You know that thing that I hate? It’s clutter, and those nooks, crannies and corners of the house where it likes to congregate. I waste a lot of my free time working on clutter-busting solutions but today, you get to reap all the benefits. Here are just a few of the organizational tips and ideas that are making my life SO MUCH easier.
The problem: An odd, inaccessible space in the bottom of my closet that’s also a clutter magnet.
The doors to my closet are almost, but not quite as wide as the space inside. This means that while I can keep two small drawer units in the middle of the closet, there’s also a large, walled-in space on either side where things like shopping bags, purses and other clutter like to gather, and presumably, throw a big party.
That’s not so much fun for me. So, on the right side of the closet, I put in a pants rack that reaches almost down to the floor. On the other, I’ve placed a pair of stacking laundry baskets ($10). They are the perfect width, height and depth to fill out the space so that no clutter can congregate in, or around it. Then, I got this brilliant idea to use this space for purse storage. I have a lot of them, and they were using all their free time doing a hostile takeover of my tiny hallway closet.
In the bottom basket, I placed out-of-season bags (it fits six), and on the upper level, I put the ones currently in rotation (another six, with two on top). I hadn’t realized it before, but the great thing about these laundry baskets is that they are the right size and height to hold quite a lot of handbags. Plus, they actually look like they belong in a closet.
For organized purse storage, I went on to label the brim of each basket with the names of all of the bags that are inside. This means that I can quickly scan the brim and can locate what I need quickly, and without having to go through everything to find it.
And finally, to further protect my purses, I collected some air bags, the kind you use for shipping packages to fill up dead space, and put them inside clean, unused shoe bags. These are my handbag stuffers, used to prevent fabrics and leather from creasing as a result of long-term storage. The great thing about them is that you can put in more or less air bags to fit the space inside your purse. And, when you need to use the purse, you can just pull out the shoe bag instead of the three of four different things that you’ve been using for stuffing.
The problem: Pens, vitamin supplements, energy bars and other stuff that’s cluttering up the kitchen counter and dining table.
Most of this stuff belongs to Mr. Min. I’ve tried moving them, but it’s no use. He’ll drag them out from wherever I’ve been keeping them, and leave a mess on the kitchen counter. Things like energy bars and electrolyte tablets [http://www.nuun.com] end up scattered on top of the dining table. Pens and scissors tend to get everywhere as well, since he likes to use the space as a work area. They are used too often to stay neatly tucked away in their designated drawer. So, yeah. I desperately needed a way to conquer the tiny clutter that was collecting in our main living space. The solution that I’ve found is saving my life and making my kitchen, living room and dining area SO MUCH neater. For now, let’s call it a “go box.”
Here’s what I did: I purchased two Tribeca DVD bins ($10) -- one for Mr. Min and one for me. Then, I packed each box with all of the tiny, go-to items that tend to clutter up our table surfaces or get lost in the room corners.
Mr. Min’s box is more interesting than mine, so I’ll show you that one first. He enjoys -- or aspires to -- an active lifestyle, which means going to the gym, biking, running and swimming. I like to think that his box reflects that. He has Men’s One-a-Day vitamins, joint pills, Aleve, Excedrin, Vitamin D, Honey Stinger energy gels, Nuun electrolyte tablets, empty bottle for mixing his protein shakes, energy bars, lens cleaner for swim and ski goggles, pedometer, pens, scissors and Tweezerman Power Nail Clippers.
I also did a bit of micro-organization within the bin. An empty candy container holds some pens. I also got some green dot stickers ($8.29) from Staples and used them to label the tops of of some of the items, making them easier to find. And finally, I have some tiny bins to corral like items together. The ones I used are Smart Store inserts from the Container Store.
Now, Mr. Min’s box rests on the kitchen counter. It’s handy for him to use, and the items are contained. If I need to use the counter space for cooking and things like that, I can move it one foot away to a shelf where it’s still accessible and visible for his needs. When he goes on a business trip or we have guests over, I don’t have to scoop up multiple items to put them away. Instead, I can move the one box to a place where it’s neatly tucked and out of the way.
I have my own go box, too. It was a bit of a challenge to find things to put in because I’m actually really good at putting stuff away. In the end, I decided to put together a nail polish kit (or caddy) since they are the things that I like to move from room to room, or table to table, depending on what I’m doing. My finished box contains nail polish remover, cotton balls, nail file, nail block and whatever flavors of nail polish that I’m favoring at the moment. The rest of my collection is stored elsewhere.
The problem: Hair accessories, jewelry and other feminine things cluttering my makeup and primping area
Shower curtain rings are one of those things that have a 101 uses. Which is why, on a trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond last year, I got a pack of these chrome O-rings ($6). I didn’t have a set purpose for them, but given a little time, I thought I’d find a use for them.
And find it I did. You know all those tiny, multiple things you keep on your vanity? Things like hair ties, hair claws, rings and even bracelets. As long as the item is small, and has a hole on it, I can put it on an O-ring. This keeps things together, and also organized, as long as I keep like items together. Then, I can toss multiple O-rings into a tall Smart Store Insert ($4) without having things get jumbled up and hard to find. Another place I like to keep them is in the bathroom. An O-ring filled with hair ties can be really handy when you loop it around the towel bar in the bathroom.
Now, it’s your turn. Are you glad to see me back? What are your clutter problem areas, and how do you deal with them? I’d really like to know, so tell me all about it in the comments.