August 31, 2012

Twenty-Eight Top Ten Organizing Lists!

Who doesn't love a good top ten list? I think David Letterman made them famous but wherever you turn on the internet whether it be a newsletter, a blog, or a sales pitch, everyone has a top ten list. I even have one on my website (left under the Facebook logo).

In my last post, I wrote about the top ten helper shelf 'hot spots' in your home. If you're not already using helper shelves, I hope my post gave you some inspiration to double your space on any of your horizontal surfaces.

I submitted that post to The Professional Organizers Blog Carnival for August. The theme: Top Ten Lists. Twenty-eight Professional Organizers contributed to the 'Top Ten Lists' Blog Carnival. That's 280 tips! To read all 280 nuggets of organizing advice, go to Top Ten Lists - August 2012 Professional Organizers Blog Carnival.

Some of the Top Ten Lists you'll find are:

• Ten Tips to Save Big Money on Your Food Budget
• Top Ten Ways to Say 'No'
• Ten Strategies to Stop Procrastinating
• Ten Best Sources for Organizing Help

...and twenty-four more! (including mine)

So, if you have some time to relax this weekend and would like to pick up  'a few' organizing tips, kick back with some BBQ and the Top Ten List Blog Carnival. You never know what you'll learn!

August 23, 2012

Meal Planning Tips: Me and Michelle Obama

If it's August, it must be back-to-school season! Time to buy school supplies, new clothes and shoes and get back into routines.

It's also a time that includes figuring out what's for supper every night. If you need some meal planning ideas, check out this article...

Real Moms Share: Easy Ways to Plan Meals for the Week

Photo of my family at Disney enjoying a meal--not planned by me!

It just so happens that I give tip #8 and Michelle Obama, our First Lady offers the first one. Hope you pick up some good ideas--I did! Even a Professional Organizer needs help with meal planning sometimes...

August 10, 2012

Top Ten Helper Shelf 'Hot Spots' for Your Home

A while back, I wrote an article for my website about my favorite organizing products. Years have passed but my favorites have not changed. One of those favorite organizing products is the Helper Shelf.

What is a 'helper shelf?'

A helper shelf divides the horizontal space of a shelf, offering more storage space above and below itself. They come in many different widths and heights—some are even width-adjustable. Looking for one to match your decor? You'll find most are made of chrome, plastic, metal or wood. Helper shelves can be found in the same aisle as other kitchen organizing products and purchased at home stores like Target or in specialty stores such as The Container Store. They can be used anywhere you need to double a shelf space.

I recently counted how many helper shelves I was using in my home--about 15! And I have a few in my basement that are waiting to be used when the need arises.

Do you have places in your home that could use a helper shelf? If so, get ready to get organized. Here are my top ten helper shelf 'hot-spots' for your home:

1. Linen closet - Besides sheets and towels, linen closets often house medicine, health and beauty supplies, lightbulbs and other small items. This is a picture of the shelf in my linen closet where I keep health items for my two kids. Notice--lots of little packages. A perfect spot for a helper shelf!

2. Medicine cabinet - If there's a spot in our homes with small bottles and boxes, it's a medicine cabinet. Most standard-sized helper shelves don't fit in a medicine cabinet but while shopping at the Christmas Tree Shop a few months ago, I came across one that was made especially to fit in medicine cabinets. I bought it for a whopping $1.99. Turns out I didn't need a helper shelf in my medicine cabinet so I now use it on my...

3. Kitchen counter - I have a small kitchen and need certain items handy. Thought the 'medicine cabinet' helper shelf would work well to organize items near my stovetop. This is a picture of the small helper shelf in action--shorter items below and taller items on top. It's been working very well for me!

4. Kitchen cabinet - This is where many people use helper shelves. My kitchen does not have much cabinet space so I had to maximize the space as best I could.

Between these two cabinets, I have five helper shelves. They came in extra handy when I had kids and had to make room for their kiddie plates, bowls and cups.

5. Freezer - I have one of those older refrigerators with the freezer on top. I use a helper shelf to double the space that might otherwise be a pileup of bagels, frozen veggies and leftovers. Small items such as the ice cube trays fit well under the shelf while flat items stack well on top.

6. Pantry - Sometimes we can adjust our pantry shelves and sometimes we can't. If you have tall pantry shelves that can't be adjusted, a helper shelf will create more space. Double the space means double the room for food storage! Here, small food items such as jello and pudding boxes fit well underneath and larger boxes stack equally as well on top.

7. Playroom - Kids have big toys and small toys and as a parent, I know that not all shelves accommodate all sizes of toys. Place a helper shelf on a tall shelf to store puzzles or board games on top and create a home for small toys like cars or a basket of Beanie Babies underneath.

8. Home Office - Use a helper shelf in a closet or storage piece to neatly stack and store office supplies. This will make it much easier to find and retrieve the supplies you need.

9. Laundry room - Like the playroom, a laundry room also has large items and small items that both need an organized home. Purchase a heavy-duty helper shelf for detergent storage and place small items such as dryer sheets and a receptacle for lonely socks below.

10. Over/Under Kitchen Sink - I had one of these when I lived in an apartment years ago. It was a great way to make more room for me in my already tiny kitchen. I put my sponge underneath the shelf and kept dishwashing soap and a few decorative items on top.

What are YOUR helper shelf 'hot spots?'

August 6, 2012

SMEAD - 'My Organizer' Products

While at the NAPO Conference in Baltimore this past Spring, I got to meet a lovely representative from SMEAD at our Product EXPO. She and I chatted about office products, 'liked' each other on Facebook and a few months later, she asked me if I would want to review SMEAD products on my blog.

What organizer can say no to checking out new organizing products?

A few weeks later, I received the MO File System.  MO stands for 'My Organizer.' There are three parts to the MO File system: a folder kit, a file case and a case wrap. Here's a video with all the details:

I received three pieces: the File Case, the Case Wrap, and the Financial Kit. They come in different colors but I got the green pattered one which coincidentally fits in with the decor of my home office.

Besides the Financial Kit, the other kits sold are the MO Medical Kit, the MO Project Kit and the MO Starter Kit. According to the SMEAD website,

"MO file kits provide all the help you need to get organized. Each kit contains 9 letter size SuperTab folders, one label sheet with pre-printed and/or blank labels and a detailed instruction sheet." 

The My Organizer system can be found at most office supply stores and on

Why consider the My Organizer File system for your paper organizing needs?

- It fits easily into a letter-sized file drawer
- It is easily transportable
- It's a great way to organize papers for a particular project or aspect of your life

I haven't started using it yet but here's what I like about My Organizer File system so far...

- It's compact
- The File Case slides out of both sides of the Case Wrap
- The Super Tabs on the file folders are huge! Plenty of space for writing file descriptions.

I have a lot of business and family-related papers that always need action or are pending so I'm going to explore the features of he My Organizer File system and give it a try on my desk. I'll keep you posted!