Wednesday, June 30, 2010

6 Charging Stations for Your Cell Phones, iPods and More

charging station, 3 items, pink

The only gadget I need to recharge regularly is my iPhone. But many families have multiple phones and other electronics that need recharging - and then a charging station might be useful.

Idapt has charging stations to handle two, three or four products. The i3, shown above, comes in silver, black and white - as well as pink; the i4 has the same colors, except there's no pink. [picture from] Update on Dec. 1, 2019: Amazon notes that this product has been discontinued by the manufacturer.

charging station

Pink must be in style; Refresh, from Bluelounge, comes in white, black - and pink. Update on March 19, 2014: This product seems to have been discontinued.

charging station

Blu Dot calls its charging station the Juice Box. Update on Dec. 1, 2019: I'm no longer finding this on the Blu Dot website — or anywhere else.

charging station

The Lessev Mobile Station is a Japanese design. [via Core77]

wireless charging station

The Powermat (paired with a receiver for each device) allows you to do wireless charging. Different size mats allows you to charge one, two or three devices at a time. [via organizer Allison Carter]

jewelry armoire with charging station

And finally, Cost Plus World Market is selling a jewelry armoire with a charging station. The picture may be a bit confusing - that's a mirror in the top, reflecting the items which are charging. Update on Dec. 1, 2019: I'm no longer finding this at World Market, but there are different ones available at Chasing Treasure and WatchWinder Station.

Related Posts:
13 Ways to Recharge the Gadgets
Woodworking Gallery in Half Moon Bay: Stunning Storage and Other Organizing Products

Is a Family Member’s Clutter Driving You Crazy?

I've raved about Naomi Seldin's Simpler Living blog many times before, and the guest post she wrote here was very popular with readers.

Naomi kindly offered me a chance to write a guest post on her blog - so go there to read strategies for dealing with someone else's clutter.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

June 2010 Organizing Tips and More

piggy bank made from recycled materials

My June 2010 newsletter is now available.

Tip of the Month: Avoiding the Feeling of Information Overload

Product of the Month: Piggy banks made from recycled materials - which also support the work of CAMBIE, a non-governmental non-profit organization focused on environmental education.

Also: Organizing Poem of the Month: To-Do Haiku

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Clutter and QVC

food storage containers

Clutter and poor shopping choices go hand in hand - so I was intrigued by Megan McArdle's article called The Genius of QVC, found in the June 2010 issue of The Atlantic.

The article starts with the story of Megan calling her mom and suggesting she check out the flatware being sold on QVC right then; her mom had wanted to buy that flatware as a wedding gift. Here's how the story continues:
"You want me to buy something ... from the television?" Her tone suggested icy Thanksgiving dinners and rewritten wills.

And to be fair, 30 minutes later, she had not bought any flatware. Somehow, though, our family came to own three jumbo sets of Lock and Lock storage containers, in Kiwi, Fuschia, and Coral. ... Now that we each had a color-coded personal set, my mother explained, the McArdle women would never again tussle over the Tupperware.
Read the rest of this interesting article to understand how the QVC hosts "sell you things you don't quite need."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Time to Gawk: Amazing Hooks and Hangers

airplane-shaped hangers, on the wall

While I usually try to include items at many price points in my posts, this post will be an exception - because I just found two novel products I wanted to share. The first is the Garderobe Tempelhof; I love this one both for the design and the story behind it. I'll just quote from the vendor's web site:
The wardrobe Tempelhof came into existence one year after the the same called airport in Berlin was shutdown. The airport Tempelhof became historical importance through the Berlin airlift during the days of the blockade in 1948-1949. The hangers have the shape of the legendary C-47 which became famous as the candy bombers. They are made from the same material — aluminium.
[via Ape to Gentleman; price on request]

Lladro parrot coat rack

And then there are the parrot coat racks from Lladro. Price: $400. [via Decofinder]

Monday, June 21, 2010

Guest Post: Why I'll Continue to Hold Garage Sales

I've never hosted a garage sale myself - and many people feel it's too much work for the money raised. So when I heard that a colleague from CoastViews Magazine, Jean Headley Darmody, just had a garage sale with her husband Daniel, I asked if she would share her thoughts. Here's Jean!

I would always have a garage sale as opposed to just donating. (We usually donate what's left at the end of the day to Goodwill, but we didn't really have that much to start with this time, so whatever was left we kept for our next garage sale.)

When we have a garage sale, I always invite friends to bring their things and join me because I have such a great location. (Editor's note: Jean's home is on a major road, so many people pass by her sale - and there's plenty of parking, too.) I also put an ad in the local paper the previous Wednesday to bring people from other parts of town.

One friend, Sandy Morgan, always brings stuff by the night before the garage sale. She's not a morning person, so Daniel helps me set up the tables and get things out onto the tables, and then Sandy arrives around 11:30 or 12:00 and we spend the rest of the day together just hanging out - which we, as two busy ladies, rarely get time to do! Daniel usually goes out to do windshield repairs once he helps with the setup, and he's back by the end of the day and the three of us (Daniel, Sandy, and I) do the boxing up of leftovers and breaking down the tables.

Another good thing that comes from having a garage sale is that I pass out Daniel's and my business cards to almost every customer, thereby promoting both of our businesses and gaining future customers. (We often get business from people who say they got our card at our garage sale.)

We also get to socialize with friends and neighbors that drop by.

We're always happy when someone finds just what they're looking for. I love passing my things on to new homes that will appreciate them as I did. I do find, however, that clothing, no matter how beautiful and special, does not move very well.

So, in summary, it's a lot of work and leaves us all exhausted, but I feel it's worth it in the long run.

Jean's business is Headley Office Services, located in Pacifica, Calif. Her husband Daniel is the Windshield Wizard.

Related Post:
Garage Sales - Love Them or Leave Them?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Organizing Made Easy: Coat Racks

coat stands

Getting (and staying) organized is easier when you have easy-to-use tools. And coat racks, like hooks, are one way to make things easy. And, of course, I can point you to some attractive options. The one above is the Scacco Matto coat stand from Servetto, available from Milk Concept Boutique.

coat rack, orange

I like the burnt orange color on this Merkled coat rack, but it also comes in white.

coat rack

The Brahms coat rack is an inexpensive option. [via Not Martha]

coat tree, multicolor

This coat tree by Fritz Hansen, sold by and by, is not inexpensive! The multicolor version is the most unusual, but you can also get it in white, chrome, or multiple shades of gray. [via Cribcandy]

coat rack

Gumps has a number of coat racks, including this one. Update on May 26, 2011: This is the only coat rack I'm seeing on the Gumps web site now.

redwood hall tree

Mooby's hall tree is a simple redwood option. (You can also get it in Douglas fir.)

coat tree

And finally, here's another simple design: the Stem tree, which comes from an Australian company, DesignByThem. It's designed to fit inside a standard mailing tube, and the company says it's easily assembled. You can get it in the natural maple finish, or you can have it painted or stained in custom colors. [via swissmiss]

Related Posts:
Nine Coat Racks That Caught My Eye
Reader Question: Coat Trees
Clothes Trees for Kids
Interesting Combination: Wall Stickers and Coat Hangers

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Reader Question: Bathroom Cabinets, Part 2

teak bathroom storage étagère with baskets

How bout a nice selection of cabinets for the bathroom? One that will hold towels and a few toiletries for guests? Both wall-mount and floor-style would be of interest.

When I first replied to this question, I promised more to come. So here we go! I'm going to start with something that isn't actually a cabinet, but might still meet the questioner's needs. The teak étagère above comes from Williams Sonoma home, and it's on sale. (So are the storage baskets.)

teak shelving for bathroom

VivaTerra also has teak shelving.

bathroom linen cabinet

LineaAqua has a whole collection of linen cabinets for the bathroom.

bathroom wall cabinet

While I think of toilets when I hear the Toto brand, the company actually makes a range of products, including these wall cabinets - which also come in white. [via Trendir]

bathroom cabinet, white

Moving over to the U.K., The White Cottage has a number of bathroom cabinets.

bathroom storage

bathroom storage

And finally, because I just can't stay away from the sleek modern designs, I'll point you to the cabinet options from Nameek's, a U.S.-based European importer. Each of the vanity lines seems to also include a cabinet or two.

bathroom cabinets, wall-mounted, yellow

Iotti is one of the lines carried by Nameek's, and it's fun to look around the Iotti web site. [warning: site plays music]

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Space-Saving Options: Collapsible Wheelbarrows

folding wheelbarrow

Would you love to have a wheelbarrow - but you can't figure out where you'd store it? Maybe the answer is a collapsible wheelbarrow! The folding wheelbarrow above was just mentioned on Apartment Therapy today, and it gets mixed reviews - but there are other options.

collapsible wheelbarrow

The WheelEasy from Allsop is the collapsible wheelbarrow (or yard cart) I found most often as I searched around the web. And, of course, a wheelbarrow can be used for more than just yard work!

folding wheelbarrow, leaf design

The most fanciful products are those from Fallen Fruits. You can buy them from (carrot and daisy patterns) and (daisy, tomato and leaf patterns).

folding wheelbarrow

Hammacher Schlemmer also has a folding wheelbarrow, with some handy pockets on the side.

multi-purpose folding cart

And going beyond the wheelbarrow, there's the Fold-A-Cart. There are four different models, with capacities ranging from 150 pounds to 400 pounds. [via Toolmonger]

Monday, June 14, 2010

8 Tips for Getting (and Staying) Organized When You Have Memory Problems

Memory problems can result from all sorts of medical issues - so it's worth seeing a doctor if you have concerns about your memory.

But here are some suggestions on how to stay organized even when your memory isn't working at its best. (Note: These tips are intended for those with manageable memory issues, not severe issues that put someone at serious risk of harm.) Many of these suggestions are useful to those without memory issues; they just take on some added urgency if memory is a concern.

1. Declutter

If you do misplace something, it will be easier to find if your space isn't cluttered.

2. Have a place for everything - and label it.

This may include labeling the outside of dresser drawers and kitchen cabinets. The Remind and Find labels shown above were designed for just this purpose - and of course you can find others, or create your own. [via organizer Shannon Zipoy]

You'll want to be especially sure to have set places for your glasses, keys, wallet, medications and important papers.

3. Use routines and checklists.

If there are things you need to do repeatedly - every day, for example - consider creating a checklist. A morning checklist and a before-bed checklist work well for some people.

Specialized checklists for how to do specific tasks can be helpful, too. My mother used to have a checklist that told her exactly how to take her insulin, and it worked fine for her, even though she sometimes had memory challenges in other areas.

4. Use a calendar, a to-do list, and a message-taking notebook.

A single calendar or planner that lists all your appointments is a critical tool. Your to-do list could be noted on the calendar/planner or kept separately; some people like to use a whiteboard to keep their to-do items in front of them.

It can also help to have a notebook where you record all your phone messages and notes from conversations with others, so you don't wind up with random pieces of paper all over the place. With the single-notebook approach, you know that if you forget what someone said, you can easily go look it up.

An alternative (or supplement) to the notebook might be a voice recorder; this is another good way to capture notes to yourself.

photo phone

5. Use whatever memory aid products are useful to you.

Some of the most common memory aids are weekly pill cases; there are many to choose from. There are all sorts of pill dispensers and reminders, too; see MaxiAids and for some ideas. BIndependent has some advice about selecting the medication aid that's best for you.

Timers of all sorts can be useful, too.

But I've been amazed at the range of products available - such as the Clarity photo phones, found here and here. [Via BIndependent, which also sells this phone] A glance at the list of memory aids at Gold Violin and Dynamic Living might give you some ideas, too.

key finder

6. Consider tools that help you find misplaced items.

ADDitude Magazine lists a few of the many products available, including the Find One, Find All key finder shown above.

7. Let people help.

Sometimes just a little help is all someone needs. My brother or I loaded my mom's weekly pill cases each week - but she didn't need any help remembering to take the pills once they were in the pill cases. She had her routines, and they served her well.

8. Mix and match all of the above into a solution that works for you.

Everyone's needs are different; experiment and find out what works for your particular situation!

Anyone else have suggestions? If something has worked particularly well for you or someone you know, I'd love to hear about it.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Paper Shredders: From Furry to Functional to Fantastic

If you want a "pretty, fuzzy paper shredder," Purrrpl_Haze / Hazel I. has just the shredder for you. No, you can't have Minky - but you can certainly get a Minky equivalent. [photo licensed under Creative Commons]

But if you want a more reliable shredder - one that shreds just the things you want shredded - you can get something like the Fellowes shredder I own - which you can buy for much less than the price listed on the Fellowes web site. And there are plenty of less-expensive shredders that might suit your needs just fine, too. Monica Ricci writes about some things to consider when selecting a decent shredder.

shredders in colors: green, pink, etc.

If you don't like the standard shredder look, you might want to consider the Conof shredders, sold here.

coffee table that functions as shredder

Want something very special? You could get the Papervore coffee table - a coffee table that's also a shredder - which is sold by Voos Furniture. [via Apartment Therapy]

Related Posts:
Shredders With Style
Staples MAILMATE Shredder
A Simple Shredder
Oddest Shredder Ever
Update: Six More Shredder Options
Shredders: Getting a Good One

Thursday, June 10, 2010

11 Wooden Boxes That Don't Cost a Fortune

handpainted wood box with picture of bunny

I know that the products I feature here are often on the expensive side. So today I decided to only list products under $75 - sometimes substantially under!

Let's start with this fun handpainted wood box from Jessica Simanowski. Price: $68

his and her round wood boxes

The Harbinger Co. sells a number of boxes. Price for this set: $60. [via Lushlee]

woodburned box with image of a crow

River Otter Rustics has a number of woodburned boxes. This one: $40.

wooden trinket box with goldfish

And Wooden You Love It has a number of wooden boxes in different shapes, including this little goldfish bowl trinket box. Price: $27.

round wood box from sweet gum

Moving on to the non-painted versions, there's this lovely box from Wood Expressions - one of the few boxes this shop sells. Price: $22.

wooden bos,oak and walnut

Jim Steele of Steele Woodworking also makes some eye-catching wooden boxes. Price of this one: $38.

treasure box, exotic woods

This lovely box - one of many - comes from Bruce, who has spent 21 years in the boating industry as a woodworker. Price: $62.

taper leg wood box

And Bark Up a Tree Woodworks make taper leg boxes in many different woods - sold on his site and on Etsy. Price: $59.95.

round wood box, pecan

Dave Hoskins is another woodworker with notable wooden boxes; this one is pecan. Price: $60 - the most expensive one of the bunch.

wood box, recycled wood

Tim's Green Thumb notes that its boxes are made from recycled woods. Price of this one: $36.

wooden keepsake box with etched dragonfly

And finally, Paradise Hills Design makes boxes from reclaimed barn wood. Price of this box: $24. [via Apartment Therapy]

Anyone have a favorite?

Related Posts (more wooden boxes):
Two Artisans Make Noteworthy Boxes
Shaker Boxes by Brent Rourke
StoryPeople: Organizing-Related Thoughts and Much More
For Valentine's Day 2009: Yet More Boxes

Monday, June 7, 2010

Taming the Magazine Madness: 11 Magazine Racks

magazine rack

So you've gotten rid of the stack of old magazines you'll never get around to reading, and winnowed your subscription list down to a reasonable number. And now you're looking for a nice magazine rack to keep your latest editions.

Fortunately, there's a huge range of interesting choices. Let's start with the To You To Me storage unit from The Life Aesthetic. Update on Nov. 22, 2010: You can also see this product on the new website of the designer/maker, Gary Moore.

stainless steel magazine rack

Zack makes this stainless steel magazine rack; there are a number of on-line vendors.

leather magazine rack

And here's an eye-catching leather magazine rack from Hagform, in Sweden. It comes in a number of colors: green, orange, red, black, etc. Update on June 2, 2012: This magazine rack is actually made by Midipy, a French company; Hagform is the French distributor.

lacquered steel magazine rack

Here's another product from Sweden: The Stackmag, from Paug - available from Scand. Design Online in black, orange, purple, white and green. Update on January 14, 2015: I'm no longer finding this product.

magazine rack, wall-mounted

And yet another Swedish magazine rack is this one designed by Anne Krook, from Krookodil. Again, you can buy it at Scand. Design Online. [via Apartment Therapy] Update on March 5, 2011: I'm no longer finding this one available for online sales.

over-the-door magazine rack

This over-the-door reading rack from Jokari isn't as attractive as some - but it might fit your space perfectly.

black cat magazine rack

Returning to the more fanciful designs, this is just one of the magazine racks from Paolo Design. Since these are made in France, it's no surprise that there's also a design featuring a dog.

cat magazine rack

As Retro to Go notes, this magazine rack by Fornasetti "may not leave you with much money for magazines to put in it." But if you're interested, you can find it at Unica Home.

rattan magazine basket, lined

Another option is a magazine basket. Update on March 5, 2011: The site that had sold this basket no longer carries it.

canvas magazine basket, 3-tier

And then there are the canvas magazine baskets sold by KC Hawaii. This 3-level version comes in your choice of four colors; there's also a single-basket version with different designs.

magazine rack for the bathroom

And finally, MD. Iron Designs has a magazine rack designed specifically for the bathroom.

Related Posts:
Magazine Racks for Any Room
Magazine Racks: Some Mighty Fine Choices
Five Fantastic Magazine Racks