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Author: Carla ShipmanFamily General Organizing Organizing Products Seasonal

OMG! My Car Is A Mess

Wow! Summer vacation is right around the corner.  I’m sure we all can become overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of chauffeuring our children back and forth and to all the end of school events.  Let alone commuting to your own appointments; the last thing most of us are thinking about is keeping our car clean and organized.  After all, being that high profile chauffer to those daily and extracurricular activities can be very tasking.  It isn’t until a friend you haven’t seen in ages comes up to your car you feel embarrassed. Then you get a frightful look on your face when you realize it looks like you’ve lived in the car for the past 6 months.  You say to yourself I’ve got to clean this car.

Don’t fret you still have time to get your car ready for the summer.  Keeping your car organized can make your travel time less stressful.  Here are some helpful tips below:

  1. Sort and clean out your car: Get rid of anything that doesn’t belong.  Keep a small trash bag in the car. If you have children assign duties.  One child can take out trash and another can take out toys, groceries etc…make it a family affair.  Let anyone who comes in your know about your “trash in, trash out” policy.  Get a small car vacuum and vacuum once a week.   It will make a big difference.
  2. Make sure you have all important papers in your glove compartment like car manual, registration and insurance forms.  Check every six months to make sure those documents are up to date. Keep a small change purse so you will always have money for those parking meters.  Keep your GPS handy.
  3. Remember to keep your car smelling fresh with air fresheners. It adds a nice touch of clean. Look in your local coupon circular for car wash specials.
  4. Keep reading material, cds and dvds to a minimum.  Too many of these items can cause clutter and end up on the car floor.  Remember to establish an in and out policy.  About 10 minutes before we make it home I ask my son, “is my car clean back there?”  Then he knows it’s time to gather up his stuff.
  5. There are some really cool car storage organizers you can get at Organized A to Z that can help you save time and money to keep the car organized.
  6. Here are some items that should be in your car at all times:  You can get one of those trunk organizers and place Velcro at the bottom.  Place items like first aid kit, flashlight, blanket, umbrella, neck pillow, paper towels, canvas tote bag, cleaning rag, ice scraper, empty water bottle, and jumper cables.  In addition, keep a pre-packed beach bag; don’t forget sunscreen and chairs for summer activities.
  7. Lastly, we spend so much time in our car why not makes it as comfortable as possible. Once you establish a system to declutter and organize your life in your car you will feel a better.

Enjoy your summer!  Happy Organizing.

Author: Naomi CookHome Organizing Organizing Products Storage Wardrobe Management

Label Me Organized

As a Professional Organizer, one of my favorite tools is my label maker.  With one little machine you can create oodles of labels in different fonts, colors and even add borders.  However, can you create a label without a label maker?  Absolutely!  Check out these other creative and perhaps “new to you” ideas to keep all of your favorite things in place:

  • Use Photos…to quickly find the pair of shoes that you are looking for. While pictures work fine mounted on any shoebox, different manufacturers’ shoes come in different size boxes and those can be hard to organize.  Clear plastic shoeboxes fit the bill for that dilemma, but what I really love are the stackable shoeboxes with an open front!  With those you don’t have to take all the other shoeboxes off to reach the pair you want that day.  By putting the picture on one end and the other end backed up to the wall you will achieve a consistent and colorful look!
  • Have you gone to a lot of conferences and never know what to do with those Plastic name tag holders with the safety pin on the back?  Flip over the paper with your name on it and use the blank side as your label!  Pin them on those fabric cube boxes that you can seem to find almost anywhere.
  • Did you know that if you put a Magnet on each side of a clear plastic bin, that the two of them will bond?  I just tested it and it worked!  Use a generic flat magnet on the interior of the bin and on the exterior, use a magnet with a clip.  Consider creating a small label with scrapbooking materials or pressed flowers, laminating it, and then clipping that on!

The additional ideas listed below are brought to you courtesy of Martha Stewart and her new Home Office line at Staples.  What can’t that woman do!

  • Martha came up with ElastiNote Tags®, which are tags connected to an elastic band.  These are ideal for cord control or to secure a box with jewelry, coins or any other small items.
  • She also created Small Metal Bookplates, which add a classic touch to items like magazine holders and photo boxes.
  • Finally, for those people out there with commitment issues in regards to their labeling, you are in luck!  Chalkboard Labels (conveniently placed near Martha Stewart’s chalk!) and Dry Erase Labels (where are your markers, Martha?) are easy and fun to use.  Just erase and start over again!

Whatever your preference or style there is a labeling option out there for you…even if it’s as simple as a Post-It and Sharpie!  Happy Labeling!

Author: Annette ReymanClutter General Home Organizing Organizing Products Storage

Measure Twice…Buy Once

Home is where you hang your hat. – Proverb

(That is, if you can find your hat and if there’s room for it on the hat rack.)

You’re walking through your local home goods store and you see the most attractive fabric storage totes that would be just perfect for finally organizing your bulging linen closet and you just have to buy them.  When you go to set them up the next day, you realize that not only are they too small to hold the contents of your closet but they are also too tall to fit on your shelves!

It can be so frustrating to spend time picking out a lovely basket or interesting storage piece only to bring it home and find that it is barely big enough to store half of what you had in mind.  It could be baskets to organize your pantry or plastic bins for sports equipment in the garage.  Whatever the intent, there are a few things worth considering prior to running out to buy organizing supplies.

Size:  It’s hard to choose the right sized storage piece(s) when you don’t know how much you have to store!  Before picking out the container

  • Figure out what amount you will be containing by gathering all related items together, discarding anything that is broken, expired or simply unwanted.  Make sure that what is left fits into the area that it will be stored.
  • Measure the space so that you can select a container that will fit – whether it’s a drawer, cabinet or simply an open area, write down the measurements or store a note or text in your cell phone.  This way you will have them handy when that “perfect” product or sale catches your eye!

Function:  The type of items and frequency of their usage should be taken into account when deciding what type of container to choose

  • Items, such as outdoor toys and sports equipment that will be frequently used are best kept in open containers that make for quick access and encourage easy clean-up.
  • Colored bins with lids may be best for seasonal storage, while clear plastic or wire baskets might be better for back-up supplies that you don’t want to forget you’ve purchased.
  • Items like nail polish that you may want to use in the den watching TV one time and at the kitchen table another, might be best kept in a handled tote.
  • Fabric baskets can help manage a linen closet while adding charm.

Placement:  Decide whether or not your container will be in public view

  • If you are looking for a storage solution that will help you organize items under a sink or in desk drawers, metal or plastic may be a perfectly acceptable solution.
  • On the other hand, do you have a lot of office supplies in your den that you need to keep handy?  A plastic rolling cart might fit the need but may not be something you really want on display.  Consider a small nightstand or cabinet that can offer storage while still complementing your décor.

Cost:  Your need for function or fashion will have some affect on the amount you will spend on storage.

  • Picking up some drawer inserts in the dollar section of your office-supply store is an appropriate and affordable solution
  • On the other hand, choosing a filing cabinet that is well rated and designed may cost more now, but will save you money in the long run – both monetarily and in your frustration.

Now that you have considered size, function, placement and cost, you can stroll confidently among aisles of home organizing tools, sizing up all the latest, greatest products with an eye for just the right one that fits your need.