ALL POSTS TAGGED "Organizing"

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When I get my home to myself for an extended period of time — no kids, no husband — I tend to go on the sort of cleaning and organizing binge that a normal working mom would think was…well, excessive. Instead of lazily reading books, or going out to brunch with girlfriends, I revel in the chance to fix my apartment knowing that no one but me will mess it up.

I was telling Briana that I could see the surface of my desk for the first time in ages and that led us to searching for a filing cabinet for her that would inspire her to file her piles of papers. She’s been looking for just the right at-home desk storage for a while and she indulged my current organizing mania by letting me window shop for her.

Here’s what I found in the way of cute, modern filing cabinets to fit her bill. The only downside? Now I want new office organizers, too:

Browsing for these filing cabinets got me thinking there are loads of high-function everyday objects with less-than-high style. What everyday item or household necessities do you wish you could find prettier versions of?

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As a crafty person, the holidays are like my Olympics. By the time everything is done, my workspace looks like I hosted some kind of very wholesome rave. Glitter, bits of paper, and other supplies are strewn about and I can’t find a dang thing. Clearly I’m in need of some organizational help, but if you know me you know it still has to be pretty. So today I spruced up some boring black office supplies with a little paint and colorful embroidery thread. Check out the video below:

With office supplies like these I almost look forward to tidying up! Do you have any organizing projects on deck for the new year?

Office Supply Spruce Up

In the mood for more projects like this one? Catch up with Marianne on the HGTV Crafternoon page.

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Can you believe Tax Day is almost here? Yes, it’s true – somewhere between building that raised bed and decorating all those Easter eggs, we’re less than two weeks away from the April 15 deadline.

Preparing your tax return can be chaotic, but it doesn’t have to be. Keeping important papers organized year-round can help you spend less time scouring your file cabinet and more time planning your Tax Day shopping spree (you know you’ve been browsing the sales).

Browse clever ideas for banishing paper clutter from HGTV.com's blog, Design Happens.

SPRING PROJECT: Upcycle Your File Cabinet

Start with the mail. It’s easy to let the mail stack up, and somehow even easier for unread letters to make rounds through every room of the house and get lost. Since it’s not always possible or practical to deal with the mail as soon as you walk in the door, create a system for sorting the mail that works for you – it doesn’t matter when or where, but a consistent routine will help you stay on top of things.

More Ways to Curb Paper Clutter

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Welcome back everyone! I hope everyone had a fun-filled, restful holiday season. Now that your guests are gone, the decorations are packed away, and you’re not out battling all those crazy holiday shoppers, I bet you have a lot of time on your hands and empty space to fill – or perhaps you’re having the opposite problem and have no place to put your stacks of presents!

If 2013 has you itching to complete a project in your home, look no further: we have plenty of beautiful designs to get you inspired no matter what room or budget you have in mind.

Kitchens

For many families, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Take this year to treat your kitchen to a makeover, whether it’s a small project like repainting your cabinets or doing a complete remodel job. Don’t forget to give your dining room some love in 2013, too!

See The Rest

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Here we are in August, and somehow it’s time to start thinking about back-to-school. I swear school starts earlier every year! I’ll admit that my school days are long past, but I can’t help but wax nostalgic about the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and the squeak of new shoes. And so, my inner middle-schooler gave a little cheer when I spied this so-old-school-it’s-new-school basket rack from Hertz Furniture.

Hertz Basket Rack

Picture this rack in a pool house or mud room, keeping wet swimsuits, muddy shoes, and sports equipment stashed in style. The best part? The rack comes in 20 colors ranging from vibrant teal to neutral putty. What do you think, would you bring a little locker room chic into your home?

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I spent this summer – my last summer as a student ever – interning here at HGTV.com. The beginning of August has only reminded me that it’s only a matter of weeks before I head back to class for my final semester at the University of Tennessee (Go Vols!).

I’ve lived on campus all four years of my college experience – two years in a “traditional” two-person dorm and two years in an on-campus apartment. At this point I could probably, pack, unpack and rearrange all the furniture to maximize the space in just a few hours.

That wisdom came with experience, however. Like many other students, I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college fretting over what to bring to my new home. Mix together my panic with graduation money and things quickly got out of hand:

What I Thought I Needed to Be Organized:

What I Actually Needed:

  • Paper shredder
  • 10 composition books
  • Multiple laundry bags
  • Laundry basket
  • More than three rolls of tape
  • Magazine rack
  • A plastic bin in every size
  • High school term papers, “for reference”
  • Pocket shoe organizer
  • Hangers

Needless to say I went overboard, much to the dismay of my poor parents who had to lug it all across the state only to have to turn around and take it all back when everything was intruding on my roommate’s side of our tiny room. Here’s what I’ve learned from the chaotic mistakes I made:

320 Sycamore shoe organizer idea

Melissa from 320 * Sycamore cut a hanging shoe rack to fit her narrow closet doors.

My favorite trick for keeping things tidy is investing in a couple over-the-door pocket shoe organizers. They’re inexpensive and readily available in stores at this time of year. They have deep pockets – making them perfect for stashing toiletries, school supplies, and snacks – and what’s best is that you can keep them behind a door or tucked away in the closet.

You could also try attaching clear folders to the wall for a neat place to hold homework, papers or a collection of menus for those late-night hunger pains:

hanging pocket folder organizer

Remember that whatever you do, organization is priority number one in a dorm room. Priority number two is not attempting to take your house with you to college.

For more creative ideas on controlling clutter in a dorm or small space, check out:

Clever Uses for Everyday Items in the Home Office

Repurposing Household Items for Closet Organization

Stylish Storage Solutions

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Jewelry storage is so tricky, don’t you think? I have my accessories draped on hooks and dumped in trinket bowls, and the whole effect comes across as sloppy. I think the clear solution is a Bling Box.

Deny Design Bling Box1

Bling Box Jewelry Case

You can customize your Bling Box with dozens of backgrounds, but my favorite is this painterly scene by artist Amy Sia. I think it would elevate my jumbled bangles and tangled pedants to a work of art.

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OMG, the *books*. Piles of nonfiction, stacks of mysteries and romances, dusty autobiographies and Norton Anthologies (Norton Anthologies? really?!)…. I’ve carried books with me since I was in college — in the last century.

But as I found out during my home office reorg, in my gypsy lifestyle, books were important. The people behind them, the writers and the characters, were extended family. The Nortons represented happy college days in the library. Even though I didn’t have a house, they were my physical roots.

During my first coaching with Julie Morgenstern, author of SHED Your Stuff Change Your Life: A Four-Step Guide to Getting Unstuck, I marked the books as being the things to which I had the highest emotional attachment. In this organizing process, you first get rid of the things that are 100% obsolete, to which you have no attachment, building momentum to the obsolete items you’re most attached to. (As a quick reminder: SHED = Separate the Treasures, Heave the Trash, Embrace Your Identity and Drive Yourself Forward.)

My cookbooks, arranged on a built-in bookshelf

Dude! I can find my cookbooks!


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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 HGTV.com, 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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OK, friends, I’m going to get real with you today. Because the fact of the matter is that during a renovation, your home becomes a war zone. And because my dear husband and I can’t handle living among shambles, we’ve designated one area to unload all miscellaneous tools, paraphernalia, and… well, junk. That area, friends, is our garage. Exhibit A:

Garage Organization- Erin Loechner

The dreaded before.

Oh dear. I cannot believe I just shared that image with you. All of you. Goodness gracious. Please be kind to me, Internet. Because for the past year, we’ve treated our garage like a landfill. I’m just as horrified as you are. Trust me.

And although I dream of a glistening, organized garage someday, I know that, realistically, we’ve still got a long way to go before that day arrives. After all, we still have a full sunroom and basement renovation ahead of us, and I’m quite sure our garage will become the holding zone for drywall, beams and plywood.

Garage Organization- Erin Loechner

Yep, still embarrassed.

Still, there is no excuse to live in such utter chaos. So a few days ago, Ken and I tackled a serious clean-out extravaganza. I won’t tell you everything we unearthed, but I will say the list included an abandoned art project, half-used bottles of hand sanitizer and much, much more.

Luckily, we also stumbled upon the previous homeowners’ kitchen cabinets that we knew we’d saved for a reason. With zero investment and a few nails, Ken and I now have a fully functioning closed storage solution for paint, tools and renovation supplies. Wanna see it?
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All the accouterments of colder weather can create visual clutter.

hook boxes

These Hook Boxes from Italian company Bosa do double duty: holding coats and purses while giving you a place to put keys, bills and cell phones. Genius.

Got any fantastic ideas for keeping winter detritus in order?

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Happy New Year! Living in an apartment poses certain challenges, one of the biggest of which is keeping the clutter to a minimum. So for 2011, one of my resolutions is to find a way to become more organized.

organized closet

supershoppertoo, Flickr

The closet above has been converted into an office and organized to clear the clutter in such a pretty way. Definitely going to keep this in my inspiration file.

Is mastering the art of organization one of your 2011 goals, too? Here are 5 helpful resolution suggestions for your home from HGTV.

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My life has been so hectic lately — seriously, I can barely remember what day it is. I need to get everything back in order and I found a product that will help!

design-happens-freebie-threebythree503x400

Three By Three Seattle’s Bamboo Dry-Erase Wall Panels are the ultimate solution for our busy lives. The panels have a real bamboo dry-erase surface and mount right on your wall. We’re giving you the chance to win their large Channel Panel. It comes with the following accessories: letter holder, three hooks, bamboo cup and holder, magnetic strip (1″x12″), four strong magnets and a dry-erase pen — all working together to keep everything under control! For a chance to win, answer this week’s question before 12/11c, Monday, April 26. Be sure to provide a valid email address so we can contact you if you win.

If you don’t win (or just can’t get enough from Three By Three Seattle), they are giving Design Happens readers 20% off everything on their site until the end of April. Just type in “happens20″ when you checkout.
This Week’s Question

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I finally admitted something to myself and I’m just going to say it now — I hate housecleaning. Now, I know you’re going to say, “Who doesn’t?” But I really, really hate it. I mean, I would gladly arrange a trip to the dentist to avoid it. The only problem is I equally hate a dirty home. Oh how easy life would be if I could afford a cleaning team to come in and make it all go away. Well, until my Fairy Godmother shows up to wave her magic wand I’m on my own.

Searching for some short cuts and good tips I found a ton of great ideas in the organizing section of HGTV.com at http://www.hgtv.com/topics/cleaning/index.html.

I also looked through a few books and found one that was stuffed with hints and tricks.

The One Minute Cleaner by Donna Smallin

The One Minute Cleaner by Donna Smallin

Three things that I picked up in my reading:

  • White vinegar mixed with water cleans and freshens almost everything.
  • The right cleaning tools can make all the difference.
  • Putting on a little ABBA to sing along to as I move through my home helps it all go faster.

What are some short cuts that you use to get housework done faster?

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