Multipurpose storage space-savers


multi-storage space saversSmall spaces require thoughtful storage solutions. The key is to choose space-saving furnishings that fill multiple needs and that work well.  But finding the right multipurpose storage systems can be a challenge.

Here are three space-savers designed to make almost any room seem roomier:

  • Bathroom, Bedroom or Laundry Room. The slender Spa Bath Tower with Tilting Hamper (17 inches wide by 14.5 inches deep) has three upper shelves that offer easy accessibilitySpa Bath Tower with Tilting Hamper Image to towels, toiletries, laundry supplies, accessories or whatever else you want to keep handy.  The built-in tilt-out hamper is fun to access and cleverly conceals dirty laundry.
  • Kitchen or Home Office.  The Microwave Cart and Trash Hideaway also features a tilt-out storage area, but this one is designed to hide a rectangular trash receptacle (not included).  Above it is a drawer fitted with a removable bamboo cutting board that doubles as an instant serving tray. The top of the cart is spacious enough to hold a standard microwave–and it also works well in a home office for a printer or copier.
  • Dining Room or Craft Room.  The wooden Drop Leaf Table with Two Stools is an ultra-efficient space Drop Leaf Table with Two Stools - by Winsome Trading Imagesaver.  The drop-leaf table has a base that rolls on casters; two square counter stools tuck neatly under the table to create a mobile counter that can be used almost anywhere you need a workspace. The table also features two drawers plus a towel rack.  A larger version without casters is also available.

Ideas on other types of multipurpose storage space-savers can be found here.


Lazy Susan turntable organizers


lazy susan organizersLazy Susan turntable organizers aren’t just for kitchens and dining tables.  They’re also useful on desks, inside bathroom cabinets, and in craft rooms or workshops. The rotating design lets you easily access a variety of items from all sides.

A classic Lazy Susan consists of a single circular surface that spins on a base.  But there are several variations that make them more effective as organizing tools.  Here are three different types of Lazy Susan organizers that are worth a whirl:

  • Turntables with compartments.  The spinning Paper Napkin Holder has three sections: a large middle slot designed to store paper napkins (but also useful for holding notepads), and a small tray on either side for keeping small supplies handy. The Silver Mesh Spinning Organizer has four compartments for simple storage of frequently used items such as condiments on a tabletop, spices and toothpicks in a cabinet, or office supplies.
  • Two-level turntables. The 11-inch Two-Level Clear Lazy Susan Turntable can instantly help organize a cluttered kitchen cabinet, or be used on a table or countertop.  The two-level design consists of a raised level in the center measuring six inches in diameter, and a bottom level with an 11-inch diameter.
  • Double-shelf turntables. The Two-Tier Stainless Steel Lazy Susan Turntable features a pair of shelves to maximize vertical space. It offers approximately 5-1/4 inches of space between the bottom and top shelf.  Two-tier Lazy Susans also come in several other materials, including bamboo and plastic with non-slip rubber surfaces.

File storage solutions


file storageAs tax time looms, it’s wise to think about file storage  Tax records and other rarely accessed documents don’t need to be stored in file cabinets (unless you have an abundance of file drawer space).  For example, file storage boxes are stackable and can provide more flexibility.

Here are three types of effective file storage solutions:

  • Split-lid file boxes.  This type of file box features a lid that’s hinged in the middle, allowing you to access files from either end without removing the lid. The Split Lid Stacking File Box (23 inches wide by 13.75 inches high by 11 inches deep) is also clear so you can easily identify the contents of each box, even when they’re stacked. Runners along the interior hold letter-size hanging files in place. The Stackable Split-Lid File Box is similar but smaller (14.25 inches wide by 11.25 inches high by 10.5 inches deep).
  • Collapsible file boxesCardboard file boxes are the best known and most economical type of collapsible file storage.  Their main advantage (aside from cost) is that they take up little space when not in use.
  • File box storage racks. If you need to store at least 6 file boxes, a file box storage rack is advisable. The File Box Storage System is a good example–it features 18 slots to securely hold file boxes or file storage totes (sold separately). Constructed from durable PVC, the rack is strong enough to support up to 1000 pounds. Clamps to secure the rack to a wall are included.  Another option is the Heavy-Duty Storage Rack, designed to hold up to 80 letter/legal archival boxes.

Desk organizers


desk organizersDesk organizers can help you achieve and maintain an orderly desk.  Their function is to store a variety of supplies and paperwork while keeping everything easily accessible.

Different types of desk organizers are designed for each area of a desk–desktop, drawers and under-desk.  Here are three efficient examples:

  • Desktop organizers.  For the most visible part of your desk, there are many organizing options to choose from.  One of my favorites is the space-saving Bamboo Desktop Organizer–it has a slim profile (just 5 inches deep) yet features six tiered compartments in several sizes plus two drawers, all sized to hold the most frequently accessed office supplies.  The back compartment even accommodates letter-size file folders. It’s also wall-mountable.
  • Desk drawer organizers. Cluttered desk drawers are easy to organize (and keep organized) when you have the right system.  Drawer organizers can be modular (individual bins) or have multiple compartments. The multi-section style may have adjustable or fixed dividers, or both, such as the Bamboo Adjustable Drawer Organizer–it includes three removable dividers that can create anywhere from six to 13 storage compartments. (For more drawer organizer advice, read my post on junk drawer organizers.)
  • Under-desk organizers.  If you need more space for keeping supplies handy yet out of the way, an under-desk organizer can provide a simple storage solution.  I like the Under Desk Pencil Drawer–it mounts underneath a desk surface and has six compartments, including a front tray area.  Ball-bearing slides make it glide out and retract smoothly.

More desk organizing ideas can be found here.


Answer: Hot hair tool holder


Q.  I recently started using a flat iron and I’m getting frustrated trying to figure out how to store it while it’s still hot.  Any suggestions?

A. What you need is a heat-resistant silicone hair tool holder.  The Hair Straightener Holder is a good example.  It’s designed to keep a hot flat iron or curling iron safely stored on the bathroom counter, and it also folds up easily for travel.  Heat resistant up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, it can store any curling iron or flat iron measuring up to 1-1/2 inches in diameter. A plug catch on the side keeps an electrical cord tidy and easily accessible.

The Curling Iron Storage Rack Hot Sleeve is another space-saving option–it can be hung from a towel bar.



Toilet plunger storage systems




A toilet plunger is one of those things you never think about until you need one.  It’s also one of those things that should be easy to reach in a hurry, yet hidden away since it’s not exactly a thing of beauty.

Luckily there are now toilet plunger storage systems that do the job without detracting from your bathroom decor.  Here are three different types to help you take the plunge:

  • Basic plunger holder.  If you just want a simple toilet plunger storage unit that conceals your plunger and keeps it off the floor, the Plunger House is an effective and economical solution. It fits most standard plungers and features a weighted base for stability.
  • Plunger in a canister.  This type of all-in-one design includes a plunger with the holder.  Some canister plunger systems are more decorative than useful, but the OXO Toilet Plunger with Stand is both–the plunger head is shaped to accommodate even low-flush toilets, and the handle has a flat surface designed for hand comfort.  The clamshell-style canister opens automatically when you lift out the plunger and conceals it when it’s replaced.  The canister also has a built-in drip tray to catch excess water and ventilation slots for moisture evaporation. (OXO also makes a matching Toilet Brush and Holder.)
  • Combination plunger and toilet brush stand.  This type of two-in-one bathroom organizer provides a streamlined storage solution for a plunger plus a toilet brush, both of which are included.  A good example is the Toilet Brush and Plunger Storage Caddy–the sleek stand (available in white or black) hides a matching toilet brush and plunger; each has an easily replaceable twist-off head. The open-back design increases airflow for thorough drying and odor reduction; the stored toilet tools hang above the enclosed base to provide quick drying and prevent the toilet brush bristles from getting bent.

Organizing with Key Hooks


Key hooks aren’t just for keys.  But they can be a key to keeping an organized home.

Whether used singly or grouped on a rack, key hooks are great–and economical–for easy-access storage of many types of grab-and-go items.  For example, near (or on) a door or entryway, it’s helpful to have hooks for frequently forgotten or misplaced things such as caps, sunglasses and dog leashes–and, of course, keys.

Here are five other efficient uses for key hooks:

  • Key hook racks are ideal for hanging multiple necklaces and bracelets inside a walk-in closet or on a bedroom wall.  Some racks even include extra features such as a shelf or pocket for holding non-hangables.
  • In the bathroom you can hang a hand mirror (the kind with a hole in the handle) so it’s always handy when you want to check the back or side of your hairstyle.
  • A key hook attached to the underside of a cabinet above a counter is a space-saving way to hang bananas.
  • Do you forget to bring your reusable bags when you go to the supermarket?  Put key hooks on the back of your exit door and hang up your reusable shopping bags there.  They’ll be hard to miss and easy to grab on the way out.
  • Small but powerful magnetic hooks let you hang items such as scissors, pot holders and aprons (or whatever you use most often) on the side or front of your fridge. They’re also useful on on any magnet-friendly surface (such as a metal file cabinet) for holding any small hangable items that are used regularly.

More ideas for organizing with key hooks can be found in my post “Hooked on kitchen organizing.”


Organizing with Shelf Dividers


purse dividersShelf dividers are designed to divide and conquer closet shelf clutter.  These simple organizing tools offer an easy and fairly economical way to organize soft, “floppy” items: tote bags and purses; stacks of t-shirts, sweaters, towels and linens; and whatever else you have trouble keeping tidy on your closet shelves.

Shelf dividers are available in a wide range of sizes, styles and materials to work with all different kinds of shelving. Here are three examples of shelf dividers that can help you keep your closet shelves outstandingly organized:

  • Vertical shelf dividers such as Chrome Shelf Dividers (pictured) are the most streamlined type–they slip smoothly onto shelves yet stay snugly in place and take up virtually no space.  In addition to chrome, this type of divider also comes in coated wireclear acrylic and fabric on steel frame versions.
  • The Closet Shelf Organizer provides both vertical and horizontal storage.  It slides over any solid wood shelf up to .75 inches thick or less and the rigid design securely locks in place. The sides and top are made from non-woven polymer and the frame is constructed of steel with an epoxy-coated finish.
  • The stackable Park-A-Purse Tote and Clutch Organizer features 10 compartments with adjustable panels for customizing the sections so you can keep purses and totes of various sizes upright and neatly separated.  Designed for use on wire racks and closet shelving, it’s constructed of heavy-duty plastic and metal wire; universal connectors allow you to re-position the panels for customization, and the connectors can also be used to attach multiple units together.  A smaller version, the Modular Park-A-Purse Organizer, is also available.

Wall Calendar Systems


Wall Calendars

Wall calendar systems provide a simple way to keep track of scheduled commitments and date-sensitive reminders.

Old-fashioned?  Sure.  But unlike electronic devices, wall-mounted calendars let you see a month’s worth of appointments and deadlines at a glance instead of having to scroll through individual days.

Here are three wall calendar systems that can help you stay organized throughout the year:

  • The square Magnetic Dry Erase Board Wall Calendar (14.75 by 14.75 inches) can be customized and personalized and allows you to post or write notes and reminders for the entire family.  It has an abbreviation for each month so you can simply circle or highlight the current month, and the days of the week are clearly identified in tabs above each column.  With 35 squares there’s ample room for managing a detailed calendar without having to cram two days into one square at the end of the month. The entire surface of the calendar is magnetic so you can easily affix notes, coupons, etc.  The dry erase surface allows you to simply number the days of the month in the squares and write or edit notes on the corresponding days.
  • The Magnetic Dry Erase Calendar Board is quite similar to the above wall calendar system, but it’s larger (22.5 by 18.25 inches, including the decorative wood frame) and includes a dry erase marker with magnetic holster clip and two small magnets for posting reminder notes and more.
  • The Wrought Iron Calendar Frame consists of a metal mesh basket attached to a decorative calendar holderWrought Iron Calendar Frame - Black Image (the calendar isn’t included) which gives you a highly visible and attractive way to note appointments and other commitments.  The basket has room for mail and by-the-door essentials such as cell phones, sunglasses, pens and sticky notes.

More types of wall calendar systems can be found here.


Answer: Recyclables storage


Q. I am looking for a three-holders bin to hold bottles, cans and paper. What I have found is too small for a couple weeks collection. Any suggestions?

A. I’d recommend Stackable Recycle Bins –they are large capacity (18 gallons each) and come in a set of three, each a different color 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.