Category Archives: Real Life Organizing- 2013

6 DIY Gift Wrap Stations: Professional Organizer Approved!

Right now, I have a box in the garage and a bag of wrapping paper rolls in my closet. I’ve been pondering about a DIY Gift Wrap Station.

DIY Gift Wrap Stations

The best way to store your gift wrap is to make supplies quick and easy to access. When everything is at your fingertips, you can quickly get your gifts wrapped. You won’t be spending all of your time just looking for the right wrapping paper, ribbon and gift tag.

It would be great if we all had an entire room in our homes dedicated to wrapping gifts, right? From a functional point of view, yes. Being able to store gift wrap and ribbon on easily accessible rolls with a built-in cutting bar would work quite well. Having all of the necessary supplies neatly sorted into containers, labeled and at the ready would be fabulous. Of course, no gift wrap station would be complete without a wide open surface to spread out on.

To me, it seems like a frivolous use of space- unless you need to wrap gifts almost weekly. I do not. And, what pristine flat surface in your home ever stays that way? I guess I’m also unique in that we don’t live near family. That cuts down on gift wrapping because we tend to give more gift cards, experience-based gifts or ship them to the desired location.

So, if you’re like me and are lacking a room in your McMansion to dedicate to gift wrapping, a gift wrap station is the answer. Gift Wrap Stations are definitely a hot topic on the web and booming product industry. Oof! 929,000 results on Google!

Store-bought gift wrap stations are great, in theory. But they rarely fit your needs off-the-shelf, lack customization options and many aren’t sturdy enough to stand up the necessary wear and tear. So I’ve scoured Pinterest and Google to find some of the best DIY Gift Wrap stations. I’m sharing the images from the original source so please click the link …

For what it’s worth, I’ve also added why they get the unofficial “Professional Organizer Stamp of Approval”.

If you’re able to whip something up on your sewing machine this is a great budget project. Casters make it mobile so it can be rolled over to your work area and stored out of sight when not in use. The bags are custom made so can be made to suit your storage needs. And, a wooden stool is an easy and inexpensive structure to serve as a foundation.

Wrapping Paper Organizer from Upcycled Stool-
Wrapping Paper Organizer from Upcycled Stool-


This Gift Wrap Station on the back of the closet door is mostly made up of inexpensive Ikea Bygel Rail & accessories. It makes use of otherwise unused space on the back of the door and can be closed up when not in use. The roll storage easily accommodates different sized rolls. The entire system can be customized according to your space and needs.

Back of Door Gift Wrap Station-
Back of Door Gift Wrap Station-


I have never owned one of these vertical gift wrap organizers. Mostly because I have flashbacks to my childhood of this thing overflowing in the den closet. Some rolls were too big and the top was always falling off. In addition, gift bags and bows often got shoved down to the bottom as a roll was taken out and replaced. Laura from made a clever and simple improvement to this old classic. Click on the image to see her improvements.

New & Improved Gift Wrap Center-
New & Improved Gift Wrap Center-


This Gift Wrap Station from is straightforward and simple. Most people don’t think to use a dresser for their gift wrap supplies. If they do, they’re not usually this organized. I also love her use of a large roll of white craft paper for the bulk of her gift wrap needs. It’s a great way to simplify!

Gift Wrap in a Drawer-
Gift Wrap in a Drawer-


I just had to share this clever and concealed Gift Wrap Station from Katie built a very functional supply area into the back of her living room cabinet. It sits in the corner and no one is the wiser. Those plastic bag holders from Ikea seem to do a great job corralling gift wrap in a small space. I’ve seen them in a number of gift wrap stations and you can’t beat the price at $1.99!


Hidden Gift Wrap Station-
Hidden Gift Wrap Station-


If you have a small wall area to dedicate to it, a peg board Gift Wrap Station is an ideal choice. It can be customized to suit your needs and updated as your needs change. It’s inexpensive and you can paint the peg board a solid color or stencil it to make it match the design of your space.

DIY Gift Wrapping Pegboard Station

I tried to make sure to collect a solution for every space. So, whether you have a door, drawer, wall or closet to house your gift wrap you can still make something fabulous and functional! I hope you found one that will work for you. If not, I’m sure you can piece together your own DIY Gift Wrap Station with these great ideas serving as inspiration.

I’d love to hear how you store your gift wrap and if you have any tips for making wrapping gifts more efficient and less of a bore. #yawn

Ciao for now!



5 Tips to Simplify Birthday Party Celebrations…+ My Party #Fails

Hi, all! I hope you agree that it’s fitting to include how to simplify Birthday Party Celebrations in this series. Plus, it’s convenient for me because we just had a certain three-year old’s birthday party just last weekend. Oh, and sorry I missed posting yesterday. Once I got the little man in bed, I was ready for bed myself. I’ve had a bit of a cold, cough and now laryngitis. But, don’t worry, I still have 31 Days worth of Simplify the Holiday topics for you.

5 Tips SimplifyBirthdayParties

I will share that the party didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves- kids and adults alike. And, isn’t that what matters anyway? You can read more at the end of this post.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you to pick a date and time, create a guest list and make/buy invitations. I made sure to create my invites super early…and I got them delivered to guests right on time. I think being a mom to a young child, my time management skills are off. Or perhaps, they’re exactly where they need to be to do my mom duties but seem to impede getting anything else done…but I digress. Another topic for another day.

That leaves the planning of the party details many of us tend to go overboard on: decorations, menu and planned activities. I guess these aspects tend to vary so much. There is no right way to do it.

I’m not sure about you but part of me does drool over those Pinterest Perfect Party pictures. You know the ones. The other part of me thinks life is way too short to spend all that time, energy and money on an event that will last a few hours. And she wins. With my three-year old’s party, I wanted to get in the spirit but I also wanted needed to keep it simple. I discovered some party planning tips that might help you, too.

Decorate with colors instead of themes. Parenthood has highlighted my disdain for licensed characters and paraphernalia. Recently though, my son has fallen in love with Super Why on PBS. It’s the first “thing” that he has been passionate about. Sure, he likes fire engines, dump trucks and helicopters. But he LOVES Super Why, Alpha Pig, Wonder Red, and Princess Presto.

It was easy to compromise here. I was inspired when I came across these decorations from Oriental Trading. Unfortunately, by the time I committed to this idea I would have had to pay buku bucks on shipping. Not happening. I decided to use blue, green and white as the focal colors and accent with some Super Why merchandise.

Be strategic about where you decorate. Your space doesn’t need to look like a party store vomited all over it to be festive. Choose a few (1-3) key areas to decorate. High impact areas include the main entry (door or gate if outdoors), foyer/hall and a focal wall in the main party area.

Since I have an open-concept kitchen, dining and living room, I was able to choose one focal wall for the food and decorations. I also added some signs and balloons on the front door. And, of course, the obligatory balloons on the mailbox.

Choose decorations you can repurpose. I’m still working on building a small, but effective arsenal. Think solid-colored linens, universal decorative prints like:

  • Stripes
  • Gingham
  • Toile
  • Chevron
  • Polka dots
  • Lattice/trellis
  • Damask
  • Animal
  • Geometric
  • Houndstooth
  • Argyle

Ideally, I would have purchased a navy or royal blue fabric tablecloth. But I didn’t think of it until after I had purchased some blue dollar store tablecloths. Next time. During my travels, I drove to four fabric stores to try to hunt down any print in green and white. I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t feminine. I did find a green and white polka dot gift wrap in a party store that would have worked. It wouldn’t have been reusable but it was inexpensive. I ended up finding a bubble patterned plastic tablecloth in green and white, which I cut up and used as a table runner and in the backdrop.

Super Why Birthday Party Backdrop

Think basics like tablecloths, balloons, paper fans and lanterns. They give you a big visual impact for not a lot of dough. Incorporating licensed characters sparingly can still make a tasteful display. I added characters to my invitations, entry signs, paper fans and a few mylar balloons. I’ll admit that I completely lucked out here! PBS provides free downloadable printables for Super Why and I know enough Photoshop to be dangerous. I know I won’t be so lucky in future years. So, a great option is to look on Etsy. Many sellers will customize your order, too.

Let it go! Let it go, let it go, Can’t hold it back anymore… Oh, sorry about that! I have yet to see Frozen but still break out into song…Anyway, it will all work out in the end. I thought my party plans were simple enough that I could execute them. But I also knew to have a plan B. Prioritize your plans so that when you run out of time, the low priority tasks are the ones that fall off the list. Here’s what didn’t go as planned last weekend:

  • Cone Cupcake Fail- My first batch failed fantastically. Fortunately, it was the cake recipe and the next two batches came out just fine.
  • Balloon Canopy- I planned to blow up balloons and tie them together as a canopy in the foyer. Nope, didn’t happen.
  • Perfect Place cards- I planned to come up with creative, themed names for the food. Instead, I hastily wrote out actual food names on the place cards I had printed. Why waste them?
  • Mask Decorating- I purchased some felt to make super hero masks for the kids to decorate. I had half of them cut out and ran out of time. Plan B- ditch the masks, provide some Super Why coloring pages and return the unopened sequins, foam shapes, etc. Final cost: $1.50 for the felt I had cut. I’m sure we’ll use it for crafts in the future.
  • Super Hero Photo Shoot- I stumbled across this photo shoot idea on none other than Pinterest, of course. I thought it would be a fun memento for kids and adults alike. I wish I had *decided* to do this sooner. Note to self: Commit to my plans earlier in the process so I have time to execute.
  • Super Letter Search- Super Why follows the characters searching for Super Letters to find their Super Story Answer. I wanted to be creative with this but it was another thing that didn’t happen.
  • Paper Fans- Ok, these actually worked out…but I was folding the last one until 4:05 pm after the first guest arrived.

I’m sure there are a few more that I’m forgetting. My idealist inner voice has mentioned a few times how I failed:

  • You didn’t even have any “real” Super Why activities for the kids…
  • The decorations weren’t festive enough…
  • The table-scape wasn’t Pinterest-worthy…
  • You didn’t even get any great staged photos…

I told her to shut up. {Who asked her anyway?}

The kids (and adults) have no idea what I failed to execute…unless they read this post. Hi, Katie! The party lasted 2+ hours and the kids played with toys and, get this, each other. Thanks to some simple menu planning and my realist inner voice, I was able to enjoy the party and our guests. And, I think it’s safe to say that our guests enjoyed themselves, too.

Ciao for now!


Organizing Solution for Kids Activities and Gear

Does it seem that you are always running out the door to soccer when your child discovers s/he has no idea where his/her cleats are? Or you get to dance class only to discover you have cleats instead of dance shoes?

Create sports or activity packs for each child and activity. Use different colored/types of duffle bags or backpacks for equipment for sports or other activities. For example, if your daughter participates in dance lessons and soccer, designate one bag for cleats, shin guards, extra practice uniform, etc. and the other for dance shoes, tights and leotards. If your son has piano and flag football, find a tote for music books and a duffel for cleats, uniform and headgear.

Have your kids (or help them) clean out each bag immediately after the activity. Place cleats, shin guards and other gear/equipment right back in the bag right away, toss the trash and bring uniforms, etc. right to the laundry room. As attire is laundered, place it right in the designated bag. If you’d like to go the extra mile, pin or place a checklist for what goes in each bag.

Activity packs will make life easier when it’s time to run out the door and will eliminate or minimize missing or lost equipment if they have a home and are not constantly being shifted around.

How Do I Get My Spouse Organized?

I heard this question quite often when I was working in clients homes. I’d like to preface my response by saying that I am not a counselor, therapist, or psychologist nor do I play one on TV. Roger? Now that we have that out of the way…My answer is “well, that depends”. What does it depend on? It depends on what your intention is. If your question really is “how can I impose my level of organization on my spouse?” My short answer is that you can try, but it probably won’t end well…for either of you.

If your wording would be more along the lines of “how can I get my spouse to help out more and get involved in organizing around the house?”

My answer would be:
I highly recommend that you sit down with your spouse and discuss how their current attitude/behavior around organizing makes you feel, what it means to you to have your spouse’s help and how you might work together to modify systems, expectations, and have every family member contribute to make things run smoothly.

If you’re having ongoing difficulty, you may want to try enlisting a professional. A professional organizer to help find joint solutions for two consenting parties or a therapist to help address relationship issues, whichever feels more comfortable to you. It can be valuable to have a neutral third-party help iron out the kinks and find common ground. IMO this never works when one party feels they are right and simply trying to get the other to see it their way.

Finally, consider how you might be able to adjust your organizing systems or rules to meet somewhere in the middle. Focus on making it as fail-proof as possible. If wet towels are lining the floor instead of being hung on the towel rod, consider hooks as an option (and have ribbon loops sewn on to make it even easier). If t-shirts are being pulled out of neatly folded piles, try folding in half again and file instead of piling. Trash ending up on the top of the dresser? Place a small wastebasket next to the dresser. Obviously, placing ten laundry baskets in one room is unreasonable but if dirty clothing isn’t making it into the laundry hamper in the closet, consider adding one or relocating it closer to the point of removal. Just some food for thought…

I’d love to hear any ideas you’ve implemented for making organizing easier for your spouse. Or, if you have specific questions on how to adjust a task/organizing system, please leave a comment below.

Baby Steps for Tackling Paper Clutter

When I met my husband, he always used the term “baby steps” and we happen to agree that baby steps are a better route to success than a complete revamp of your current methods. Overwhelmingly, paper is at the top of the list of struggles for many moms so I wanted to share a few ‘baby steps’ to help you get started on tackling your paper clutter:

  1. Tackle the mail as soon as you bring it into the house. This means getting rid of the outer envelopes and inserts that come with bills, any obvious junk mail and sort/file the rest into action and reference categories. Check back for a future post on eliminating junk mail when I go into more details on the Eliminate step.

  2. Set up a ‘bill paying’ center if you prefer to do so via paper. Designate an area/container to place your bills once you have opened them. It may also help to designate a bill paying day or days…find something that works for you. If you feel you only need to pay bills once a month, choose a day and try to stick to it. You may feel that every 2 weeks works better for you. Try asking your spouse/significant other to help you remember your designated bill paying day (but only if you feel that would help you remember- not cause you to be resentful). Better yet, consider online bill paying solutions and eliminate the paper altogether.

  3. Be more selective about the paper you keep- Here are some questions you can ask yourself when dealing with the decision, remember it only helps you to keep it if you can retrieve it when you need it!

  • Is it expired (or soon to be)?

  • Can you reference the information quickly and easily elsewhere? Or more importantly, ARE YOU more likely to reference it elsewhere? It isn’t really necessary to file the paper if you are more likely to go online to search for the info.

  • Can you condense the paper clutter? If you have collected a brochure or other literature, can you transfer the pertinent information (web address, name, phone #, etc.) to a small notepad dedicated to that purpose and throw out the remaining paper? I use a Circa journal-sized notebook that I carry in my purse, for small reminders, phone numbers and reference information (like window measurements, etc. I even tape swatches into my notebook so I have them when I am out shopping).

  • Do you really need it? Be realistic and ask yourself – am I really going to read this article/magazine/catalog? If you decide to keep it, dedicate yourself to following through and then toss the item when you are done. (This will also help you determine if it is worth your time to keep those papers the next time.)

Of course, these are just some basic steps and there is much more to an effectively organizing your paper and setting up a paper management system. But it’s a start…

Organizing Quickie in the Closet

It’s really not as unseemly as it sounds… As the seasons change, I’ve noticed that my entry closet could function a little better. Fortunately, we have a pretty large coat closet in the entry and, because we live in a warmer climate, fewer storage needs for coats and winter accessories. Of course, we have the standard builder’s grade closet with one shelf and one rod {don’t get me started on that!} so I have been keeping most hats, gloves and scarves in two bins on the shelf. Much of what we use on a regular basis has ended up being tossed back up on the shelf, which results in a toppling pile of stuff when I’m running out the door and need a hat for the little man. It’s challenging enough to get him out the door in a cooperative manner, I don’t need anything distracting or slowing him {or me} down.

Entry Closet ShelfWhat I need is something that will keep the smaller items contained and within reach, so we can easily see, retrieve and replace things as we use them. I’m always looking for ways to incorporate storage for and involve my son, so something that he can reach {only partially} would be ideal. Also, keep in mind, that we haven’t accumulated a mountain of winter accessories due to the fact that we have lived in warmer climates for many years. Additionally, I work on making sure the stuff we keep is stuff we love and use. I share that simply as a reminder that you may need to take a few more steps through the BE SIMPLE™ process first {specifically, the Eliminate & Shed steps}. {Side note: There is usually a dog or child photo-bombing any pic I post to the site. What a face!}

I don’t want to spend a lot of money outfitting the closet right now. Since we just moved in eight months ago, we have lots of other updates that could use our time, attention and money. Since I’m familiar with assessing organizing needs, I know just the thing.

StyleSelectionsShoeOrganizerI mentioned this product on Day 21 in the post on My Favorite Containers- The Basics. It’s an over-the-door shoe organizer with clear pockets- here’s a link to the one I bought at Lowe’s. Oddly enough, I never actually use this type of shoe organizer for shoes because I find that they are just not sturdy enough for the weight 12 {in this case} pairs of shoes. The one requirement is that you need a door that swings open. This won’t work for a bi-fold or sliding bypass doors. If you have bi-fold doors, room for them to swing open, and are interested in a little DIY, checkout this Master Bedroom Closet Conversion from Wife in Progress.

Entry Closet Shelf CloseupI started by taking down the pile of stuff and two blue bins and sorted them by item and owner, pulling out outgrown items. I placed out of season beach hats and ski gloves/hats into the blue bins because they don’t need to be accessed on a regular basis. I put the plastic bags in the bag organizer we already have installed {we had an overflow}.

Entry Closet w-Shoe OrganizerI placed the rest in the shoe organizer with the little man’s hats {we need gloves and a scarf for him} at the bottom so he can reach them. In the middle, I stored the adult hats, gloves, workout gloves, etc. And, I even used a few pockets for vacuum accessories, retractable dog leash and a lint roller. I labeled those pockets with some cute washi tape and a black permanent marker. I left most of the pockets unlabeled {I’m breakin’ the law of labeling!} as they are open for hats, gloves, scarves, etc. and it just doesn’t matter which pocket they each go in, as long as they live in the organizer. I’ll check back again in a month to make sure only things that belong are living there.

Entry Closet Shoe Organizer

I realize that this is an itty-bitty project to share. I want you to know that any progress you make towards a more organized home is a step in the right direction and you should mark it as a win. Do you have any small projects that you can tackle in an afternoon? I’d love to hear about it. Please don’t be shy!

Update: This little quickie update is working out fabulously! Not only does my husband comment about how useful it is more often than I expected but my 2 1/2 year old uses it effectively as well. No joke! He knows to go there for his hat, mittens, sunglasses, etc. and even puts them back when he’s done with them (sometimes even without a reminder!)There’s another little quickie update that I’m planning to help him be even more independent that I’ll share on the blog soon!

Loathing Laundry? 4 Reasons We Love to Hate Laundry

This is really the post for Day 26…I was busy yesterday enjoying family time and then felt crappy last night so I ditched writing and went to bed early. Real life happens. Thanks for understanding!

LaundryLaundry has been a hot topic on the Professional Organizers forum I’m a member of lately. And, many moms would list laundry as one of their top three home organizing challenges. It can seem impossible to keep up with the endless cycle of mounds of dirty laundry, folding and putting it away. And it’s only compounded by the need to manage incoming and outgoing clothing for growing children. And, don’t they always happen to need that thing that’s at the very bottom of the pile of folded clothing?

There is {or needs to be} a cycle or flow to the laundry: wear, collect, wash, dry, fold, put away, repeat. If there is a bottleneck at any one {or more than one} point in the cycle it will cause everything to get backed up. I believe that there are four major causes to a bottleneck in the laundry cycle:

  1. Volume of clothing
  2. Process too complex or broken
  3. Insufficient manpower
  4. Laundry Loathing

By addressing these problems, most people can make things operate much more smoothly. Maybe you’ll never love doing the laundry but it won’t make you want to pull your hair out.

Volume– The sheer amount of clothing in the average household is the number one contributor to laundry woes. Now, of course, if you have a family of 8 with 6 growing children, you will always have a larger volume of laundry to do. Most households, however, have plenty of room for improvement and don’t even realize just how much they own. According to Pareto’s Principle, most people only wear 20% of the clothing they own.

Process too complex or broken– So what’s so complex about putting laundry in a hamper, bringing it to the laundry room, putting it in the washing machine, turning the washing machine on, etc.? None of the steps are inherently complex… but what if you are tripping over laundry and can barely reach the detergent? Or what if you need to carry three laundry baskets overflowing with laundry down two flights of steps? What if you first need to scour every corner of the house to collect all of the dirty clothing, socks and underwear carelessly tossed on the floor by your loving family? A broken process can be where one step just isn’t getting done. Maybe it’s a dryer that doesn’t dry well or no place to hang items to dry, etc. All of those things can make a seemingly simple task, well, a real chore.

Insufficient manpower– I’m a believer that the family is a unit and everyone needs to contribute to making it run smoothly {especially if they have no problem to contributing to the mess}. If mom is busy taking care of everyone’s needs and responsibilities she may have run out of time or energy to do the laundry, as well. Even very young children can contribute here. And, if you start teaching them at a young age, there will be less fuss about doing it as they grow. My two year old certainly doesn’t help fold the laundry but I do enlist him to help with things like:

  • putting dirty clothes in his laundry basket as appropriate
  • placing folded laundry in drawers and on shelves
  • loading and running the washer/dryer {he loves to press the buttons!}

Additionally, I ask him to “help” mommy fold the laundry and he shakes things out and busies himself. Young children can help by sorting & rolling socks, underwear, towels, putting laundry away and putting it in the hamper to begin with. I do need to lift him up, wait patiently while he grasps what needs to be done and sometimes have to collect clean items he ran away with. t does add a bit of time to the process but I believe it pays off in spades. By involving him in the process, he knows what is expected of him and he’s learning as we go. I don’t want to spend his first five or ten years telling him not to touch or that he can’t help and then the next ten nagging him to do so.

Laundry loathing– I guess this really relates to a broken process but I thought it deserved its own mention. If you really despise doing the laundry and consider it torture, then maybe it’s best to farm it out. Pay the laundromat, pay a college student or task your kids with doing it in the comfort of your own home. I do think it’s a valuable exercise to go through the first three causes before doing so to avoid simply complicating the process more.

Don’t forget to check back for Part II

Take Action On Your Paper Piles

5-Step ACTION ProcessOn Day 8 of my 31 Days of Real Life Organizing series, I posted about Redefining The Inbox so if you haven’t already read that you may want to do so now. I’ll wait…

An inbox is an important but interim component for effectively organizing your paper. The first step is to make sure all paper requiring your attention, decisions, etc. make it to your inbox. Once the paper is collected and routed into your inbox, now it’s time to process it and determine what needs to happen next.

Before we talk about the steps to process paper, I think it would be helpful to think about what paper really represents: there are to-do’s, appointment information, contacts, information you need to reference in the future, stuff you may need to keep; information, actions and decisions. It’s not really about the paper. It’s about what needs to happen with the information contained within the paper.

One of the keys to moving paper forward is to process fully without actually getting sidetracked by doing. Wait, what? Yes, you heard {read} me correctly. There’s a time for processing and a time for doing. Make sure you do both, each at the right time. Neither will work effectively on their own or if implemented inconsistently. Also, don’t get thrown off track by trying to do everything right away- you’ll never be able to accurately prioritize and manage it all.

I think it helps to frame it as triaging. If you’ve ever had the unfortunate occasion to visit a hospital Emergency Department, you have probably witnessed the Triage Nurse in action. S/he performs triage to assess and prioritize each patient’s acuity and determine whether they qualify for Fast Track, Trauma, etc. prior to being treated. In simpler terms, it’s a process for prioritizing patients based on the severity of their condition when there aren’t enough resources to treat them all at once. Translated to paper, it is a process for you to prioritize which paper require attention based on several factors (due date, how long it will take to complete, dependencies, resources required, and current commitments, etc.) because you cannot address them all at once.

Here’s my 5-step ACTION process for triaging paper in your inbox: Eliminate, Delegate, ACT, Extract, Archive.

So, while you look at each piece of paper, ask yourself what it is? What does it represent and go through the ACTION process below.

Eliminate- Can the paper be toss, shredded, or eliminated {more on that later}?

Delegate- Is there an action that can be completed by someone else?

ACT- Is it related to an Appointment, Contact or Task?

Extract- Do you only need a portion of the information contained on the paper?

Archive- Does the paper in its entirety need to be preserved/retained?

I wanted to introduce you to the process first and I’ll get into more step by step in a coming post. Questions, comments, feedback? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

3 Reasons To Think Outside the Box {or Bin or Container…}

The first thing you should do when you want to get organized is go shopping for containers, right? WRONG!!
If you begin with this step, you are definitely not alone. However, it is most certainly one of the least effective methods for beginning an organizing project.

1. Most of the time you simply purchase large opaque tubs available in just about any store. I guess the urge is to be able to dump your stuff into the big bin, throw on the lid and you instantly feel better because you don’t have to look at the clutter anymore. OK, sounds good in theory. But it certainly isn’t organized and many people often still FEEL cluttered and chaotic even though the stuff is contained.

  1. Until you know the quantity, volume and dimensions of the stuff you need to contain you are unlikely to purchase the right size or type of container.

  2. They often compound the challenge because not only did they not solve your problem, now you have to find a place to store them and you will often spend more time digging through them trying to find what you need. And, you’re more convinced that you can’t get organized.

Bonus tip about using large plastic tubs: They are useful for larger items in places like the basement, garage or attic. They are great for seasonal supplies and decorations- as long as you separate smaller items in their own smaller container inside. Make sure to store like with like, dumping lots of stuff is just containing not organizing. Avoid purchasing opaque containers, clear containers will improve the storage and retrieval process. And, finally, (I’m sure you are sick of hearing me say this) don’t forget to label clearly!!

How often do you start organizing by going shopping? Have you been successful doing so? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.