of our three-season room and took up about 80% of our backyard.
Our neighbor still has another big tree in his backyard and as you can imagine, my husband and I were concerned about Hurricane Sandy causing similar or worse damage to our home.
We hoped for the best but prepared for the worst. And then got organized.
We made ice. And filled ziploc bags with water to make more ice. We bought all the ‘D’ batteries we could find and gathered all our flashlights, candles, and electronics in one place. I also gathered all information we might need in case of an emergency: 
-our homeowners and car insurance polices/account numbers, 
-our PSE&G account and contact information, 
-the telephone number for News 12 New Jersey to hear news reports if we had no other way to access the news.
I packed a few days worth of clothes for all of us and a weeks worth of diapers for my little guy. This is just the kids’ pile…
I also packed water, non-perishables and made a list of perishables to take with us in case we had to evacuate our home.

I was anxious about another tree falling on my house during the hurricane but I was equally as anxious about the possibility of having to feed my youngest child if we had no refrigeration or way to heat food up. He has multiple food allergies on top of the fact that he’s 2.5 and doesn’t have the most sophisticated palette.

I channeled my anxiety by making lists–a great way to get organized and prepare for an event such as a hurricane. I started on paper but then switched over to my favorite productivity app, Evernote. I use this app as a place to dump my brain and keep information for future use. I started an ‘Emergency Preparedness’ folder in Evernote and created the following lists of items we’d need:

-perishable food
-non-perishable food

-perishable food for my child with food allergies
-non-perishable food for my child with food allergies
-important contact information
-what we’d need to take with us in case we need to evacuate (clothing, cash, medicine, important papers, etc.)

You can access Evernote from any computer or your phone–the information is all in the cloud. I HIGHLY recommend this app. My desk would be overrun with papers and post-its without it!

Now that I had made my lists, I felt more prepared for the upcoming storm. What I wasn’t prepared for was my 2.5 year old getting his foot stuck between the slats of a dining room chair as the wind was howling and the trees were swaying. Days later, people asked us if we had any damage due to Hurricane Sandy. I laughed and said to them, “one chair–and it was INSIDE the house.”

It was repaired the next day and now our son’s booster seat sits on this chair. I think we’re going to be telling this story for years to come…

After the storm blew through, we touched base with family and friends discovered that we were one of the few homes around town that had power. We had no TV or internet access but I was grateful that we had heat and a fully working kitchen.
Our preparedness helped us as well as with others. We shared extra batteries, extra room in our fridge and freezer and gave out food, ice and a warm place to hang out to those who needed it.

School was closed for seven days. What kept my kids most occupied during the no-school days following the hurricane?

Balloons!

Is it possible to be thankful for a bag of balloons? Why not?

We also had nieces and nephews stop by to play and warm up. We had fun with stickers and crayons and other non-electronic toys. I will say–despite the fact we did not have cable, our DVR worked. So, we did have a bit of television to keep the kiddies occupied.

During this time, I also taught my kids how to use the Swiffer. They loved pushing it around, especially my 2.5 year old. He and my 6 year old had a competition–who could pick up the most dirt and dust with it. I had very clean floors after the hurricane!

Slowly we heard about more and more people getting their power back. Schools were opening again. Gas lines were getting shorter. Everyone from celebrities to relief organizations were collecting for Hurricane Sandy relief.

My son’s school sent a note home that they were collecting items for the towns of Little Ferry and Moonachie, NJ. I used this event as a lesson in gratitude/being thankful. My six year old and I talked about how we were very lucky that nothing happened to our house during the hurricane and how others had not been so lucky. We collected items from the list, labeled the bags and he helped me take them to school.

Three cheers for Warren Point Elementary School of Fair Lawn, NJ!

Three more cheers go out to Girl Scout Troop 445 of Fair Lawn. They made up a list of food items they wished to collect for those affected by Hurricane Sandy and were nice enough to staple a plastic bag to the list. Very organized, ladies!

Once again, I took my son into our pantry. We had another talk about people affected by the hurricane that need food and how lucky we were to have what we need in our house. He read the items from the list and I put them in the bags–a lesson in literacy and gratitude. I recycled the plastic bag, and used paper instead…

Other companies/organizations involved in collecting for Hurricane Sandy–

Deposit A Gift, an online cash gift registry service, has partnered with The Foundling Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund and is donating an extra 4% for every dollar given. Here’s how you can help. People have even created ‘registries’ for family/friends who have lost much to Huricane Sandy. Here’s an example of how one couple is raising funds for their Aunt Pat who lived in the devastated Breezy Point area of NY.

Whole Foods near me in Paramus, NJ is collecting coats through December 7th for New York Cares 24th Annual Coat Drive. According to the NY Cares website, “the storm created an unprecedented demand for warm coats.”

The Container Store is partnering with One Warm Coat to collect gently used coats, hats and mittens, sweaters and sweatshirts.

Please take a look in your closets and see if you have any outerwear that is in good enough shape to donate. This is the perfect time to de-clutter and help others.

Hurricane Sandy blew through town a few weeks before Thanksgiving–a time when most of us have more of an awareness of what we’re thankful for.

I’m thankful for much but in terms of the hurricane, I’m thankful…

-we had power, a working kitchen and didn’t need to leave our home.
-that we were able to help others after the storm.
-for my husband being home from work for a week and the time we got to spend as a family.
-for the break from the internet. As wonderful as it is, sometimes my eyes and brain need a rest…
-for the little time we got to organize. Not always easy with little kids around but we tackled a few -hot spots in my house.
-for Evernote which got me organized for this storm and prepared for a similar emergency in the future.
-that the only storm damage we had was a dining room chair!

A hurricane is a powerful reminder of our need to express gratitude and desire to be of help to others. Just because Thanksgiving has passed and the holiday season is upon us doesn’t mean we should forget about those who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. Please consider de-cluttering your closets, buying an extra holiday gift for a displaced child, or donating food to a local food pantry. Keep thankfulness and gratitude on your mind and in your heart this season and always.

Organizing Quote

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I’m guilty.

Guilty of not being able to keep up with reading my magazines. I’m now down to one subscription and I have a stack that I’m slowly chipping away at. See, even Professional Organizers get behind on tasks!

I just finished reading the March 2012 ‘De-clutter Your Life’ issue of O “Oprah’ magazine and really enjoyed reading an article called, “Journey to the Center of Gayle’s Closet.”

In the article, Adam Glassman, O Magazine’s Creative Director along with a small team of helpers assist Gayle King (Oprah’s ‘bestie’) with a closet intervention: sorting, purging and organizing her clothes closet.

It’s a great piece written by the very talented Lisa Kogan. She is so funny, I’d read the phone book if I knew she wrote it…

There’s a section at the bottom of the article showing products to help to organize a closet–that’s where I got the following quote from…

Quote: “What good are boxes and bins if you can’t easily tell what’s in them?” says Adam Glassman.

“People can last a day or two without food and water, but no one can live without a label maker!”

Loved that. Had to share. Who is running out and getting a label maker?

Top Ten Helper Shelf ‘Hot Spots’ for Your Home

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A while back, I wrote an article for my website about my favorite organizing products. Years have passed but my favorites have not changed. One of those favorite organizing products is the Helper Shelf.

What is a ‘helper shelf?’

A helper shelf divides the horizontal space of a shelf, offering more storage space above and below itself. They come in many different widths and heights—some are even width-adjustable. Looking for one to match your decor? You’ll find most are made of chrome, plastic, metal or wood. Helper shelves can be found in the same aisle as other kitchen organizing products and purchased at home stores like Target or in specialty stores such as The Container Store. They can be used anywhere you need to double a shelf space.

I recently counted how many helper shelves I was using in my home–about 15! And I have a few in my basement that are waiting to be used when the need arises.

Do you have places in your home that could use a helper shelf? If so, get ready to get organized. Here are my top ten helper shelf ‘hot-spots’ for your home:

1. Linen closet – Besides sheets and towels, linen closets often house medicine, health and beauty supplies, lightbulbs and other small items. This is a picture of the shelf in my linen closet where I keep health items for my two kids. Notice–lots of little packages. A perfect spot for a helper shelf!

2. Medicine cabinet – If there’s a spot in our homes with small bottles and boxes, it’s a medicine cabinet. Most standard-sized helper shelves don’t fit in a medicine cabinet but while shopping at the Christmas Tree Shop a few months ago, I came across one that was made especially to fit in medicine cabinets. I bought it for a whopping $1.99. Turns out I didn’t need a helper shelf in my medicine cabinet so I now use it on my…

3. Kitchen counter – I have a small kitchen and need certain items handy. Thought the ‘medicine cabinet’ helper shelf would work well to organize items near my stovetop. This is a picture of the small helper shelf in action–shorter items below and taller items on top. It’s been working very well for me!

4. Kitchen cabinet – This is where many people use helper shelves. My kitchen does not have much cabinet space so I had to maximize the space as best I could.

Between these two cabinets, I have five helper shelves. They came in extra handy when I had kids and had to make room for their kiddie plates, bowls and cups.

5. Freezer – I have one of those older refrigerators with the freezer on top. I use a helper shelf to double the space that might otherwise be a pileup of bagels, frozen veggies and leftovers. Small items such as the ice cube trays fit well under the shelf while flat items stack well on top.

6. Pantry – Sometimes we can adjust our pantry shelves and sometimes we can’t. If you have tall pantry shelves that can’t be adjusted, a helper shelf will create more space. Double the space means double the room for food storage! Here, small food items such as jello and pudding boxes fit well underneath and larger boxes stack equally as well on top.

7. Playroom – Kids have big toys and small toys and as a parent, I know that not all shelves accommodate all sizes of toys. Place a helper shelf on a tall shelf to store puzzles or board games on top and create a home for small toys like cars or a basket of Beanie Babies underneath.

8. Home Office – Use a helper shelf in a closet or storage piece to neatly stack and store office supplies. This will make it much easier to find and retrieve the supplies you need.

9. Laundry room – Like the playroom, a laundry room also has large items and small items that both need an organized home. Purchase a heavy-duty helper shelf for detergent storage and place small items such as dryer sheets and a receptacle for lonely socks below.

10. Over/Under Kitchen Sink – I had one of these when I lived in an apartment years ago. It was a great way to make more room for me in my already tiny kitchen. I put my sponge underneath the shelf and kept dishwashing soap and a few decorative items on top.

What are YOUR helper shelf ‘hot spots?’

New Baby? Time to Get Organized!

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I’m not sure what happened in the universe nine months ago, but it seems as if everyone is having babies this spring. I have bought a bunch of baby gifts over the past few weeks and my mother just took three pink and blue packages to the post office.
It’s raining babies!
Babies are cute and sweet and smell great but they come with A LOT of stuff–A LOT of stuff that needs organizing! Clothes, toys, gadgets, and equipment are only the tip of the baby-belongings iceberg. Papers, feeding/sleeping schedules, and the baby gift/thank you note list need to be organized, too.
Whether you’re expecting or your bundle of joy has already arrived, what parent can’t use a few baby organizing tips?
With that in mind, I’d like to offer a few valuable pre-baby organizing tips and “can’t-live-without-them” organizing products to assist in creating a clutter-free environment for you and your new arrival.
Pre-Baby Organizing Tips

Sort and Purge—your own stuff
Get rid of the old to make room for ‘the new’ (your little one needs a lot of room!). Sort and purge through your own clutter in your:
Closets

Discard or donate any clothes no longer worn or usable. The clothes in your closet (whether they’re maternity or regular-sized clothes) should fit and flatter you and be easily accessible. There’s no time to pull together an outfit when your baby is crying in the next room. In addition, if there’s stuff in the closet that is designated for your child, sort and purge that one, too.
Kitchen cabinets
Clear out items such as old containers and expired food and relocate anything you use once a year to make room for bottles, baby food and sippy cups.
Linen closet or bathroom

Toss expired medicine and remove worn out linens to make room for baby’s linens and medical supplies.
Create lists
Whether your ‘womb-mate’ is depleting you of your brain cells or not, you still have plenty to remember. Write down everything you need to recall. Make lists. Here are a few examples of lists you may wish to create prior to your due date:
To-Do List

There’s so much to do! Register for necessities, write thank you notes, interview pediatricians, look at baby furniture and keep up with the rest of your life at the same time. Keeping a to-do list will help keep you focused on what must get accomplished before baby arrives.
Gift list

Unless you have many enemies, your child will receive gifts. It’s important to have a ‘gift’ list ready so keeping track of who gave you what and writing thank you notes will be a less chaotic task. Create the gift list on a legal pad or on the computer. Designate one place to store it so can find it when the UPS guy rings your doorbell.
Birth announcement list 
If you’re planning on sending out a birth announcement, generate an address list of people you’d like to send an announcement to. The addressing of the envelopes is a perfect task to delegate. When friends and relatives ask how they can help you—hand them a pen!
Guest list
If you’re having a religious or non-religious post-birth celebration create a list of people you wish to invite along with their contact information.
Set up a filing system for your child’s papers
You’re probably thinking—papers? For a baby? Yes, not only do babies create a lot of dirty diapers they also create a lot of paperwork. These papers need a home so they’re not cluttering up your desk or kitchen counter. Their home could be a space in your file cabinet or a separate file box.
Examples of files for new baby are:
Birth certificate/Social Security card
Medical records/Pediatrician notes
Bank account/College savings account information
Baby equipment instruction booklets (yes—you should keep them…)
Gift list
Buy bins/tubs
Purchase a minimum of 5-7 bins large enough for ample storage but small enough for you to lift if necessary (to an attic space or to stack in your basement). My personal favorite are the Rubbermaid Roughneck bins. Label them as follows 0-3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12 months.

People are going to give your child clothing as a gift, You may also receive ‘hand-me-downs’ from friends or relatives with older children. If the clothes you receive don’t fit your newborn yet, place them into the bin marked with the appropriate size for future use. Also, designate a bin for maternity clothes storage. As you drop the baby weight, drop the maternity clothes in the bin.
If you don’t have the space for bins/tubs, use Ziploc brand L-XXL bags for storage. They can be easily stored under a bed or at the top or bottom of your child’s closet.
A Few “Can’t-Live-Without-Them” Organizing Products:
Diaper Organizer
You’d be surprised to discover how many different products need to be handy while your baby is on the changing table. Depending upon what type of changing table you have, either one of these diaper organizers will work for you:
Prince Lionheart Dresser Top Diaper Depot Organizer sits on top of a changing table or dresser converted to a dressing table



Prince Lionheart Diaper Depot Organizer attaches to side of changing table



Baby Briefcase
If you have no time or desire to set up a filing system for your baby, check out the Baby Briefcase. It is a baby paperwork organizer created by a mom amazed by the amount of documents her new baby generated.

Bottle Drying Rack
Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, a bottle drying rack comes in very handy. It helps to keep all of your baby’s bottles, nipples and breast pump supplies in one place post-cleaning. As your child gets older, it can be used for kiddie plates, spoons and sippy cups.

Getting organized is essential as you prepare for the arrival of a new baby. You’ll want to be able to find what you need when you need it—quickly—and sometimes in the dark! After your first sleepless night, you’ll be glad you took the time to create an organized environment you and your new bundle of joy.
Share this with someone who is about to have a baby or just had one. Knowledge makes a great gift…

Dress for Success + Dressbarn = S.O.S. Send One Suit Weekend

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Maybe you used to work in an office and had tons of professional clothing. Then, you had a baby and decided to leave your job. Or, you lost a few pounds and some items no longer fit you. Maybe your style has changes or your office dress code has been done away with.

Regardless of the reason, today is the perfect day to purge your closet of any professional clothes that you no longer want or need.

Why? Well, it’s for a good cause.

Dress for Success is an organization that encourages the self-sufficiency of women and helps them enter the work force and take charge of their lives. They are partnering this weekend with Dressbarn to collect new and gently used professional clothing for women.

So, I am asking you to go into your closets and look for blazers, skirts, dress pants, suits–anything a woman could wear to an office. This is the perfect time of year (being so close to Spring Cleaning time) and the perfect cause to ‘let go.’

The Send One Suit drive began yesterday and continues through Sunday, March 4th. Besides a tax deduction receipt, I hear you get a 15% off coupon from Dressbarn when you donate. Don’t usually shop at Dressbarn? Offer that coupon to a woman looking for a job. Chances are she’ll be looking for a way to save money on her interview clothes. That’s two good deeds in one day–hurray for you, early Spring Cleaning, Dressbarn and Dress for Success!

Post-Baby Clothing Purge

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It’s rare to find a Professional Organizer that doesn’t follow their own advice…

I’m always saying to clients: “When it comes to your closets, get rid of/donate the old to make room for the new.” I help people (mostly women) clear out torn and stained clothes, too-small clothes, clothes with bad memories attached to them to make room for clothes that make them look and feel fabulous.

But, yet another saying comes to mind: “The shoemaker’s son has no shoes.”

You see, although I dispense this advice, lately I have been the shoemaker–too busy to tackle my own closet. My closet has been a hodge-podge of what I wore before I got pregnant six years ago, what I wore between my first and second pregnancies, what ‘kinda’ fits me now and what I’ve bought even though I’m hoping to drop another five pounds. This closet even has some clothes that pre-date my wedding day eleven years ago!

A few weeks ago while the rest of my family was out, I took an hour to sort through and purge my closet. What did I do?

• I took out anything I hadn’t worn in years and yes–literally dusted the items off.
• I made four piles: donate, throw out, keep, laundry.
• I tried on items that I thought might not fit me anymore.
• Anything that I was keeping (that had pre-pregnancy dust on it) I threw in my laundry basket.
• I counted all the empty hangers and made an appointment with myself for a little shopping…
• I donated items that were tight, that I no longer liked or suited my lifestyle.
• I wrote down what items needed replacing (white blouse, green sweater set).
• I created a drawer I call ‘Another Five Pounds’ which means, try these on again in a few months to see if they fit (mostly pants).

I bagged up all purged items and took them to Goodwill.

And I’m not done. I need another hour when the kiddies aren’t home to keep purging. Those winter clothes that didn’t fit me last year will be tried on in the next few weeks and ruthless decisions will be made. I took a quick look in that closet last week. I have a feeling I’m going to have more empty hangers…

What area of YOUR life needs organizing?

Contact Stacey to Get Started!

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