Friday, January 30, 2009

The Ubiquitous Sticky Note

toast-shaped dispenser for sticky notes

Amazing - I've been blogging since October 2006 and I have yet to write about sticky notes! Well, it's time to remedy that. Office supply fans, this one's for you!

If you like to stick with basic yellow, the toast dispenser above might give you a smile. [via popgadget]

Post-its from recycled paper

But even staying with the 3M Post-it brand, you have a wide range of options. Especially noteworthy are the Post-its made from recycled paper. [photo from The Green Office]

sticky note pad

And if you want something a bit more interesting, there's plenty to choose from. Russell+Hazel is one place worth looking. [photo from See Jane Work, which sells one of Russell+Hazel's many sticky note pads] Update on March 31, 2010: See Jane Work still carries sticky notes, but not the ones from Russell+Hazel.

lined sticky notes

These simple lined adhesive notes (available in four colors) come from M.O. Update on Jan. 13, 2011: It seems these are no longer available.

pack of 8 sticky note pads

Moving on to more elaborate sticky notes, Galison/Mudpuppy has a number of choices. Each set has eight pads; the pads are in three different sizes.

sticky notes,8 different patterns

Lotta Jansdotter has some lovely sticky notes, available through Chronicle Books. The sticky notes are sold in sets of 8 pads, with 25 sheets/pad. [photo from; via frolic]

8 pads of sticky notes

You can get a similar set of sticky notes designed by Sukie, also published by Chronicle Books. [Again, photo from; via frolic]

sticky notes with a fox

And moving along to Etsy, Cicada Studio has these sticky notes with foxes - as well as others with birds. Update on July 24, 2013: Cicada Studio is no longer selling sticky notes.

cute sticky notes

If you want cute, Asking for Trouble is glad to oblige.

two sticky notes - cat and dog

Rachael Hale is known for her animal photography, and some of that has been translated to sticky notes - available here.

sheep sticky notes

And then there's Jellycat, known for its stuffed animals - which now provides animal-themed sticky notes, too.

turquoise sticky note with elephant

And finally, from Australia, kikki.K brings us these fanciful sticky notes. Update on March 31, 2010: Kikki.K still sells sticky notes, but not the one shown above.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Clocks with Character

chicken clock

Looking for a nice clock to help with your time management? I've got suggestions!

First, because I'm a sucker for cute (but not overly cutesy), take a look at the seven wall clocks from The Purple Cow. Unfortunately, they aren't distributed in the U.S. yet. Update on Aug. 11, 2012: The Purple Cow now longer makes clocks.

clock; base made with wood and washi paper

Jacques Dorier makes paper sculptures, and I see his work includes some fanciful clocks.

scale clock

If you have the room for it, you might consider this general store scale clock. Update on Aug. 11, 2012: This clock was sold by Victorian Trading Co., but that site no longer sells it.

projection clock

Projection clocks - those that project the time onto the ceiling - are new to me, but the Oregon Scientific Store has a number of choices. [via Parent Hacks]

R2-D2 Projection Clock

And if that's too prosaic for you, try the R2-D2 Projection Clock. [via Apartment Therapy]

basic analog alarm clock

Alternatively, for those who like a simple look, there's this basic alarm clock, that still manages to have lots of style. [via Switched On Set]

map wall clock

This vintage map wall clock appeals to the traveler in me.

tile clock by Michael Riley

And finally, for a very different and stunning look, there are the tile clocks made by Michael Riley. The web site is out of date - the last shows listed are from 2007 - so I hope he's still making these. I'll update this post if I learn anything new.

Update on Jan. 29, 2009: Sadly, Michael Riley wrote to me, saying, "I am not making clocks at the present time, and all of the ones on the web site have been sold. Thank you for your interest."

Related Posts:

7 Alarm Clocks for a Gentler Wake-Up Call
The Problems with (Some) Clocks
Getting Organized in Brazil
Real Simple Treasure Trove! Funny Alarm Clocks!
Clocky: For People Who Over-Use the Snooze Button
Fantasy Time: 3 Very Large Clocks

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fantasy Time: 3 Very Large Clocks

huge wall clock, round

A good clock can be hugely helpful - and these clocks are huge. (Of course, so are the price tags.) But sometimes it's fun to just gawk; in my next post, I'll point to some more practical options.

The clock above is the AB Normal clock from Alivar in Firenze, Italy; the web site doesn't list prices. [via Furniture Seen]

huge floor clock

If you don't want a wall clock, you could get the Oclock for $4,229. [via Unplggd and Better Living Through Design]

gold clock table

And finally, there's the 24ct gold watch table for 25,000 pounds. (At today's exchange rate, that's $35,413.) [via Unplggd] Update on March 10, 2011: I'm no longer seeing this product for sale.

Making It All Work

David Allen has a new book - and while I much prefer his original Getting Things Done, I'm still enjoying reading this new one. Here are a few choice quotes:
You never know how much of your attention is being held captive by a physical space until you do a thorough job of purging it and notice how different you feel. I have a saying - "When in doubt, clean a drawer" - a sentiment that is also true for your car, your gold bag, your clothes closet, your toolshed, your desk drawers, your garden - whatever. ...

We accumulate all kinds of things that are functional when we obtain them, but they lose that functionality over time. When they reach that state, though, they don't throw themselves away. ... Your center desk drawer was the perfect place to keep ballpoint pen refills, as long as you had that pen, but you haven't had that pen for two years. ...

As strange as it may sound, if someone has a big pile of stuff in the corner of his office that he himself has defined as "stuff I don't want to deal with until some undetermined time in the future" and that's exactly where he's decided that kind of material belongs, he's organized. ...

The steady growth of the organizational gear industry only reflects the hunger for gaining control of the huge volume of miscellany that people are collecting in their lives. All the plastic, wire, and wood boxes; all the trays, notebooks, folders, and desk accessories at least provide defining boundaries that help contain and separate stuff. But without a good underlying model for how and why to contain and separate what stuff, and for what purpose, shoppers still wander glassy-eyed down the aisles of the office supply and organizing stores, rather clueless as to what they really need.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Taming the Tub: 3 More Bath Toy Organizers

bath toy organizer - kangaroo

How about that kangaroo? John, the CEO/Inventor at Shanda Toys, wrote to me today to introduce his new bath toy organizer - and I'm very glad he did. It attaches with suction cups - or the velcro paws can curl around the shower rod.

blue tub toy organizer

This tub toy organizer that hooks over the side of the tub is not as eye-catching, but it might be just the right things for some households. There's a pink version, too.

bath toy organizer - whale

And Alex Toys makes the Hold It All Whale (and the Hold It All Fish) - pop-up storage bags with suction cups to attach them to the wall.

Related Post:
Taming the Tub: 8 Bath Toy Organizers

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Problem of Unwanted Gifts

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - book cover

Imagine my surprise to find this on page six of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the fifth Narnia book, regarding a painting:
Aunt Alberta didn't like it at all (that is why it was put away in a little back bedroom upstairs), but she couldn't get rid of it because it had been a wedding present from someone she did not want to offend.
That was written in 1952, and it's the same issue people confront today. No matter how we try to avoid getting gifts of things we don't like, some of them sneak into our lives, anyway.

First of all, it is perfectly OK to not save every gift you've been given. As Don Aslett writes, a gift is a "message of love and appreciation" and "its message will live with us, be part of us - forever, possibly" without holding onto the gift itself.

If there are no issues about hurting someone's feelings, it's easier to let a gift go. You can exchange it, donate it, re-gift it, or sell it with no qualms.

But what about gifts from people who will both notice and care if their gifts aren't displayed in your home, or if you don't wear the jewelry they bought you? And what if the gift is handmade? As Juli Culbertson and Marj Decker write in Scaling Down, "Fewer items create greater guilt than lovingly crafted gifts you can't stand."

There are no simple answers here. As much as I don't like my home to be filled with things I don't like, I'd be hard pressed to give away something if that would seriously hurt the feelings of a beloved friend or relative.

One common approach is to keep and display such items for a while, and then move them along. If you have ideas on how best to handle such gifts, please share them in the comments.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Reader Question: Coat Trees

mahogany coat tree

What organizing products are you looking for? The nice woman I spoke with today was looking for coat trees - and the first one on my previous coat rack post might suit her just fine. But I thought I'd poke around and see what else I could find. The one above is a very traditional look - a handcrafted mahogany coat tree. Update on May 26, 2011: Sadly, the website where I found this coat rack no longer seems to be working.

wrought iron coat stand

And here's another traditional-looking coat stand, in rust-patinated wrought iron. Update on May 26, 2011: The site that sold this coat stand no longer carries it.

modern stainless steel coat stand

OK, so much for traditional. Here's the stainless steel Nova coat stand, from Frost Design in Denmark, sold by Hightower in New York.

clothes stands, four colors

The same companies can provide you with the Wishbone coat stand; Homebits in the U.K. also sells this one. [via Daily Icon]

coat stands, many colors

And these coat stands from Nava Design in Italy, sold by Panik in the U.K., have a somewhat similar look.

hat and coat stand

Here's another modern look; this one is called the Clusterstand. Update on May 26, 2011: I'm no longer finding this product.

coat stand

Switching style again, here's a coat stand from Ute Australia. [via Topia7 design blog]

coat tree

And for something really unusual, here's the Bodhi coat stand, "made from the branches of fallen trees." You can see some more pictures over on Flickr, here and here. Update on May 26, 2011: I'm no longer finding this product on the designer's web site.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Use Your Closet Doors to Store Stuff

6-pocket over door organizer

The best-known closet door organizers are those with shoe pockets - which can, of course, be used for Barbies or gloves or any number of other things. But you can also use something other than shoe organizers. While these products are (mostly) fairly prosaic, they can also be very useful.

For example, here's a short, 6-pocket over door organiser (it comes from the U.K.) made by H & L Russel. The pockets are labeled Bits, Bobs, Itsy Bitsy Stuff and such.

11 pocket pink dotted over door organizer

The same company makes this 11-pocket over-door organiser; there's also a blue one with a football (as in soccer, for those in the U.S.) pattern.

blue over door organizer

We also have a blue over-door organiser for boys and a pink-and-lilac over-door organiser for girls. Feel free to ignore the color stereotyping if your girl likes blue or your boy likes pink and purple. Update on June 17, 2012: I'm no longer finding these organisers.

pink over door organizer, four pockets

Heading to Canada, you can find this 4-pocket over-door organizer from Babies R Us. OK, it's in baby girl pink, but there's no reason not to use it for more than baby stuff! (The U.S. site has a similar product in pink and blue.)  Update on June 17, 2012: I'm not finding this product on the Canadian site, and I'm not finding the blue version on the U.S. site — but I am finding this organizer in sage and natural

pale yellow 10 pocket over door organizer

And heading over to the U.S., this ten-pocket over-door organizer, also aimed at the baby market, comes in pink, blue, white and yellow. Update on June 17, 2012: This product, from Tadpoles, seems to have been discontinued.

purple over door organizer

This over-door organizer by Three Cheers for Girls comes in - you guessed it - pink and purple. Update on June 17, 2012: This product also seems to have disappeared.

over door organizer with 15 large pockets

Here's an over-door organizer with 15 jumbo pockets. Update on June 17, 2012: This one is showing as "unavailable."

over-door pantry organizer

Another one with large pockets is this over-door 24-pocket pantry organizer. Update on June 17, 2012: This one, from Jokari, has also disappeared.

over door organizer with laundry bag

This over-door organizer has a small removable laundry bag. Update on June 17, 2012: This is yet another product which seems to have disappeared.

over door organizer for dog stuff

Here's The Mutt Pack - an over-door organizer designed for dog stuff - although there's nothing really dog-specific about it, except the name.

over door organizer

And for significantly more money than any of these other options, you can get this over-door organizer called the Packtoozi. It's made with 100% organic cotton and polyester mesh. It was designed as part of a larger organizational system to store kid-related things (bibs, snacks, toys, diapers, etc.) - "everything you need when you're on the go with your kid." The pockets are labeled accordingly - so if you want to use this organizer for other types of things, you'd want to somehow change the labels.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day 2009: An Obama Post

Poster: O is for Organizer

As a professional organizer, I've been eying this poster for a while now. OK, I know they mean community organizer - but still. I've been reluctant to post it here because I don't want this to be a political blog - but today just seemed like the right time to share it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Helping You Save: Coin Banks and Money Boxes

cow bank - pink, floral

Want a colorful container for your change? LAMA - based in Oakland, California but selling objects from Latin America - can provide you with a cow bank. [via Real Simple] Update on July 9, 2012: I'm no longer finding a web site for LAMA, nor any place to buy these banks.

cast iron piggy bank

Or maybe you'd prefer a more serious-looking cast iron pig from P.O.S.H. Chicago. Update on March 2, 2011: Sadly, this pig is no longer available.

beach hut money boxes

Moving away from the animals and across the ocean to the U.K., we come to these beach hut money boxes.

VW camper van money box

Or how about a VW camper van money box from Wales? [via I Want a Volkswagon Bus]

Japanese train bank

And finally, we have the Yamanote Train Piggy Bank. To quote from Gizmine, the site selling this bank:
The Yamanote piggybank plays the melody from a randomly selected Yamanote line train station every time you make a deposit. (Each station has its own pleasing melody, allowing your subconscious mind to track where you are while you sleep, and waking you up just in time for your station!) The headlights come on at the same time.

Note: this product ships direct from Japan and is intended for the Japanese market. Instruction manuals are in Japanese. However, operation is simple and straightforward and we are available to answer any questions.
Related Posts:
Conquering the Coin Clutter
A Piggy Bank Menagerie
Piggy Banks: Beyond the Menagerie