Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Pictures are a great way to capture moments in time.  They can also become clutter.  I just went through a full photo box and realized there were a lot of photos I didn't need.

Unless you will send the picture to someone today, you don't need doubles.  Along that same line, you don't need a gazillion of the same school or sports team photos.  Keep one size of each and recycle the rest.

Blurry pictures can be recycled as well. If you don't know the name of the people in the photo, you don't need it.

A great way store to photos is in an photo book made from Shutterfly or another website.  Scan the photos in and make a book.  If you are not creative enough or unwilling to spend the time to make a book let Shutterfly do the work.  They actually do a great job.  Then get rid of the originals.


Sugar and Spice

If your place is anything like mine, there is no formal pantry.  You just use what space you have - whether it is a small counter space, small cabinets or both.

For sugar, flour and the like, use matching canisters and label them.  Even if you don't have much room, having matching supplies can help you look and feel organized. Fill the canister and put the rest of the bag in the back of a cabinet.

Same with spices, fill matching containers and label them.  Depending on your space, you can use a countertop holder or just arrange them in a cabinet. Put the most used spices in the front.

As a last note, rectangular and square containers are more space-efficient than round containers.



"You call spending 8 hours alone with my label maker, wasted time?" - Monica on Friends

That quote explains my love for my label maker.

Labels are very important to organization.   Here's why:

1. Make sure you know where everything is, especially if your container is not clear.
2. Labels (in theory) keep you from having a dumping ground. If you have a basket labeled gloves, you are less likely to put hats and scarves in the basket.
3. Helps roommates and family members know where items belong.

There are many different types of labels, including:

1. Stickers made with a label maker.  These are best for plastic containers, shelves and drawers
2. Round paper labels with strings that loop around handles. These are best for baskets where the stickers won't stay.
3. Pictures of what toys belong in which bin.  These are best if you have kids.  They can match the item to the container.

Have fun with your label maker and label, label, label!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Elfa Carts

Elfa is an exclusive line to The Container Store.  It is shelving, accessories and carts.

The carts look like dressers in that they have drawers.  The carts come in three different heights and widths, wheels or no wheels, tops or no tops.  The drawers also come in different widths and depths.  I recommend getting tops and wheels.  They are more versatile that way.

I have four Elfa carts - three of the largest and one medium size.  The three large ones are used to store Legos, cds, remotes, scrapbooks and supplies, purses and various other items.  The fourth one is the perfect size to put next to the office desk for paper, pens etc.

They can also be used for clothing, in the kitchen to hold soup cans, snacks, garbage bags, ziploc bags, or in a guest bedroom to store linens and towels etc.

I use the tops to put jewelry boxes, scrapbooks and one even has a t.v. on it.

They are easy to put together (no tools necessary, except something to hit the pieces into place).  The strength is also great. Technically there is no weight limit but be smart - don't put three heavy items in the bottom drawer.


Thursday, October 13, 2011


Ribbon makes a present so pretty and adds a nice touch.  How do you contain them nicely?

Some ways were discussed in the Wrapping Paper and such post but there are actual boxes, normally called dispensers, made for ribbons.  They can be cardboard or plastic and have holes in the front for the ribbon to "dispense" from.  Here is an example: ribbon dispenser Some also have sections for scissors and tape.

Gift Bags

Gift bags are handy for weird shaped presents and a quick wrap job.  They are also hard to contain neatly. 

The most efficient and neat way is to get a hanging gift bag organizer This is similar to the hanging gift wrap organizer.  It has different size pockets for various size bags and tissue paper etc.  It is also double-sided.

It's really the only good way I've found for organizing gift bags.  You can always put the bags inside of bigger bags or in a box but you have to dig though them to find the right size and occasion bag.

Wrapping Paper and such

What to do with all of your gift wrap, bags, ribbons and bows? Well, there are many options depending on the amount and type of space you have.  I will dedicate the next few posts to them.

Gift Wrap

If you have floor space, I recommend getting a long under-the-bed container and fill it with 3 small boxes for bows, tape and scissors and one shoe box for ribbons.  The idea comes from The Container Store: Under-the-Bed Storage

The plus side of this type of storage is that it fits neatly under the bed and all the accessories are in one handy spot.  However, the down side is it only fits certain rolls of paper. If you have long rolls they don't fit.  There is also not an organized space for scraps of paper.

If you have hanging space use this organizer Hanging Gift Wrap Organizer This can hold about 2-4 rolls on 2 sides.  It has pockets for ribbon, bows, scissors, tape, gift bags and/or scraps of paper!

The plus side, again, is that it holds everything in one spot and it takes up very little space.  The downside is if it is not full of wrapping paper it doesn't stay straight up.  It will flop around and be annoying.  Overall, though, I love it.

There are also carts such as this: Wrapping Paper Cart This one has drawers, a flat top, a holder for wrap, and a little "arm" for spools of ribbon. They seem super cool but I've never had one.

On the plus side (from what I can tell) is it's on wheels (easy mobility) and it has a flat top to wrap presents on.  The downside is that the top is usually small and, therefore, hard to use rolls of paper to wrap. 

Another option is to use a specifically made wrapping paper bag.  They look bulky and weak to me but I've never tried it.

What's the best you ask?  Depends on what you are looking for, what type of space you have and often you need it.