February 2013 - Posts

Tips for Taming Teen Clutter
Thursday, February 28, 2013 7:43 PM

Teen clutter seems to proliferate faster than a hot You-Tube video goes viral. Stop the runaway mess before it engulfs your home (or your teen's room) with a few simple steps.

Make your teen a partner in clutter control. Teens crave privacy and self-determination so consider letting them have more leeway in deciding how clean to keep their own rooms. For example, clutter may be off-limits in the family room, but permitted within reason in their bedrooms. When you enlist your teen as a partner, and respect their growing ability and need for self-determination, you better the odds of harmonious cohabitation.

Bedroom Boundaries: Determine your own clutter threshold for the household and lay down clear ground rules. Examples might include a "no food" policy for bedrooms, requiring a clear exit path between the bed and the door for safety reasons, and a rule that if any bad smells come from a bedroom, it then needs a thorough cleaning by the teen. If these conditions are all met, grit your teeth about the piles of laundry and other annoyances.

Everything in its Place: Take time to evaluate your teen's room to determine if they have the needed tools for neatness. Do they have adequate storage? If not, consider investing in inexpensive shelving such as Ikea's Expedit units which can easily hold files for school papers and baskets and bins for corralling small items and clothing. Work with, not against your teen: if they don't fold and store clothes neatly, buy bins to hold clothing piles and install a rack of pegs or hooks to easily capture garments.

Less is More: If the room is overstuffed with toys and clothes, encourage a purge. Donating or selling the unused items can net your teen some money and creates a more manageable set of belongings. Maintain order by doing a big purge at least twice a year. Good times for purging are after major gift events such as Christmas or birthdays.

House Rules: While teens may have leeway in their rooms, parents have every right to set conditions about how shared rooms are managed. Rather than nag constantly, assign every family member a chore that keeps order in shared rooms. And give family members a designated basket or bin to be kept in the mudroom or family room. Odds and ends can be tossed in the bins during nightly clean up and emptied on the weekends.





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Crafty Organization Ideas from DIY Queens
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 7:31 PM

Crafting is incredibly creative and fun. Creating clever ways to store your craft supplies can be just as rewarding. We've rounded up some ingenious DIY storage ideas from a bevy of clever crafters.

 Repurpose Old Furniture: A fresh coat of paint and shelves full of colorful craft supplies can brighten any room. See how this former china hutch now does duty as a craft station.  Remember those bulky TV armoires? Supersize flat screen TVs all but made them obsolete, but resourceful crafters give them new life as storage centers.  Why stop with furniture? This ingenious crafter uses a wine rack to store ribbons,  going from cheers to cheerful!

Recycle Household Goods: Old coffee cans get upgraded to storage containers with pretty paper and attractive labels. For stacked storage, use several dressed up soup cans in a pyramid shape, seen here.  Other trash-to-treasure ideas include repurposing tissue rolls to hold pencils and paint brushes and transforming empty spaghetti sauce jars into ribbon-trimmed glass canisters. Cheap and chic!  We also love using items designed for one purpose, such as a spice rack, for another purpose entirely, such as storing sewing embellishments. 

See Clearly: Clear canisters not only make it easy to organize and find craft supplies, they are a visual treat. No need to spend a fortune on store bought containers, repurpose pantry items like baby food containers seen here or other food jars, decorated with painted lids and whimsical accessories. 

Pegboard: We think pegboard is an organizing wunderkind. See how it a savvy sewer uses it here to store spools of thread, scissors and ribbons. Or attach hanging cups  to capture pens and pencils. We love how this pegboard marries storage and colorful décor.

Hang on!: Short on shelf space? Task hangers with storing goods in oversize ziplock bags, seen here.  Or repurpose pant hangars into ribbon holders. 

Clever Craft Spaces: Crafters, sewers, scrapbookers...your imaginations are limitless. There is no end to your clever storage ideas: we leave you with two we love/ One, a cunning little nook with a hinged drop down desk,  built into the eaves of a home. The other, a tiny vintage suitcase, outfitted to house craft supplies; it's equal parts storage and style. 



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Organizing Fido
Tuesday, February 26, 2013 7:28 PM

Pet lovers, you know there is nothing better in the world then a furry friend. But keeping track of all the kibble and bits, leashes, and assorted pet paperwork (vaccination schedules anyone?) isn't always a walk in the park. Keep a tight leash on pet needs with our round up of tips.

Pet Products: Nothing beats pegboard for organizing odds and ends. Create a dedicated board for your pet supplies inside a coat closet door or on a wall in your mudroom and never misplace a leash or pet brush again. Add a hanging organizer with clear front pockets to capture supplies such as vitamins, shampoos and chew toys.

Pet Station: Consider creating a designated pet station for your four-legged friends that houses both food and water bowls. Pinterest has a number of smart ideas for organizing the pets in your life. Turns out furry friends and high-style interior design can mix rather well. Click here to get inspired.

Pet Purging: Do you really need that ratty chew toy or shredded scratching post? Just as you purge your home of unwanted and unused people items, pet gear requires purging too. Did Fido get a new chew toy? Commit to tossing its beat up counterpart. Is your puppy crate no longer needed? Find it a new home with a neighbor or by checking with your local Humane Society.  Many chapters accept unneeded pet gear and extra food when finicky pets (we're talking about you Meowsers!) reject a new brand.

Pet Paperwork: Four-legged friends generate almost as much paperwork as their human counterparts. Stay on top of important vaccination schedules and health records with regular filing. Store pet health records with your family's health files so all critical health records are in the same spot. Also, keep a file handy for coupons for pet food, kitty litter and shampoos. Ditto information on groomers and pet boarding. Want a paperless pet? Enlist your smartphone or tablet to help track kitty's appointments and dietary needs with apps like MyPetsPro  and PetVetRecords. 

Pet Sitters: If a dog-walker or regular weekend pet sitter is part of your life, use a pet crib sheet that provides a seamless information exchange. You can use this free, downloadable sheet from Microsoft  or the stylish sheets from Etsy designers herehere and here.

Finally, if your furry (and feathery) friends are as quick to shed as they are to snuggle, a vacuum cleaner is a necessity. Opt for one built to tackle animal fur like the models listed in 5 Best Vacuums for Pet Hair. 



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Org This: Tackling Your Pantry
Monday, February 25, 2013 7:24 PM

If dialing for delivery is far preferable to facing your disorganized pantry come dinnertime, it's time to organize for a culinary reboot. With just a few simple steps, you will be back to dishing up home cooked meals.

Clean Slate: Pull all your boxes, cans and spices off the shelves. Dust and scrub until your space is clean and appealing. Toss all items with expired dates and that you just don't use.

See Clearly: Face all your labels out so you can easily see what's on the shelves. This helps prevent the all too common phenomenon of buying groceries you already have. It also makes it easier and less frustrating to find needed ingredients.

Group Think: Savvy chefs group like items together, either by categories, such as pastas, soups, dried beans, or by cuisines, such as Asian or Latin American ingredients. Think about what system makes the most sense given your own needs and explain it to your family so you can work together to keep order in the pantry.

Pare Down: Consider paring your pantry down to the bare essentials. Do you really need 40 spices? You may only use a dozen or so regularly.  Consider storing less frequently used items elsewhere so that your pantry just houses items you cook with daily. Keep a typed list of stored items inside your pantry door so you know what (and where!) less frequently used items are stored.

Buy Smarter: You know the drill, buy better quality items, but fewer of each. Use this same approach in your pantry. Do you really need five mustards, nine different shapes of pasta? Identify what you love and buy it in the best quality you can afford.  And while you're at it: invest in top quality clear containers so you can decant pastas, spices, flours, and dried beans. When you can find it, you can cook it!



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Org This: Tackling the Coat Closet
Friday, February 22, 2013 7:23 PM

We're mid-way through winter so odds are good your coat closet is a mess of bulky items and mismatched gloves. What's that you say? You can't find your hat? We feel your pain (and your possible frostbite.) Read on for tips for whipping your closet back into shape for the rest of the wintery season.

Out with the Unused: Closets turn into catchalls quicker than snowflakes melt on a tongue. Identify unused and unneeded items by emptying your closet-yup, we're starting with a blank slate-and put back only those items that truly belong.

Saying Goodbye: Gather unworn clothes and paraphernalia into groups: one to donate, one to pass along to friends and another to trash. Be sure to keep receipts for any items donated to charity.

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow:  Having trouble saying good-bye? Ask yourself three questions: Does it fit? Do I wear/use it? Do I love it? If the answer to any of these questions is no, the item needs to go. Consider working with a trusted friend and their unbiased eye to evaluate your belongings.

Color Code: Once your closet is edited to include only clothes and gear that are seasonally appropriate, it's time to color code items by family member.  Assign each member a color that corresponds to hooks, bins and whatever other tools you use. Color coding helps assign items a designated home and makes it easy for even the youngest family member to neatly stow away their belongings.

Tame Odds & Ends: Don't let scarves and other cold weather accessories overrun your closest. Maximize the space on the inside of a closet door to hang small, frequently used items. Use clothes pins to clamp gloves and mitten together so one doesn't go missing.

Neat & Tidy: Once your closet is shipshape, maintain order by arranging all hangers in the same direction and by storing items requiring folding, draped over hangers rather than in sloppy piles. Keep a small trash can to corral dry-cleaning bags and wire hangers. You may also wish to invest in a plastic or metal shoe tray to capture wet boots near your entrance.



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Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization.  Believing in  "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.

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