Blanket Storage Solutions

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Summer’s here–time to tuck away all those heavy blankets, comforters, bedspreads and quilts. Easier said than done, of course, especially since they should only be put away clean.  And getting them laundered or dry cleaned is a job in itself.

At least you won’t have to lose any sleep over how to store them.  Here are four different types of effective blanket storage solutions:

  • Zippered storage bags.  A classic solution, especially if you have adequate storage space. The extra-large Canvas Blanket Bag is a good example–it has a clear side and zips on three edges for easy accesshttp://www.organizeit.com/images/canblank2.jpg to the contents. At 26 inches by 21 inches by 10 inches, it’s roomy enough to accommodate a king-size comforter and duvet cover.  Zippered under-bed storage bags are also useful for blanket storage.
  • Vacuum seal storage bags. To fit more blankets into less space, Jumbo Vacuum Clothes Bags are an efficient solution.  These clear, heavy-duty double-zip bags allow you to compress the contents by using your vacuum hose to pull out excess air. (You can also remove air by hand, but the vacuum does a better and faster job.)
  • Blanket hangers. The Comforter and Blanket Hanger features extremely sturdy chrome wire construction designed to support the weight of even the heaviest comforters. Providing 15 inches of hanging space, the open-ended design makes it simple to retrieve or hang any large folded materials. The hanging rod includes a non-slip rubber sleeve to prevent covers from falling off.
  • Quilt racks. If you’d just like to be able to grab extra blankets easily, a quilt rack is a handy option. This type of blanket storage solution also allows you to display afghans, quilts and throws. The antique-style Quilt Display Stand has three bars, and each bar can be used to hang at least one blanket.

More types of blanket storage solutions can be found here.

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Gardening Organizers

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Do you spend more time rummaging around for your gardening gloves than actually gardening? If so, your gardening gear could benefit from a good weeding–and a good storage system.

There are several different kinds of gardening organizers; most are either mobile or wall-mounted.  Here are two excellent examples of each type:

  • The Garden Rack with Removable Basket lets you efficiently store all your gardening tools and accessories togetherGarden Rack with Removable Basket Image. The rack is topped with a shelf for holding items such as gloves, clogs and plant food; the removable basket is handy for carrying materials to and from your yard.  Two sets of long hooks securely hang shovels and rakes; four shorter hooks accommodate hand tools.  Constructed of heavy gauge epoxy-coated steel, the rack can be mounted directly to the wall or may be used with Garage Grid or StoreWall systems.
  • For simply storing an individual long-handled tool or a garden hose, the Swivel Storage Hook is a space-saver. This clever hook folds flat against the wall for sleek storage when not in use. (More garden hose storage options can be found here.)
  • The Yard Tool Gardening Cart is designed to organize both long- and short-handled garden tools along with gloves, clogs and various Yard Tool Gardening Cart Imagegardening supplies. The cart features 10 pockets on each side for smaller items; two grid shelves can hold larger items, plus provide support for long-handled tools. The bottom grid shelf can hold smaller tools. A solid bottom shelf keeps tools in place.
  • The Garden Tool Storage Cart features a removable vented shelf for potting or storage, a solid storage shelf, a 4-inch-high bin designed for mixing soil, and a sifter on the top of the cart that allows loose dirt to fall into the bin. There are also five side slots for holding all sizes of gardening tools.
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Vanity Organizers

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Do you suffer from vanity insanity?  It’s a common condition, especially on busy mornings.

A cluttered vanity (bathroom counter) is frustrating to use and hard to keep clean.  But personal care supplies tend to accumulate on open horizontal surfaces because leaving things out is easier than putting them away.

Luckily there are vanity organizers that can help you keep your bathroom counter clutter-free–or at least a lot tidier.  Here are four effective storage systems for cleverly corralling cosmetics, hair styling stuff, dental care items and more:

  • The Bathroom Counter Organizer is designed to both organize and attractively display frequently used items such as make-up, brushes and combs. It consists of three tall clear Bathroom Counter Organizer Imageglass jars ensconced in a metal frame. The jars lift out of the base for easy cleaning and are cradled at the bottom with thick foam padding for protection.
  • The Acrylic Vanity Organizer is a clear rectangular container with four small compartments and one large compartment for organizing a variety of personal care supplies and accessories.
  • The OXO Stainless Steel Toothbrush Holder provides bothOXO Stainless Steel Toothbrush Holder Image hygienic and stylish storage for toothbrushes and toothpaste on your vanity.  It can hold up to four over-sized toothbrushes plus a tube of toothpaste. The interior divider, which is removable for cleaning, features flexible plastic fins that separate the brushes. Vents near the top and bottom let air circulate so toothbrushes can dry after use, and the attached angled lid permits easy access to the contents.
  • The Hair Care Caddy is specifically designed to organize a curling iron, flat iron and blow dryer.  It’s constructed of stainless steel mesh with a silicone inner base for safe storage of hot hair appliances; a divided compartment in the back lets you neatly store the cords. You can keep this vanity organizer on your bathroom counter or store it in a cabinet, a deep drawer or even hanging on a towel bar.
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Conquering kitchen clutter

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Trying to keep an over-stuffed kitchen organized is a losing battle.  No matter how many clever containers you use, the real problem is TOO MUCH STUFF.

But organizing becomes easier when you habitually let go of excess clutter instead of just cramming it into overcrowded cabinets and cupboards. Here are five steps you can take to conquer kitchen clutter:

  1.  Ask yourself which items really deserve to live in your kitchen cupboards and pantry cabinets, and which ones you’re ready to jettison (discard or donate).
  2.  Weed out common clutter-causers like multiple mugs (often caused by a fondness for “free gifts”), dozens of bags, countless condiment packets from fast-food eateries, and enough cleaning products to stock a store.
  3.  Let go of things you don’t use that have been taking up space for so long you can’t even remember acquiring them.
  4.  Set limits by deciding what quantity of each item it’s reasonable to have on hand–for example, do you really need over 80 grocery bags, or six types of glass cleaner?
  5.  Make a conscious effort to stay within those limits. It also helps to adopt environmentally friendly alternatives that reduce clutter, such as reusable bags (canvas, vinyl or mesh) and nontoxic multipurpose cleaners.  
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Spice Organizers

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If “Old Spice” makes you think of what’s in your spice rack, maybe your spice collection is due for an overhaul.

Although spices and herbs don’t spoil, they do lose their taste over time.  According to spice experts, the shelf life of properly stored spices and herbs is approximately 4 years for whole spices, 2-3 years for ground spices and 1-3 years for leafy herbs, depending on the herb. To test if it’s time to toss, simply taste or smell the contents of your spice containers. A lack of scent and/or a bland flavor means the contents have turned into clutter–time to discard.

Decluttering your spice collection can help you reevaluate the way you store your spices. There are three main types of spice organizers: hanging (mountable on a wall or inside a cabinet door), drawer inserts, and free-standing (for counter-tops or inside cabinets). Here are the best examples of each:

To explore more spice organizers, click here.

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Answer: Hanging recycling container

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Q. I recently had a really awesome wooden shelf with hooks built in the hallway leading from my kitchen to the garage. The recycling container that holds the recyclables until they are wheeled to the street is in the garage. Rather than making a trip to the garage every time I am disposing of an item, I would like to find an attractive lined “laundry bag” of sorts to hang on my new shelf.  It would be convenient and look nice, as we and guests pass by and through the hallway. Can you help me?

A. I think a laundry bag could be awkward for holding recyclables since you’d need to use both hands to access the opening.  A better alternative is the Canvas Door Knob Hamper, which has an open top for easy access, a slim profile, and a hook for hanging and carrying. Canvas Door Knob Hamper Image

If you’d still prefer to try using a laundry bag, two that might work are the Large Canvas Laundry Bag and the Laundry Bag With Strap.

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Bath & Shower Organizing Tips

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Bathtub edges and shower corners seem to have a magnetic ability to attract everything from rapidly multiplying bottles of shampoo, conditioner and bodycare products to clutter-causing kids’ bath toys.

To declutter and organize these tricky areas, try these bath and shower organizing tips:

  1. Take stock of your “product inventory” and move out anything that doesn’t get used on a regular basis.  Don’t hang onto products like shampoo that you tried a couple of times but didn’t like or ancient loofahs that you keep forgetting to use.
  2.  If there are a number of items that get used frequently by different family members, consider having a shower tote for each person’s bath necessities.
  3.  The most effective shower and bath organizers are those designed to utilize vertical space, such as:
  • The Mesh Shower Rod Organizer features three large and three small mesh pockets to hold your shower items Mesh Shower Rod Organizer Imagewithout collecting water, and a hook on each side for loofahs or shower brushes. The large lower pockets feature a hole in the bottom so you can store product bottles upside-down, eliminating the need to remove a bottle to squeeze out shampoo or conditioner. Designed to hang from your existing shower curtain rings or hooks, this clever shower organizer takes up virtually no space.
  • The tension-pole InterDesign Corner Shower Caddy makes the most of corner space in a shower stall or bathtub. The four height-adjustable, self-draining storage baskets include one large basket and three medium baskets, one with a towel bar and one with hooks and razor holders. The pole adjusts from 5 feet to 9 feet high.
  • The Adjustable Shower Caddy is an over-the-showerhead organizer with two large baskets that can slide from side to side and even reposition up or down to offer customized storage, allowing you to store larger shampoo bottles. The built-in dish on the bottom is sized to hold a large bar of soap; the non-slip grip hanger is augmented by a bottom suction cup that adheres securely to the wall.

More bath and shower organizing tips can be found here.

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Necklace Organizers

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Whether you have just a few strings of pearls or a vast collection of neck jewelry, necklace organizers can make life easier.

Different types of necklaces require special storage.  For example, chain necklaces ideally should be hung to keep them from getting knotted and tangled.  Necklaces made of pearls, gems or beads can also be hung but ideally should be stored in a scratch-free environment such as a velvet-lined jewelry tray.

There are many types of necklace organizers to choose from.  Here are three of my favorites:

  • If you’d like to have your necklaces on display but also want to keep them dust-free, the Hanging Necklace Holder is your best bet.  It features a removable lid Acrylic Necklace Holder Imagewith an easy-grip knob that attaches to 12 necklace hooks, providing quick access to the contents. Constructed of clear acrylic so you can view your necklaces from all sides, it keeps them safe from tangles and dust while looking great on your dresser or vanity.
  • If dust isn’t a concern, the Spinning Jewelry Stand is a good bet.  Five separate holders (each designed to hold four necklaces) are of varying heights to provide ample hanging room for different necklace lengths. The base can spin 360 degrees in either direction to allow for easy access to each necklace, and the raised lip provides additional storage for other jewelry items such as rings or watches.
  • If you prefer to keep your necklaces in a drawer, the Neatnix Jewelry Stax Necklace Holder isNecklace Holder Jewelry Organizer - Blue Image ideal. The stackable and sliding design works with other Neatnix Jewelry Stax, and includes a flocked plastic insert with a faux velvet lining and seven long divided compartments designed to hold necklaces or bracelets. A protective clear plastic lid is also available.

More types of necklace organizers can be found here.

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Sweater Storage Solutions

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Hanging isn’t good enough for certain kinds of closet-dwelling apparel.  Drawers and shelves are needed for storage of sweaters and other knits that should be stored folded or rolled.  (Shelving systems also work well for shoes and handbags.)

Here are four different types of effective sweater storage solutions that can help you keep your knitwear organized:

  • Clear storage drawers.  See-through drawer fronts make it easy to view and access contents.  Stackable storage drawers http://www.organizeit.com/images/459-kable-plastic-storage-drawers-white.jpgmaximize closet shelf space and are available in several sizes   If you have more floor space than shelf space in your closet, rolling drawer carts are a better solution.  And if you don’t have enough closet floor space, you can utilize the space under a bed with the Under Bed Storage Drawer.
  • Sweater bags.  For storing out-of-season sweaters and other garments, the zippered canvas CedarStow Canvas Storage Bag is ideal–it features a base constructed of  interlocking solid cedar panels (designed to repel moths and other clothes-damaging insects) and can hold up to 12 sweaters. Other types of sweater storage bags can be found here.
  • Freestanding shelving.  The easiest way to add shelves to your closet is with a stand-alone shelf unit such as Four-tier Wire Closet Shelves.  For narrower spaces, the Vertical Storage Organizer works well.
  • Shelf organizers. To divide open shelf space for optimum sweater storage, the Closet Shelf Organizer and individual shelf dividers are easy and efficient solutions.Closet Shelf Organizer Image
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Clothes Closet Organizers

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clothes organizersThe best closet-clearing remedies are those that many people find impossible to administer consistently: seasonal wardrobe weeding, or perpetual pruning using the In/Out Inventory Rule (whenever a new garment is acquired, an older one is retired).

The alternative is to utilize every square inch of closet space, which is what closet organizing companies specialize in doing. But what if a professionally customized closet— or even a do-it-yourself version — seems like too much of a project?

The good news is that you don’t have to completely redo your clothes closet to create more storage space. A few efficient and economical closet organizers could give you just enough wardrobe wiggle room.  Here are three of my favorites:

  • The Rolling Pant Trolley–with 15 removable cedar hangers–utilizes your closet floor for slacks storageRolling Pant Trolley with Cedar Hangers Image (and not in a wrinkled pile, either). This clever cart tucks away under hanging shirts or blouses and rolls out for easy access to 15 pairs of your pants and jeans.
  • Another rollaway closet helper is the 7-Drawer Storage Cart, which can be used for storing folded t-shirts, socks, underwear and accessories.
  • You can fit more clothes in your closet by using space-maximizing specialty hangers. Tank Top Organizers (Set of 2) ImageA great example is the Tank Top Organizer, designed to hold up to eight tank tops, camisoles or swimsuits.

For more ideas on how to make the most of your clothes closet, read my post Clothes Closet Maximizers.

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