Answer: Roll-out cabinet organizer


Q: ​Do you have roll out organizer racks for vanity cabinets 21 inches deep and 18 inches wide?

A. You’re in luck–there is a roll-out cabinet organizer that has dimensions very close to what you asked for:  it’s 21 inches deep and 17-inches wide.

Other 21-inch deep roll-out organizers are narrower, such as this two-tiered version.

Deep Pull-Out Under Sink Organizer - Chrome Image

Also known as pull-out baskets, this type of cabinet organizer transforms back-of-cabinet “black holes” into accessible storage space.


Halloween clutter solutions


For some, the scariest part of Halloween happens after the trick-or-treating is over–what
to do with the costumes and decorations?!  Here are a few ideas for coping with Halloween clutter:

  • If the costumes aren’t likely to be worn again, donate them to Goodwill or a similar charity.  But if you think they’ll be used for other events or future Halloweens, first make sure they’re clean (launder or dry clean them if necessary) and then store them in a way that will keep them safe from moisture and pests. Rolling Wardrobe Closet and Canvas Cover ImageIris Clear Underbed Storage Container Image
  • Gowns and other fabric costumes can be hung with out-of-season clothes; if you have room, a rolling wardrobe is ideal for this purpose.



Garage organizing tips


A recent UCLA study found that only 25 percent of garages could be used to store cars because they were so packed with stuff.  This is because the garage tends to become a dumping ground for all the things we’re not quite sure what to do with: boxes of old records (both vinyl and paper); infomercial impulse-inspired exercise equipment; small appliances that have outlived their usefulness yet are somehow “too good to get rid of”; and the inevitable unopened cartons of belongings from the last move.

Then there are all those items that actually belong in the garage — if you can find them: tools, gardening supplies, bicycles, camping gear and sporting goods…and possibly even a car.

If your garage is overdue for an overhaul, here’s a step-by-step plan to help you get the job done.  Compact 12 Tote Storage Box Organizer by Albern Enterprises, Llc Image

1. Focus. Think about how you currently use your garage versus how you’d prefer to be using it. For example, maybe you currently use it for “storage” (a euphemism for “dump”) but you’d like to be able to do woodworking or crafts projects there — or perhaps even park a vehicle inside. Decide how you want to use the space, and then sketch out a rough plan.

2. Inventory. Make a list of the general categories of stuff currently cluttering your garage. Then go back through the list and put a check-mark by the categories you plan on keeping in your newly organized space, and a big X next to the ones you plan to eliminate. Keep in mind that “Miscellaneous” is not an effective category. If you can’t pinpoint an item’s purpose or place, get rid of it.

3. Deadline. Set a deadline for getting the job done and then block out time in your calendar for your garage project. Tip: If you tie your deadline to an event such as a neighborhood yard sale, you’ll have a better shot at achieving your goal.

4. Prepare. Assemble any supplies you might need to make the decluttering go smoothly, such as protective gloves, storage containers, boxes, marking pens, labels, trash bins and, if necessary, a Dumpster. (A bulldozer is optional.)  If you think you might need any specialized garage organizers, it’s wise to do some research beforehand.

5. Dig In. Allocate two holding areas (outside the garage, if necessary) designated for “keep” and “don’t keep” items. (Suggestion: The area allocated for “don’t keep” should be at least twice as large as the “keep” area.) Your objective is to fill up the “don’t-keep” section. You may want to divide up this section with three or more containers labeled “trash,” “donate,” “sell,” or any other relevant subcategories. But keep it as simple as possible — creating too many options is counterproductive.

Garbage Can Cart Image
Finally, remember this classic decluttering rule:  Keep the best and let go of the rest.


Hooked on kitchen organizing


Hooks are among my favorite kitchen organizing devices.  They save drawer space and help counters stay clear while keeping frequently used items handy.  And they’re incredibly inexpensive.  Here are a few examples of how to use them:

  • Scissors, pot holders and aprons can be hung on the side of your fridge with magnetic hooksMini Magnetic Storage Hooks - Stainless Steel (Set of 4) Image
  • A small hook installed on the underside of a cabinet above a counter will give you an efficient way to hang bananas, so you won’t need a counter-space-wasting “banana tree” or hammock-style ripener.
  • Use hooks on the inside of cabinet doors for hanging large utensils (that’s why many of them have a hole in the handle) or lightweight cutting boards.
  • Cups and mugs can be hung on small hooks attached to the underside of shelves inside a cupboard.

If you’re not sure where would be the best place to put up non-magnetic hooks, you can experiment by using removable 3M Command Strip Hooks which won’t damage most surfaces.  They come in a variety of sizes and are designed to stay put until you decide to remove them.


Outdoor storage that hides in plain sight


Should you get a storage shed – or should you work on shedding your excess clutter?7.5'H x 10'D Backyard Garden Storage Building

In most cases, you’re probably better off getting rid of stuff than stuffing it in its own littlehouse.  However, a shed is an ideal solution for certain situations. If you want easy access to gardening tools and supplies, sports equipment, building materials or other outdoor-related items, a shed may be beneficial.

But if you just have too much “miscellaneous”, it’s better to shed the stuff so you don’t stuff the shed.

Deck boxes are an efficient and economical alternative to sheds–they can be used for stowing all types of outdoor gear such as patio furniture covers and cushions, pool supplies, toys and sporting goods.

Pool Side Deck Box with Wheels ImageThey come in a range of styles and materials and also do double-duty as seating options, ranging in size from ottomans to chairs to benches. For easy portability, choose a rolling deck box.





Reorganize your medicine cabinet


Look inside most medicine cabinets and you’ll find a whole lot more than medicine crammed onto those skinny little shelves: grooming tools and supplies, cosmetics, dental-care items, first aid materials, contact lens solution, sunscreen…

Acrylic Vanity Organizer - Medium ImageIf your medicine cabinet is a mess, maybe it’s time to declutter and reorganize. Start by eliminating outdated medications and ineffective products. Be ruthless when clearing out space-hogging beauty treatments and toiletries: Jettison bottles of dried-up lotions, toss out ancient nail polish and get rid of old “but-I-may-use-it-someday” items.

Next, focus on preventing future medicine cabinet clutter. You can keep those shallow shelves chaos-free with the help of special organizers that provide limited yet easily accessible storage. These narrow, transparent containers allow you to cluster products often used in tandem, such as skin care (cleanser/moisturizer/toner), shaving supplies (razor/shaving cream/after-shave) and dental care (toothpaste/mouthwash/floss).

Here are my favorite medicine cabinet organizers–all sized at about 3 inches deep or less, they can also be used on counter tops:Pill Organizer - Acrylic Image

  • The 12-compartment Pill Organizer is specifically designed to keep standard-size prescription and small over-the-counter medication bottles organized and easy to access; it also works for organizing nail polish and other similar size bottles.
  • InterDesign’s Vanity Organizer with Drawer features a
    handy drawer plus five compartments of various sizes to accommodate a wide variety of toiletries from taller narrow products (electric toothbrushes, razors,
    mascara) to wider items such as deodorant and toothpaste, while the clear drawer is ideal for storing sensitive items like contact lenses.
  • MagnaPod Magnetic Cosmetic Organizers are 1-inch-deep clear plastic containers that magnetically adhere to the inside of  steel-framed medicine cabinet doors, providing additional space to organize make-up. There is also a MagnaPod Toothbrush Holder.