The Tidy Traveller

Organization covers many realms, and travel is no exception. Before you venture out into the world, you must arrange your suitcase. This seems simple enough, but there are tricks to maximize efficient use of this space. Here are some quick tips for organizing your suitcase:

1. Plan your outfit for each day. Also, you don’t need a new pair of pants every day – usually one pair can be worn for at least two days. By planning in advance what you’re going to wear, you won’t end up overpacking.

2. Roll it up! Rolling your clothes is the most space-saving method and it also minimizes wrinkles.

3. Compartmentalize. Think of a junk drawer and how everything just gets jostled around, turning into a chaotic mess. You don’t want that to happen to your suitcase, so use slim, smaller pouches/bags to compartmentalize your items. Group like items together. When you’re at the airport, you’ll be able to easily grab your toiletries for inspection.

4. If you’re packing extra pairs of shoes, arrange them in the way that retail stores do – putting opposite ends of the shoes together – this will save space. Also, put them in a grocery bag to avoid getting other things dirty.

5. Identify. A lot of people have black suitcases and this can make it hard to find yours. Tag your bag with some sort of colourful identifier so that it catches your eye quicker. I once tied a bright purple fuzzy elastic band on the handle of mine.

These are just some simple and quick tips for getting yourself ready for travel. I hope they were helpful.

Happy organizing!

 

 

Enter at Your Own Risk? (Part 3 of 3)

Continued from part two…

7. Manage your mail. The entryway is often where we put incoming mail, but sometimes it just sits there and starts to turn into a messy stack. Sort through your mail daily and keep up with it. Recycle junk mail immediately and file important paperwork soon after you open it. Additionally, get a storage device for your mail (see examples in the pictures below).

8. Maximize your entryway closet space. Go vertical with a double-hang or purchase cascading hangers to free up space (both are pictured below, respectively).

Don’t have a front hall closet? There are still solutions! Installing hooks will work wonders. You can also get a small table or cubby with storage space.

9. Get a charging station for your gadgets. Recharge your phone, ipod, etc. in a designated spot in the entryway. You won’t forget your phone again when you leave the house and it will remind you to plug-in when you get home. A charging station also keeps cords neatly tucked away.

Happy organizing!

Enter at Your Own Risk? (Part 2 of 3)

Continued from part one…

4. Get shoe storage. Whether it be a rack, cubbies, or a hanging system, invest in some sort of shoe organization device. Pick what works best with your entryway. If you have a small entryway closet, don’t hang your shoes, as you will need this precious space for coats. Also, if you have the space for it, get a bench! This is helpful for putting your shoes on and if you have one with storage, you can keep certain things inside like more shoes, hats, scarves, etc.

5. Keep it seasonal. Store out-of-season items elsewhere. Some ideas for storing your out-of-season things are: under-the-bed storage, vacuum seal them, or store them in a spare bedroom closet.

6. Hang it up. Get hooks to keep things off of the floor and counters. Hang up purses, bags, backpacks, scarves, hats, helmets, etc.

Entryway organization will be continued in part three!

 

Enter at Your Own Risk? (Part 1 of 3)

The entryway: the beginning and the end of your home. It is a space that is greatly prone to disaster and disorganization because of the perceived – and instant – “drop-off zone.” Big or small, narrow or wide, the organizational functions of this area are often misused. It is convenient to free yourself of paraphernalia here – it is very easy to just throw and go – but there is a better way to go about it, and it is one that will leave you happier in the long run!

Messiness strains our minds and puts us in lousy moods. Should the first and last thing you see when you leave or enter your house be a chaotic composition of your things? By keeping a well-organized entryway, you are setting yourself up for a better mood as well as efficiency when leaving or entering your home. Below are some basic tips on how to create and maintain a tidy entryway.

1. The first step to entryway organization is the same as many other organizational tasks: Remove everything from the space! Sort through your belongings and decide what to keep, donate, sell, or discard. Also, this is a great time to clean!

2. Since most entryways are small, determine whether or not certain items would be better stored in another room. For example, do you really need your summer sandals sitting on the shoe rack during winter? Must you have that stack of magazines lying around? Reconsider everything and keep only what is meant for the purpose of this space: things that come in and out of the house on a regular basis.

3. Designate a key spot. Always put your keys in the same place so you know where they will be when you are in rush. No more hunting! Suggestion: put them on a hook or place them in a decorative bowl/tray.

Entryway organization will be continued in part two!

 

Fruition of Kitchen Ambition (Part 3 of 3)

Fix Fridge Affliction

The first step in getting ready to organize your fridge is the same as the pantry – take everything out and decide whether to keep it, trash it, or donate it to the food bank. Disinfect, and then you are ready for the fun part!

Line the Shelves

Using plastic shelf liner significantly cuts down on fridge cleaning at a later point in time as you can simply strip away the lining and any mess along with it!

Arrange Shelves and Drawers According to Your Preferences

Most people buy the same products consistently, so it makes sense to format your fridge the way you see fit. Structure the shelves and drawers that come with the fridge to fit the products you buy most often. Most new fridges will have easily adjustable parts to do this. If you don’t have a fridge like that, read on to the next tip.

Get Baskets and a Lazy Susan

Cluster your things by size and put them in a basket/bin that fits that shape. It’s best to use acrylic bins so you can see items clearly. The lazy Susan, along with the bins, ensures that food doesn’t get lost in the back.

Store Meat on the Bottom

Keep meats below everything else in case of drips. We don’t want contamination!

Clean it Up!

Clean out your fridge approximately once a month to maintain cleanliness and organization. You’ll be happy with the results.

I hope these tips were helpful, happy organizing!

Fruition of Kitchen Ambition (Part 2 of 3)

Pantry Pedantry

Before you organize your pantry (or food storage area if you don’t have a pantry), take everything out of it first. Throw away expired items and donate the ones you know you won’t eat to the food bank. This is also an opportune time to get rid of junk food! After you’ve done this, do a thorough cleaning and possibly put in new shelf liner. You are now ready to organize.

Sort food by type and give them designated areas within the pantry:

  • Baking supplies (flour, sugar, baking soda, chocolate chips, etc.).
  • Dried goods (pasta, rice, beans, etc.).
  • Canned food and jars.
  • Breakfast foods (cereal, oatmeal, pop tarts, etc.).
  • Snack foods (crackers, granola bars, chips, etc.).
  • Certain vegetables (potatoes, onions, etc.).
  • Pet food.

It’s a good idea to put many of these in clear, square and/or rectangular containers because you will use space efficiently and will see when you need to restock. Also, these categories are not concrete. You can group items in ways that suit your needs best.

Use organization devices:

  • A lazy Susan is wonderful for keeping everything in view and packing a lot onto a small surface.
  • Under shelf organizers add extra storage space.
  • Keep things in order with a can organizer.
  • Use a step organizer to easily see items at the back of shelves.
  • Make use of baskets for meal planning or storing small items like sauce packets, tiny jars, etc.

This post will be continued! Read the next one for tips on fridge organization.

Happy organizing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fruition of Kitchen Ambition (Part 1 of 3)

Are you on a mission to organize your kitchen, but lacking a vision? Read the following tips and tricks in order to bring your goals to fruition.

Hang and Stay Sane

Aprons, pot holders, oven mitts, and dish towels are kept handy when you hang them up while counter and drawer space remain free for other things. You can buy hooks (regular or removable) and put them in appropriate places. If you have the right kind of space for it and are feeling really ambitious, get a hanging rack and show off your pots and pans. This will free up a lot of cabinet space!

Use it Much? Make it Easy to Touch

Place kitchenwares meant for special occasions on high shelves and every day items within arms reach. For things that you use once in awhile, like a rice cooker or crock pot, put them on the bottom shelves. If it’s not used every single day, put it up high or down low. Make things easier on yourself!

Gather Rather Than Scatter

Group like items together for better coordination in your kitchen. Keep tin foil, saran wrap, other wrap, and plastic bags in the same area; store pots and pans in cupboards close to the stove; bundle baking materials; corral cleaning supplies. You get the idea.

Manage the Container Challenge

Plastic containers can be a plague on kitchen cabinets and/or drawers. They slip around and create a jumbled mess. In order to curb their unkempt proclivity, it’s necessary to get organizational devices that will force them to stay tidy. A few options are baskets, drawer dividers, shelf organizers, and peg boards.

Magnetic Aesthetic

Free up more space in your kitchen with magnetization. Consider magnetizing these items: spice rack, knives, measuring spoons, and sink accessories.

 

Read my next post for more kitchen organization ideas.

Happy organizing!

 

 

 

Enlivened Living

Your living room is one of the first places that you and other people see when entering your home. It is often a high traffic, multifunctional space and because of this, it is incredibly prone to clutter. Therefore, it is important to set up a good organizational system here and to keep on top of it!

Everyone has different living rooms and varying budgets, but there are some general suggestions to keep your living room looking lovely.

The Coffee Table

The best kind of coffee table to own is one with built-in storage. Instead of having one with everything strewn about, place it all inside and contain the mayhem. It’s a great place to store remote controls, magazines, books that are currently being read,  coasters, children’s toys, etc.

If you don’t have the budget to get a coffee table with storage, try buying some baskets and store them underneath.

Television Stand

The problem that this area tends to face is cord clutter. Keep it under control with a cable organizer. These are a few options:

Cable Turtles

thecontainerstore.com

thecontainerstore.com

Quirky Plug Hub

 

 

plug-hub-power-cable-organizer-2

Cable Box

 

Cable Box - Inside

Bookshelves

Sort books by author, CD’s by artist, and DVD’s either alphabetically or by genre. If you don’t have enough shelf space, buy a DVD/CD tower.

Alternatively, you can buy media storage bins for the CD’s and DVD’s. I store mine under my bed. You could also put them under your couch, or on top of the bookcase if there is room.

Don’t forget to use the tops of your bookshelves for storage (if you haven’t already). Place baskets/boxes here for storing things that are not used daily.

Papers

Magazines, brochures, etc., tend to be left around the living room. Designate a drawer for these or get a basket or two to contain them. Keep them inside your coffee table, underneath it, or in magazine holders on a shelf.

Knickknacks

Store the majority of your trinkets. Keep a few out at a time and occasionally rotate which ones you have out on display. Too many knickknacks makes the living room look cluttered, also, this way the pieces you choose to display stand out more.

Happy organizing!

Vehicle Vexation

Your car should be considered a space that requires organizing because many of us spend a lot of time in there. It’s one of the more difficult spaces to organize because it is so small, but with the right planning, you can create an impeccable vehicle.

Keeping your car clean will save you from embarrassment when driving other people around (there will be no mess to stare at), give you efficient access to the things you need (a home for everything), and provide greater safety (since you won’t be digging around while driving). Follow the tips below to get your vehicle in order:

1. Take everything out of the car! All of it. Seriously. Your car is not a giant catch-all and shouldn’t be treated like one. My mother (sorry Mom, using you as an example again!) treats her car like this and you could probably fill a small room with all of the things she has in there. Who knows what’s lurking under the seats…

2. Go through everything that you’ve taken out, piece by piece, and decide whether it is an essential car item. There is a difference between storing things in order to be prepared and treating the car like a storage room. Don’t do the latter.

3. Hang up a bag or put in a miniature trash can in your car. Having a place to collect garbage is one of the most important things for keeping your car clean. Empty it out whenever you fill up the gas. You can purchase trash cans designed for cars at Amazon. Below is a picture of the one I have in my car:

4. Organize the glove compartment. Keep only what you need in here because if you put too many things inside, you won’t be able to find anything. Examples of what to put in here include:

  • Car owner’s manual
  • Proof of insurance and car registration
  • Cell phone charger
  • GPS and charger
  • Garage door opener
  • Emergency phone numbers

5. Clear side door pockets and keep handy things in there like maps, guide books, and travel-sized kleenex. You can keep a flashlight and matches on the passenger side door. I also keep a mini umbrella there. Don’t shove in unnecessary items that will only crowd the space as this will only make it difficult to find what you need, when you need it.

6. Visor organizer: this is the handiest spot for drivers. You can keep all kinds of things here such as CDs, sunglasses, your cell phone, a pen, post-it notes, etc., but only store what makes sense. Don’t put things here that are only going to distract you while driving. If you can’t hold off on changing the CD while driving, move the CDs elsewhere.

7. If you regularly have back seat passengers (such as children), invest in some back seat organizers like the one pictured below. You can put things here like toys and games to keep passengers occupied and entertained. In addition to toys and games (or instead of them), you can put a first aid kit, snacks, extra kleenex, water bottles, and spare outer wear such as gloves and toques here. Maybe even put a book or two to when you know you will have to be in a waiting room for awhile.

8. Under the seat. Be careful what you put here as you don’t want objects flying forward when you make stops. Personally, I don’t keep anything under here because I am paranoid that something will slip out and roll under the brake. Besides, in most vehicles it’s usually difficult to reach in and out of this spot. I say: keep this area clear.

9. The trunk. Paper towels, bottled water, a blanket, jumper cables, batteries, windshield washer fluid, extra oil, fire extinguisher, and an ice scraper are the among the items you can store here. Make sure that you don’t take up the entire trunk space because you want room for the transport of temporarily stored things like groceries.

I hope these tips were helpful.

Happy organizing!

Neaten Your Nightstand

The space beside your bed is one that deserves organizing attention because it can be an efficient source of help at night, a time when you don’t want to be running around looking for the things you need. When you wake up at two o’clock in the morning in need of something, you want it to be readily accessible, as being in a near-comatose state is not conducive to focused searching. By preparing an organized nightstand, you will be pleased with the ease and convenience it provides when you are not in a condition to hunt around for desired items.

Top of the Nightstand

Keep things to a minimum here. A lamp, alarm clock, and phone are the most commonly placed items in this space. If you tend to throw your watch and/or other jewellery in this spot, use a small decorative tray or bowl to keep it tidy.

Another trick that I like to put into place here is the use of a cord catcher because I always charge my cell phone on the top of my nightstand.

First Drawer

Put the things that you use all the time from bed here. For instance, I have a notepad, a couple pens and pencils, an eraser, body lotion, lip balm, a headband, and a mini flashlight stored in this space. For the pens, pencils, and eraser, I have a small drawer divider in place to keep them from rolling around. If you wear glasses, put them here as well.

Second Drawer

I keep a few books that I have on the go in this spot. In addition, I have kleenex, headache and nausea medication, and a pair of warm socks. If you watch TV from bed, put the remote control here.

Open Shelf

This is a great spot to place a little basket or two. I keep a few water bottles in one and two pairs of slippers in the other. You could also use one of the baskets to store magazines that you’re currently reading.

Remember:

Store the essentials, as this is small space, and keep what you use most when in bed here.

Happy organizing!