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DIY Step-Stool Gift Wrap Organizing Solution

DIY Step-Stool Gift Wrap Organizing Solution

Several years ago I came upon an organizing idea I found on Pinterest for how to store your wrapping supplies. Because it involved wheels (and I love anything on wheels) I decided to give it I a try. With my own “spin” of course :)

The basics of the organizer that I made are this: I bought a wood step stool from Target for around $20. Then I went to Home Depot and bought six rubber caster wheels. I wanted rubber so they wouldn’t scratch our wood floors. And they have a full turning radius. For all the side pockets I just scavenged around my house for various solutions: a plastic IKEA plastic bag holder, a paper towel holder for holding spools of ribbon, I cut up an old mesh shoe bag I wasn’t using for individual pockets, and lastly, hooks to hold a bag of gift bags. Talk about being meta :)

This has been the best organizing solution for my wrapping supplies. I love it because

Inexpensive Storage Solutions

Inexpensive Storage Solutions

People think that organizing storage solutions have to cost a lot of money. And if you walk through a Container Store, indeed, you might have some sticker shock. But real-life, practical solutions don’t have to come out of a glossy catalogue. Even tidying guru Marie Kondo advocates for using simple and inexpensive materials to help organize your home and all of your belongings. She is a self-confessed box enthusiast.

I think the following are some of the most under-utilized and under-appreciated, easily accessible and affordable organizing solutions. I know, because I use many of them myself. Here are some of top recommendations, in no particular order.

Cardboard: Obviously, you think of cardboard and you think of boxes. Cardboard can also make for a really cheap organizing structure, especially if is a thick cardboard. For example, cut off the top panels and tip the box on it’s side. Or, just flip it over and start stacking. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box ;)

Ziplock bags: They come in a lot of sizes and can be useful storage for practically anything.

Rubber bands: Can bind together stuff that needs to stay together. I’ve been loving the extra large rubber bands lately to help keep stacks of papers together.

Velcro: Similar concept to rubber bands only can be a little more sturdy. Velcro is also great for binding together electrical and computer cords.

Efficient Tips to Store Your Holiday Decorations

Efficient Tips to Store Your Holiday Decorations

I love the holidays. My mom loved the holidays. And so did her mom. And as such, when my Grandma passed away many years ago, all her decorations went to my mom. And when my mom passed away over a decade ago, both hers and grandma’s decorations came to me. And of course I have my own. So now, one entire section of my garage neatly houses half a dozen bins containing three generations of holiday decorations.

The only problem is that while I live in a lovely home, the amount of decorating space I have is about the size of a studio apartment. I would need about four living-rooms to have enough surface area to display all of the animated holiday characters, ceramic statues and figurines, along with the tree and all its special ornaments. Oh yes, and did I mention we have a train set?

Even with this challenge I still love Christmas and I insist on decorating as much as I can. This has forced me to get a little creative in how I store my holiday decorations, to make it as easy as possible to access everything each year. Or, a subset of decorations some years. It seems every year that the time to put away my holiday decorations comes as fast as it did to put them out.

The Importance of Zoning

The Importance of Zoning

A gold-standard practice of good organizing involves the practice of zoning. Zoning is where you group and store things together based on what they are or how they are used. For example, in your kitchen you can create a "baking zone" where you keep all of your baking supplies. Or, in the context of your entire home, you can have a "reading zone," a "crafting zone," or, if you have kids, a "toy zone."

I think zoning is highly effective because it is fairly simple and straight forward. And better than that, it doesn't cost a thing. But that doesn't make it necessarily easy. What makes zoning the most successful and efficient is a good strong sense of intention. You really need to take the time to think through how you use your "stuff" and where you use it most naturally.

For example, say you like to knit as a hobby. And you find that you do most of your knitting at night while watching the tv. Well, then I think a good idea would be to set up a small knitting "zone" with at least your most frequently needed knitting supplies within easy reach.

The Importance of Leaving Room To Grow

The Importance of Leaving Room To Grow

One mistake I see people make who want to get more organized is, not thinking about tomorrow. Meaning, they look at the amount of stuff they have, they look at the amount of space they have to store said "stuff," and they take a freeze frame of time. They think that if it all fits now, that is enough. They don't leave room to grow. They don't think about tomorrow. But then time passes, life happens, and they are suddenly looking at some very pricey organizational tools that are now buried under a lot more stuff that tomorrow has brought, because they didn't thinking about leaving room to grow.

It's a rookie mistake, but also very much a part of human nature, focusing on the present and not thinking about tomorrow, especially when it comes to all our stuff. But it is an important over site. A key to being organizing is having enough room not only for everything you have now, but everything you will acquire in the future.

5 sorting steps to success: from clutter to cleared out

5 sorting steps to success: from clutter to cleared out

I know at the beginning of a big organizing project, the mess and the task seem so overwhelming. You don't know where to start. I've been there so many times myself. No matter what the project, whether it is a box of a year's worth of mismatched photos, or a long-neglected outdoor shed.

No matter how overwhelmed I am feeling though, I don't panic. That is because I know the steps to break down the big mess into something manageable and that I can sort into success. At it's most basic principle, it is about separating items into "like" piles. The more you split and divide, the smaller the big mess gets.

Below I break down a full five-step plan for attacking the disorganized mess that is overwhelming in your home and your life. It has been hanging over your head like a dark cloud for way too long. Well join me in proclaiming, NO MORE!

Where Does it Live? Strategies for Keeping Tidy

Where Does it Live? Strategies for Keeping Tidy

There is one key component to efficient organization that no one ever really talks about. Mainly because it is often inconvenient, not fun, and often something we don't feel we are responsible for. What is it? Put simply: putting things away.

For many a household, including my own, after an exceptionally busy week, by the time Friday arrives it looks like a tornado has blown through the entire house. I can retrace my steps of projects worked on, meals prepared, mail received, clothes worn, etc. In addition to the steps of my husband, and well, lets not leave the family pets out of the mix. Everyone contributes to the family whirlwind.

Good news is, like at my house, there are strategies that can help make it easier to clean up and put things away. Dare I say, even making the process fun?! The two key components are assigning “homes” for your belongings and corralling them within domestic “zones.”

How to Organize Your Music Library

How to Organize Your Music Library

I am not a collector of many things, but one collection that is very important to me is my music library. And if you like music as much as I do, with a collection of actual CDs, it is important to organize your music library so you can find what you want to listen to quickly and with ease.