Organizing with Key Hooks


Key hooks aren’t just for keys.  But they can be a key to keeping an organized home.

Whether used singly or grouped on a rack, key hooks are great–and economical–for easy-access storage of many types of grab-and-go items.  For example, near (or on) a door or entryway, it’s helpful to have hooks for frequently forgotten or misplaced things such as caps, sunglasses and dog leashes–and, of course, keys.

Here are five other efficient uses for key hooks:

  • Key hook racks are ideal for hanging multiple necklaces and bracelets inside a walk-in closet or on a bedroom wall.  Some racks even include extra features such as a shelf or pocket for holding non-hangables.
  • In the bathroom you can hang a hand mirror (the kind with a hole in the handle) so it’s always handy when you want to check the back or side of your hairstyle.
  • A key hook attached to the underside of a cabinet above a counter is a space-saving way to hang bananas.
  • Do you forget to bring your reusable bags when you go to the supermarket?  Put key hooks on the back of your exit door and hang up your reusable shopping bags there.  They’ll be hard to miss and easy to grab on the way out.
  • Small but powerful magnetic hooks let you hang items such as scissors, pot holders and aprons (or whatever you use most often) on the side or front of your fridge. They’re also useful on on any magnet-friendly surface (such as a metal file cabinet) for holding any small hangable items that are used regularly.

More ideas for organizing with key hooks can be found in my post “Hooked on kitchen organizing.”


Organizing with Shelf Dividers


purse dividersShelf dividers are designed to divide and conquer closet shelf clutter.  These simple organizing tools offer an easy and fairly economical way to organize soft, “floppy” items: tote bags and purses; stacks of t-shirts, sweaters, towels and linens; and whatever else you have trouble keeping tidy on your closet shelves.

Shelf dividers are available in a wide range of sizes, styles and materials to work with all different kinds of shelving. Here are three examples of shelf dividers that can help you keep your closet shelves outstandingly organized:

  • Vertical shelf dividers such as Chrome Shelf Dividers (pictured) are the most streamlined type–they slip smoothly onto shelves yet stay snugly in place and take up virtually no space.  In addition to chrome, this type of divider also comes in coated wireclear acrylic and fabric on steel frame versions.
  • The Closet Shelf Organizer provides both vertical and horizontal storage.  It slides over any solid wood shelf up to .75 inches thick or less and the rigid design securely locks in place. The sides and top are made from non-woven polymer and the frame is constructed of steel with an epoxy-coated finish.
  • The stackable Park-A-Purse Tote and Clutch Organizer features 10 compartments with adjustable panels for customizing the sections so you can keep purses and totes of various sizes upright and neatly separated.  Designed for use on wire racks and closet shelving, it’s constructed of heavy-duty plastic and metal wire; universal connectors allow you to re-position the panels for customization, and the connectors can also be used to attach multiple units together.  A smaller version, the Modular Park-A-Purse Organizer, is also available.

Wall Calendar Systems


Wall Calendars

Wall calendar systems provide a simple way to keep track of scheduled commitments and date-sensitive reminders.

Old-fashioned?  Sure.  But unlike electronic devices, wall-mounted calendars let you see a month’s worth of appointments and deadlines at a glance instead of having to scroll through individual days.

Here are three wall calendar systems that can help you stay organized throughout the year:

  • The square Magnetic Dry Erase Board Wall Calendar (14.75 by 14.75 inches) can be customized and personalized and allows you to post or write notes and reminders for the entire family.  It has an abbreviation for each month so you can simply circle or highlight the current month, and the days of the week are clearly identified in tabs above each column.  With 35 squares there’s ample room for managing a detailed calendar without having to cram two days into one square at the end of the month. The entire surface of the calendar is magnetic so you can easily affix notes, coupons, etc.  The dry erase surface allows you to simply number the days of the month in the squares and write or edit notes on the corresponding days.
  • The Magnetic Dry Erase Calendar Board is quite similar to the above wall calendar system, but it’s larger (22.5 by 18.25 inches, including the decorative wood frame) and includes a dry erase marker with magnetic holster clip and two small magnets for posting reminder notes and more.
  • The Wrought Iron Calendar Frame consists of a metal mesh basket attached to a decorative calendar holderWrought Iron Calendar Frame - Black Image (the calendar isn’t included) which gives you a highly visible and attractive way to note appointments and other commitments.  The basket has room for mail and by-the-door essentials such as cell phones, sunglasses, pens and sticky notes.

More types of wall calendar systems can be found here.


Answer: Recyclables storage


Q. I am looking for a three-holders bin to hold bottles, cans and paper. What I have found is too small for a couple weeks collection. Any suggestions?

A. I’d recommend Stackable Recycle Bins –they are large capacity (18 gallons each) and come in a set of three, each a different color so you can easily color-code your recyclables. The bins are designed to stack with or without the lid to save space, and each has a carrying handle and a front flap that can stay open or be left closed.   


Photo storage solutions


Digital photos may be great, but print photos aren’t disappearing anytime soon.  If you have drawers stuffed with disorganized photos and half-finished albums, you ‘re not alone. (There’s even an organization called the Association of Personal Photo Organizers for those seeking help with their photo clutter.)

Although there are various types of print photo storage systems (the shoebox style is perennially popular), few provide a way to easily view photos in addition to storing them.

Here are three different types of space-saving photo storage solutions that let you actually see the pictures you’re saving:

  • The Fotoview Photo Organizer Box allows you to view, store and organize up to 300 4-inch by 6-inch photo prints in six compartments made of clear plastic.  The compartments are attached to a base and angled to swing open and closed.  This photo organizer can also store various photo discs and CDs. Labels are included which make it easy to clearly mark each photo storage compartment, and the entire unit is made of acid-free plastic.
  • Picture Pockets are hanging photo holders that store and display up to 80 4-inch by 6-inch photos in 40 double-sided pockets (you can insert photos on both sides for twice the storage). This type of “hanging photo gallery” can be hung on a wall or even from the ceiling.
  • The clear Plastic Photo Storage Box comes with six individual removable cases that hold 100 4-inch by 6-inch photos (for a total of 600 photos); the cases all fit neatly inside the box. Constructed of transparent acid-free plastic, the cases provide a simple way to organize your photos by event, chronological order or any way you see fit. The box and each of the cases snap closed to ensure safe storage of your photographs.



Hearth Organizers


Santa Claus appreciates a tidy hearth.  But if you have a working fireplace, firewood clutter can be a problem.

Luckily logs and kindling needn’t be a jumble of lumber, thanks to the help of space-saving hearth organizers.  Here are three different types that will make Santa smile:

  • The hammered steel Hearth Essentials Wood Rack is thoughtfully designed with three open compartments.  The main Hearth Essentials Wood Rack Imagesection is large enough to contain a full night’s worth of firewood; a shelf on the bottom is ideal for neatly storing a stack of newspaper; and a side holder is perfectly sized for kindling and firestarters.
  • Also of hammered steel, both the Log Rack with Tools and the Compact Hammered Steel Log Rack with Tools provide two-section storage for firewood and kindling, and include three essential fireplace tools–a shovel, poker and small broom, which hang handily on side hooks. These log racks require only a minimal amount of space, with a footprint of just over one square foot.
  • The Firewood Carrier Bag and Rack is a two-piece firewood storage and collection system consisting of a roomy Firewood Carrier Bag and Rack Imagecotton-duck canvas bag and a sturdy hammered-steel rack. The vertical arch rack design provides maximum log storage while occupying minimal hearth space. The bag, which has a side pocket for storing kindling, can be removed from the rack to collect firewood and then hung back on the rack when filled.  Another helpful feature is that the bag keeps chips and dirt off your floor.

More hearth organizers–aka indoor firewood racks–can be found here.


Christmas Decoration Holders


So many Christmas decorations–so little time to hang them!

Christmas wreaths, lights, garlands, ornaments and stockings–all are lovely expressions of your holiday spirit.  But when not hung up in time for the season, they become clutter.

Good intentions can turn into Christmas clutter when you accumulate decorations without acquiring simple solutions for hanging them up.  Luckily there are now a number of easy-to-use Christmas decoration holders.  Here are five excellent examples that don’t require any nails-or-screws installation:

  • If your tree is overflowing or you just want to highlight a special ornament, consider the Christmas Ornament Stand.  Constructed of thick metal wire with a black finish, the elegant arched design has a side base for stability and is under 6 inches in diameter so it can fit on almost any surface.
  • The cast iron Holiday Stocking Hanger lets you safely hang Christmas stockings on the fireplace mantle without the need for screws, nails or hooks.   A decorative iron pinecone anchors a single hook that securely holds fully stuffed stockings.
  • The Adjustable Garland Hanger is an over-the-door holder that can hang up Christmas lights, long strands of garland or a decorative wreath. It adjusts to fit any door from 34 to 52 inches wide, and locks into position so you won’t have to worry about it falling down; and with no screws or nails, your door will remain undamaged.  All sizes of garland will hang perfectly on the decorative center and outer hooks to frame your door for the holidays. The center hooks are also perfect for hanging wreaths of any size for every season.
  • Command Outdoor Light Clips are a damage-free way to string your lights around a door, up the siding, under the soffits, around a window, or along the gutter all without nails or screws. Using a new formulation of the revolutionary Command™ Adhesive, these hooks are specially designed to hold strongly outdoors–and like all Command™ products, they remove cleanly with no holes, marks, stains or sticky residue.
  • Over-the-door Wreath Holders are available in several styles and finishes to accent almost any type of door.

Storage Step Stools


Storage step stools are handy double-duty storage solutions. Even though they only provide a relatively minimal amount of storage, they’re ideal for certain purposes.  For example, there are storage step stools designed for holding various tools and supplies, while others work well for toys and “kid stuff”.

Here are some examples of those two very different types of space-saving storage step stools:

  • Two-step.  Usually made of wood, two-step storage step stools are often (but not always) designed for children. The 15-inch-high wooden Step Stool is a good height for use next to a high bed; it features a concealed storage area under the bottom step which is handy for storing socks, slippers, knitting supplies or whatever you want to keep by the bed but not on your nightstand..  The 12-inch-high Kids Storage Step-up has a similar design but with storage hidden in the top step and side-slot handles for easy transport.
  • Single-step with lift-out tray.  Constructed of heavy-duty molded plastic, this type of storage step stool–really a cross between a toolbox and a step stool–usually features a hinged step-surface that flips up to reveal a removable divided tray atop a deep storage compartment.  A good example is the Stand ‘n Store Step Stool –with a weight capacity of 300 lbs, this double-duty dynamo is a favorite with gardeners since hand tools can be stored inside while the height (15 inches) is comfortable for sitting when working in the yard. The lift-out tray measures 14 inches wide by 8-1/4 inches deep by 1-5/8 inches high. A similar storage stool is the Step Stool Tool Box which differentiates itself by its tongue-and-groove design that keeps water out of the inner compartment; the toolbox is contractor-grade quality, with a strong latch on the front that keeps the lid secure.

Other types of step stools can be found here.


Adjustable height desks


adjustable height desks
Adjustable height desks are ergonomically superior to standard desks since they allow you to work either sitting (at various heights) or standing.  And because they utilize vertical space, they’re also space-efficient.

There are also desk risers that mimic adjustable height desks–they’re designed to be used on desk tops, so you don’t have to invest in a new desk to take advantage of the benefits of a stand-up desk.

Here are three adjustable options that can help you become more well-adjusted–or at least make your workspace more ergonomically efficient:

  • The Height Adjustable Desk Riser lets you turn any desk into a standing workstation. It adjusts to 10 different height positions so you can customize your work surface to your individual comfort level. Dual side handles and a spring-lift mechanism makes it easy to raise or lower the riser; the spacious top surface provides plenty of space for your computer monitor; and a separate keyboard tray holds your keyboard and mouse. It supports up to 33 pounds and measures 35-1/2 inches wide by 36 inches deep by 16-3/4 inches high. There’s also a slightly smaller and more economical version called the Multi-Position Desk Riser.
  • The Adjustable Desktop is a similar but less customizable riser.  A pneumatic air cylinder smoothly lifts the work surface while the spring-loaded bumper enables easy lowering of the desktop. The edges gently slope downward to keep your forearms comfortable while typing or maneuvering a mouse. The 31-1/2-inch wide by 22-1/4-inch-deep work surface can easily accommodate a laptop or even dual monitors.
  • The rolling Stand Up Computer Desk can be adjusted to work as a sit-down desk. A large top surface offers space for your computer monitor; the lower two shelves provide room for your accessories. A retractable keyboard tray slides under the work surface when not needed. Four swiveling caster wheels make the unit easy to move; two of the casters lock in place to keep the desk stationary.

More types of computer desks can be found here.

You might also like to read this Organize-It Blog post on ergonomic workstations.