Monday, April 30, 2012
Staplers are such a basic paper organizing supply — and they can be more interesting than your basic black or beige. For now, let's skip the staple-free staplers and the automatic staplers, and just look at what's available in standard manual staplers.
The stapler above, the Buro from Lexon, caught my eye because of the colors. It comes in basic gray, but also in bright green and bright purple. You can purchase it from Lexon, or from other sites such as Peter of Kensington's in Australia, and Togs + Clogs in the U.K. Update on Feb. 13, 2014: This stapler is no longer sold by Togs + Clogs. However, it's available at Blue Sun Tree, also in the U.K.
I must admit to being enchanted by the Stampler, which "staples and stamps at the same time." [via the Los Angeles Times]
And if you just want to liven up a stapler you already have, you could use the inanimate character stickers from Fred & Friends, sold by Perpetual Kid and other online stores.
7 Stand-Out Staplers, Plus a Staple Remover
4 Staplers to Brighten Up Any Office
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
If you're moving around a kitchen, an art studio, a garden — or any number of other places — an apron can be a helpful organizing aid, making sure you have essential tools close at hand. And there are a wide range of aprons available to provide that aid!
At the latest conference of the National Association of Professional Organizers, these 4-pocket aprons were being displayed by Abundance Organizing, and they are now available for purchase on the web.
This Ben Davis denim machinist's apron (also available in black) can be bought through Ben Davis, or through other sites such as Hand-Eye Supply, which has better photos. [via Book of Joe]
Heart and Sow made this 9-pocket utility half apron from recycled curtains!
The kitchen aprons from Studiopatró are simple and stunning.
This oilcloth apron comes from Palomas Oilcloth Designs; aprons are available in both adult and child sizes.
And finally, here's a combination toolbelt/apron for gardeners, from Garden Tribe. The company's website says it has “ceased trading” but you can still find this item for sale at Leisure Gardening (one color choice only) and Garden Divas (four color choices), both in the U.K. Update on Aug. 22, 2013: I'm not longer finding this apron for sale at Leasire Gardening or Garden Divas, but Amazon.co.uk still has a few in stock.
Aprons as Organizing Tools
Monday, April 23, 2012
Where do you find the perfect organizing product? Sometimes the answer is to repurpose something you already have around the house — or to use a product never intended for organizing.
The photo above is a masala dabba — a spice box — used by Deirdré Straughan for her non-hangable jewelry. (Photo used by permission. As a side note, I recommend Deirdré’s blog, especially her recent post on dealing with loss; she writes some amazing stuff.)
And here's something clever that William Zola did; he took an old floppy disk storage box and turned it into storage for greeting cards. (That's my photo, shared with you with William's permission.)
Repurposed Items: Cake Stands
Storage on the Cheap with Cigar Boxes and More
One Person's Favorite Storage: Tins
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Mike Monteiro's book isn't about organizing. Rather, it's “a guide to making a living as a designer.” But given the topics covered — including getting clients, creating good contracts, and getting paid — the book can easily have appeal beyond the design community.
And organizing wisdom can be found many places — including this book. Let's start with a three choice comments that Mike makes regarding projects:
The success of every project is the hundreds of little commitments made along the way.And I also liked this note about (lack of) organization:
The minute a deadline is in jeopardy notify the other party. There are many reasons for missing a deadline, but there is only one for not notifying the other party.
Nothing derails a project faster than waffling over decisions, whether it's taking too long to make a decision, or revisiting decisions that have already been acted upon.
Most late payments are a matter of disorganization. ... Until you have evidence to the contrary, assume your missed payment is a matter of disorganization. That's the most likely possibility, and easiest to fix.On a personal note, though, what I most appreciated wasn't the organizing-related advice, but this:
Carefully choose the projects you take on. Choose to leave the world better than you found it. Improve things for people. ...And this:
We have limited resources, whether natural, financial, or cognitive. Don't contribute to people wasting them on crap.
The clients you choose to take on define you.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Looking for storage bins that can also add some sparkle your decor? I was enchanted by these fabric storage bags from FruteJuce the minute I stumbled upon them. If you don't want the entire owl family, you can get a single bag, too.
Tagodesign has a number of delightful fabric baskets.
And Smidgebox has some lovely fabric buckets, too.
Chewing the Cud has fabric buckets in a number of patterns. You can get them from Chewing the Cud directly, or through See Jane Work; there's a small and a large size. [via Suzanne Willett]
Finally, let's admire these fabric storage boxes from Eva & Oli. They come in three sizes, two patterns and a number of colors. Smallable is one place to buy them.
Fabric Buckets, Boxes and Bins
Friday, April 13, 2012
I am not a sewer — but when Susan Orlean tweeted about her latest find, I had to learn more. She seems to have been visiting the latest exhibit at the SFO museum, and admiring the sewing accessory stands from the Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles in Berkeley.
And what she found were some wonderful old sewing accessories: birds or ducks that hold scissors, thread, etc. Hillary Kwiatek directed Susan to one place to buy such a thing: an eBay store called Stuffisus which sells the sewing bird shown above.
The Vintage Peddler also has a sewing bird thread and scissors holder.
A number of Etsy sellers who specialize in vintage products also sell similar items. Here's the duck sewing helper sold by RichInDaughters.
This sewing bird caddy, sold by Topsy's Attic, has a storage drawer in the base, and has thimble holder, too.
And here's another sewing duck, this time from Old Sew Stuff; it's another one that has a little storage drawer.
Wil Shepherd Studio sells this lovely duck sewing caddy.
All of these are one of a kind, so they may not be available for long. But I'm delighted just to know that such a thing exists; as these get sold, others will probably appear over time.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Keeping your home organized is easier when you've got products that help simplify the maintenance — and hooks are one such product. What's easier than throwing a coat, scarf or whatever over a hook? (OK, throwing stuff on the floor might be easier, but not by much.) So as long as I keep finding cool hooks, I'll keep writing hook-related posts.
Sometimes a simple look is perfect — and if that's your style, you might like the Beefy Hook from Tinkering Monkey. That's a steel hook on a walnut block.
Another simple, lovely coat hook comes from the Iron Design Company.
The Kangaroo Hook from Doug Mockett & Company isn't cheap, but it sure is eye-catching. It comes in five finishes.
The whale tail hooks from Frontgate are promoted as a way to eliminate "poolside clutter," but of course they could be used for other purposes, too. They come in two sizes.
And let's end with an Etsy find: the tile hook organizers from Nature's Heavenly Art. There are many choices, with trees and birds and much more.
Hooks with Moose, Birds, Bats, Cats and Other Critters
Hooks to Hold Your Hat - Or Coat, or Towel, or Whatever
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Photo by Thomas Hawk, found on Flickr, licensed through Creative Commons
I'm generally pretty good at focusing on the positive, on what I want in my life. And at my networking group meetings, I get to hear Patricia Westerfield, a transformational energy worker, remind me each week just how important this is — how our thoughts affect what comes into our lives.
But this past Thursday Patricia said something that really hit home to me; she identified a pattern of negative thinking I didn't even recognize as a pattern of negative thinking! I asked her if I could share her words with all of you, and she graciously agreed.
So here's Patricia:
Ever noticed the more you worry about having enough time, the more things seem to pop up that give you even less? And time feels like the enemy.
You get what you think about.
And when you think about the feeling of plenty of time, what you get with time changes.
And time becomes your friend.
Patricia's a pretty amazing woman; she helps people get from the life they have to the life they want, and many people I know sing her praises. You can reach her at 650-355-7409 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
I've written about organizing purses before — see related posts below — and a number of the storage options I saw involved hanging the purses by their handles.
But now I'm reading more advice that suggests this is not good for your purses. For example, there's this advice from Real Simple:
“Hanging a bag by the handles lessens the life span of the bag,” says Chris Moore, owner of Artbag, a New York City handbag boutique and repair shop. Hanging puts stress on the strap seams, and “it can leave unsightly marks on the handles,” says Moore.So what are your options? You can use organizers that hang in your closet and keep the purses upright — like the one from Real Simple, which is sold at Bed, Bath and Beyond.
CoverMates has an over-the-door purse organizer. [via Karen Coutu at A Blog of Goodies] Update on Jan. 23, 2017: This purse organizer doesn't seem to be available any more.
ShoeTrap has stackable storage boxes, mostly for shoes (as you would expect) — but there's also a size the company suggests would work for purses as well as boots.
And of course purses can be stored on any kind of shelves, with or without the use of things like shelf dividers or handbag bins. Billy bookcases from IKEA are what one person used.
And here's another bit of advice I'm seeing:
Keep your handbag stuffed when not in use. This will help to maintain its shape.
Of course, you could use tissue paper or some such, but another option is to use the Bag-a-Vie, which comes in four sizes.
And another option is the Pursendipity, which comes in three sizes.
6 Options for Storing Your Purses
Handy Hold All - for Purses and More
Storage: If Purses Are Your Weakness
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
You don't need to use a specific remote-control organizer for your remote controls; any appropriately-sized container will do. Here's what one of my friends uses: a beautiful bowl. (Photo shared with permission)
Don't have something the right size? You could get this burlap remote control holder basket from 47th Heaven.
And if you prefer your remotes standing up, look at the TV remote organizers from Gus Panart at Rathdrum Creek Crafts. These organizers come in a range of sizes, holding 3 to 10 remotes; some also have space for a TV Guide.
There's also the TV toolbox from Monkey Business. It's available in white and charcoal.
Of course, if you find a universal remote you like, then you won't have a bunch of remotes needing storage. I've written about universal remotes before, but since then I've learned about the pillow remote control, which can control six different components.
Organizing the Remotes: Four Options
3 Unusual Ways to Control the Remotes
Monday, April 2, 2012
Magnet by Allison Strine
It's so easy to overcommit — to say "yes" to things that don't help us move to the life we really want. If you could use some encouragement on how to say "no" when it's appropriate, listen to some of these experts. (Go read the full posts; I'm just including short excerpts here.)
1. Lisa Barone summarized the problem in a tweet:
No. No. No. No. See, that's not so hard? Why can't I learn to say that more often?And here's another tweet from Lisa:
If the answer isn't "OMG, yes!" it has to be "no." Time constraints make it so.2. Chris Brogan tells us to be clear and polite.
Thank you for thinking of me. I’m going to have to pass. My workload and priorities are such that I can’t add this project to my schedule.And here's more Chris:
From now on, I resolve to say no faster. I will say no with grace and poise and kindness, but I will say no.3. Chris pointed me to Dharmesh Shah, who has a great title on his post:
Dear Friend: Sorry. My heart says yes, but my schedule says no.4. Fellow organizer Monica Ricci provides five ways to say no, including this short and simple one:
Thank you for asking, but I'm going to pass.5. Here's Patrick Rhone, in his book entitled Enough:
I think saying no is far too often misunderstood and misrepresented. I think it automatically puts one on the defensive, as if we must explain our reasons why. While its very definition may be negative, in practice it is often quite positive. I think we need to remove the wholly negative stigma from the idea of saying no. ...6. Patrick pointed me to Derek Sivers, who tells us:
In fact, when it comes to parting with your time, attention, or money, no should be your default answer. ...
If you follow this rule, the things you do say yes to will be the things you are most excited about. You will be free to give these things much more time and energy because the yes things will be the things that really matter.
Those of you who often over-commit or feel too scattered may appreciate a new philosophy I'm trying: If I'm not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, then say no.7. Adam Dachis of Lifehacker wrote a long post on how to say no, including these bits:
If you're reading this post you probably have a problem saying no — the same problem I used to have until I learned how wonderful not helping people can be. But in all seriousness, saying no is about respecting your own time and making sure you're not spreading yourself too thin. ...8. And when it comes to saying no, I always like to give the last word to Miss Manners:
There's one more thing you should always remember: don't remove "yes" from your vocabulary.
Rather than give reasons for declining, which, as you know, will be countered, just keep restating your inability to accept: “You are so kind to ask me, but I’m so sorry, I can’t.”
“I’m afraid I’m busy then.”
What are you doing?
“I have other commitments.”
What are they?
“Other commitments. You are so kind to ask me, but ...”
Miss Manners: How to Say No
The Importance of Saying No: Two Perspectives
Yet Again: Learning to Say No