Cosmetic clutter solutions

Cosmetic clutter isn’t pretty. All those little pots, tubes, palettes, applicators and other makeup necessities have a way of creeping like kudzu over every available bathroom counter and vanity surface.  How can beauty supplies be so unbeautiful?!

Quantity is often a contributing factor. Obviously it’s important to periodically weed out any cosmetics you don’t use on a regular basis.  But even if you’re good about weeding, you may still have enough makeup to create cosmetic clutter.  That’s why choosing the most effective counter-top and vanity organizers is crucial.

Here are three cosmetic organizers designed to maximize your make-up counter space:

  • The Acrylic Organizer with Drawers is a sleek space-saver offering five levels of storage in a one-square-foot unit. Acrylic Organizer with Drawers Image  Four clear drawers are topped by a clear compartment with a hinged lid that can be left open to accommodate taller products.
  • The Make-Up Carousel is a two-level Lazy Susan-style organizer that features six mesh storage bins in only a nine-inch-diameter footprint.  The rotating design provides easy access to all your cosmetic supplies.
  • A more portable option, the Bathroom Vanity Tray, has adjustable compartments.  Ten removable panels Bathroom Vanity Tray Imageallow you to create up to 25 custom storage pods, and the convenient carrying handles make the tray easy to transport.

Answer: Gift wrap holder

Q. We have rolls and rolls of wrapping paper in the closet taking up lots of space and spilling over all the time whenever we go into the closet to reach for something. I bought one of those zip up pouch organizers but it didn’t seem to help as we have more rolls than that pouch can hold. Do you have any suggestions for what can contain various sized rolls of wrapping paper in an orderly, easy to access manner?

A. I recommend the Hanging Wrapping Paper Storage Bag, which can hang inside the closet door (it has an over-the-door hook) and holds up to twelve 40-inch-long rolls of wrapping paper.

Hanging Wrapping Paper Storage Bag Image

The space-saving design makes it easy to access individual rolls of gift wrap as well as all the rolls at once, since the holder can be easily lifted off the door and moved to wherever you do your gift-wrapping.

It also includes a removable compartment designed to hold gift labels, ribbons and tape.


Vitamin and Medicine Bottle Organizers

If your daily routine includes taking a variety of vitamins and/or medications, you’ve probably got a condition called PBC: Pill Bottle Clutter.

All those little bottles have a way of messily accumulating on counters and tables, in cabinets and drawers, or wherever you end up stashing them. Keeping these essentials easily accessible and organized can be a challenge. Here are several space-saving vitamin and medicine bottle organizers that can make the process easier:

  • The Revolving Medicine Center is a two-tier medicine organizer that revolves 360 degrees for easy access to all types of pill bottles. The top portion has a recessed area for holding vitamin containersRevolving Medicine Center Image and medicine bottles; the bottom tier features 31 removable pill holders (each with four compartments) stored in slots around the base, numbered on the outer edge for each day of the month.  At a compact 10 inches in diameter, the organizer is designed to fit on most bathroom and kitchen counters.
  • If you’d prefer to keep your counters clear, wall-mounted spice racks work well for storing multiple medicines and/or vitamin bottles.  They can also be mounted inside a cabinet door.
  • Another space-saving spice organizer also works well for keeping vitamins and pill bottles handy yet outSpice Organizer - Under Cabinet Image of the way: the Under Cabinet Spice Organizer.  This clever system for storing small bottles pulls out from under your kitchen cupboard or bathroom cabinet and stops at a 45-degree angle so the contents are fully accessible.  Removable dividers provide flexibility, allowing you to store pill bottles of varying sizes.

Note: If you’d like to jettison the bottles and just want easy access to your vitamins and  medications, the VitaVault is an innovative solution.  More basic yet also effective: the Round Vitamin Dispenser and Organizer.


Book storage solutions

Feeling over-booked?  If you’ve run out of room for all your books, you already know the obvious answer: Weed, sell, give away…

Easier said than done, of course.  Letting go of books is particularly difficult for book lovers. So figuring out how to store the maximum number of books in the minimum amount of space is essential.  Although bookcases are the most common type of book storage solution, they aren’t always the most efficient way to store books.   Here are three unusual space-saving bookcase alternatives :

  •  The Conceal Invisible Bookshelf can hold up to 15 pounds of hardcover or paperback books in the smallest possible wall space. Conceal Invisible Bookshelf Image  A stack of books appears to float on the wall since the shelf is designed to be invisible when in use.  It’s also available in a double version that holds twice as many books.
  • Wall-mounted bookshelf pot racks come in a variety of styles and are ideal for storing cookbooks or any other books you want to access in the kitchen.  And they keep your most frequently used cooking utensils handy, too.
  • The stackable Book Storage Box protects books from moisture, dust and paper-eating creatures in a basement, attic, garage or other storage area. Book Storage Box ImageFeaturing a snap-close lid and two removable dividers, this plastic storage bin is easy to clean and roomy enough to accommodate books and periodicals of all sizes.

Space-saving laundry drying racks

A few weeks ago someone asked if I could recommend a space-saver for drip-drying “lay flat to dry” clothes. I suggested the Mesh Stacking Clothes Drying Rack, which got me thinking about other types of laundry drying challenges.

When there’s insufficient drying space, even the tidiest home looks messy with drying laundry draped all around.  If you don’t have an outdoor area and you regularly need to air-dry loads of laundry inside (or even just an occasional load of hand wash), all those wet clothes, towels and linens can take up a lot of room. Luckily there is now quite a wide variety of space-efficient laundry drying racks. Here are three different options that provide plenty of drying area in a minimum amount of space:

  • The wall-mounted Large Telescoping Drying Rack features five retracting plastic hanging bars whenLarge Telescoping Drying Rack Image fully extended plus one stainless non-retractable steel hanging bar that can also be used as a towel bar (ideal for a bathroom that doubles as a laundry room).  It provides over 26 feet of linear hanging space yet folds to just two inches flat against the wall when retracted.  Laundry can be draped directly over the hanger bars or hung with clothespins or hangers.
  • The rolling Foldable Super Size Laundry Dryer Rack offers 65 feet of linear drying space on six fully adjustable shelves with 24 hanging rods and two side wings to hang garments on hangers.  When not in use it folds flat for compact storage.
  • If you only need to hang-dry clothing and hate having to move the dry garments from the laundry-drying area to the closet, consider the Indoor Clothes Drying Rack: it’s a combination drying rack and clothing storage rack. Indoor Clothes Drying Rack ImageDesigned to fit in a corner and hold up to 25 hanging garments, the tension-style rod adjusts in height from 68 to 92 inches to fit low or high ceilings, with secure-hold suction cups that won’t damage floors or ceilings.


Locker organizers

Locker organizers not only help maximize a small narrow space–they can save time and sanity, too.  In the mad rush and scramble between classes (or in a busy workplace, or even at the gym), being able to quickly access materials and supplies can mean the difference between calm and crazed.

Here are three types of excellent sanity-saving locker organization tools:

  • Locker shelves come in a variety of configurations such as stackable, adjustable and magnetic.  One of the most effective locker shelf designs is the Hanging Locker Organizer, which features three rigid shelves Hanging Locker Organizer - Blue Image(each with a flexible mesh side pocket) and adjusts from 20 inches up to 38 inches to fit both full and half lockers.  Since it’s designed to hang from either a rod, hooks or a shelf, it can also be used inside a closet or cubby.
  • Magnetic organizers are also available in a wide range of products.  Mesh magnetic storage bins come in several sizes and are ideal for holding pens, notepads and other small supplies.  (They’re best used on the back or side walls of lockers instead of the door since if it’s slammed they can fall off.)  And magnetic hooks are handy for holding purses, bags, hats and other hangables.
  • The Chrome Wire Locker Storage Basket, available in twoChrome Wire Locker Storage Basket Image sizes, is especially useful for gym lockers since it can accommodate bulky sporting goods and the open design won’t trap odors. The front loop tab makes the basket easy to pull forward from a locker shelf, almost like a drawer.

Wall organizers for keys, mail, cell phones and more

“WHERE are my KEYS?!”  The answer is, of course, “right where you left them”–possibly hidden under whatever you dropped on top of them while looking for something else.  (Tip:  Never–even for a moment–put a bigger thing, such as a newspaper or a jacket, on top of a smaller thing, such as keys or a cell phone.)

If you’re tired of misplacing your keys and /or forgetting to take certain items with you when you leave your home, consider getting a wall-mounted organizer for your entryway. Here are several well-designed wall organizers that can help keep keys and other necessities from getting misplaced:

  • The Magnetic Stainless Steel Entry Organizer features two key hooks; Magnetic Stainless Steel Entry Organizer - White Imagethree magnets for holding notes, lists or photos to the magnetic surface; and three separate slots thoughtfully sized to stash mail, a cell phone and a pen or marker.  The magnetic front is also a dry erase surface, handy for jotting reminders.
  • If you need a wall organizer with more key hooks and more room for mail, etc., the
    Wall Mail Organizer and Key Holder and the Scroll Mail Organizer and Key Rack each offer five hooks and three tiers of storage.
  • Hanging up key-rings on hooks is just too much trouble for some folks. The Wrought Iron Calendar Frame is a good option for those who prefer to throw their keys into a horizontal holder Wrought Iron Calendar Frame - Black Imageyet want the space-saving benefits of a wall organizer.  It consists of a metal mesh basket attached to a decorative calendar holder which gives you a highly visible way to note scheduled appointments.  The basket also has room for mail and other by-the-door essentials such as cell phones, sunglasses, pen and pad of sticky notes.

More types of key organizers and wall organizers with key hooks and additional features can be found here.

Answer: Rod & Brackets for Armoire

Q. I am trying to find the proper rod and brackets for my armoire for the purpose of hanging clothes. What are your recommendations for the type of brackets used in an armoire? I don’t want to use screws or hardware that will come through to the outside of the armoire. Yet, I want the rod and brackets to be strong enough to hold a fair amount of clothes. Any advice will be appreciated. The inside dimension of the armoire is right at 36″ across. At the very top of the inside walls there’s (2) small wooden running bars (both sides) that’s probably 12″ long and less than an inch in diameter (3/4 inch). I would imagine this is for the bracing of the armoire. At the back there’s also a bracing type wooden strip that is 36″ length x 2.75″ wide and about one-half inches depth.

A. Here are the two products you need:



Corner Organizers

Cabinet corners have a tendency to accumulate clutter since they’re often difficult to access easily.  That’s why corner organizers are a necessity for maximizing hard-to-reach cabinet space.  Corner shelf systems also create handy storage options for corner areas of walls and counters.

Here are three types of corner organizers that offer new angles of organization:

  • Many cabinet Lazy Susans are specifically designed for base cabinet corner “caves”. The Pivot and Glide system is a good example. 28 Inch Lazy Susan - Pivot and Glide Half-Moon Image It features a pair of half-moon polymer shelves that pull out and pivot independently; the bottom shelf also glides out like a drawer, and both shelves have an extra-deep 1 1/2-inch rim height to prevent stored items from tipping over.
  • The Instant Corner Shelf features an invisible mounting system that requires no tools for installation and holds up to 25 pounds.  At 18 inches wide and 12 inches deep, it can hold a variety of supplies or decorative objects.
  • The Cabinet Corner Storage Shelf Kitchen Cabinet Corner Storage Shelf Imageis actually a two-shelf unit that helps utilize vertical space inside cabinets.  The stand-alone design is also useful on kitchen and bathroom counters, and even on desk corners.  The Stainless Steel and Clear Plastic Corner Shelf is a sleeker option but only provides one shelf.

Answer: Space-savers for drying clothing flat

Q. Many of my clothing items indicate “lay flat to dry” but I am running out of surface room to dry them! I don’t want to hang them and stretch the fabric. What do you recommend?

A. The Mesh Stacking Clothes Drying Rack is a spacesaver that I think would be ideal for your needs.  You can stack several in your bathtub or on whatever available surface you have.  The breathable mesh enables quicker drying, and to speed up drying you can put a fan on nearby. The racks fold away easily for storage and are simple to set up.

Mesh Stacking Clothes Drying Rack Image