← Back to All Columns

Columns

Top 10 Tools

It’s nearly impossible to get seriously organized without a little capital outlay. Beyond the absolutely necessary, like manila file folders, an in-basket and a trash receptacle, here are 10 items that are this organizer’s delight.

The Brother P-Touch Labeler

The difference between handwritten labels and labels printed by the Brother P-Touch labeler is remarkable. Something about the clean, easy readability of these labels makes anything more organized; it’s just easier on the eyes. You won’t believe that it’s worth the time and expense until you try it for yourself. I use my labeler for my clients who don’t have one as part of my services (within reason — I don’t relabel an entire file system) and about 90 percent of my clients run out to get their own labeler once they see the results.

Sterlite six-quart  and 16-quart

clear plastic containers

Inexpensive and durable, these clear plastic containers serve to hold a wide variety of items. The six-quart is shoe-box sized, but I never use them for shoes. They are great for gloves, belts and other accessories in the closet and have many different uses in other areas, such as the garage. The 16-quart is great for larger accessories, or they work well outside the closet for light bulbs, rags and cleaning supplies.

Binder clips

I use binder clips all the time. I close bags of chips with them and I clamp stacks of business cards together with them. Tiny or jumbo, you’ll find a bunch of uses for them.

Tiny zip bags

These tiny plastic bags from the drug store are usually used for meds, and I do love to divide up my vitamins for vacation and use them that way (rather than use those Monday through Sunday plastic cases). But my favorite use for these is earring storage — each mini bag is the perfect size for earrings.

Eagle Creek packing cubes

I love traveling with these black mesh bags. You can buy rigid ones or soft, flexible ones. They come in a variety of sizes, but I really use the 8-by-10-inch size the most: They are perfect for separating socks, underwear and workout wear and make packing and unpacking so much easier (for more visit www.eaglecreek.com).

Magnetic bamboo boxes

My favorite of these bamboo boxes is meant to fit magazines. They are great looking and make use of vertical space (as long as it’s magnetic). I use one on each side of my metal desk, one for incoming bills and the other for reading material. That way, my in-box doesn’t get jammed. They also make shallow, longer versions that would be great to hold spices on the side of a fridge for those whose kitchen storage is lacking. Check them out at www.organize.com.

Drawer dividers

A junk drawer becomes picture-perfect with the addition of these white, inter-locking containers in a variety of sizes. Separate the spare change, paper clips, pens and Post-Its. Find them at Target or the Container Store.

File cabinet

A filing cabinet is the foundation of any organized office — fill it with manila folders and army green hanging files, label them with your nifty labeler and go crazy! I love the heavy-duty, built for a lifetime models from HON.

Metro shelving

Available at the Container Store, Metro shelving is quite expensive, but lasts virtually forever and is attractive, as far as shelving for the garage or basement goes. It would look great in an industrial-style kitchen as well. The chrome-coated steel shelves are easy to put together and come in a variety of heights and shelf lengths. A less expensive version, called InterMetro, is fine for indoor use. I have one large unit in my storage area for bins of Christmas decorations, costumes, and archived files and another in the garage to hold luggage and sports equipment. Each shelf can hold 300 pounds and I have them on casters for easy maneuvering.

Sticky Velcro

There are myriad uses for sticky Velcro. My favorite is to hold those junk drawer organizers in place. I also like to put them on the back of remote control devices and have one on my treadmill and one on my stationary bike, so that I don’t drop the remote when I’m working out and want to listen to music or watch TV.