For February, the cold, short month featuring Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d present my favorite organizing tips like a box of Nuts and Chews. Pick the ones you like and leave the rest; the good news is that they are all zero calories and won’t cause cavities.
• S-hooks can be a wonder, especially used on metro shelves to hang all kinds of things—extension cords, dog leashes, horse halters, aprons.
• In a similar way, large carabiners can be slipped over the end of a closet rod to hang purses, belts, scarves and other categories in the wardrobe that are out of control
• If you collect plates, stack them in a pot stand in a corner. Certain styles of pot stands also make good bookshelves.
• Try a wooden tool caddy for silverware, especially if you eat outdoors a lot in the summer. It’s easy to carry around and makes it easy to put the silverware away after washing.
• Some boxes are worth saving: iPad and MacBook laptop boxes, for example, are sturdy and beautiful. Use the lids as trays to containerize items in a cupboard. You can spray paint, cover with paper or fabric, collage them or just leave them plain. The sturdier boxes from sunglasses and shoes are great too.
• Nest items within reason; more than three items nested starts to become irritating when you need the item on the bottom.
• Stack items within reason. More than five or six sweaters or ten T-shirts in a stack starts to get hard to maintain neatly and, again, makes it hard to get at the one on the bottom when you need it. Which is why people love the Marie Kondo style of t-shirt folding in drawers (google it).
• Drawers versus cupboards: I like jars of vitamins and spices laying down in a shallow drawer. Same for boxes of tea. You can see them all instead of some getting lost at the back of a cupboard.
• Lazy Susans: not a fan. If you have to store your spices in a cupboard I prefer the plastic stair steps you can buy to organize them so that you’re able to see the spices in the back.
• Essential Oils: I’m obsessed with the wooden box doTerra sells to organize all the little bottles of essential oils. It comes with little color-coded labels to put on the top of the bottles to identify them.
• If you start composting more or recycling more make sure your in-house containers grow appropriately so that you neither have to dump more often nor avoid composting and recycling because the containers in the house are full.
• Keep stuff off the floor. Nothing drags down the energy in a room like stacks of stuff on the floor. Books, newspapers, boxes, garden tools, whatever, get it up onto shelves or into cabinets or hung on a hook.
• Subscribe don’t buy. I’ve just started using Apple’s music subscription and I can use their entire library for free. I feel so millennial!
• Think about things in new ways: for example, shower curtain rings. Try them on a framed square of chicken wire or other type of screen to hold necklaces or on a slim rod above the tool bench to separate sizes of nuts and washers.
• Pegs and hooks forever—they make things easy to put away especially jackets, belts, hats and bags.
Send your favorite quick tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and for consideration in next year’s “candy box.”