Home office organizing tips

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home-office-organizing
Running a household is like running a small business. There are all those endless office tasks: dealing with incoming and outgoing mail, budgeting, banking and other financial procedures; and, of course, filing.

Having an efficient yet comfortable home office in which to handle these chores can help keep your home organized. If you think you don’t have enough room to devote exclusively to an office, consider these home office options:

  • All you really need in terms of space for a bare-bones, low-tech office setup is a work surface (it doesn’t have to be a desk) and something in which Mobile Workstation Imageto store files (it needn’t be a file cabinet).  For example, you can combine a mobile workstation (pictured) with a rolling file cart.
  • If you have a spare room that’s known as the “guest room,” decide whether you have guests often enough to justify that designation. You may be better off setting up the space for your office headquarters. (For the occasional guest, consider a hideaway bed such as iBed In a Box.)
  • You can create a portable home office setup with inexpensivePortable File Box Image products such as file boxes with hinged lids and handles for easy carrying.  They can be used in conjunction with the kitchen or dining room table, which in many homes are the most popular places to do paperwork.

More home office organizing tips can be found here.

 

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Answer: Hat storage for lots of hats

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Q. I’ve got probably about 18 hats. I haven’t found any good solution to how to store them…hat boxes take up too much room and it’s hard to see what’s in each unless you take it down and look inside or through the front if there is a transparent window. The ways to organize baseball caps won’t work with women’s hats!  Can you help?

A. Storing women’s hats safely yet accessibly can be a real challenge. Here are three different types of hat storage solutions:

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Managing memorabilia & saving sentimental stuff

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managing memorabiliaWhat would you take with you if you had only 10 minutes to evacuate your home?

People who have lost their homes in fires or other disasters will tell you that the things they miss most are the “priceless” personal items with a connection to the past: irreplaceable heirlooms, treasured photos, family histories, scrapbooks, diaries. These types of meaningful memorabilia often have value only to us; it’s the sentimental stuff that defines who we are.

That’s why it’s important to set aside several empty storage containers that you could access quickly in an emergency and fill with your favorite sentimental items. A simple solution: Collapsible storage boxesCollapsible Storage Box - Orange (Set of 2) Image in various sizes. Unassembled, they take up very little space and can be slipped under a bed or along the inside wall of a hall closet. (The most economical solution: cardboard banker’s boxes with removable lids. But if you’ve never used them, it’s a good idea to assemble one just for practice.)

Of course, you can’t protect or save everything you love from every potential hazard. But you can take good care of each thing while you’ve got it, and cherish it while you can.

Unfortunately, keeping too much stuff makes it hard to enjoy and appreciate the very objects that are most precious to you.

Why not make a commitment to edit your memorabilia so you retain only what’s most precious to you? Keep the best and let go of the rest.

By aiming to limit your sentimental stuff to just what you can take with you in an emergency, you’ll have more time and space to enjoy your treasures – and your life.

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Long-term Organizing Tips

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Long-term Organizing TipsGetting organized is only half the battle.  The other half involves learning how to stay organized.  Here are four organizing tips designed to both help you get organized and maintain order:

  • Fuel motivation with visible results.  Motivate yourself to get rid of clutter by creating noticeable results quickly. Begin by decluttering the easiest and most visible cluttered area or segment. Seeing a positive change is energizing and can make you want to keep going.
  • Set up a convenient work space.  Choose an area that’s comfortable for working on ongoing projects and paperwork maintenance. If your File Box - Airtight Imagespace is very limited, you can create a portable home office setup with a lap desk and a lidded file box. They can be used in conjunction with the kitchen or dining room table, which in many homes are the most popular places to do paperwork.
  • Practice making decisions. Exercise your decision-making muscles as often as possible instead of putting off making a decision “til later.” For example, whenever you pick up a piece of paper, decide how you’re going to deal with it while it’s in your hand instead of putting it in a pile.
  • Take time to make time.  Daily, make it a part of your routine to schedule brief blocks of time for processing household paperwork (such as bill-paying, correspondence and filing) and putting things in order.  At least weekly, sit down with your calendar or time management system and your “to do” lists and allocate time for the home projects you want to accomplish over the next week.

*Photo courtesy of Organized Living.

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Answer: Nail polish organizers

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Q.  My 16-year-old daughter has a nail polish collection that rivals a manicure salon. She has dozens of bottles and needs a way to store them so they’re not all over the place. Can you recommend any nail polish organizers that will accommodate her growing collection?

A.  Depending on how many dozens of bottles of nail polish your daughter has collected so far–and whether you want to plan for future acquisitions–there are two nail polish organizers that could work well for her:

  • The clear Acrylic Nail Polish Rack holds up to 40 bottles and can be kept out on a counter or in a drawer..
  • The two-sided Nail Polish Organizer Case (pictured) holds up to 60 bottles and includes a compartment on one side designed for storing emery boards, cotton pads, nail clippers and other nail care supplies.  It also has a hinged door on each side and a handle for easy portability.Nail Polish Organizer Case Image
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Clutter control tips for kids

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Clutter Control for KidsThese days it’s not only the typical “messy” child who’s overwhelmed with excess stuff. Even the most organized offspring may have a tough time keeping their things in order when there’s so much to maintain.

Here are some clutter control tips to help you manage the mess and also train children of any age to be more organized.

1. Categorize. Putting similar items together is one of the basic rules of organization because it’s the simplest way to keep things in a semblance of order. Typical categories of kid stuff include toys, games, books, art supplies, computer-related, music-related, school-related, clothing, accessories, hobbies and collections. Categories with the largest number of items can be subcategorized.

2.  Make it easy.  The easier it is to do something, the more likely that thing is to get done. So make it easy to:

  • Put stuff away — by having accessible containers and appropriate furnishings that are easy for your children to use.  For example, Multi-Bin Toy Organizer Imageshelves with colorful plastic bins provide easy-access storage options and simple solutions for getting toys and other items up off the floor.
  • Hang up clothes — by putting up clothes hooks at kid-friendly heights in thoughtful places, making it easy for children to hang frequently used items of clothing instead of dropping them on the floor. This also helps discourage the habit of putting not-yet-dirty clothes in the laundry, something that many kids — and adults — do because it’s easier than putting clothing on a hanger or folding it. (Safety note: Avoid locating eye-level hooks on the back of doors that swing open.)
  • Throw things out — by placing trash receptacles in convenient places, making it easy for everyone to discard wrappers, tissues, junk mail and any other detritus that tends to get dropped on the floor. Treat your wastebaskets like babies — keep them within close reach at all times, feed them frequently and change them often.
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Hanging fruit baskets aren’t just for fruit

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Hanging fruit baskets are a good example of a storage solution that’s been pigeon-holed as kitchen-specific. The three-tiered, wire-mesh basket system is an old-fashioned but perennially useful product designed originally for storage of fruits and vegetables.Three-Tier Hanging Fruit Basket - Bronze Image

But hanging fruit baskets also work well for storing toiletries, hair accessories and washcloths or small towels (rolled or folded) in the bathroom.  Since they don’t take up any desk space or wall space, they can also help keep things in order in your home office and in kids’ rooms.

As with hanging pot racks, however, it’s wise not to hang in haste – choosing the right spot is crucial.   Be sure to pick a location where the baskets will be accessible yet not obtrusive.

 

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Pot racks aren’t just for pots

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Wall-mount pot racks can be put to good use in closets (especially walk-ins), utilizing wall space for storing accessories such as scarves, belts and purses. You can even hang clothing on hangers from the hooks, or hang night clothes or exercise gear directly on the hooks. Some wall-mount pot racks also include a shelf for storage of non-hangable items.

The bathroom is another area where insufficient storage space can be supplemented with a wall-mount pot rack for hanging towels, robes, hair dryers, curing irons and anything else hangable that otherwise ends up on the floor or next to the sink.

In some homes, it also may be possible to use ceiling-mounted hanging pot racks for various storage purposes. However, when installing a ceiling-mounted pot rack, it’s important to choose a place where what hangs from it will be accessible yet not obstructive. It should be hung low enough so you can put things on the hooks easily, but not so low as to be in your way when all the hooks are occupied. If that’s not possible, you’re probably better off using a wall-mounted pot rack instead.

Both hanging and wall mount pot racks now come in an ever-widening variety of styles and materials.

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Keeping your home clutter-free

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keeping home cluSpring cleaning just isn’t what it used to be. A more accurate term might be “spring clearing,” since uncluttering is often what needs to be done before cleaning.

But whether you live in a tiny apartment or a spacious house, clearing out clutter isn’t just a springtime ritual. A clutter-free home requires an ongoing commitment to staying streamlined.  Here are five key ways you can get — and keep — your household organized and uncluttered.

  1.  Make it easy. Put frequently used items in convenient places. Instead of storing supplies only where they fit best, locate them close to where they are used most often. Get rid of things that don’t work well and replace them Umbra Small Trash Can Imagewith products that are easy to maintain and a pleasure to use.  To help discourage messes, make it easy to discard things quickly–keep at least one wastebasket handy in every room.
  2.  Establish an “In-Out Inventory Rule.” For each item that comes into your home (such as books, videos, CDs/DVDs, clothing), another item of equal type should go out (to charity or resale). If you can get in the habit of following this maintenance rule for even one of your “clutter categories,” your stuff will be less likely to reach the stage of critical mass (or critical mess, as the case may be).
  3.  Let go of clutter daily.  Each day, make a conscious effort to let go of at least one unit of clutter. The “unit” can be one item or one container-full. As long as you do it consistently, you’ll see results. Remind yourself that the more stuff you choose to let go of, the less time you’ll need to spend maintaining it.
  4.  Keep the positive, let go of the negative. If your clutter includes sentimental objects, here’s a rule to remember: Let go of anything that doesn’t touch you in a positive or poignant way. Don’t keep anything that makes you feel stressed or upset (unless you’re legally required to keep it).
  5. Turn “can’t” into “can.” The most important piece of clutter to let go of is the apostrophe and t on the end of the word can’t. When you catch yourself saying, “I can’t get rid of — ” change it to “I can!”
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Tips for minimizing paper clutter

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Here’s a trick to minimizing paper clutter.  Certain office products can make life less cluttered when used in unlikely places such as the kitchen.

For example, setting up a “mini-file” (a small file holder that holds about a dozen hanging files) on a kitchen counterHanging File Storage Box Image makes it easier to deal with papers that tend to pile up there, such as coupons, recipes, shopping lists, takeout menus, receipts and appliance instructions.

To save counter space, a mini-file can also be set up in a magnetic file holder on the side of your fridge.  

Likewise, stocking a small basket  or magnetic bin with frequently used office supplies (scissors, pen, pencil, highlighter, note pad, Post-its) and putting it near a mini-file makes it easier to clip coupons, mark catalogs and make quick reminder notes.

This can help in minimizing paper clutter by limiting those piles of newspapers, magazines and catalogs that get saved because they contain items to be harvested “later.”

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