Backpacks, purses, caps, umbrellas, outerwear, shoes, stuff to return – these are some of the typical items that live by the door in many homes. (Of course, if there’s a dog and/or children in the house, the list of “doorway stuff” increases exponentially.) With all those incoming and outgoing necessities to juggle, it’s challenging to keep entryways organized and clutter-free.
Having an efficient storage system for your household’s coming-and-going needs can make life easier. A peg rack or series of individual coat hooks attached to the back of an entry door (or on the wall behind it) may be all you need to keep almost everything from jackets to backpacks off the floor; a small shelf and a bin for shoes could take care of the rest…but if not, there are several types of furnishings expressly designed for creating orderly entrances and exits:
Updated versions of old-fashioned hall tree benches are now readily available in a wide range of styles and prices. The Hall Entry Bench is a streamlined example. This type of entryway organizer–which combines storage, seating and hooks for hanging outerwear–is most effective if the features match your needs.
Q. You were so good about answering another question, I thought of you when facing a new problem. We moved recently, and my daughter decided to switch rooms (she doesn’t like the room she has). The room she is getting has no closet space for clothing, and we are going to need to get her some type of clothing storage – but it will have to move around to make it easier to get to other things. (It’s a small room.) The ones I’ve seen are open – she prefers her clothing covered. Do you have any suggestions?
A. The wheel is one of humankind’s greatest inventions, so it’s nice to honor that achievement by investing in wheeled furnishings whenever possible. For your daughter’s new room, there are several different wheeled wardrobes that could work for her needs as long as she doesn’t overload them:
Q. I am looking for an organizer for the shower area, to hold shampoo bottles, etc., with hooks for hanging shower sponges & washrags. I have ceramic tile and find it somewhat difficult to use suction cups. Would you have any suggestions for something so I wouldn’t have to drill holes in the tile?
A. Luckily there are several types of shower organizers that offer the type of storage you’re seeking and don’t use suction cups or require drilling:
Q. I’m in the midst of de-cluttering, having emptied out a house (lived in for 38 years) and moving to an “independent cottage” in a retirement facility. As I go through all this “stuff,” I wonder about those diaries and journals from 30 and 40 years ago. Some are very revealing — too revealing to be left behind. But it feels as though I’d be tearing away a part of my life if I shred those pages. And perhaps I’d want to read through them more closely in another few years… Any suggestions about what to do, and how to feel about it (i.e., either shredding these or keeping them)?
A. Since you sound conflicted about getting rid of these pieces of your past, my vote would be for keeping any diaries & journals you think you might want to read someday. The ones that are “too revealing to be left behind” you can label “Destroy upon my demise” (if you’re serious about this you should leave instructions for your executor or trustee so that your wishes will be followed).
Whether the storage system you choose for your diaries & journals is a classic glass door bookcase or stackable plastic containers, my advice is that you keep them:
1) In a place that’s easily accessible and also safe from damaging elements such as moisture and bugs; and
2) In a way that lets you feel positive about them. (My book, Let Go of Clutter, includes a chapter titled “Shedding Sentimental Clutter” which provides more specific tips on how to do this.) A good rule to follow is: Let go of any items that make you feel stressed or upset, unless you’re legally required to keep them.
Q. I have a small kitchen, with cabinets that do not have the depth for my aluminum foil, wax paper and saran wrap boxes, so right now they are on the counter, and it is very annoying, as the boxes get wet. Is there some type of counter holder for these? Maybe even one where I could use the item without removing it from the holder? I did look online, and the ones I found were either very expensive, or for cabinets. Thank you for your help.
A. There are several economical kitchen wrap organizers that could work for your small kitchen:
The Food Wrap Dispenser, designed to mount under a kitchen cupboard, is both a space-saver and a time-saver; however, it holds just one roll of wrap.
The basic Kitchen Wrap Organizer can sit on a counter and efficiently store all your wraps–just don’t keep it near the sink since it won’t keep them from getting wet.
Every household – no matter how calm or chaotic – requires some type of by-the-door holder for keys, sunglasses, cell phones, mail and other daily in-and-out items that have a tendency to get misplaced. This is also a good spot to keep a pen and a pad of Post-its for jotting down last-minute grocery lists and “don’t forget” notes.
You can create a simple, inexpensive entryway organizer by putting up key hooks and/or a small shelf with a basket. But if you’d prefer a ready-made system, here are three clever, well-designed options with a variety of useful features:
Q. What is the best & most efficient way to organize a large collection of video tapes and a large collection of cassette tapes?
A. By “large” I’ll assume you mean more than 100 of each, and by “collection” I’ll guess you mean that they’re together. To organize both types of media, start by making a list of broad categories for each (examples: Comedy, Drama, Documentary; Classical, Country, R&B); this should help you to group them by category. Then create category labels for the shelves or dividers (a labeler is helpful for this).
Q. I am a homeschooling mother as well as a stamper/scrapbooker. I am lucky enough to have a fairly large desk in my den but it is difficult to have homeschooling books, folders, etc. as well as scrapbooking tools, etc. on the same desk and still have enough room to actually DO the work on the desk. What I’d really like is to have space to work but also things I use frequently close by. Any suggestions you can give me would be really appreciated!
A. An under-desk cart or rollaway storage unit could allow you to efficiently utilize the space underneath and/or next to your desk. Here are a few examples:
Q. I come from the “old school” before the time of storing photos on electronic devices. Unfortunately, I have the bottom of a cabinet stuffed with disorganized photos, frames, albums half finished, and other misc. items that have to do with photos and memories to be saved. I don’t even know where to start. I have five children and 16 grandchildren with lots of photos! Help!
A. It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed when you think of putting all those photographs in order. I recommend starting out with a photo organizing system that allows you to see progress quickly so you don’t get bogged down trying to create perfect photo albums. Here are three different types of photo organizers that are simple to use so you can swiftly organize hundreds or even thousands of photos:
Q. Do you have any food containers that will keep dry food from going stale even when new moisture is reintroduce when top has been removed?
A. Buddeez Bag-in Food Storage Containers are designed to hold the original food box or bag and keep the contents fresh. They have an air-tight seal and can also be used without the original food packaging. The containers are available in a variety of sizes.