Saturday, October 31, 2009
My October 2009 newsletter is now available.
Tip of the Month: Organizing Your Computer Files
Organizing Product of the Month: Returned Peace Corps Volunteer International Calendar
Recycling/Reuse Idea of the Month: Glove Love [via Springwise]
Also included: Organizing Quote of the Month and some Twitter tidbits
Friday, October 30, 2009
I haven't bought my Halloween candy yet; I was planning on doing that today. But having just read about Books for Treats, I'm having second thoughts. I've been meaning to thin my collection of children's books; rather than selling or Freecycling the ones I no longer want, maybe I'll give them away at Halloween instead!
I grinned when I read how well this has worked for some who've done it in the past:
What will the kids think about getting books instead of candy?If you'd prefer not to give candy - not even tasty fair trade chocolates like this or this - and the book idea just isn't your thing, you can see a list of other options from Green Halloween and The Lemonade Stand. If you're going this route, pick carefully so you don't create clutter in someone else's home! I especially like the Lemonade Stand list because it focuses on craft supplies - a consumable, and something that most families I work with would certainly appreciate.
Our experience is that kids, as well as their parents, are thrilled by receiving books for treats. They are much more enthusiastic than we have ever seen them when we gave candy.
We have witnessed many children running to the sidewalk waiving a new treasure yelling "Mom, look! I got a book!" We also saw a group of kids standing on the sidewalk showing each other their books. And we heard one girl greet a friend coming from the other direction "Hey, this house gives books! Cool!"
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
While many people will use avenues such as garage sales, eBay, craigslist, Freecycle, and donations to thrift stores - or just the garbage can - to get rid of items that bring back unhappy memories, Jonathan Carroll writes of a different approach:
An unusual Croatian exhibition is traveling around Europe. 'The Museum of Broken Relationships' is the name of the exhibition that has already visited Bosnia Herzegovina, Slovakia and Germany. ... Anyone can visit the exhibition and bring any things relevant to ex-relationships and ex-partners. ...The museum's web site says:
The main point of the exhibit is to get rid of these painful reminders in a public way. Therapists say that the idea is also good from a psychological point of view. They explain that giving away things that remind us of our ex-partners is the first step towards ridding the heart of its pain and a way of doing something creative with it.
The museum has everything from romantic and touching letters to different gifts given to lovers like teddy bears and photos, but also such unusual examples as leg prosthesis donated by a war veteran who fell in love with his physiotherapist or a gall stone. Every single object on display is anonymous, and has a description / story related to the relationship.Want to participate without waiting for the exhibit to arrive in your area? You can mail off your contribution to Croatia!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
For colorful, a bit out-of-the-ordinary storage - the kind that sits out on a shelf, not away in a garage, basement, or attic - you might look to felt boxes and baskets. This lovely felt box comes from Picciolo, over on Etsy. [via UK Handmade]
This felt basket comes from Muskhane.
And this felted basket comes from Én Gry og Sif. You can also find some of the company's felted baskets here.
Here's a different approach - these felt boxes ship flat, making them easy to store in between uses. [via Mighty Goods]
On a separate note: This is my blog anniversary; I published my first post on Oct. 27, 2006. My thanks to everyone who has supported me these past three years!
Soft Storage: Felt Baskets or Boxes
An Homage to Etsy: Felted Bowls, Incredible Baskets, and More
Monday, October 26, 2009
While many people are giving up on watches and just using their cell phones for determining the time, some of us still like to wear a watch. And some of us, with older eyes, like simple easy-to-read watches - ones that don't have a lot of other functions, but still have a bit of pizazz.
Since I'm one of those people, I've been looking at what's available. The Mondaine Swiss Railways watches were the first to really catch my eye. There are a number of models for both men and woman. [via the San Francisco Chronicle]
Another lovely watch is the Longines LungoMare model L35094762.
And then there's the Luna watch from Alessi, available from Unica Home and Emmo Home (among others).
If someone else knows of another watch along the same lines, please let us know in the comments.
Friday, October 23, 2009
We want to do the right thing, and keep reusable and toxic materials out of landfill - but we also have busy lives. So anything that makes recycling easier is a good thing!
I used to go to the post office to pick up postage-paid envelopes for recycling inkjet cartridges - but when I went recently, the post office no longer had them. (I see it was a pilot program.)
So I was delighted when Mary Key consultant Viv Tracy told me about the Mary Kay program using the postage-paid envelopes shown above. (Mary Kay pink! Easy to spot!) You can recycle both printer cartridges and cell phones through this program.
Mary Kay has partnered with Access Computer Products Inc. Since the Access web site doesn't (yet) have much information about how they do their recycling, I called the company and spoke to someone, and I'm now comfortable that their practices are indeed responsible; you won't be contributing to the problems described in my earlier post.
Other organizations offer similar programs; for example, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has the RSPB Recycling Appeal which uses Freepost envelopes.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Looking for a very special way to save and display your current - or special - magazines? This revolving magazine rack/table might do! But there are a number of other very nice choices, too. Update on April 16, 2014: I'm no longer finding this product, which seems to come from Usha Lexus in India, available for sale on any websites.
Staying with beautiful wood pieces, let's admire this magazine rack from Niels Jensen of Quebec.
And here's a magazine tree from Indiana for Modern. Update on March 5, 2011: I'm no longer seeing this piece on the Indiana for Modern web site. But here's the piece it seems to have been based upon: the Edward Wormley for Dunbar magazine tree stand rack, from the 1950s.
For a very different approach, see the Motion magazine stand from Innersmile. [via netspaze] Update on March 5, 2010: You can buy this magazine rack directly from Innersmile.
And finally, here's a leather magazine rack - one of a number made by the Asis family.
Magazine Racks: Some Mighty Fine Choices
Magazine Racks for Any Room
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I've always wanted to find a calendar that can 1) be attached to the side of the fridge, 2) can have a wipe off marker feature, and 3) is large enough to accommodate a family schedule. If you ever run into such a product I would love to hear about it. --Jason, commenting on this post
Jason, you're in luck; a number of companies make products that might work for you. If you happen to live in the U.K, you can get the Gripping Stuff dry erase calendar (sold online here).
Customized Creations can make you a magnetic-backed dry erase refrigerator calendar using stock photography or one of your photos. You can get a number of formats, too - including a standard monthly block, a weekly calendar with name rows like the one shown above, and more.
More Time Moms has a family magnetic calendar.
Adornit Decor has a number of lovely dry erase magnetic calendars. [via ListEn iN] Update on Oct. 28, 2010: I'm not finding these calendars any more.
And then there's the Juicy Lucy magnetic fridge planner. Update on Oct. 28, 2010: The Juicy Lucy web site says this product is not available.
The final two planners aren't what Jason wanted - they are pads, not dry erase boards. But maybe they will work for someone else! BusyBodyBook has magnetic 7-column undated weekly grid pad, with 52 pages. Update on Sept. 30, 2014: This product is no longer available.
And Lake Erie Gifts & Decor has magnetic weekly reminders in four different patterns; each pad has 55 sheets. Update on Sept. 30, 2014: It doesn't seem that these were sold after calendar year 2013.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Update on Oct. 28, 2010: Although this post features 2010 calendars, some of the organizations noted have 2011 versions available now (or coming soon); the links have been updated to point to the new calendars.
Animal shelter and rescue organizations and humane societies often create some very nice calendars; here's just a sampling. The Dog Days calendar above is created by Sutton Studios to benefit a number of agencies in the Chicago area. Update on Oct. 28, 2010: There doesn't appear to be a 2011 version of this calendar.
Boston Buddies comes from Southern California Boston Terrier Rescue. Check out the web site to see all the interior pages. Update on Oct. 28, 2010: There doesn't seem to be a 2011 version of this calendar, either.
The Humane Society of Northwest Montana uses illustrations by artist Jane Kleinschmidt on its 2010 Paws & Claws calendar. Update on Oct. 28, 2010: This group does have a 2011 calendar, this time with photos by Harley Mumma.
And the 2010 calendar from Atlanta Pet Rescue features the work of pet photographer Leesia Teh. Update on Oct. 28, 2010: 2011 calendars are coming soon.
While I spoke about the Dallas-Fort Worth Dachshund Rescue Foundation's calendar back in November 2008, it's so stunning I had to show this year's, too. Update on Oct. 28, 2010: The 2011 calendar is equally compelling!
Clarks Farm Greyhound Rescue has produced its first calendar. Update on Oct. 28, 2010: There's no indication this group will be producing a calendar for 2011.
And the Detroit Lions / Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter Pet Calendar looks like it will be pretty great, too. You can see the terrific photos from the photo shoot (which are copyright protected) at the Detroit Free Press web site. [via Nancy Nall] Update on Oct. 28, 2010: There's a 2011 version of this calendar available.
Other 2010 Calendar Posts:
First Look: 2010 Calendars
16 Organizers and Planners for Moms and Families
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Want to read some other good organizing blogs?
I'm thrilled to be nominated, for the second time, as Best Organizing Web Site or Blog; if you want to vote for me, login here and cast your ballot. You have until December 15, but why procrastinate?
But I'm also thrilled to be in such good company. Three of the other nominees are blogs I subscribe to because of their consistent high quality. If you want to vote for one of them, you won't hurt my feelings!
The Clutter Diet, by Lorie Marrero, offers much more than just a blog - but I'm going to focus on the Clutter Diet blog for now. Lorie has a way of taking good solid organizing advice and adding a telling story, or a turn of phrase, that makes me sit up and take notice. She also has sense of humor!
To get a taste of Lorie's writing, go to these posts:
- Organizing Magic Wand Now Available (but note the date on this post)
- 7 Unusual Scheduling Tips to Save Your Time & Sanity
- It's So Totally ME!
You can also follow ClutterDiet on Twitter, and read Lorie's great ClutterTweetTips!
Simplify 101, by Aby and Jay Garvey, also offers more than a blog - but again, let's focus on Aby's Creative Organizing blog for now. Aby's everything I'm not - the scrapbooker, the one who will futz around creating lovely do-it-yourself labels. And this difference makes it so much fun for me to read her blog!
To get a taste of Aby's writing, see:
- Make a Quick and Simple Travel Planner
- Budget-friendly scrapbook storage + organizing ideas
- Thoughts on Decluttering
You can also follow Aby on Twitter.
Unclutterer, with editor-in-chief Erin Doland, covers a wide range of organizing issues. From the first moment I saw it, I knew it was bound to be a hit with readers.
To get a feel for Unclutterer, take a look at these posts:
- Prioritizing uncluttering and organizing projects
- Unitasker Wednesday: Lem-O Saver
- Hinge hooks
You can also follow Erin (and Unclutterer) on Twitter; I've enjoyed following Erin, and getting to know a bit more about the woman behind Unclutterer.
Looking for seasonal organizing-related items? I've found some pretty wonderful items over on Etsy; let's start with these coffee sack baskets by Brin & Nohl. Update on Oct. 10, 2014: I'm no longer seeing any Halloween-themed baskets at Brin & Nohl.
This handpainted vintage wooden box comes from Janie D Mattern's Halloween collection. Update on Oct. 10, 2104: Janie no longer sells this style of box.
These handpainted nesting boxes come from Beth Logan's artstuff studio.
This Dia de los Muertos fabric bin from Nestings is made to order. Update on Oct. 10, 2014: Sadly, this store has disappeared from Etsy.
And finally, Herbis Orbis has an amazing collection of Day of the Dead skull magnets.
Update on Nov. 1, 2009: Full disclosure: After this post ran, Anne of Herbis Orbis offered me a couple free magnets. This came as a pleasant surprise, and I accepted. The magnets are delightful!
Update on Oct. 10, 2104: Herbis Orbis is not showing any products in stock, and may be defunct.
Organizing with a Halloween Twist
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Are you taking care of an elderly parent or other family member? That can become an all-consuming job. Learning how to manage the situation - including when and how to say "no" - is crucial.
Here's what Eldercare Coach Janice Wallace says in her latest newsletter:
Caregiver stress can creep up on you as you gradually do more and more things to help your family member. It's easy to justify adding just one more thing to your groaning to-do list when it's to help your loved one.You can read the rest of this article, with Janice's specific advice, on her web site. She's a wise and compassionate woman!
When you are doing too much, you will get signals from your body and your mind. ... You may get feedback from family and friends who have noticed how you are changing and express concern. You may receive complaints from family or friends who feel neglected.
Now what? You've thought things through and realized that maybe you do have caregiver stress. Looking at your situation may leave you feeling a bit hopeless. You can see clearly that your family member needs help; how can you possibly do less?
In order to honor your commitment to help your family member, you have to seek the right mix of helping, taking care of yourself and using other resources.
Yet Again: Learning to Say No
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
No one needs hangers like these - or any of the others in this listing. But it's interesting to see what some designers have done with something as basic as a clothes hanger. And these hangers from John Green are made from what would have been wasted material from his production of furniture.
Seeing the John Green hangers reminded me of theses Cityscape hangers. The original company which produced them is no longer in business - but they are back! There's London (shown above, and available at One Eco Home), Milan, New York, Paris and Tokyo - and you can also get one custom-designed.
Ingibjorg Hanna of Iceland designed this bird coat hanger - which also comes in a trouser version. Birkiland sells the hanger in all three colors - black, white, and pink - but doesn't have the trouser version.
The Ditto hangers made from recycled paper come in lots of 100; they're intended for clothing retailer, dry cleaners, etc. [via Apartment Therapy]
And then there's the Zilka hanger from Ryan Frank, made from recycled British newspapers. Bouf sells them in solid colors and patterns - and they can also be purchased from The Greenhaus and Pure Design. [via Apartment Therapy]
Hangers: The Basics and Beyond
Sunday, October 11, 2009
It's been a gray day in Half Moon Bay - with our first big winter storm on the way - so I've been attracted to these bright and cheery shelves. Lagolinea, shown above, seems like a wonderful system - unfortunately, while Lago has stores in a number of European cities, the company doesn't have one in the U.S. [via Freshome]
Here's one more picture from Lagolinea; the photos were too good to pick just one!
The Lorna Shelf from the William Feeney Studio is available in custom sizes and colors. [via Apartment Therapy]
The Confetti shelf system has tiles in four colors, which you can arrange as you like, and then add the shelves between the tile grooves. [via Switched On Set]
The Waveform shelf comes from Plodes Studio, and is available in 12 colors. [via Better Living Through Design]
If you need just a little wall shelf - for some books by the reading chair or the bed - you could get the Bookhouse by David Restorick Interiors. (Yes, book lovers, I know that placing the book on the top like that isn't good for the book. You wouldn't have to put one there.) [via Designspotter]
And if you have $3,500 to spare (or 2,700 euro) you could get Collect, from Normann Copenhagen; spring green is the only color. It's sold here and here.
Shelving Genre: Surfboard Wall Shelves
Five Options for Wonderful Wall Shelves