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Most Favorite Organizing Tools

My Favorite Product for Spices

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Okay, being perfectly honest I don’t know how recently this organizing product came in to existence.  I never heard about it while I was growing up (and no offense to my mother, that’s not really surprising.  Love you mom!).  I first learned about this awesome organizing helper after I started Top Shelf and researched “spice storage”.  Let me tell you, after looking on the internet and working with lots of clients in their kitchens, an overwhelmingly large number of people have horrible spice storage.  And they know it!  Sometimes they use a spice step (which, if you’ve been a reader for a while you should remember my post about why I don’t like spice steps); sometimes they use an in-cupboard shelf (click here if you don’t know what I’m referring to), but most of the time the spices are just randomly packed into a cupboard, which means finding the one spice that is needed can take a bit of time if it’s not used frequently.  Well, let me give you three little words that can erase your spice storage dilemma:

Spice.  Drawer.  Organizer.

Some of you may be thinking, “I don’t have enough drawers for that” and if that’s you and that’s true then click the link in the above paragraph to find some great solutions for your spice storage problem.  But, if you DO have enough drawer space, or can create drawer space, then this product may be for you.

Spice drawer organizers are exactly what they sound like – an organizer for spices that fits in a drawer.  Just think, no more shuffling through the random spice containers, no more knocking them over, no more wondering where the heck your ground nutmeg is… With this product you can see all of your spices in one sweep!  I’ve had several clients use this method and every single one of them loves it and says it’s wonderful.

Naturally, there are several different options to choose from:

Spice Rack Organizer
Spice Liner
Expandable Spice Tray Rack & Drawer Organizer

Another option would be to forgo the organizer entirely and simply lay your spices in a drawer, label side up, so you can see them all.  I have clients who are just as happy with this method as those with the actual organizer.  The spices do have a greater tendency to move around, since there isn’t anything holding them in place, but if you’re okay with that, then this idea would work just as well.

If you have more spices than can fit in one single drawer but you don’t have extra drawers to do this then I what I tell my clients to do is to put the spices that are used most frequently in the drawer (ideally one next to the stove) and the ones that are rarely used can go in a nearby cupboard.  Again, I have had clients do this and they are totally satisfied with it.

Spice storage is a pain and seems to be a problem for a very large number of people.  If you are one of them, this may be exactly what you need.  Look through your drawers, determine if there’s a way to free one up for your spices, and give this tip a try.  I guarantee it’ll make cooking more enjoyable and you may even use some of those special spices you’ve forgotten about in the back of the cupboard.

So what do you think of the post? Let me know in the comments below!

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A Simple Item I Love to Use

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I love organizing and one of my favorite places to organize is a kitchen pantry.  For me, there’s something so wonderful about creating the different categories, all catered to what each client needs, arranging them in a way that is personalized and specific to the people who live in the house, and then being able to stand back and see the end result – an organized pantry where everything is seen.  I absolutely love taking a small, focused space and making it completely organized and “pretty”.  Since starting Top Shelf I’ve used several different organizing items in pantries but the one item I recommend more than anything else is a standard wire basket.  These can be found at stores ranging from different dollar stores all the way up to West Elm and The Container Store.

One thing I love about wire baskets is you don’t have to use a label.  I know labels are super popular right now, but not everyone has the creative bug to create and maintain labels.  There’s nothing wrong with them, they’re just not for everyone.  Wire baskets are great if you want to keep your items contained but still want to see how much you have. And the great thing about baskets is, the contents don’t have to be arranged nicely.  They’re baskets! Just throw those bags, boxes, or bars in there and walk away.

By using wire baskets, you can tell with just a glance what “category” they basket belongs in, the contents it holds, if your supply is getting low or if you can skip buying that item the next time you are at the grocery store.  I had one client who didn’t realize the amount of beans and lentils she had until I gathered them all and put them in one basket. When she saw all that she had she said, “Well, looks like I won’t be needing to buy lentils and beans for a while!” (saving money, cha-ching!)

So, could your pantry use some wire baskets?  Go check out your pantry and see if they could help you out too.

Do you love wire baskets in a pantry too?  Or do you prefer something else?  Let me know in the comments below!

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This Item Will Transform Your Drawers

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Guys, let’s get real for a second – if I said the word “drawer” to you, your mind would probably go to the messiest, most unorganized, clutter-filled drawer in your house; the one drawer you really want to organize, but probably never will.  Instead you just keep digging through it, finding what you need and then closing it without ever addressing the issue.

Well, let me give you 2 words of advice: Drawer.  Dividers.

Seriously, these things will change your life.  And your drawers.  Drawer dividers are different from regular utensils holders because, unlike standard utensil dividers, they come in a variety of sizes and shapes.  Some are just simple spring-loaded pieces of plastic, wood or bamboo, similar to tension rods.  These dividers in particular allow bigger items to be contained (like different clothing items, kitchen utensils, tools, etc), whereas the tray ones provide smaller spaces for little items (like rubber bands, scotch tape, hair clips, etc).

I love using the standard utensil dividers for more than just utensils (and you can read about it in another blog post) but sometimes they aren’t the best choice to go with and here’s why: you can only add so many items to one slot, sometimes the trays in the drawer add just enough height so baking utensils like ladles and whisks don’t fit in the closed drawer anymore, and sometimes there are oddly shaped items that don’t fit into a narrow slot no matter how you rearrange the other items.

When that happens I usually suggest some of these:

Bamboo drawer dividers

Plastic drawer dividers

Adjustable drawer dividers

There are plenty more options out there for every drawer you can imagine, in every room you can imagine.  I’ve used these drawer dividers in kitchen drawers, dresser drawers, bathroom drawers, and more.  They’re so handy to have and can be a help to everyone by keeping a drawer organized simply by keeping the items in it separated and contained.

Do you like this post?  Agree with me that drawer dividers are awesome?  Or do you have a drawer divider disaster story?  Let me know in the comments below!

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A Great Non-Traditional Organizing Tool

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This is a tool I really like, but it’s not one I commonly use.  And that’s just because it’s not a common item to have in the house.  So what’s the item?  A small tension rod.

The reason I like it is because it’s so easy to use and can transform spaces.  How?  Well you can use them in your pots and pans drawer for lids, in your tupperware drawer to keep lids and containers separate and organized, under your sink to hold spray bottles, as an under the counter paper towel holder, to keep cutting boards organized, and even as a spice rack!  And that’s just ideas for the kitchen!

There are SO many creative ideas out there for all areas of the home.  Type “organize tension rod” into your search engine and then click “images” to see so many different ways to use tensions rods.  Incorporating this one simple item into your home will make your life a little easier, reduce stress and keep those spaces organized… for not a lot of money!  Win win!

So head over to Google and get inspired to get organized today!

Do you love tension rods too?  Or do you think they’re more of a nuisance?  Let me know in the comments below!

 

Picture credit: CountryCurtains.com
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I Love this Organizing Tool

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Last month I wrote about large baskets and how much I love them.  This month I’m going to write about smaller baskets and just a few my reasons for loving them.  If you want a cheap way to organize a drawer, go to a dollar store and buy some pencil baskets.  As much as I love drawer organizers not everyone wants to spend the money on them when small pencil baskets do the same thing AND are easier to move around, which makes re-organizing and rearranging easier.

What else are small baskets good for besides junk drawer organization?  Well they’re a great “catch all” spot for small items when you don’t have time to put them away right away.  By having a designated space for these items they don’t end up all over the house (I wrote about the benefits of having a “drop zone” in your home in a previous post).  Small baskets can be used in pantries to hold random condiment packets or food items; they can be used in cupboards to keep measuring spoons together or all your supplements in one space.  Ladies, they are great in the bathroom to keep nail polish accessories together or all those random hair ties you haven’t lost yet (key word – “yet”).  Gents, need a space for the random coins that end up in your pockets?  Or maybe you need one in your garage for nails or screws.  Parents, keep your kids crayons, markers and colored pencils each in their own specific basket…  Are you getting my point?  There’s so many ways to use small baskets and even if the items in the basket are random, less items out creates more order in the house and makes de-cluttering and organizing a simpler process.

Do you love small baskets too? Or do you find them annoying? Comment below and let me know!

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A Favorite Organizing Tool

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I love medium – large baskets.  If I get to a client’s house and they have random large baskets for me to choose from I get so excited.  It makes my job much easier because they’re so easy to use!  Seriously, you can use them in closets, on shelves, in dens and offices, in the pantry; you can use them to store blankets, linens, stuffed animals, kids toys, winter gear, summer wear…. So many possibilities!  And for you parents, they make clean up SOOO easy!  Have your kids toss all of their balls into one basket, all of their stuffed animals into one basket, all of their whatever they have into a basket. Or, if it’s possible just lump all of their toys together in one basket.  That’s the beauty of a basket: it’s contents don’t have to be perfectly arranged so you literally can just throw things in there.

And I’m not prejudiced.  I love all kinds of baskets – wicker, metal, plastic, wire, fabric, whatever.  If it’s a larger basket that I can use to help a person become more organized and stay organized, then I’m all about it.

Now, just to make things clear – I’m NOT advising you to go out and buy a bunch of random baskets with the hope that you’ll find uses for all of them (that’s another post for another time).  But if you have a need and know you’ll use it TODAY, then go get one.  It’s a simple and easy fix for clutter.

Do you love large baskets too? Or do you hate them and think they’re a waste of space? Comment below and let me know!

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One Favorite Organizing Tool

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One thing I absolutely love to use in most of my jobs are utensil organizers.  Obviously they come in handy for utensils (small and large) but I also love them for other random drawers.  I’ve used them in play rooms, arts and crafts spaces, storage areas, junk drawers… They really come in handy in almost every room of the house.  And there’s so many different options out there!  Nice bamboo ones, steel mesh, plastic/rubber, and so many more options! Whatever your style, whatever your budget, investing in a utensil organizer will help any room in your house.

Like this idea? Don’t like it? Comment below and let me know!

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