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Father’s Day is this Sunday — are you armed with a gift for dad? No? Well then, we’ve got you covered — from his favorite recipes (hot beer cheese and homemade pretzels — yum!) to fun, free printables and handmade gift ideas like this easier-than-it-looks dresser-top leather valet; whip up a surprise for your dad just in time for Father’s Day celebrations.

Handmade Men's Leather Valet for Father's DayReady to make your own? Get the complete step-by-step instructions>>

Not only is this monogrammed leather valet easy to craft, you probably have most of the materials on hand like an old frame, some batting or foam and a spare bit of leather – this is a great project for upcycling a past-its-prime jacket or purse. The steps are simple, just disassemble the frame then use the backing as a template to cut out a small piece of leather and batting. Place the leather, suede side up, on top of the batting and secure it in the frame with strong tape.Step by Step images for making a leather dresser-top valet for Father's Day

I used an old trick from college printmaking classes to create removable registration marks on painter’s tape that would help me find the tray’s center before placing the adhesive stencils (these things are awesome, btw, you can find them with the glass-etching supplies at your local craft store). Fill in the stencils with a permanent marker and voila — a handy catch-all for dad to keep his keys, change, watch and anything else he needs to grab on his way out the door.Using a Sharpie to Monogram Leather

Crafting this handy DIY gift for dad is easy — but be sure to check out my complete step-by-step instructions for a materials list and lots of helpful tips first>>

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Julie Morgenstern, author of SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life: A Four-Step Guide to Getting Unstuck is helping me organize my embarrassingly disorganized home office.

SHED is Julie’s process for helping people through transitions, so they can tame the chaos and make their unique contribution.

The four steps are: Separate the Treasures, Heave, Embrace Your Identity From Within and Drive Yourself Forward. In my first coaching, we focused on Separating the Treasures and Heaving.

Julie and I looked at my photos of the room. Um…super-embarrassing. I mean, look at this place!

Wow, does this home office need some organizing help!

Yes, that hat-shaped thing is a beaded lampshade. On the floor.


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Last December, I was interviewing organizing experts for an upcoming article. One of them was Julie Morgenstern. You’ve probably seen her here on, or other places like Redbook or Good Morning America.

“Why do people have so much clutter?” I asked.

“Going through stuff requires time and decision-making,” Julie said. Most people don’t have a clear head or a clear schedule, and they hang onto clutter because they need abundance. Or it gives them a feeling of fullness, of having enough.

Some people feel comfortable when their home is 60% full; some people feel better at 20%. There’s not a universally perfect amount of stuff — the key is, if you feel like you’re suffocating, you have too much.

That hit hard, because I was suffocating in stuff. I’d recently gone through a divorce and had one of those shameful rooms. You know the one: boxes leaning in precarious floor-to-ceiling stacks; bags of unsorted bills; piles of old clothes; cat brushes, jars of seashells, even 20-year-old floppy disks….

Clutter on a desk in a home office

I swear my desk is under there somewhere!

I asked Julie if I could use her book, SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life: A Four-Step Guide to Getting Unstuck, as a template for a reorganizing process, and tackle that room. She said she’d do me one better: she’d coach me through it.

Yeah, I jumped on it.

Starting next Friday, I hope you’ll go with me on the journey as — in 3 coachings — Julie helps me purge that room by targeting why I let that much clutter pile up in the first place.

Until then, here’s a clue: You clear out the obsolete so you can make room to move forward. When I say it’s fueling and energizing…well…you’ll see.

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As the new year begins, I resolve to get organized. I usually start my new year inventorying the spaces I need to declutter and then purchasing of slew of items to help me tidy them. Since I work from home, this year I’m focusing on my cluttered office. Here’s my wishlist of pretty, colorful organizing products:


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Mix-and-match dinnerware is all the rage these days. This less-than-formal approach keeps entertaining fresh and personal with endless combinations of modern, vintage, colorful, patterned and plain pieces. I personally love the look of classic white plates mixed with funky flea market cups, chargers and servingware.

No surprise, I love the woodland-themed Rosanna Teapot Boho from Imagine the possibilities this porcelain teapot could afford mingled with Christmas china, vintage treasures or graphic melamine designs. You know you want it, so answer this week’s question before 12/11c Monday, February 14, to be entered.

This week’s question: When guests come for brunch or dinner, are your tablescapes mix-and-match eclectic or off-the-shelf coordinated?

Click for official rules.

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Sometimes I long for the days of glamorous vanities with jewelry boxes organized just so.

Jewelry ornganizer

Short of being able to turn the clock back to more luxurious times, we can at least attempt to organize our (faux) jewels more beautifully. Liz Stanley of Say Yes to Hoboken made this necklace holder from a thrift store frame and knobs from Anthropologie. Much prettier than my own push-pin-in-the-wall technique.

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I have a list for everything, relying heavily on them in the planning of my daily life. But when it comes to household chores and home organization, for some reason those tasks don’t make my daunting to-do list. Instead, they get pushed to the side, only to be conquered if I have some extra time on a Saturday morning. Thank goodness guidance is here with HGTV’s Help Around the Home.

New to, Help Around the Home features a monthly calendar brimming with daily tips and tasks for keeping an organized home. January provides 31 fresh ideas to start the year out clutter-free and clean. There’s even a cool feature where you can send the Help Around the Home ideas to your own e-calendar.

And if you have creative suggestions to keep clutter at bay, share tips on organization, decorating and homekeeping with other fans.

Now to go check my packet of sunflower seeds!

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And the answer to yesterday’s “What the…?”

Kathleen and Holly know a handy tool when they see one.  It’s a trash can called the Urbano Eco Can. This clever design is a fun solution for always having a garbage bag handy. Plus, it’s made in the USA.

Though, who wouldn’t love to see some colorful yarn poking out of these?

Don’t forget to send us intriguing finds at if you come across a design mystery that you think will stump our readers.

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It’s that time of year again! Time to send the kids back to school, give the yard work a break (it’s too hot anyway) and take a good hard look at your house — the closets, the garage, the overall clutter.

The task may seem a little daunting, but we have the organizational tips, the helpful checklists and the step-by-step solutions for creating a more manageable life. Now, let’s get started.

First: A Little Inspiration
It’s hard to imagine a clutter-free home when all you see is chaos in every corner and cabinet. Check out these stylish, yet organized spaces from our Rate My Space community.

Contemporary Craft Room by lngregory

Little Girl’s Playroom by tnprph

Second: The Clutter
Whether the mail is taking over your house or your husband’s tools have conquered the garage, don’t miss any of our handy checklists for getting your spaces back on the straight and narrow.

clipBoard_icon.gif Four Steps to Less Paper Clutter

clipBoard_icon.gif Organize Your Garage Checklist

Third: The Rooms
Check out our quick organizing tips for every room in your house: bedrooms, living room, kitchens, offices and more.

Organized home offices from Myles of Style

Fourth: Your Time
Too much on your to-do list? The key to staying organized is developing good habits that will last for life. Use our checklist to get you started.

Share some of your favorite organizing tips in the comments.

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