‘Tis the season of barbecues, picnics and patio parties. Outdoor dining is delightful, but it does require specialized storage solutions for your picnicking paraphernalia and other al fresco accessories.
Here are some of the best products designed to keep you organized so you can relax and enjoy all your outdoor meals:
- The Collapsible Cooler Basket is an insulated space-saving alternative to the classic picnic basket–it folds flat for storage and has a leak-proof food-safe lining, a zippered lid and a front pocket for wet wipes, condiment packets, baggies and other picnic supplies.
- The Table Caddy is a vertical organizer with compartments sized for napkins, ketchup and mustard packets, salt & pepper, hot sauce and more; and it stays in place even on slippery table surfaces with a Slip Stop grip.
- The clamp-on BBQ / Campsite Organizer keeps grill supplies and other necessities organized and easily accessible–it mounts to any grill or table and features four double-sided hooks for barbecue utensils; a paper towel holder; and a shelf for spices, etc.
- The Trunk Organizer and Cooler does double duty as both a car trunk organizer and a picnic helper. It has two roomy side compartments plus a central zip-top insulated section for keeping items cold or hot. Two handles make it easy to transport, and it folds flat for compact storage.
Bath towels, hand towels, face towels, washcloths–is it any wonder that there never seems to be enough towel bars for hanging them all up?
Getting family members to hang up their towels is an ongoing battle in many households, yet when space is limited it can be a challenge to find places for each person’s set. Fortunately there are now a number of bathroom towel storage solutions designed to make the most of even the smallest spaces.
Here are three especially efficient hanging towel space-savers that require no drilling:
- The Clutter Buster Door Towel Rack Valet Plus hangs from the existing pins on the hinges of any door and provides approximately four-and-a-half feet of hanging space on four “arms”; the top arm also features a double hook, handy for hanging a robe.
- The York Over Door Three-Tier Towel Rack hangs over the bathroom door and features lower towel bars that protrude out further than those above, which facilitates drying.
- The Leaning Towel Ladder leans against your bathroom wall (rubber bumpers hold it in place) and offers four towel bars in the space where you would normally have just one. It can also be hung over a door, but the York Over Door is probably a better choice for that option.
“I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty.” – Imelda Marcos
Whether the size of your shoe collection rivals Imelda’s or you have a more minimalist approach to accumulating footwear, there are storage options for almost every space, budget and type of shoe. Shoe organizers come in many styles, including racks, cubbies, underbed chests, stackable drawers, hanging pockets, and boxes made of clear acrylic.
Here are three of my favorite storage solutions for footwear of all kinds:
- The Shoe and Boot Storage Rack is a free-standing organizer that accommodates shoes and boots of almost any height. It features four tall rectangle compartments for storing tall boots upright and eight square compartments for everything from sneakers to high heels. Plus it’s attractive enough to keep out of the closet.
- The Over the Door Shoe Storage system can hold up to 18 pairs of shoes of all sizes, in or out of shoe boxes. The shoe rack is designed to slide over a household door of any thickness or it can be permanently mounted to a door or wall.
- The Floor to Ceiling Shoe Tree is a tall revolving shoe carousel featuring a tension pole designed to fit in spaces with ceilings up to 9 feet tall. It has six tiers with room for up to 36 pairs of footwear, plus a rotating mesh storage basket at the bottom for storing socks and other accessories. The height of each tier (including the mesh basket) is adjustable to accommodate shoes of all sizes.
Today is International Space Day–the perfect day to take stock of your living space, your work space and, of course, your outer space. If you’ve ever wished you had more room in any of those spaces, here’s how to make the most of what you have.
- Declutter. Less stuff = more space. Although getting rid of clutter doesn’t technically give you more space, removing excess stuff invariably makes a place look and feel more spacious.
- Doorganize. Most doors–including cabinet doors–
can be put to use for maximizing space. Fortunately there are now many types of organizers specifically designed to utilize doors. A good example: The Freedomrail Over the Door Organizer which allows you to create a customized adjustable storage system for your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, laundry or any room.
- Double-duty furnishings. The best space-savers always serve at least two purposes, such as this well-designed bench that provides both seating and storage for shoes and accessories. Likewise, there’s a storage ottoman that converts to a small coffee table with a serving tray and also stores a matching footstool. The key is to choose space-saving furnishings that fill multiple needs and that work well. Resist the impulse to get space savers that are more clever than useful.
Collecting sporting gear seemingly has become as much of a hobby as the recreational activities themselves. There are dozens of sports and each has its own type of equipment and accessories. But without an organized system for storing all your paraphernalia, you can end up spending more time playing hide-and-seek with misplaced gear than you do playing your preferred sport. Luckily there are some excellent space-saving sports equipment organizers available to help you stay on top of your game — or games, as the case may be. Here are three of the best:
- The Wall-Mount Sports Gear Rack features three racks sized to hold everything from basketballs and soccer balls to helmets. Specialty hooks on the side are designed to hold baseball bats and tennis rackets, while six adjustable hooks on the bottom section are ideal for hanging caps, jackets and small accessories.
- The Sports Bench Organizer does double duty as a ventilated sports storage container that’s also a comfortable bench with handrails.
- The free-standing Sports Equipment Organizer helps you easily organize all sizes of balls, skates, sticks, bats and other gear by utilizing a grid design that lets you move nine hooks around so you can configure the rack to fit your sporting storage needs. It also includes a basket sized to corral smaller items such as tennis balls.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could simply flush away all the clutter in our bathrooms? Too bad our commodes generally are not well-suited to this task.
One common problem is that the typical home bathroom tends to lack sufficient space for storing reasonable quantities of the most frequently used supplies. Toilet paper, for example. How do you keep enough rolls handy without displacing other necessities?
Here are three clever bathroom storage solutions for toilet tissue, all designed to make the most of limited space:
- If your restroom doubles as a reading room, consider the Toilet Caddy which actually does triple duty: It’s a toilet paper dispenser that also provides storage for three extra rolls of bathroom tissue plus magazines.
- The wall-mountable four-roll Toilet Paper Holder can also be installed inside a cabinet door.
- The Over Tank Toilet Tissue Holder is ideal for tiny bathrooms lacking floor space, cabinets and wall space–it hangs off the toilet tank edge and holds up to three rolls..
Accumulating accessories isn’t just a female preoccupation. Guys can be guilty of it too. OK, maybe most men don’t collect an infinite number of ties and/or belts, but there are those who have far more of these items than they’d care to admit.
Keeping such long and skinny accessories untangled and organized requires unique storage solutions: namely, belt and tie organizers. Fortunately most of the options for storing ties and belts are not only effective but surprisingly economical. Here are three space saving solutions worth trying:
- The 16-hook Spinning Tie Hanger is designed to spin in either direction and holds up to 16 ties or belts on independently pivoting hooks.
- The Round-A-Belt allows you to store up to 40 belts in only 3 inches of hanging space.
- For the obsessively organized tie collector, the Electronic Closet Tie Rack holds up to 70 ties plus four belts on a sleek unit that attaches to a closet rod.
Whether you have an actual desk or just a corner of the kitchen counter allocated for your home office, the right organizing tools can help you keep things in order. Specifically, a well-designed desktop organizer will allow you to process paperwork efficiently in almost any area of your home.
Here are three of my favorite desktop organizers which can be used in most offices but are especially good for the home office:
- The space-saving Desk Tray Organizer utilizes vertical space effectively by sleekly combining two stacking trays, a pencil cup and an organizing tray for corralling office supplies.
- The efficient Victor Tidy Tower Organizer features multiple compartments, including a top tray, an open slot, two small drawers and a large bottom drawer.
- The clever Monitor Stand Organizer does triple-duty as an ergonomic monitor riser, file holder and office supply station.
Bathrooms and kitchens are easy to make messes in, so why not make it easy to clean them up? Here are some simple yet strategic tips to help you maintain order and cleanliness in these areas:
- Keep a roll of paper towels on a handy dispenser near each sink. This will make it easier for anyone in the household to wipe toothpaste spatters off the medicine cabinet mirror or mop up mishaps on kitchen counters.
You’ll also never need to think about putting out guest towels for unexpected visitors. (Just remember to put a wastebasket in an easy-to-access spot. You don’t want a paper towel ending up in the toilet.)
- If you prefer not to use paper towels, another option is to install a towel ring for hanging a designated cleanup towel near sinks. Or consider an old-fashioned but still excellent towel-grabber. Even easier,
use an over-the-cabinet-door towel holder requiring no installation.
- A container of pre-moistened cleaning wipes is also helpful to have on hand in both kitchen and bathroom. A more economical alternative is Windex Touch-ups.
By taking a few seconds to clean up any areas right after they’ve been splashed or splattered, or at least at the end of each day, the need to ever do a major clean-up job is almost eliminated.
If you’ve got gamers in your household, you’ve probably got video game clutter. The multiple consoles and numerous accessories of PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo and other popular games can create a special type of organizing challenge.
Thankfully there are video game storage solutions called gaming stands expressly designed to accommodate all of these digital diversions and more. Here are three well-designed yet completely different examples:
- The Gaming Computer Desk includes a variety of thoughtful features such as a cable management system, a charging station and even a drink holder.
- The Game Keeper 4-Tier Wire Gaming Tower has space for up to three consoles, six controllers and 70 games in a compact unit that rolls on locking casters and includes a slide-out shelf.
- The X-Cube Gaming Storage Unit is a compact stackable unit with two drawers and handles for portability.