Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Shower Curtains to Get You Organized

shower curtain with 7 pockets

Have a bathroom that's seriously lacking in storage space? You can use your shower curtain to provide a bit more. This 7-pocket version is the most popular. See also here.

shower curtain with 40 pockets

This 40-pocket version is more intended for display (of photos and postcards and such) than for storage. (Also take a look at the ShowerPics web site.) Update on Sept. 15, 2014: This product is no longer available.

pink shower curtain with 4 pockets

QVC provides this 4-pocket pink shower curtain. Update on July 2, 2011: This is also available in beige.

mesh organizer hanging from shower curtain rod

Do you like the idea of gaining the storage, but you aren't willing to give up the shower curtain you already use? You could add on the Showeroo mesh organizer from the Container Store. (For similar products, look here and here and here.) Update on July 2, 2011: The Container Store no longer carries this product.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Creative Re-Use: Household Items Take on New Storage Roles

sauce boat

Just because something is sold for one purpose doesn't mean it can't be used wonderfully for something entirely different. A number of bloggers have provided some great examples recently.

Over at Apartment Therapy, folks who got this sauce boat as a wedding gift now use it in the entryway to hold their keys.

Apartment Therapy also suggests using a medicine cabinet in rooms other than the bathroom - in the kitchen to store spices, for example.

Danny Seo shows a mailbox used to stash garden tools out in the garden, right where you need them.

Over on Ask MetaFilter, there's a discussion of the many things that could be stored in a china cabinet besides china: books, liquor bottles, many kinds of collections.

The most extreme example? In a Citi ad, a woman who doesn't cook turns her kitchen into a walk-in closet for sweaters, shoes, handbags and such. Much thanks to organizer Lorie Marrero for writing about this and scanning the ad.

Related posts:
Creative Storage: Coal Scuttles
Tips from Good Housekeeping: August 2007

Monday, January 28, 2008

Little Girls and Their Scrunchies, Hair Clips, Bows and Headbands

holder for girl's hair clips

Controlling all the little-girl hair accessories can be a challenge. Cool Mom Picks points us to the clippie holders shown above.

hair bow holder

Lil' Bow Keep is a way to organize hair bows, as well as barrettes, scrunchies, and some jewelry. Update on Aug. 23, 2012: Lil' Bow Keep seems to have disappeared.

crocheted hair bow orgnizer

Over on Etsy you can find another hair bow organizer - crocheted, this time. Update on August 21, 2009: This item is no longer available, it seems.

carousel-shaped hair accessory holder

The Hair Care'rousel seems a bit over-the-top to me, but maybe it's just right for someone. Update on Aug. 23, 2012: This product seems to have disappeared.

over-the-door shoe organizer

Giogia Danette goes for the multi-purpose over-the-door shoe organizers.

Over at Parent Hacks suggestions include a shoe organizer - and also a tackle box, a carabiner, Sterlite plastic drawers, and more.

The mom of five over at Hearth and Homemaker also uses tackle box, plus another box intended for craft supplies.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Kids & Toys & Stuff: Three Tips for Managing It All

teddy bear in blue toy car

Kids and clutter seem to go together; it takes some real thought and effort to keep things under reasonable control. Here are some of the interesting suggestions I've been reading recently.

1. Gretchen Rubin shares her insights on when more isn't a good idea. Here's a small portion of the whole post.
I remember that when the Big Girl was in nursery school, the school head told a story about a four-year-old who had a toy car he loved. He played with it constantly. Then when his grandmother came to visit, she bought him ten toys cars, and he stopped playing with the cars altogether.

“Why don’t you play with your cars?” she asked. “You loved your blue car so much.”

“But I can’t love lots of cars,” he answered.
2. The Detroit News has a good article on conquering kid clutter. Here's just one of the suggestions.
Rotate the goods: Teachers say kids concentrate better on their play when they have just a few good toy choices rather than a dizzying range of options. Keep extra items in your garage or basement in boxes marked "toys on vacation," and swap them in every few weeks. Your house will be instantly neater.
[via Unclutterer]

3. Over at Parent Hacks there's advice on teaching kids to declutter their own toys. Here's how it begins:
I want Miss J (2 1/2) to learn how to "declutter" things herself, so before Christmas I told her that since she'd be getting new toys, we better make some room for them. I asked her if we could go through her toys and find some to give to "Baby Luciana" (a 1 year-old friend of ours).

[photo by mszippycat / Melanie Major]

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ten Wine Racks for 3-20 Bottles

pyrmaid-shaped wine rack made from horseshoes

Have just a few bottles of wine that you want to store nicely? Here are some possibilities, from the purely functional to the more stylish.

1. This horseshoe wine rack might be the most unusual one I've seen. Update on March 3, 2011: It looks like this wine rack has been discontinued, but here's another horseshoe wine rack.

wine rack made from wagon wheel frame

2. But then again, this wagon wheel wine cabinet is not something you see every day.

wine rack cabinet, colorful

3. Oh, wait - maybe this rack by Avner Zabari the most unusual one!

wine rack tower holds 6 bottles

4. Here's another artisan-created rack, this time from Lee Rubenstein. Update on March 3, 2011: I can no longer find this wine rack.

wine rack with bottles

5. While I want to focus on the more unusual options, I have to mention this old standard because it's so darn practical. It can accommodate just a few bottles, or a much larger collection.

oak counter top wine rack with bottles

6. The cava wine rack from Umbra is a beauty. Update on March 3, 2011: I'm no longer finding this one.

wine rack from hollowed-out solid wood hunk

7. Going back to the very unusual, Rack and Ruin in the U.K. makes custom wine racks out of solid wood; the one pictured is from reclaimed oak. No one picture can do this company justice!

wine shelf

8. I've written about Modern Cellar before; they make a number of lovely options. Update on March 3, 2011: Sadly, Modern Cellar has been closed.

wall0mounted wine rack holding eight bottles

9. Here's another wall-mounted wine rack - this one in stainless steel - from black+blum. [via]

wine rack, orange

10. The puzzle wine rack has interlocking pieces, so you can build a multi-unit rack. It comes in four different colors. The web site has some nice photos to give you ideas. [via Popgadget]

Related Post:
Zanisa: Organizing Items for the Environmentalist

Friday, January 25, 2008

Four Options for The Old T-Shirts (Besides Donating Them or Using Them as Rags)

Have some old t-shirts and/or sports jerseys you'll never wear, but you can't quite make yourself get rid of them? Here are some options to consider.

If you want to preserve them

sports jersey, Arizona State, framed

1. Have selected ones framed. This can be expensive (if you get a special jersey frame with UV protection glass, as shown in the picture) or less expensive if you use a simple rack. You could also frame a t-shirt in a shadow box; Michaels sells instant shadow boxes.

quilt from 16 t-shirts

2. Have them made into a quilt.

I've mentioned this in prior newsletters, but I've found even more companies that will make a quilt for you, including:
- Patchwork Memories; that's one of theirs above
- Keepsake Theme Quilts
- ShirtQuilts [thanks to organizer John Trosko for this one]
- stitch'T
- Too Cool T-shirt Quilts
- Wild Zipper

If you just want to get a bit more use out of them

bag made from I Love New York t-shirt

3. If you enjoy do-it-yourself projects and can sew better than I can, turn them into reusable bags or a laptop case. If you're a knitter, melaniejo (Melanie Watts) shows you how to make a rug out of old t-shirts. [photo from greenteebag, which sells bags made from I Love New York t-shirts] Update on Aug. 2, 2012: Greenteabag seems to have disappeared.

woman wearing undies made from t-shirt

4. Have them made into undies. [via Lifehacker]

[Pink Freud t-shirt from Zazzle]

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Storing the Vinyl Record Collection: What to Do with the LPs

man drinking beer; record collection in background

You know much of the world has moved on to CDs or iPods, but you've got a record collection you really want to keep. Here are some options on how to store them.

bookcase - right dimensions for LPs

When this question gets asked, you can always count on someone recommending the EXPEDIT bookcase from IKEA. But there are certainly plenty of other options, in two basic categories: boxes and shelving.

Boxes and Cases

cardboard box with lid; right size for LPs

The most basic answer might be simple cardboard boxes. This one holds 50 LPs.

box with records stored inside

A step up would be an archival-quality box. This one holds 33 records.

two types of record storage boxes

Bags Unlimited also sells basic cardboard boxes, archival boxes, and plastic corrugated boxes made from "acid-free, waterproof and vermin-resistant material."

white box with lid

For a greener option, this box (which holds 45 LPs) is made from recycled fiberboard.

tan record carrier case

Crosley makes this record carrier case, which holds 30+ records.

LP carrying case,camouflage pattern

And Eurolite makes a case that comes in a variety of colors - plus this camouflage option. Update on March 3, 2009: This looks like the case from Odyssey Innovative Designs.


wood LP storage stand

Crosley makes this storage stand. Update on Dec. 10, 2014: I'm no longer finding this stand on the Crosley website.

two steel shelves with LPs

Boltz makes steel furniture, including some shelving designed for LPs.

lp rack with cherry shelves and black poles, on casters

This LP rack from Musicdirect has steel-reinforced 3/4” MDF shelves - and you can add on an additional shelf. Update on April 2, 2011: I'm no longer seeing this on the Musicdirect web site.

3-shelf unit with LPs

The Billy Bags LP storage rack can be made to fit your needs; you can specify the number of shelves and the dimensions.

large record shelf on casters

These DUAL record cabinets come in three sizes; this largest one holds 900 LPs. They are hand crafted from maple plywood and are faced with maple hardwood. Update on April 2, 2011: This product is no longer listed on the company's web site. DUAL does have other shelving options, though.

lots of records in modular shelving system

The modular RACKIT system can accommodate as many LPs as you have. Update on Sept. 12, 2014: The web site for this product has disappeared; see the comments for more information. Twocan HiFi has a product which may work as a replacement.

wall of storage boxes full of vinyl records

Tony's Woodshop provides another modular option, with these custom made storage boxes designed for LPs.

wood media center - four shelves with cabinet below

Room & Board has a lovely media center that's just the right size for LPs. Here's a picture of how someone has used it for a record collection. Update on April 2, 2011: Room & Board no longer has this specific product.

Update on September 12, 2008: I've found three more options worth a look!

Update on March 3, 2009: I've found a number of other interesting options!

Update on April 3, 2011: I've found six more vinyl storage products you may want to look at!

Update on January 10, 2014: And I've found three more!

Update on Sept. 12, 2014: I've found, yet again, three more!

Credits: About half of the original suggestions came from Steve Hoffman Music Forums, Metafilter, and Apartment Therapy: Chicago. First photo from Beautification Syndrome / Chris Ibsen.

Related Post:
But Those Old LPs and Cassette Tapes Might Be Worth Something!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Importance of Making Decisions

book cover, Order From Chaos

I've just started to read Order from Chaos, by Liz Davenport, and so far I really like it. Ms. Davenport has a 6-step process for getting organized, and Step 4 is "Make Decisions." To briefly quote from the book:
How many things can you do in a day? 10? 20? 50? If 190 requests are made of you each day and you can only do 20, how many times do you need to say "No"? Do you say "No" 170 time a day, or do you say "Maybe" or "Later" of "I'd like to someday"? Much of the clutter surrounding you is simply generated by those unmade decisions.

How many times do you pick up a piece of paper, look at it, say "I don't know what to do with this," and set it back down? The first time you have a piece of paper in your hand, you know 99.9 percent of the time as much as you will ever know about that piece of paper. So JUST MAKE A DECISION.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Storing the Spices: 10 Spice Rack Options

spice rack shaped like ferris wheel

For those of us with a significant number of spice (and herb) tins and jars, figuring out how to keep them all accessible can be a challenge. And those with smaller collections might want a stylish storage option. Here's just some of what's available - beyond the basics.

1. For pure fun, how can you beat the ferris wheel spice rack by Olde Thompson? (The orbit rack from the same company is also worth a look.)

counter top spice rack, red

2. I've written about magnetic spice racks before (here and here), but I never mentioned the See & Store containers by Soho Spices, sold by Lipper International (and others, but Lipper seems to have the most complete offering).

tower of stackable spice jars

3. Anther unusual offering is the spice tower, made of stackable acrylic jars.

space-saving cabinet for spices

4. Moving to the purely practical, the SpiceStack lets you save a lot of spices in a small space.

spice drawer inserts

5. Rev-A-Shelf is one of a number of companies making spice drawer inserts, in white or wood finishes.

spice rack on back of cabinet door

6. Rev-A-Shelf also provides door mount spice racks.

under cabinet spice rack

7. Under cabinet spice racks aren't lovely, but they are a space-saving option. I've only seen two versions: this white one and the metal one by Jokari. Update on July 1, 2013: I'm not finding those two under cabinet spice racks any more, but there's a wood under cabinet spice rack from Axis International.

carousel spice rack

8. It may not be novel, but this carousel spice rack from J.K. Adams is lovely - and the largest one holds 48 bottles.

wedge-shaped counter top spice rack

9. Trudeau makes some interesting spice racks. I've only seen one of the three on most web sites; I first found the wedge on the John Lewis web site. Update on July 1, 2013: John Lewis doesn't carry this spice rack any more.

counter top spice rack, wood

10. Finally, because I love supporting artisans, I'd like to point you to the handmade spice racks from Tumbleweed Woodworks.