Answer: Pot lid organizers

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Q. I have such a problem with my pot lids. I have a large cupboard approx. 25″ w x 13″ h and 23″ deep. Any suggestions?  Chrome Roll-Out Lid Organizer Image

A. There are several types of pot lid organizers that could work for your cupboard, but my top recommendations are the Chrome Roll-Out Lid Organizer Lid Maid Cabinet Organizer Imagewhich can accommodate up to 18 pot lids; and the Lid Maid Pull-Out Lid Organizer, with a storage capacity of up to six cookware lids.  Both are also able to hold cookie sheets, trays and cutting boards.

Although pull-out organizers require installation, they make life easier on a daily basis by allowing you to easily access the far reaches of your cabinets.

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Shoe Organizers

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Shoe organizers now come in almost as many varieties and styles as shoes do.  There are so many different kinds of shoe racks, shoe cubbies, underbed shoe chests, stackable shoe drawers, hanging shoe shelves, acrylic shoe boxes….the options can almost make your head spin.

To save you time (and space), I’ve narrowed the list down to focus on only the most space-efficient types of shoe organizers:

  • Over-the-door shoe racks are designed to hang on hinged closet or bedroom doors, and feature shelves or compartments sized to hold multiple pairs of shoes. They’re great for keeping shoes off the floor and making footwear easy to see at a glanceOver the Door Shoe Rack - 36 Pair - White Image (and also easy to access). This type of shoe storage system comes in a wide variety of configurations and materials.  For example, the steel and plastic 36-Pair Over the Door Shoe Rack has 12 tiers that are each able to hold up to three pairs of shoes; its two over-the-door hanging hooks make it simple to hang the rack on any door measuring a maximum of 1-1/2 inches thick. If you have fewer than 36 pairs of shoes, there are other racks that hold anywhere from 18 to 30 pairs.
  • Revolving shoe racks are freestanding yet have a small footprint (no puns intended)–they only take up about one square foot of floor space.  Each of the tiers rotate individually and can be adjusted up or down the pole to accommodate different sizes of shoes.
  • Under-bed shoe storage is best for shoes that aren’t used frequently, since they’re not Under Bed Shoe Organizer Imageas easily accessible as shoe racks. But this type of shoe storage lets you utilize your under-bed area while keeping dust bunnies out.  One good choice is the Under Bed Shoe Organizer–it features a dust-defying clear zippered lid, 16 compartments (for storing up to 16 pairs of shoes) and a handle on one end so you can pull it out like a drawer.  A smaller but more deluxe version with cedar inserts is also available.
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Answer: Organizing medications & supplements

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Q. I take many supplements and medications throughout the day. Because I have such a terrible memory now, I leave them all out on the counter, pull them away from the wall in the morning and push them back against the wall after taking the total number of times needed. That way, I know if it is against the wall, I have taken it. If it is still away from the wall, I have not. I’d like to find something that I could use to better organize these so that my counter doesn’t look so cluttered. I have not been able to figure anything out and would greatly appreciate any advice!!

A.  I think the Revolving Medicine Center might work for your needs.  It’s a two-tier medicine organizer that revolves 360 degrees for easy access to all types of pill bottles. Revolving Medicine Center ImageThe top portion has a recessed area for holding supplement containers and medicine bottles; the bottom tier features 31 removable pill holders (each with four compartments) stored in slots around the base, numbered on the outer edge for each day of the month.

If you like the space-saving idea of the two-tier turntable but don’t think you’d use the pill holders, you can set up your own system with a two-tier Lazy Susan.

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Kitchen knife storage space-savers

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Storing kitchen knives safely yet accessibly can be a challenge.  And knife holders, whether stowed inside a drawer or on a counter, often take up more space than the knives themselves.

Luckily there are several innovative ways to efficiently store your blades. If you’re ready to sharpen up your knife storage system, here are the best space-savers:

  • Under-cabinet knife storage lets you keep knives hidden away yet handy without sacrificing counter or drawer space. Under Cabinet Knife Block - Cherry ImageThere are two types: the drop-down knife drawer that pulls down and angles towards you, with magnetic strips to keep knives in place; and the swing-out knife block with a 360-degree swivel (great for kitchen islands with overhead storage) and magnetized knife slots to hold knives securely.  One crucial difference is that a swing-out block is visible whereas a drop-down knife drawer is hidden, designed to rest flush with the bottom of a cabinet.  
  • The Bodum Bistro Universal Knife Block is a space-saving alternative to the typical counter-hogging knife block. Instead of slots, it uses densely packed plastic rods inside a slender container (only 2.5 inches thick) to keep a variety of blades safely in place.
  • Magnetic knife holders are steel-framed magnetic strips that can be mounted inside a cabinet door or on a wall.
  • The Wall Mounted Knife Holder is a plastic knife rack that can also be mounted inside a cabinet door or on any smooth wood or metal surface.  It features raised edges that ensure protection from sharp edges and points. Wall Mounted Knife Holder Image

 

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Car trunk organizers

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Is your trunk full of junk–or does it just look that way?  A cluttered jumble of sports gear, gym clothes, toys, emergency supplies and other miscellany can make any auto look junky. (Not to mention the frustration of trying to find space in there for bags of groceries.)

The trick to organizing your vehicle’s cargo area is in choosing car-friendly containers to help create and maintain order.  Here are three examples of handy car trunk organizers that can speedily transform your mess-on-wheels into a tidier ride:

  • The Expandable Cargo Tote is a three-section organizer that lets you fold away any unused sections (an unlikely scenario,Expandable Cargo Tote Image but it’s nice to have the option). The tote also features three mesh pockets for stashing small supplies, side handles for easy carrying, and Velcro fasteners on the bottom that attach to your car’s carpet flooring so it stays in place during transit.
  • The Folding Trunk Organizer is a four-compartment container that adjusts to fit cargo areas in cars of all sizes, from large SUV’s to compacts.  The accordion design expands from 10 x 12 inches to 40 x 20 inches. Each compartment is large enough to fit a paper grocery bag; the fourth compartment also has a removable divider that sticks in place (with Velcro) to create four sections ideal for safely transporting wine bottles.
  • Designed for SUV’s and crossover vehicles, the Trunk Cargo Organizer is a five-pocket Trunk Cargo Organizer Imageelasticized mesh storage system that hangs (via adjustable snap-on straps) from back seat headrest posts.  Three of the pockets are large and stretchy to accommodate big and/or bulky items such as soccer balls, while two smaller pockets are at the top–easy to reach from the back seat so they’re ideal for stashing frequently used items.

More types of car organizers can be found here.

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Dorm Closet Maximizers

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For dorm dwellers, making the most of a small closet isn’t just a challenge–it’s a necessity. A dorm closet needs to function as more than a mere clothes closet.  Dormies also need to stash away laundry, shower supplies and whatever doesn’t fit under the bed.

Utilizing the closet door is one of the best ways to create storage from wasted space. Here are four types of door storage solutions that work well as dorm closet maximizers–and for studio apartment closets, too:

  • The Door Knob Hamper can be hung inside or outside a closet on the door knob (or from a closet bar or over-door hook).Canvas Door Knob Hamper Image  It’s handy for keeping dirty laundry off the floor or storing clean towels or other items. The patented design features a swiveling hook on a steel frame that holds the hamper open for easy access yet is only six inches deep.  The hook also functions as a carrying handle for toting to the laundry room.  Another thoughtful feature is that the large canvas bag (two-load capacity) has a full-length zipper that makes it simple to empty laundry directly into the washing machine or onto a surface for sorting.  The bag is also removable for washing.
  • The Mesh Shower Caddy provides ample storage for shower supplies and toiletries yet takes up little space, since it can also be hung on a door knob or hook.
  • The Over the Door Storage Baskets rack consists of a steel frame with six ventilated plastic basketsOver the Door Storage Baskets Image that are ideal for storing all sorts of supplies.  Tip:  To help keep everything organized, decide what you want to store in the baskets and then use removable labels to label the edge of each basket.
  • Over-the-door hooks and over-the door racks (with multiple hooks) are useful for hanging everything from hats to hoodies, belts and bags.

More over-the-door organizers can be found here.

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Magnetic Organizers

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Magnetic organizers are terrific for utilizing vertical space–whether on a fridge, a file cabinet, a locker or any steel-framed door.  I’ve found they work well for keeping all different kinds of materials organized and easy to reach.

These well-designed wonders are some of my favorite magnetic organizers:

  • You can turn almost any wall into a magnetic surface with a Magnetic Wall Board which can be easily mounted with the Magnetic Wall Board Imageincluded 3M Command Mounting Strips or mounting hardware (also included).  Then simply add magnetic containers (available in a variety of sizes and shapes) to hold mail, eyeglasses, cell phones, office supplies or anything else you want to keep handy and visible. (But nothing too heavy: the Magnetic Wall Board will hold up to a total of 20 pounds).
  • Magnetic Storage Tins are small round metal containers that feature a see-through top
    with a sprinkle-or-pour opening for spices or sparkles. The bottoms are magnetized so you can stick them on the side of a fridge or metal cabinet (or a Magnetic Wall Board) for easy access.
  • MagnaPods Cosmetics Organizers are a set of three one-inch-deep clear plastic containers designed to magnetically adhere to the inside of steel-framed medicine cabinet doors (and other magnet-friendly surfaces).  Ideal for storing small items–not just makeup, but things like tweezers, nail scissors and other easy-to-misplace supplies–the organizers come in three sizes; two of them feature removable dividers so they can be customized to fit your needs.

Other sizes of MagnaPods are also available as nail polish bottle organizers and toothbrush holders.

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Answer: Corner shelf

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Q. I have been looking for a single small corner shelf to hold an antique vase. I need to be able to attach it to a wall high enough so that my kids can’t reach up & knock it down. Any suggestions?

A. The solid wood Instant Corner Shelf is an ideal solution that’s also economical ($12.99). Instant Corner Shelf ImageIt holds up to 25 pounds and features an invisible mounting system that requires no tools for installation.

Another option is the Corner Glass Shelf which holds up to 50 pounds.

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Makeup drawer organizers

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A messy makeup drawer isn’t a pretty sight. And facing a disorganized jumble of beauty supplies each morning makes it hard to start the day with a smile.

But luckily it’s not hard to conquer cosmetics clutter, thanks to well-designed makeup drawer organizers. Here are three effective and affordable examples that can also be used to organize other drawers around your home:

  • The natural wood Expandable Cosmetic Drawer Organizer expands from 9 inches to 16 inches deep, then locks in place once you have it at the width you want. Six compartments in varying sizes accommodate most types of cosmetics and make it easy to maintain an orderly makeup drawer.
  • Clear stackable drawer organizers such as the Cosmetic Organizing Tray let you utilize every vertical inch of drawer space.
  • Another drawer-space maximizer is the Drawer Doubler, an eight-compartment organizer designed to fit over the top of most Drawer Doubler Divided Organizer - White Imagedrawers without hindering drawer closure.  Adjustable to fit most drawers (11.25 inches to 16.25 inches), the smooth plastic edges glide atop the drawer sides, allowing you to easily access the contents below.  Since the top-to-bottom depth is just under 1 inch, it won’t hold cosmetics in bottles or jars but works well for storing everything else–from eye shadow pans to lipstick tubes.
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Seasonal storage solutions

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Are your closets still stuffed with cool-weather clothes and blankets?  Procrastinators, take heart–it’s not too late to store out-of-season items. (Just be sure to launder or dry-clean all fabric materials before storing even if they look clean.)

The trick is to use containers that will keep out moisture and bugs, yet will be easy for you to access the contents. Here are three types of super seasonal storage solutions:

  • The Jumbo Zipper Storage Bag is ample enough to accommodate large items such as an over-sized comforter or even a sleeping bag. Jumbo Zipper Storage Bag ImageConstructed of water-resistant heavy-duty woven polyethylene tarp, it’s a spacious 26 inches high by 22 inches wide by 12 inches deep and has four handles (one on each side) for comfortable carrying.  A label pocket lets you easily note the contents.
  • Stackable plastic storage boxes are ideal for storing out-of-season blankets, flannel sheets and bulky clothing.  They come in a variety of sizes and configurations.
  • Covered garment racks work well for storing out-of-season clothes that you prefer to keep on hangers. For bug-safe storage of garments made of natural fibers such as wool and silk, Cedarstow Hanging  Hanging Wardrobe - Extra Wide - CedarStow ImageWardrobes provide extra protection–the freestanding units feature interlocking cedar panels on the sides, and also include side hooks so they can be hung from a closet rod.

Other types of cedar clothing storage helpers can be found here.

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