About Harriet

Organizing expert Harriet Schechter is considered a pioneer in the field of professional organizing and has authored three books, including Let Go of Clutter (McGraw-Hill) and Conquering Chaos at Work (Simon & Schuster). She's answered thousands of questions about organizing, clutter control and storage solutions, and she's happy to answer yours!

Crafty craft carts

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Craft carts are great storage solutions for more than arts and crafts supplies. With multiple drawers and compartments of various sizes, these handy carts can help you keep all sorts of supplies organized and easily accessible: office supplies, beauty supplies, gift wrapping supplies, pet supplies…

Here are three examples of well-designed craft carts:

  • The dual-sided Craft Storage Cart has three built-in drawers, a large open compartment and Craft Storage Cart Imagetwo open shelves on one side; on the back are four dowels, an open compartment and three smaller sections. The dowels can be used for storing ribbons, yarn, rolls of stickers and other spool-oriented supplies.
  • The slim 10 Drawer Storage Cart consists of 10 plastic drawers in five colors (two drawers of each color) on a steel frame.  Each drawer measures 12 inches wide by 15 inches deep and the five colors allow you to color-code stored items; the drawers can be easily rearranged into different color combinations.  Two of the casters lock securely in place to keep the cart stationary.
  • The translucent 12 Drawer Rolling Cart features four large drawers, eight shallow drawers and a spacious 12 Drawer Rolling Cart Imagetop shelf that can be used as a work surface.  The metal frame rises into handles on each side for easy transport. And since the drawers are semi-transparent, it’s easy to see what’s stored within them.

Other types of craft carts can be found here.

 

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Kitchen Drawer Organizers

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Are your kitchen drawers a disaster?  Any drawer has the potential to become a cluttered mess, but kitchen drawers are especially vulnerable since they’re used so often.

Deep drawers and shallow drawers present different challenges. Outfitting them with the right kitchen drawer organizers can make a wonderful difference.  Here are three of the most effective types of kitchen drawer organizers:

  • For deep drawers, the Umbra Kitchen Drawer Organizers set offers a flexible way to create and maintain order.  This is a simple pegboard system designed to keep food storage containers, cookwareUmbra Kitchen Drawer Organizers (Set of 2) Image and other bulky items in place. Two plastic pegboards are included in each set along with 16 pegs; one end of each board is extendable to fit larger drawer spaces (expanding from 17-3/4 to 21-1/2 inches in length).  The easily repositionable pegs lock into the pegboard to organize items of all shapes and sizes.
  • For shallower drawers dedicated to storing cooking utensils, the Silicone Drawer Organizer Set is ideal–it consists of a green silicone base mat (20 inches by 14 inches) that’s cuttable to fit any size drawer in your kitchen, along with 15 dividers (Divitz) which can be arranged on the base mat to keep utensils secure and prevent sliding. The silicone material is easy to clean and food-grade safe, and it’s also available in a neutral color.
  • For cutlery drawers, the Expand-A-Drawer Cutlery Organizer provides five sections for flatware and two large side compartments for kitchen utensils.Expand-A-Drawer Cutlery Organizer Image Constructed of smooth white plastic, the sides pull out to expand the tray from 9 inches to 16 inches wide. When the expandable sides are pulled out, two new compartments are created.  The adjustable compartments can be up to 3-1/2 inches wide, and the sections run the entire length of the organizer so they’ll fit long spoons and serving utensils.
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New shoe storage solutions

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A new year, a new resolution:  Get your shoes in order!

Choosing the right storage system for your shoes is half the battle.  I’ve written previously about the most space-efficient types of shoe organizers.  Now I want to share three of my favorite new shoe storage solutions:

  • The clear, stackable Easy Access Women’s Shoe Box fulfills the promise of its name–it features a front panel that lifts up and locks into place, making the contents extremely easy to access.  Womens Shoe Box - Easy Access ImageThis brilliant shoe storage system allows you to actually see all of your shoes at a glance and grab whichever pair you want, without ever needing to remove a box, no matter how high you stack them.  Each shoebox has ventilation holes to let shoes “breathe”. Designed to fit most women’s shoes up to a size 10 with a heel of 4 inches or under, it’s also available in a larger size that will fit up to a men’s size 12 shoe.
  • The canvas and chrome 10 Pocket Shoe Organizer holds up to 10 pairs of shoes in a freestanding unit that can be positioned either horizontally or vertically.  Attractive enough to be used in an entryway, this shoe organizer also works well inside a closet on the floor or on a shelf.
  • The Modular Shoe Storage Organizer is designed for use on wire racks or standard closet shelving.  Adjustable and removable panels allow the system to accommodate up to 22 pairs of shoes and boots (depending on shoe dimensions).  The compartments can be configured to hold all types of shoes, with T-connectors that slide up or down to adjust the size of the openings.

More types of shoe storage solutions can be found here.

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Answer: Scarf storage

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Q. I’m looking for the best way to store scarves. I have many and I now store them in hangers, about 5-6 per hanger. Any better ideas to keep them visible and space saving besides putting them in a dresser drawer?

A. You’re on the right track. Storing scarves on hangers is one of the most space-efficient ways to keep them easily accessible.  Scarf hangers 18 Hole Scarf Hanger Imageare designed especially for storing multiple scarves and are available in a wide variety of styles and configurations, such as this 18-Hole Scarf Hanger.

Another space-saving option is the Extending Closet Scarf Organizer, a sliding rack that mounts to any side of your closet and pulls out so you can access up to six scarves. Closet Scarf Organizer - Extending Image

 

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Answer: Magnetic calendar

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Q. I am looking for a wall calendar (with dates all ready on it) for 2017 that will fit on the side of my refrigerator. It needs to have a magnetic back. Can you help?

A.  I’m happy to help.  The 2017 Monthly Magnetic Calendar is a 12-month calendar that has magnets on the back.  Measuring 11 inches wide by 8-1/2 inches high, it should easily fit on the side of your refrigerator.  It features ruled lines for notes and vinyl tabs that hold the pages in place.

Other types of magnetic calendars can be found here.

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Christmas tree storage solutions

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Everyone knows that reusable Christmas trees make holiday decorating easier and more economical.  But not everyone knows how to store them so they won’t get damaged.

Storing artificial Christmas trees safely can be a challenge.  Not only are they big and bulky, they’re easy to crush.  Luckily there are several types of effective Christmas tree storage solutions.  Here are three examples:

  • The Upright Christmas Tree Storage Bag is easy to use–it attaches to your existing tree stand and Upright Christmas Tree Storage Bag Imagesimply pulls up from the ground to enclose your artificial tree. Best of all, it allows you to store your tree fully decorated. Designed to accommodate Christmas trees up to 7 1/2 feet tall, the bag is constructed of heavy-duty polyester fabric with durable side handles for easy carrying. The upright design also has a smaller footprint than other types of tree storage systems, so it can fit in a garage corner or closet.
  • If your tree is taller than 7 1/2 feet, the TreeKeeper Expandable Rolling Christmas Tree Storage Bag is a good choice–it can contain a tree that’s between 6 feet and 9 feet high, thanks to a zip-out section that expands as needed. Made from a puncture-resistant nylon and polyester material, the bag also has three wheels that make it a breeze to transport.
  • For the largest trees, your best bet is the Large GreensKeeper Tree Storage Bag–it can hold up to a 12-foot-high tree.  This rugged Christmas tree storage solution includes a sturdy interior frame, a compression GreensKeeper Tree Storage Bag - Large Imagestrap that holds the tree in place and creates room for other holiday decor items, two rugged wheels, and padded handles for comfortable carrying.

Helpful tips for how to safely store artificial Christmas trees can be found here.

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Christmas tree ornament storage boxes

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To prevent decoration damage and disorder, Christmas ornament storage boxes are a must.  These special containers offer separate compartments for fragile bulbs and other pieces so you don’t need to wrap them individually.  The ornament-sized compartments will save you hours of packing and unpacking time, so you can enjoy the holidays more.

Here are three examples of well-designed ornament storage boxes:

  • The Christmas Ornament Storage box is a stackable,Christmas Ornament Storage Image see-through container capable of safely storing up to 75 round ornaments in individual sections. It includes three layers of corrugated dividers that can be manipulated or removed to accommodate larger or irregularly shaped ornaments. The hinged interlocking lid and built-in handles make it easy to stack and transport.
  • Another stackable option is the Vision Holiday Ornament Storage Box, with 36 compartments and a removable top tray.  The box has a clear vinyl window and handles, and folds flat for storage during the holiday season.
  • The Christmas Ornament Keeper features three storage drawers with divided sections designed to hold ornamentsChristmas Ornament Keeper Image measuring up to 3 inches in diameter. Each removable drawer offers 24 compartments for a total of 72 storage sections. All three drawers are housed inside the storage box, which has a front flap that folds down so you can easily access the drawers. The lid is removable for top access, and a clear vinyl holder in the front allows you to label the stored contents.

 

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Christmas light organizers

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Christmas lights are a joy to behold but a pain to store.  Unfortunately, poorly stored lights turn into tangled strings and broken bulbs, causing decorating delays and frustration. Not to mention the added expense of replacing damaged lights.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are three types of Christmas light organizers that can help keep your holidays bright and happily twinkling:

  • The Install and Store Christmas Light Storage system is a zippered polyester case containing three spools that provide tangle-free storage for up to three strands of 100-foot lights. The system also makes the light installation and removal processes easier thanks to the included Versa-Clamp that attaches to your ladder or gutter to hold the spools while you decorate.
  • The Christmas Light Storage Bag is a cylindrical case made of heavy-duty polyester, containing six plastic spools for winding up strands of lights. The bag has a zippered lid, a clear vinyl window and two handles for easy carrying.
  • The Christmas Light Storage Box is a polypropylene container that includes four removable plastic spools which fit neatly into Christmas Light Storage Box Imageslots in the sides of the box, designed to keep them suspended safely upright.  In addition to storing string lights, the box can accommodate garlands and extension cords.  The wing-hinge lid provides easy access to the contents, and the stackable design means you can store multiple boxes together.

 

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Holiday Wreath Storage Solutions

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A festive wreath on the front door is one of the simplest ways to decorate for the holidays. But when the season’s over, storing that wreath isn’t quite so simple.  Easy to crush, bulky, awkwardly shaped…it can be a challenge to keep a wreath safely tucked away without it taking up a lot of space.

Luckily there are now several types of wreath keepers designed to address those issues. So you won’t have to spend a lot of time “re-fluffing” your wreath next Christmas, here are three space-efficient holiday wreath storage solutions:

  • The Wreath Storage Bag with Direct Suspend Handle offers crush-proof storage in a space-saving design. It featuresWreath Storage Bag with Direct Suspend Handle Image a “direct suspend” handle with an interior clip that connects the outer handle of the bag with the frame of your wreath, so when you hang the bag, the wreath floats inside. This preserves the wreath’s shape by keeping it from being compressed against the bottom of the bag.  The zippered case is large enough to accommodate up to 36-inch-diameter wreaths, and has a padded carrying handle for easy transport.
  • For even larger wreaths, the Christmas Wreath Storage Bag is available in three sizes: 36, 48 and 60 inches.  It comes nestled inside a round zippered bag with a handle, which attaches inside the wreath keeper itself to provide extra storage space for Christmas lights and other decorations.
  • For smaller wreaths (24 or 30 inches in diameter), the Wreath Storage Container is a good choice.  Designed to stand upright, it’s made of heavy-duty plastic; one side is completely transparent so you can see your stored wreath. Six latches around the sides keep the container securely closed, and a large handle at the top makes it easy to carry.

More holiday wreath storage solutions are also available.

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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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