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!

Footwear Storage Solutions


shoe organization
Tennis shoes, boots, flip-flops, high heels, loafers, sandals, ballet slippers…the list of footwear seems almost endless. (Fun footwear fact: There are at least nine shoe museums around the world.)  And the more pairs you have, the more space you need to store them.

Fortunately there are space-savers designed to let you store the maximum amount of footwear in the smallest footprint (pardon the pun).

Here are three space-saving footwear storage solutions that can accommodate all different kinds and sizes of footwear:

  • The rotating Adjustable Boot Tree (only 12 inches in diameter) features three tiers of storage that can hold up to six pairs of boots or nine pairs of shoes–or a combination of both. The tiers revolve individually and are adjustable in height.  The system also includes six sets of boot shapers.  Other thoughtful features are a weighted base for stability and a carrying handle.
  • The Boot Storage Bag is only 6 inches high–making it ideal for under-bed storage–and has four spacious compartments sized to store up to four pairs of boots or large-size shoes.  The clear vinyl zippered top allows you to view the contents while keeping them dust-free. Side handles make it easy to access the bag from underneath a bed.  It can also be stored upright on a shelf.
  • The Large Hanging Closet Shoe Organizer will fit on any size closet rod and holds up to 10 pairs of shoes, yet only requires 8 inches of hanging space. It features compartments that are roomier (8 inches wide by 14 inches deep) than those of standard sized hanging shoe organizers, to accommodate extra-large shoes (including men’s) and short boots–they’re even large enough to hold shoe boxes.  Made of breathable natural canvas, it hangs from two heavy-duty metal hooks.

More footwear storage ideas can be found in my posts on shoe organizers,
boot storage and new shoe storage solutions.



Mobile Office Organizers


If you spend a lot of time in your car for your job or business, you know what a challenge it is to work while on the road.   Keeping paperwork and necessary supplies organized while juggling various electronic devices is no easy task.

Luckily there are mobile office organizers designed to turn the front seat of almost any vehicle into an efficient work station.  Depending on your needs and car space, there are several types to choose from.  Here are three of the best mobile office organizers:

  • The Mobile iPad Desk features a Mobile iPad Desk Imagepull-out writing surface that offers ample work space; a non-slip grip top surface; separate compartments for holding hanging files, writing utensils, small electronics and notebooks or binder; and an adjustable cradle to fit most tablets, including iPads 1 and 2, Galaxies and Nooks. The support cups contain open slots providing access to audio jacks, USB outlets and other ports. This type of mobile office organizer must be seat-belted into the front passenger seat.
  • The Steering Wheel Desk and Tablet Mount is a two-piece system–the “desk” attaches to the lower half of your steering wheel and is strong enough to support small, lightweight laptops; the universal tablet mount secures to the passenger seat bracket and allows you to easily view your tablet.
  • The Travel File Tote is a customizable carryall that can hold everything from hanging files to laptops.  It has removable Velcro-edged padded dividers (two measuring 12-1/2 by 9 inches and two measuring 5-3/4 by 9 inches), a Travel File Tote Imageseat belt security strap on one side so you can strap down the tote; two ergonomic extended side handles that let you carry it comfortably; and a flap lid with Velcro closures to keep everything safely in place.

More ideas for auto organization can be found in my posts on how to conquer car clutter and auto trash container organizers.


Storage Benches


Storage benches are known to be helpful in entryways and mudrooms.  But they can also be useful in bedrooms, laundry rooms and hallways.  By providing both seating and storage, they simultaneously solve two dilemmas: where to sit and where to store stuff.

Many storage benches have flip-up seats, which means you can’t access the storage section while seated.  That’s why I recommend storage benches that offer access from the front, so you can sit down while putting away items and accessing other items at the same time–for example, removing your outdoor shoes and putting on house slippers.

Depending on what you want to store–shoes? backpacks? purses? hoodies? pet paraphernalia?–you’ll need different storage options: cubbies, drawers, baskets, shelves, coat hooks or a combination of these features.

Here are some of my favorite storage benches that combine several types of storage:

  • Drawers plus cubbies. The Mudroom Storage BenchMudroom Storage Bench Image features three small drawers (ideal for storing mittens, leashes and other small necessities), 10 shoe cubbies, and a removable seat cushion that attaches to the bench with loop and hook straps. At only 12.75 inches deep, it can fit in a hallway or other narrow space.
  • Open shelf plus coat hooks. The Hallway Bench with Coat Rack has a comfortable padded seat atop an open storage shelf that’s spacious enough to accommodate backpacks, purses, shoes and more. Four double coat hooks provide an easy way to hang up jackets, hats and other outerwear.
  • Shelf plus baskets (or a second shelf).  The Hall Bench with Storage Baskets offers an open Hall Bench with Storage Baskets Imageshelf above a compartment that contains three woven baskets (each 11 x 9 x 10 inches) sized for holding all types of accessories.  Since the baskets are removable, you can take them out to use elsewhere and utilize the open space for storing larger items.

Read more ideas for entryway and mudroom organizers here.


Answer: Stroller Organizer Bag


Q.  As a new mom I’m finding out how much stuff I need to carry along everywhere.  I always seem to end up with too many tote bags hanging off my stroller handles and it’s often frustrating trying to find what I need in them. Is there some type of stroller organizer you can recommend?   

A.  The Stroller Organizer Bag solves the problem you’ve described.  It keeps everything right where you need it:  Velcro straps attach to your stroller handles and support a large mesh pouch (you can easily see what’s inside), a smaller pocket with Velcro closure, and two drink holders.


Answer: Mouse-proof fruit storage


Q.  Help!  We’ve got a mouse (hopefully not more than one) in our house.  We’ve set traps but keep finding evidence that it likes fruit.  The problem is that our family also loves fruit and we’re used to keeping fruit bowls on our kitchen table.  We don’t want to keep fruit in the fridge all the time or hidden away in closed containers and cabinets.  Can you recommend some kind of mouse-proof fruit storage that would work for us?

A.  According to pest control experts, out of all the foods rodents consume, their top two loves are generally fruits and berries.  So it’s no surprise that your furry invader has been making a beeline for your fruit bowls.

I have a couple of suggestions for you:

  1. A three-tier hanging fruit basket is a mouse-resistant solution to the problem of storing fruit so that it’s handy yet out of the way, while also providing good air circulation. Hanging fruit baskets come in a variety of styles and are economical as well as effective.  
  2. Grubpacks are strong, light, stainless steel wire mesh bags with a Velcro closure–they’re designed for camping but can be used anywhere. The rodent-proof stainless steel won’t rust and the Velcro closes tight. They come in five different sizes and have optional handles so you can hang them from wall hooks.

Garage Organizers


Having an organized garage is such a popular fantasy, an entire industry has grown up around it.

But you don’t have to hire a garage organization company to achieve some semblance of order.  Here are three types of garage organizers that can help you turn your garage fantasy into a reality:

  • Wall-mounted. The Clothing Storage Garage System is a complete modular organizer designed to store a wide variety of items (not just clothing). The system consists of a steel wall-mount frame with rails to which you attach storage accessories, which include: two wire shelves, a solid steel shelf, a clothes hanging bar, two shoe racks, two wire baskets and two recycle/storage bags.  All the accessories lock onto the frame to stay in place so they’ll never fall off when items are being removed or returned.  Each accessory can be easily removed and re-positioned on the frame in seconds, so it’s easy to reconfigure the system as your storage requirements change.
  • Rolling.  The Heavy Duty 3-Shelf Utility Cart is a multipurpose cart with a 550-pound total capacity.  It’s constructed of a strong plastic resin that resists dents, chips and rust, making it ideal for storing and moving everything from tools to landscaping materials. Rounded corners mean no sharp edges to nick walls or vehicles.  And the handle has a special feature–it includes a built-in storage bin for small accessories and parts.
  • Freestanding.  The Adjustable Shelving System has a steel frame that’s completely open on both sides, so you can easily access all stored items.  It features nine adjustable shelves made of simulated wood (high-density fiberboard).  The customizable design allows you store a broad range of supplies and materials.

For more ideas on garage organizers, read my posts on garage storage systems and garage organizing tips.


House plant storage systems


It’s easy to accumulate house plants. Finding room for them is another story.

Plants can take up a lot of space inside your home. But since certain indoor plants also function as air purifiers (according to the NASA Clean Air Study), an abundance of them may be justified.  Unless, of course, your plant collection has outgrown your space and morphed into plant clutter.

Having efficient house plant storage systems can keep your indoor garden looking tidy.  Here are four space-savers designed to help you make the most of your green thumb:

  • The Urbio Wall Planter is a magnetic container that attaches to any magnet-friendly surface, such as the side of your refrigerator, or to a magnetic wall board.  It can hold up to five pounds of anything (mail, vitamin bottles, office supplies, toiletries) but it works well as a small plant holder.
  • The Corner Folding Bakers Rack utilizes vertical corner space, with four ventilated metal shelves set in a wrought iron frame that can be folded away when not in use.
  • The Indoor Plant Pole is a spring-loaded metal tension rod that can be adjusted to fit floor-to-ceiling spaces of 7 feet to 8-1/2 feet, with three adjustable arms for hanging up to three plants at a time; each arm can support a 5-pound plant. It’s especially handy for when you need to temporarily bring outdoor plants indoors to protect them from harsh weather.
  • The metal 3-Tier Plant Stand features three shelves that fold down individually for space-saving when not in use. The tops of the shelves are made from Travertine stone; the frame legs are flared outwards for stability. The Metal Plant Stand, with slate shelves, has similar features. Both can be used outdoors as well as indoors.

More types of house plant storage stands can be found here.


Earring storage solutions


Earrings have been around for thousands of years (since the Bronze Age, according to this history of earrings).  Earring organizers haven’t–but that’s probably because they weren’t needed until relatively recently.

Nowadays there’s an overwhelming number of earring options:  Pierced, clip-on, magnetic; studs, hoops, drops, chandeliers, “huggies,” cuffs…and those are just some of the basics.

Since earrings are small and relatively easy to accumulate, it’s easy to end up with a cluttered collection.  Fortunately it’s also relatively easy to keep them in a semblance of order, thanks to the variety of earring organizers. There are three main types to consider: 1) for vanities or dresser tops;  2) for drawers; and 3) hanging (usually mounted on walls or doors). Here are a few examples of efficient and effective earring storage solutions:

  • The clear acrylic Earring Organizer is designed for dust-free earring storage and display. It holds up to 18 pairs of earrings on three separate tiers inside a compact unit that fits easily on your dresser or vanity. A hinged flip-up door keeps dust out and a small drawer at the bottom provides storage for other pieces of jewelry.
  • The 36 Compartment Stax Jewelry Tray is constructed from flock-covered acrylic and can be stored either inside a drawer or on a dresser top. Individual compartments keep up to 36 pairs of earrings safely separated.  It includes a clear plastic dust cover and features a sliding channel that enables additional Stax organizers to be stacked on top.
  • Tom’s Earring Holders are hand-crafted wooden earring racks that range in capacity from 15-30 pairs of earrings to 84-168 pairs.  Each rack can hold studs and wire-type earrings as well as most other types, and the slots can be used for either without the need to remove backings.
  • The Folding Acrylic Earring and Necklace Holder Screen offers storage for up to 180 pairs of earrings and eight necklaces, all on a clear acrylic four-panel screen that displays your jewelry pieces and then folds up flat for storage or travel.   The outer panels also have four hooks each to hold up to eight necklaces or bracelets.

For more jewelry organizing ideas, read my post on jewelry organizers.


Battery Organizers


National Fire Prevention Week is coming up–time to clean out that junk drawer and organize your batteries!  Why single out batteries?   Because batteries stored in drawers surrounded by metal objects (including other batteries) and flammable items can be hazardous:  Battery posts that come into contact with metal are capable of inducing enough heat to spark a battery fire.

So now you know why batteries shouldn’t be stored loose in a cluttered drawer. (There are those who also believe batteries last longer when stored in the freezer or refrigerator, but Everyday Einstein explains why that’s a fallacy.)

Luckily, there are battery organizers that make it easy to store batteries safely and accessibly.  Some are designed to hang inside a cabinet door or on a wall; others are made to fit inside a drawer; and some even include a battery tester.  There are even battery organizers that have all the above attributes.  And there are portable battery caddies too.  Here’s a sampling of the different types of battery organizers:

  • The Battery Storage Rack (which includes a removable battery tester) can either be stored in a drawer or mounted using the included screws and wall anchors.  It has compartments forBattery Storage Rack Image four 9-Volt batteries, six D batteries, eight C batteries, 39 AA batteries 25 AAA batteries and five button batteries.
  • The portable Storacell Original Battery Caddy is a compact, easy to access battery dispenser and organizer. It holds 12 AA’s, four AAA’s, two C’s and one 9-Volt battery. Originally designed for pilots, it allows you to dispense batteries with one hand for safety and convenience.  It also provides terminal protection at both ends regardless of how the battery is inserted, and a built-in hook for hanging.
  • The drawer-oriented Battery Storage Organizer is also portable, thanks to attached snap-close lid.  Constructed from clear polypropylene plastic, it features four compartments sized for 12 AAA batteries, 12 AA batteries, six C batteries, and four D batteries.

There are also similar individual battery storage boxes made for specific sizes of batteries.

More battery organizers can be found here.


Answer: Studio apartment kitchen storage


Q. I’m furnishing a studio apartment to be used as a vacation rental.  I need a way of utilizing the space over a mini-refrigerator for storage of kitchen supplies, small appliances, etc., without having to install shelves.  What can you recommend for a space no wider than 26 inches and no deeper than 20 inches?

A.  You’re in luck–there’s a rack designed specifically for the needs you’ve described.  The Mini Fridge and Microwave Rack is 24 inches wide and 18 inches deep, sized to fit over most types of mini-fridges.  It has two adjustable shelves that are ideal for storing kitchen supplies and appliances such as a microwave.