Gift Bag Organizers

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Gift bags are real timesavers, especially around the holidays when you’ve got multiple gifts to prepare.  It’s so much quicker to pop gifts into festive bags than to laboriously wrap them.

But since gift bags come in a seemingly infinite range of sizes, shapes, patterns and materials, getting overwhelmed with gift bag clutter is a potential hazard. Luckily there are now gift bag organizers designed to keep your bag inventory neat, undamaged and easy to access. Here are three well-designed examples:

  • The Gift Bag Organizer has a main compartment with three divided sections–helpful for arranging your bags by size–plus separate compartments for storing tissue paper and scissors, ribbons or cards. The tissue paper storage section features tiered hanging rods to keep sheets of tissue safe and wrinkle-free. With an inner frame for support, this organizer is relatively compact (18.5 inches wide by 22 inches high by 8 inches deep) yet can accommodate bags up to 11 by 19 inches. An attached zippered lid and side handles make it seem like an elegant mini suitcase for your gift bags.
  • A similar option is the Snowflake Gift Bag Organizer–it has the same dimensions as above, but features a hanging accessory pouch for holding small supplies. It also includes a removable lid.
  • For the true gift-bag collector, the dual-sided Hanging Gift Bag Organizer is hard to beat–it has enough pockets to hold up to Hanging Gift Bag Organizer Image150 small gift bags (or about 100 of varying sizes).  The pockets are clear, making it easy to view contents at a glance, and are sized to accommodate most sizes of gift bags. The space-saving design can hang on a closet rod, with a swivel hook that rotates 360 degrees so you can quickly access all the pockets on both sides.

 

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Answer: Under-shelf basket

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Q. I have a small office space, and I would like to have a paper tray that hangs under the bottom shelf of a suspended book shelf.  I will keep a special kind of printer paper in it, and the printer will be sitting on a shelf about a foot below it. Do you know of any paper holders like this?

A.  What you are looking for is called an under-shelf basket.  Made of wire, these handy storage solutions are designed to slide onto a shelf and provide open storage below. Under-shelf baskets are available in several sizes and colors.   York Pantry Storage Basket Image

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Answer: Clear bins with handles

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Q. I just moved into a small apartment with very limited storage. There are two cabinets over the refrigerator. Inside dimensions are 11″ deep, 11-1/2″ wide, 12″ tall.  I would like to find bins of some kind that I could slide into the cabinet and pull out  – preferably clear, but they don’t have to be. They don’t have to be as tall as the cabinet either. They should have handles, or a way to attach some kind of handle, for easy access, because the cabinets are not real easy to reach. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

A. Depending on the size of the items you want to store in that small space, there are several possibilities. Here are three Pantry Organizer Imageclear plastic bins–all 10-1/2 inches deep including handles–which could fit in your over-the-fridge cabinets:

More types of clear bins with handles can be found here.

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Choosing a bakeware organizer

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Love to bake but hate to deal with your cabinet of piled-up baking paraphernalia?   If you’ve got the baking bug, it’s easy to accumulate baking pans in multiple sizes and shapes, along with cupcake trays, muffin tins and cookie sheets.  Of course, keeping them in order is another story.

The trick to organizing bakeware effectively is upright storage (think books on a shelf or files in a drawer).  Instead of piling your pans, use vertical organizers to keep bakeware standing on end–they’ll be easier to view, access and put away.

To help you choose the right bakeware organizer, here are three efficient and economical options:

  • The Adjustable Bakeware Organizer Rack has slots for organizing up to six pans or trays. The metal dividers Adjustable Bakeware Organizer Rack Imageare removable to accommodate different widths of bakeware, and are designed to make it easy to see and grab whichever pan you want to use.  The rack also can be mounted either horizontally or vertically.
  • A similar option (although not adjustable) is the Wire Bakeware Rack, with four 2-1/4-inch-wide slots sized for storing several types of bakeware.
  • The space-saving Bakeware Organizer is an Bakeware Organizer Imageover-the-cabinet-door storage solution that requires no installation. Designed to accommodate bakeware measuring up to 12 inches wide and 18 inches high, this organizer is best for slender items since it’s just 3-1/2 inches deep.  It fits standard cabinet doors up to 3/4 of an inch thick and has padded brackets to protect cabinets from scratching.

 

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Clutter-free Coffee Tables

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Coffee tables tend to be clutter magnets.  Of course, any horizontal surface has the ability to attract piles of mail, stacks of magazines and misplaced remotes (often hidden under the mail and magazines).  But the expanse of a coffee table, plus its close proximity to a sofa, increases the likelihood of pile formations.

If you long for a clutter-free coffee table, there’s hope.  Here are four clever coffee tables that feature a variety of handy storage solutions:

  • The sleek Coffee Table With Magazine Rack has six double-wide pockets (three on each side) designed for storing magazines, catalogs or slim books. Constructed of solid oak (available in three finishes) with an easy-to-clean melamine top, this streamlined coffee table could also function as an entryway bench. Tip: You can add additional storage with a storage ottoman that fits neatly underneath the table.
  • The ultra-modern Noemi Coffee Table with Storage Compartments features hidden storage located under the sliding tabletop.  The top glides open to reveal four compartments (one large and three smaller) that offer plenty of space for stashing whatever you want to hide away yet keep at hand.
  • The classic Timber Coffee Table has two drawers that are sized for storing remotes and accessories, and a lower shelf that’s ideal Timber Coffee Table - Black Imagefor holding books and magazines.
  • IKEA’s BOKSEL coffee table offers an adjustable shelf, a smooth-running drawer with pull-out stop that keeps it in place, and casters for easy mobility.

There are also a number of coffee tables that simply include a shelf, a feature which gives you an easy way to keep the top clear– at least theoretically.

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Tea Storage Solutions

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Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, and can be found in almost 80% of all U.S. households (at least according to the Tea Association of the USA).

That statistic makes me think of the millions of tea bags–not to mention containers of loose tea leaves–requiring some type of storage.

To the rescue are a number of tea storage solutions that offer various ways to keep your tea inventory organized.  Here are three worth considering:

  • For tea collectors, the two-sided Tea Bag Organizer provides the most storage–it allows you to store and organize approximately 120 packetsTea Bag Organizer Image of tea in the least amount of space (less than 5 inches wide and under 11 inches long).  Designed to either fit inside a cabinet or sit on a counter, this sleek tea organizer makes it easy to quickly see and access all your tea varieties. It features six removable clear bins on each side; the individual bins can each hold 10 to 12 tea packets and pop out of the base for quick refilling.
  • The Bamboo Tea Storage Box has five sections that can each store and display about 15 tea bags (it will hold approximately 75 total). The clear acrylic lid lifts up for easy access; the see-through design lets you view and admire your tea inventory.
  • For storing loose tea, the stackable OXO Good Grips Tea Container gives you a convenient way to keep tea leaves fresh.OXO Good Grips Pop Container - Tea Image  The container has specially designed corners that make it easy to tidily pour out tea leaves.  Made from UV-resistant, BPA-free plastic, it has a stainless steel lid with a silicone gasket that ensures an airtight seal.  The lid features a unique push-button mechanism that creates the airtight seal with just one touch; the button also serves as a handle to lift off the lid.

 

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Pet Organizers

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According to the ASPCA, approximately 37-47% of all households in the US have a dog, and 30-37% have a cat.  Of course there are many other types of pets–guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, birds, fish and reptiles are perennially popular.  But dogs and cats make up the lion’s share, so to speak, of household pets.

That means there’s plenty of dog and cat necessities to organize.  Fortunately there are now a number of pet organizers to help you keep your canine and feline accessories tidy. Here are three interesting options:

  • The Cat Box Cabinet solves the problem of where to put the cat litter box. This clever camouflager provides an ingenious way to keep your “kitty restroom” easily accessible to your pet yet hidden from view. Designed to look like a night stand or side table (it’s made from recycled polymer that resembles wood and is available in three shades), the top can be used for holding a lamp, books, framed photos, etc. The front of the cabinet features a kitty-sized opening, and the entire front panel pulls down for easy cleaning access.
  • Yep-Yup pet organizers are hanging space-savers with multiple pockets for holding all manner of pet supplies.
  • The Doggie Organizer Car Bag features three specially designed pockets: one large side pocket has a unique bag dispenser made up of a Doggie Organizer Car Bag Imageside pouch with a bottom opening for pulling out the bags; the other large side pocket is made of mesh, ideal for holding bottled water; and the large front pocket can accommodate a Frisbee, toys or reading materials. The wipe-clean interior has a snap frame clasp for easy access and is roomy enough to hold up to 24 cups of dry dog food. The bag also includes a carrying strap that’s adjustable for use over the headrest of your car, with a quick-release buckle for easy removal.
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Answer: Sorter for mail, magazines and catalogs

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Q. I am looking for a sorter for the hallway near my garage. It mostly needs to hold magazines, catalogs and mail. Keys are not necessary but definitely a plus. Any suggestions?

A. Depending on the number of catalogs and magazines you want it to hold, there are several options. Scroll Mail Organizer and Key Rack ImageOne good example is the Scroll Mail Organizer and Key Rack–it provides three spacious tiers of storage so you could designate one each for magazines, catalogs and mail. It also has five keys hooks.

More mail sorters can be found here.

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End Table Storage Solutions

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If you’ve got a couch, sofa bed or loveseat, you’ve probably got at least one end table alongside.  End tables (aka side tables) are useful for holding lamps, remotes and other items you want to keep handy when you’re lounging.  But they’re even more useful when they also provide storage for other things, especially if you don’t have much space.

Here are three different end tables that offer storage solutions for a variety of needs:

  • The Wine Rack End Table gives you an efficient way to store up to 15 standard-sized wine bottles withinWine Rack End Table Image easy reach yet tucked safely out of the way.  It features a metal base with 15 bottle-holder compartments, topped by a mahogany surface with tapered edges that make it easy to fit in a small corner.
  • The slender Williams End Table (just 13 inches wide) is a classic style that has three drawers and an open shelf.
  • If you prefer hidden storage, the Antique Walnut Storage Table Antique Walnut Storage Table Imageis a good choice.  Its top is actually a sleek lid that lifts off to reveal a space large enough to stash away whatever you want to hide when company comes–or blankets and other supplies for sofabed guests.

More types of end tables can be found here.

 

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Answer: Recycling system

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Q. I am looking for a space-efficient recycling system for collecting batteries, cell phones and ink cartridges at our “Green” school. I need 3 containers in all, that won’t take up much room in our school hallway & will encourage parents to drop their items in easily so I can periodically collect the batches to send off to the recycling plant. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

A. I think the Stackable Recycle Bins could work for your school hallway–they come in a set of three, each a different color (green, yellow and blue) 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.   Stackable Recycle Bins (Set of 3) Image

Another good recycling system (but pricier) is the Stainless Steel Three-Compartment Step Recycle Center, which features three step-open compartments with removable bins for storing and organizing recyclables.

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