Conquer paper piles with file holders

What’s a simple solution for conquering your paper piles?  Super-handy file holders.

When the files you should be using are extremely accessible, you’re more likely to file instead of pile.  So set up small groups of files in file holders located right where papers pile up. For example, have a file holder in the kitchen with files labeled for coupons, takeout menus, instructions or any other paper categories that tend to accumulate on your kitchen counters.

Here are three types of file holders that work well in almost any room:

More file holder choices can be found here.

Stuffed toys storage solutions

Do stuffed animals breed?  It certainly seems that way. Limiting a collection of stuffed toys to a manageable size is nearly impossible for those who can’t resist this type of cuteness.

Keeping “stuffies” organized is usually a losing battle, especially since there’s no point in putting them away–unless “away” means a place where they can be easily seen and reached.  Luckily there are several stuffed toys storage solutions that help you maintain a semblance of order while keeping plush collectibles visible, accessible and off beds and floors.  Here are three worth checking out:

  • The Stuffed Toy Hammock is a wall-mounted mesh net holder, five-and-a-half feet wide, that mounts to walls and Stuffed Toy Hammock Imageprovides a simple way to store and display all types of plush toys.  Since it can be attached at any height, it works well for all ages.
  • The Chain Gang consists of a ceiling-mounted six-foot-long plastic chain with 20 removable clips designed to hold stuffed animals and other toys.  The clips are easy to move and re-attach, and can be placed anywhere on the chain; additional clips are available so you can add more if needed.
  • The Mesh Five Tier Hanging Closet Organizer attaches to any closet rod with heavy-duty Velcro; each of its five compartments has a sturdy shelf frame and a flexible opening to accommodate various sizes of toys.  Colorful Mesh Hanging Closet Organizer ImageThe openings also provide a fun way to display the faces of favorite stuffed animals.

Answer: TV monitor riser stand

Q. Can you find out how much weight ​​this ​​Monitor Riser Stand will hold? I’d be using this to raise my​​ LG 65-inch flat screen TV. I found one that swivels to raise the one in the bedroom, but I need something wider for this TV because it sits on legs and not a pedestal. Any advice or ideas? 

A.  You’ve found a great storage solution. The ​​Monitor Riser Stand would be an excellent choice for your 65-inch TV since it’s designed to accommodate the largest televisions and can support over 100 lbs. The center divider makes it very sturdy. If the legs of your TV aren’t more than 40 inches apart, I think it should work fine.

Answer: How to begin organizing

Q. I am hoping you can help because I am at a loss and things are way out of control! I am a college student and I need to be organized. My clothes are very disorganized (even though I have a hamper, ample dresser and wardrobe space in my dorm), my desk is a mess (even though if I organized some my drawers would accommodate everything) and  all of this disorganization is affecting my academics and life. How do I begin organizing?

A. You asked: “How do I begin organizing?”  There’s an old saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” This bit of wisdom applies to almost any big reorganizing project. To organize bite-by-bite, begin by focusing on whichever part of your room bothers you the most. Then decide what is the smallest bite you can take out of that area that will have a visible effect.

Since you mentioned that your desk is a mess, maybe you decide it’s your desk that bothers you the most. So you start by clearing off your desk. Use a box, laundry basket or other large container as a holding station and carefully move everything from the desk top into the container until you have an empty desk top. Then take out one item at a time and decide where it belongs–back on the desk or elsewhere?

It’s helpful to have holders for the papers, books and other items you want to keep on your desk.  Looking at some desktop organizers can give you some ideas of what you might need.

If you have a tendency to get distracted or lose track of time during the process, try setting a ticking timer for 15 minutes to give you a sense of urgency; when the buzzer sounds, step back to evaluate–then re-set and keep going until you’re satisfied with your progress.

Auto trash container organizers

Cars would be so much easier to keep clean and uncluttered if they came with a built-in garbage disposal.  Or even better: how about a handy trash receptacle that also offers storage options for disposable supplies such as Kleenexes, napkins and hand wipes?  (All typical car clutter contributors–as you may have noticed in your own or others’ vehicles.)

Luckily there are several types of auto trash container organizers designed to make life easier and tidier. Here are three that are especially efficient:

  • The Auto Litterbag and Tissue Holder attaches around a headrest andAuto Litterbag and Tissue Holder Image provides a roomy trash compartment with a spring frame that closes tightly to keep trash and odors contained, and a sealed-vinyl interior that’s leak-proof and easy to wipe clean. A separate compartment holds a standard-size tissue box, and two mesh side pockets keep wipes and bottles handy.
  • The CarNap is a unique customizable mobile napkin dispenser and trash disposal solution. You can strap it onto either a headrest or center console, making it easy for anyone in your car to access. It includes two swivel hooks for holding a litter bag (such as a plastic grocery bag), plus a dispenser that accommodates both standard-size and fast-food paper napkins.
  • The compact Car Trash Bin (also available large and extra-large sizes) is designed to sit Car Trash Bin - Compact Imageon the floor–it features a weighted bottom with Velcro to grip the carpet and keep the trash bin upright; rigid sidewalls prevent collapse, and a Velcro-closure lid ensures that trash is securely covered. The leak-proof vinyl interior keeps messes to a minimum (you can also line it with a small plastic trash bag). Two mesh side pockets offer storage for whatever small items you want to keep handy.



Fitness gear storage systems

Getting fit and getting organized are two of the top New Year’s resolutions.  But if you’re not in the habit of keeping your fitness gear organized, you could be setting yourself up for failure on both counts.

Whether you workout at a gym or at home, you’re bound to have fitness supplies and equipment that require thoughtful storage solutions: yoga mat, wrist & ankle weights, stretch cords & bands, jump rope, free weights…not to mention your workout clothes, shoes and accessories.

Here are four types of space-saving and effective fitness gear storage systems that can help you keep your resolutions in good order:

  • The Rolling Underbed Storage rack is a spacious container (23.75 inches x 24 inches wide x 6.38 inches high) that rolls on four casters Rolling Underbed Storage Imageand fits under any size bed frame. The ventilated epoxy-coated steel wire bin allows air to circulate around stored items so it’s ideal for keeping frequently used fitness gear out of the way yet accessible.
  • Storage ottomans are handy for storing free weights and bulky workout materials.
  • Wall hooks provide a simple way to keep stretch cords, bands and jump ropes untangled and off the floor.
  • The Wall Mount Telescoping Drying Rack is wide enough to hang up yoga mats (whichWall Mount Telescoping Drying Rack Image shouldn’t be left rolled up unless they’re completely dry and clean) and damp workout wear.  Designed to easily fold flat against the wall when not in use, this clever space-saver includes a chrome towel bar that stays accessible even when the rest of the rack is folded away.


Collapsible kitchen storage solutions

Now you see it, now you don’t.  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to use a device when we need it and then have it magically disappear (or at least shrink up for storage) when we’re not using it?  This is especially true in the kitchen where there always seem to be more necessities than we have room for.

Fortunately there are some highly useful collapsible kitchen storage solutions designed to fold away when not needed.  Here are three of my favorites:

  • The two-in-one Collapsible Storage Container and Colander functions as both a strainer and a container for food storage.  It’s cleverly designed so that when not in use Collapsible Storage Container and Colander Imageor when storing small quantities, you can keep it in the collapsed mode to take up less space–it collapses down to just 2.25 inches high (the uncollapsed dimensions are 6.10 inches high by 11.75 wide by 7.5 inches long).   When used fully expanded, the container holds about 4 quarts of produce; for smaller quantities it can be left collapsed.  A clear top lid lets you easily view the contents; the bottom (colander section) of the container also includes a lid to seal the bottom for storing food or for preventing drips when transporting freshly drained produce. For refrigerated storage, an adjustable sliding button allows you to open a vent to keep products fresher. The bottom also has a small water reservoir for items needing hydration. There’s even a side vent with two settings for proper air flow.  This strainer-container is also available in a mini version.
  • The 9.25-quart capacity Collapsible All-Purpose Tub is 15 inches wide and 5 inches high and collapses from 6 1/2 inches to about 1.75 inches high. It’s handy for everything from washing delicates or dishes to soaking vegetables or transporting items, with integrated handles for easy carrying and raised feet to facilitate water drainage.
  • The Collapsible Dish Rack collapses from 6 inches high to under 2 inches, making it easy to store under the sink when it’s empty.  It features a snap-on, reversible drainingCollapsible Dish Rack Image board with an angled side to drain water away and a flat side to catch water, and includes a utensil rack to keep smaller items upright.  Another collapsible dish rack to consider is the Collapsible Over The Sink Dish Drainer which has extendable handles for suspending it over the kitchen sink.


Answer: Rolling wardrobe

Q. We live in a space-challenged mobile home that also has only one closet for four adults. I got a wardrobe that is stationary, but really need one that moves. Is there anything sturdy with wheels that can handle not just shirts and pants, but longer items, like dresses and coats, too. Nothing too big, because space is really limited! Thanks.

A.  It sounds like you could use either the Mobile Wardrobe Center or the Clothes Armoire with Shelves.  Both are fairly compact yet offer ample clothing storage.Mobile Wardrobe Center Image

Shelf organizers

Is “get organized” at the top of your New Year’s resolutions list?  Even if it isn’t, you probably have at least one shelf that seems to defy your best efforts to keep it in order.  Shelves–whether in closets, kitchen, pantry or bathroom–are notorious clutter magnets, attracting piles of supplies and mounds of materials.

To the rescue comes a specialized type of organizing option: shelf organizers. Here are three categories of inexpensive yet highly effective shelf organizers that don’t require any installation:

  • Cabinet shelf organizers (aka shelf doublers) offer an easy way to maximize horizontal shelf space by utilizing vertical space.  Different styles are Expandable Kitchen Cabinet Shelf Imageavailable for closet shelves, kitchen cupboards, pantries and bathroom cabinets. Some are stackable, others are expandable, but all are designed to at least double the available shelf space.
  • Under-shelf organizers allow you to utilize the wasted space directly underneath a shelf to store small or flat items, in a basket or rack with “arms” that slide onto the shelf.  This provides easily viewable and highly accessible storage for various supplies that might otherwise be hard to see or reach (and therefore tend to get misplaced or forgotten).
  • Shelf dividers are essential for dividing and conquering closet clutter sources such as purses or White Wire Shelf Dividers (Set of 2) Imagestacks of folded shirts, sweaters and towels.  This simple organizing option can transform messy-looking piles into tidy towers of organization.  Shelf dividers are available in a wide variety of sizes and materials to work with all different types of shelving.


Answer: Bathroom linen rack

Q. We are building a new house with my dream vintage bathroom. Do you have any unique suggestions for displaying vintage linen, doilies, etc. in the bathroom (such as towel racks hung high so if they are hand towels, no one will be confused with using them? Or a special rack shaped like a warming towel rack that would layer displayed linens? A quilt rack only hangs in the same layers so linens cannot be seen.

A. I don’t think you need to worry about guests drying their hands on your vintage linens since it seems most people are reluctant to even use standard guest towels. (I recommend having paper towels on a holder right by the sink since guests are more likely to use what is most convenient.)

For displaying your vintage linens on a tiered rack, here are three options that are each available in different styles:

Whichever type of towel rack you choose, you can place it as far as possible from the sink so guests will be less inclined to think of using your decorative linens.