Saturday, July 31, 2010

Desks with Handy Storage for Reference Books or Working Files

desk with trough at back for books, files, etc.

Need some reference books close at hand while you're working at your desk? The library desk, sold by VivaTerra (and on sale right now) might be just the answer. [via Better Living Through Design]

desk with trough at back for books, files, etc.

The Kant desk from Nils Holger Moormann, sold by Leigh Harmer, has a similar design. [via Better Living Through Design]

desk with shelves

For a different way of keeping materials close at hand - and visible - take a look at the lovely Architect Desk from Grange. It comes in your choice of 35 different finishes.

Related Posts:
Back to School Series: Desks with Drawers
Back to School Series: Secretary Desks Can Store Your Stuff
Old Office Furniture Gets a New Life

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Jewelry Storage: Three Options for Earrings

earring and jewelry organizer, fabric wall hanging

Like to have your jewelry out on display, so you remember what you have? KikiBella has a number of lovely products made with "poke-friendly fabrics." [via Simpler Living / Naomi Seldin. Photo used with permission from Kristie Garafola of KikiBella.]

cherry wood rotating earring display

Holzfurhaus has this rotating earring display, made with beautiful woods.

book-like thing to store earrings

And if you'd prefer to have your earrings tucked away rather than on display, the Little Book of Earrings from Not a Jewellery Box might suit your fancy. [Photo from Bouf]

Related Posts:
Reader Question: Organizing the Earrings, Part 1
Reader Question: Organizing the Earrings, Part 2

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Tyranny of E-mail

book cover, The Tyranny of E-mail

Having just listened to the author of The Tyranny of E-mail in an hour-long interview, it seems to me the book should be titled The Tyranny of E-mail Used Really Poorly in a Corporate Environment.

In the Forum show I listened to, author John Freeman focused on how people's lives get taken over by e-mail. They check it as soon as they wake up, right before they go to bed, and constantly throughout the day. (The book says they even use e-mail in the bath.) They use e-mail when making a phone call or having a face-to-face discussion would be more effective. Their e-mail time takes away from the time spent with people in real life, including their families.

And I have no doubt that this is true for some people. Certainly, workplaces that expect people to be checking e-mail all hours of the day can create real problems for their employees.

But the flip side is this: I also know plenty of people who can spend more time with friends and family because of e-mail. They can work from home, which provides them with more away-from-work time because there's no long commute. They can take more (and longer) vacations, doing just brief work-related e-mail check-ins.

Like any tool, e-mail can be misused. But it can also save time, allow us to respect another's time, and make us better writers. I recently had a straightforward question for my brother; the question didn't need an instant reply. I sent an e-mail carefully explaining my situation, and got exactly the answer I needed the next morning. (For those of you who are wondering, the question had to due with which iPad would best suit my needs: 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB.)

But I don't communicate with my brother entirely by e-mail. I got together with him and my sister-in-law for dinner the prior weekend, and I called my brother when I had something more nuanced to discuss with him. But the e-mail I sent didn't need this type of interaction, and it allowed him to reply at a time that suited his schedule; I didn't interrupt him for no good reason.

And as a self-employed person, I see e-mail as a source of empowerment, not tyranny; it gives me one more way to communicate with clients, and it lets me easily correspond with colleagues around the globe. Like anyone else, I sometimes get behind in clearing out my in box - but that's very different from feeling that e-mail is taking over my life.

It seems Ben Yagoda of The New York Times - who read the book, which I have not - had a similar reaction to it. He wrote: "In his zeal to expose e-mail’s dark side, Freeman, the editor of Granta, ignores its good and useful features."

So e-mail can work in opposite ways. It can control our time - or it can help us make better use of our time.

Do you feel tyrannized by e-mail? Leave a comment (or send an e-mail) and let me know!

Related Posts:
The Hamster Revolution: How to Manage Your Email Before It Manages You
Filing the E-Mail - Or Not
Email Replies: Is Shorter Always Better?

Three Ways to Hide That Big Wall-Mounted Plasma TV

wooden wall-mounted plasma TV cabinet

Designer Jonathan Adler would never hide the TV — so "bourgeois," he sniffs. "I prefer the honesty of the TV being out loud and proud. - Maria Puente, USA Today

But what if you don't want the TV out, loud and proud? What if it drives you crazy to look at it all the time? This isn't actually an organizing issue, but a number of my clients face this challenge - especially when one spouse or partner loves the TV, and the other doesn't - so I decided to write about some possible solutions.

I'm seeing three attractive options - none of them cheap.

1. A Cabinet

The cabinet at the top of this post can be found on the Horchow and the Neiman Marcus web sites. [via Small Furnish]

cabinet for wall-mounted plasma TV

Here's another option, from Maitland-Smith - and also available at Horchow and Neiman Marcus.

art goes up and down, hides wall-mounted plasma TV

2. A Print

A number of companies provide art prints that roll up and down - allowing you to hide the TV when it's not in use. They all have a large selection of art to choose from - and your personal art can be used, too. One such company is VisionArt Galleries.

art hides wall-mounted TV

Another company is Media Decor.

The BEI Motorized Artwork System is yet another options.

tapestry cover for flat-screen-wall-mounted TV

3. A Tapestry

Tapestries, Ltd. provides a tapestry flat-screen cover. I love CNET's line: This is "how Louis XIV would hide a plasma TV." Update on Nov, 16, 2017: The site that sold this product has disappeared.

woven tapestry hides flat-screen wall-mounted TV

And finally, Draper has Fine Art for FlatScreens - again, woven tapestries. You can choose one of the company's 39 designs, or have a custom tapestry made based on a digital picture you supply. Update on April 15, 2016: I'm no longer finding these products on Draper's website.

Related Post:
Make Your Flat Screen TV Disappear When Not in Use

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Keep Calm and Carry On: The Poster and Beyond

Keep Calm and Carry On poster

I've been following the Keep Calm and Carry On phenomenon for a while now - the poster that took off and spawned a whole range of other products, including a number of parody posters.

Keep Calm and Carry On luggage tag

Well, it's time for an update. John Lewis has a number of Keep Calm products, including a water bottle and a first aid kit - and this luggage tag. [via Kitchen Critic] Update on Oct. 24, 2011: John Lewis no longer carries the luggage tag - but many other place do, including Decorative Things. And the first aid kit, no longer sold by John Lewis, is also available elsewhere.

Keeo Calm and Carry On bumper sticker, on car

Decorative Things has a Keep Calm bumper sticker - as well as golf balls and a Christmas ornament.

Keep Calm and Carry On rubber stamp

You can also get a Keep Calm and Carry On rubber stamp.

Keep Calm and Carry On poster - in Welsh

But what really inspired this post was the Keep Calm poster - in Welsh. [via Retro to Go]

Related Posts:
Words to Live By: Keep Calm and Carry On
Keep Calm: An Update
For 2009: Keep Calm and Carry On (or not)
Keep Calm and Carry On - and Variations Thereof
Keep Calm and Carry On: The Latest Take-Offs
A Holiday Reminder: Keep Calm and Carry On

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

3 Unusual Ways to Control the Remotes

remote caddy splash design

Remote control caddies can be found all over the place - but none that I've seen bear any resemblance to this remote tidy from J-me. It comes in red, too (and in gray).

pillow with pockets for remotes; houndstooth fabric

You could also put your remotes in a pocket pillow from Pillow Throw Decor - available in many different fabrics. [via Apartment Therapy]

sheep sofa tidy holds remotes

But the most fun option I've seen is this sheep sofa tidy from Jomanda.

Related Post:
Organizing the Remotes: Four Options

Monday, July 19, 2010

Saving Space in the Kitchen: Nesting Glasses

glasses with Russian nesting dolls

Cute and space-saving - how could I not be attracted to these Babushkups nesting glasses sold by [via Apartment Therapy] Update on August  26, 2013: These seem to be a discontinued item; the website says there are only three left.

glasses, nesting - with pictures of horses, wolves, birds

These Living Together stacking glasses are also clever. Note that the price shown is in Australian dollars - but they are still quite expensive. [via Debi van Zyl]

nesting glasses, multi-colored

Then there are the Iittala Ote glasses, available from and other on-line vendors. Update on August 26, 2013: These glasses have been discontinued.

wine glass where stem unscrews from bowl

Finally, here's what L.L.Bean calls its nesting wine glass - but it "nests" in a very different way than the others!

Related Post:
Saving Space: Using Stackable or Nesting Products

Sunday, July 18, 2010

13 Admirable Address Books, for Those Who Still Prefer Paper

address book from Florence / Firenze

Perhaps you're an address book sort of person - rather than an address box person, or a digital address book person. Let's look at some of the wonderful choices in the address book realm.

Il Papiro address books come in a variety of designs; there are both paper and leather options. Il Papiro has stores in Italy (of course), the U.S., and Australia; you can also get the company's address books online at Jumping Tangents in New Zealand.

address book covered with Shetland wool

Here's another address book with a real sense of place. Mary Fraser of Shetland Bookbinders makes her amazing address books, sold by Designed in Shetland - "using acid free papers, silk headbands and linen threads, and covered in 100% Shetland wool in traditional Fair Isle designs."

address book

Staying in the U.K. for a bit, let's admire the Liberty Print address books; this is a close-up of the Henry James jungle print address book.

leather address book

Aspinal of London has some elegant address books.

Eco Friendly Address Book

And Thomas Lyte has the Planet Saving Life Enhancing Eco Friendly Address Book "made from recycled leather and paper from a sustainable source."

address book with doll

I missed the whole Kimmidoll craze - but the Kimmidoll address books are cute.

address book with bird and flowers

Thomas Paul has some nice address books, available at Velocity Art and Design.

phone and address book

Based in Durham, North Carolina, Horse & Buggy Press has an address book well worth a look. "Covers are letterpress printed. ... There are 4 pages for most letters of the alphabet, pages are rubberstamped in the corners for ease in flipping to the right page. Blank, unlined paper so that you will not be confined to someone else’s arbitrary grid."

address book, floral design

Galison/Mudpuppy has a number of good-looking address books. "Page refills are available should you stay in touch with a lot of people or if you have very peripatetic friends."

address book with flower

Caspari is another source for really gorgeous address books.

address book - my peeps

And Papaya has some fun address books.

address book with flowers

The address books from Paper Origin use handmade paper made from mulberry bark.

address book

And finally, Rag & Bone Bindery has some lovely address books - as I noted in my guest post on organizer D. Allison Lee's blog. (You might want to look at that post to see seven other neat organizing products.)

Anyone have a favorite?

Related Posts:
Address Books to Admire (and how to use them)
My Friend Moved Again! Address Books Designed for Updates
Edward Monkton Address Books (and more)
Remembering Birthdays, and Appreciating fred flare
Cute Address book (and more)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Getting Organized with Svenskt Tenn

alpha omega bookends, cast iron

So right after I wrote a post about bookends, I found another pair that is begging to be shared: these alpha omega cast iron bookends, available in red and black. [Note: 1 U.S. dollar currently equals about 7.3 Swedish kroner.]

I must thank Alison Heath for this find; she got me looking into Josef Frank (the designer whose work inspired the July 15 Google doodle) and Svenskt Tenn, an interior design shop in Sweden. Svenskt Tenn "was founded in 1924 by Estrid Ericson, who recruited Josef Frank to the company 10 years later."

cute pewter letter opener

And Svenskt Tenn has a number of interesting products, beyond those bookends. For example, even though I rarely use a letter opener, I'm totally enchanted by this one.

pewter letter tray / in box

This letter tray (or in box) doesn't have the cute factor going for it, but it's very nice, anyway.

chest of drawers

If you have plenty of money to spend - or just like to window shop on the web - take a look at Svenskt Tenn's cabinets, including this chest of drawers. We're all too late to get the limited edition Flora chest of drawers, which is amazing.

tray with bird pattern

And finally, while it's pushing it a bit to call a tray an organizing product, I just had to include one because I love the fanciful patterns.

Bookends for Those Who Haven't Totally Converted to the Kindle, Nook or iPad

typewriter bookends

Back in December 2008, I lamented the fact that Restoration Hardware's typewriter bookends were no longer available. Well, now I'm pleased to see that they're back! Update on January 11, 2012: Sadly, they're no longer shown on the restoration Hardware web site.

vise bookends

But I'm also very taken with Restoration Hardware's vise bookends.

quote unquote bookends

Of course, plenty of other places sell notable bookends. If you like the typewriter, maybe you'll also like these Quote-Unquote bookends.

bookends - an X and two O's

Architectural Pottery makes these XOO bookends. [via EcoSalon]

London taxi and double-decker bus bookends

Susan Bradley's London Transit bookends are a fun option. You can buy directly from her, or from the London Transport museum (bus and taxi). [via Retro To Go]

fleur-de-lis bookends

These iron fleur-de-lis bookends (available here and here) look quite nice. Update on Jan. 14, 2013: I'm no longer finding these bookends.

steel bookends

And finally, these Swirly Whirly bookends are available from Roussell Family Arts, over on Etsy. Update on Jan. 14, 2013: I'm no longer finding these bookends at the Roussell Family Arts Etsy shop.

Related Posts:
Nice Bookends Don't Have to Cost $685
Treat Your Books to Some Nice Bookends: The Elephant Edition