Liberate your silverware organizers from the bounds of the kitchen! :) Try expandable silverware organizers (also known as utensil or flatware organizers) throughout your home.
Goodwill often has silverware organizers for sale. If you can't find them, look for silverware itself: the organizers are usually shelved nearby. Goodwill can be a great choice: less impact on your wallet, and on the Earth!
Frantically searching for your screwdriver or scissors is a source of stress and irritation. Knowing where things are, by contrast, helps you stay calmer--and frees up your emotional energy to be more patient and present!
*As always, no compensation was received for linking to these products: they're merely examples, not endorsements.
#CarbonDatingYourCarryon #DidYouKnow #OrganizationObservation
You can often make a pretty good guess about when a work/school bag was manufactured, based on what technology it was designed to hold.
Does your bag have a pocket for a portable CD-ROM player ("Discman")? An iPod pocket? A laptop sleeve, tablet sleeve, both? A zip-up case for wireless headphones?
None of the above, because none of those technologies had been invented yet?
Older bags can still be useful: those padded Discman pockets are just right to prevent a sandwich from getting squished! :)
Ensure that every bag, regardless of its age, is meeting your or your child's current needs.
A site like ebags.com or backpacks.com can help you get a sense of your options and filter bags by your exact preferences: everything from whether the bag includes a water bottle pocket to if it can fit your 17" laptop.*
Can you find what you need in your bag, quickly and easily? Is your bag supporting you in staying organized?
If not, consider #donating the bag and re-evaluating what you actually carry.
I can help you think critically about both your possessions and options for transporting them.
[Your donated bag likely has the perfect number, size, and arrangement of compartments... for somebody else!]
*No endorsement of either site is implied.
Labeling your cords, cables, and chargers (CCCs, for brevity!) is a great way to save yourself time and frustration.
When you're peering at a jammed surge protector, all of the plugs can look identical--and you don't want to accidentally unplug your printer instead of your laptop charger!
Labeling chargers can be as simple & inexpensive as writing the device name on a piece of masking tape, then wrapping tape around one end.
For cords and cables that connect electronics to one another---e.g., components of a home entertainment system--label both ends.
You can purchase an inexpensive, more durable labeling method: I use Kableflags and like them, but there are many comparable products. One limitation of Kableflags is needing to write in small letters to fit the info recommended below.
For truly top-notch CCC management, label not just the name of the device ("laptop"), but also brand and even model: "HP Stream laptop," "Dell Inspiron 15 laptop." Also consider adding the owner's name.
If your household has multiple laptops, this will come in handy. Parents, especially, can prevent sibling squabbles and save valuable time!
Even one person can have an old and current work laptop, plus a personal laptop: 3 chargers! Then add CCCs for tablet, phone, and music player, not to mention printer, desk lamp, shredder...
Be kind to your future self: #CorralTheCords!
*I did not receive any compensation for mentioning this product.
Last week, my basement rental apartment suffered flooding and water damage during a rainstorm. The muddy area in the photo is where my bed used to be, and the blue rug was completely saturated.
Additional rain was imminent, and the basement could not be waterproofed in time to prevent further damage. I decamped to the guest room of an exceptionally kind friend. Damage to the basement turned out to be more extensive than initially apparent, and I had to look for a new place to live.
I was heartened by others' generosity: my helpful landlords; kind people who re-posted my ad looking for new housing, reached out to me with leads, offered their own guest rooms... Their kindness was the sole bright spot amidst the intense stress of suddenly losing my housing due to weather.
I already knew that organizing was essential for a planned move, but I had never moved on essentially zero notice. I found, when moving urgently, that my having been organized was invaluable. Organized living has much to recommend it; here's another reason to add to the list!
I was exhausted, physically and emotionally, by the situation; it would have been infinitely worse if I had been unable to locate my most important items. If you needed to exit your space on short notice, would you know which items are both most necessary and most challenging to replace? Would you be able to find them quickly?
Think about your wallet, checkbook, prescription medications, medical supplies and devices, passports and photo IDs, mobile phones, chargers, other proofs of residence/identity--and, if you have children, pets, or other dependents, all of their necessities... Plus sturdy bags on hand, to transport all of the above!
I hope that your space is never rendered uninhabitable by flooding--or for any other reason! Planning ahead, however--thinking critically about your needs, and organizing accordingly; having an inventory of essentials and their locations--goes a long way towards peace of mind.
What can you do with old clothes that aren't in good enough shape to donate? What about non-clothing fabrics in poor condition, like worn sheets, tablecloths, and curtains?
H&M will recycle your textiles for free, from any brand and in any condition! Your unwanted items can be turned into insulation and other useful fiber products.
Just bring your stuff to any H&M store counter and ask for the recycling box.
* Bonus: you'll get a discount coupon off a future H&M purchase!
NOTE: I haven't received any compensation from H&M for this post. I've used their program myself and feel confident recommending it.
NOTE: I have not been compensated by any of these apps. These are merely a few apps that I personally use & find helpful:
Sometimes, people mistakenly assume that getting organized requires purchasing lots of storage supplies.
While purchasing new bins, boxes, etc. can be fun, it is definitely not your only option!
Many household items that would otherwise go to waste can be re-purposed for organizing. Reusing items for organization is an all-around win: it saves you money, keeps non-recyclable items out of landfills, and reduces the energy costs of processing recyclables!
Some ideas to get you started:
Create an email folder for messages that make you feel good. Whenever you receive a positive note--your supervisor praising you for a work project, a friend forwarding a funny video, a colleague's thanks--place a copy of the message in your mood-boosting email folder.
You can give the folder a discreet, boring name, if inquisitive people tend to read your screen over your shoulder: "Boiler repair estimates" or "Old electrical bills," etc.
Having a rough day? Be kind to yourself: open your special folder and reread the messages. You are noticed, appreciated, not alone.
(Bonus: after you've read some messages, take a moment to send a note to someone you're grateful for. You'll feel good, reflecting on what you appreciate about them--and your note could be just the boost they need!)
Steven Cohen is the owner of Streamlined by Steven, a professional organizing company serving Washington, D.C. and parts of Maryland.