Back to Basics

photo-1481495278953-0967c9759b78.jpeg

Back to Basics

  1. Shoes! Store shoes heel to toe. This allows you to see heel height, toe style and color for quick selection. Check out the products we love for additional shoe maintenance and storage.

  2. Clothes. Prioritize you clothes to better utilize the spaces within your closet. Store your most used items at eye level, less used items just below that and least used items up high.

  3. Bags and Purses. Hooks are a great way to organize your bags and purses in order to keep them off the floor as well as maintain a shaped arm strap.

  4. Finishing Touches. Little, but impactful adjustments like coordinating hangers, labeling and incorporating additional lighting to your closet can make all the difference.

Products We Love

Maintain Your Boots through the Summer

OandRBlog-7-28-16-IM2a.jpg

Aqua Boot Shapers! These are especially great if you have limited floor space. Maintain your boot shape and quality, while leaving floor space for flip flops and sandals. Purchase these at The Container Store.

OandRBlog-7-28-16-IM2b.jpg

8-Section Shoe & Handbag Cubby. This cubby is also ideal for boots as well as large handbags. Call us today for the closet of your dreams! Purchase this steel, stackable cubby at The Container Store.

Why “The Container Store” will always be “The Candy Store” to Me

Okay. It’s time for a true confession. It’s been a while since the last one when I revealed that I, the Maven of Minimum, have three ice-cream makers. I know--shockers! Well, here’s the next big reveal.

OandRBlog-8-28-14-IM1.jpg

The Container Store is my favorite place to shop.

I love it so much that, yes, my colleagues and I here at Org & Relo refer to it as The Candy Store. They have a sweet solution no matter what your taste, their service is impeccable, and their products cater to all design styles and tastes. Bottom line, if you shop there you simply can’t go wrong.

(You should know that I don’t get paid or perked for telling you this. I’m just a fan, spreading the word.)

Since I buy much and often here, I thought it might be fun to tell you about my five favorite candy store items. These are my go-to organizing top picks for almost any job I’m on.

Linus Drawer Organizers

OandRBlog-8-28-14-IM2.jpg

Linus clear organizers come in several shapes and sizes and are perfect for bathroom, kitchen (drawers, pantry, fridge), crafts, and anywhere that drawers or cupboards need to be whipped into shape. You can use the deep ones for kitchen junk drawers and bathroom cosmetics and the shallow ones for cutlery and utensils. All you need to do is take the inside measurements of the drawers you’re organizing, go to The Candy Store, and then map out the Linus products on the floor until you get the right config for your plan. It’s the best kind of puzzle! Make sure you consider in advance how you want to divide and store your items so that you get the sizes that work best, and use the same depth for each drawer for a consistent look. You can also use them on shelves or open surfaces--the non-slip rubber feet keep them solidly in place.

OandRBlog-8-28-14-IM3.jpg

Frosted Totes

These simple bins that come in small and large will work in many different areas of your home. I love them in the bathroom to corral larger bottles like moisturizer and mouthwash or under the sink for hairdryers and brushes. You can also use them in your child’s room for toys since they’re light and easy to grab, on the coat closet shelf for gloves and hats, or inside your entertainment center for DVDs. Put a couple small ones on a pantry shelf for loose granola bars, kids’ snacks, or random jars that always seem to be traveling around without warning.

OandRBlog-8-28-14-IM4.jpg

Chrome Cupboard Shelf

I use these to eliminate dead space in under-the-sink cabinets (in these areas often the plumbing can get in the way of shelving options) or any place where I need to make better use of vertical space. Take an overview of your kitchen and pantry cabinets and see how these can magically create more space, especially in a tiny kitchen. They also make taking down stacks of dishes easier when they’re separated instead of being piled in one gargantuan stack. One of the things I love best about The Candy Store is how much thought goes into the design of the products they carry: in this case, the wires are flat to hold items securely and the lip at the back stops things from sliding.

OandRBlog-8-28-14-IM5.jpg

Clear Storage Boxes

These inexpensive plastic boxes are transparent enough that you can easily see the contents on lower shelves, but it’s a good idea to label them when using them for storage. All kinds of random collections can go into them: gift wrap, winter wear, first aid items, fabric swatches, kids’ crafts, as well as what they are designed for: shoes, accessories, and sweaters. A smart move when storing shoes is to take a picture of each pair, affix it to the front of the box, and then stack the boxes with the photos facing out; makes it super easy to select your footwear.

OandRBlog-8-28-14-IM6.jpg

Huggable Hangers and Ultra-Slim Finger Clips

This seems like a small thing, but I assure you it’s not. You know how you used to buy all those different hangers for skirts and dress pants? Well, those days are over! Grab a few stacks of huggable hangers (great for maximizing space in your closet) and then add a couple boxes of clips. Now with two quick squeezes you can transform a shirt hanger into a skirt hanger--and then transform it back, any time you want. Plus the hangers match each other and give your closet a thoughtful, consistent look. A professional organizer’s dream!

Keep this in mind as you cruise the aisles of The Candy Store, looking to satisfy your personal cravings: 51% of anything is looks and 49% is function. I firmly believe that if you don’t think it looks good, it will not function for you. So make sure you buy what you love; then sit back and watch it work its magic!

Happy Organizing!

College Confidential: Wrestling Your Dorm Room into Submission

Last year the National Retail Federation estimated that parents spent an average of $907 to outfit their “child’s” dorm room. Gone are the days of the plain Jane room with the Peter Gabriel poster and a few thrift store items tossed in for good measure (brick and board bookshelves, anyone?) These are the days of bed-in-a-bag, ergonomic desk chairs, and machines that magically have your coffee waiting when you roll out of bed for that 8 a.m. stats class.

OandRBlog-8-7-14-IM1.jpg

Whether you go the $900 route or the try the scaled-down version, setting up a college dorm room is an exercise in exactitude: what is really needed, what fits where, what works best, and how to make it all look good. Every minuscule dorm room comes with the basics--bed, desk, chair, dresser, closet--and then you’re pretty much on your own. That’s where the exactitude comes in.

OandRBlog-8-7-14-IM2.jpg

First do a little research on the dimensions of your room, what’s already there, and what’s prohibited. Why buy all those fairy lights if your Resident Assistant is just going to make you take them down? Make sure you double check what size sheets you need--dorm beds usually all require the extra-long twin variety.

Set a realistic budget, and don’t fall prey to thinking you need everything right away--better to go with the “less is more” philosophy for such a small space. Before you head off to Bed, Bath & Beyond with a giant list, shop at home first. Yes, you will need a desk lamp, but you also won’t need the one currently on your desk at home. Start looking around. What can you take from your current digs that will provide a little warmth from home and also save some cash?

Make contact with your roommate to ensure you’re not doubling up on small appliances, rugs, or shared accessories. If your college offers free printing, you may not even need to waste valuable dorm-room real estate on a printer.

Think of your room as geographically divided up into five tiny, distinct spaces:

  • sleep

  • study (read)

  • kitchen

  • work (computer)

  • grooming

Then focus on what items you need for each of those areas and how you can best organize and store them.

Use a hanging organizer either for shoes or to keep smaller items organized, labeled storage boxes with lids that will slide under your bed or stack to keep things out of the way, a shower caddy to cart your necessaries to the bathroom (don’t forget the flip-flops for in-shower use!), and maybe a book safe for valuables if needed. Use space-saving huggable hangers and cabinet shelves in your closet.

OandRBlog-8-7-14-IM3.jpg

Some colleges allow you to use blocks or bed risers to create valuable under-bed storage or living space in your room. Over 70 colleges now partner with Bedloft, which provides lofting services as well as microfridges and hangers for TVs.

The big retailers like Target and BB&B offer services like “buy here, pick up there” and also host shopping events after hours exclusively for college students. There’s a reason the back-to-college business is $50 million and growing! But does your trash can really have to match your duvet cover? Don’t fall prey to marketing. Remember: your room is tiny and the more stuff you cram in there, the less room for you.

You’re going to spend a lot of time over the next nine months in your dorm room, so make sure it’s comfortable, functional, and reflects who you are. Don’t forget you can always add things you need along the way once you see how your initial system is working. One thing is for certain: Target will never turn you away.

Happy Organizing!

One Barbie at a Time: Organizing Your Kids’ Rooms (with Their Help)

Some kids are convinced that a room is clean if everything is shoved in the closet and out of sight; others think that as long as they keep their door closed, no one will be the wiser. We adults know better.

Now that another school year is filed away and the kids are home during the day, it’s a perfect time to take on organizing their rooms. Incorporating your child into the process is the only way to go; if (usually in a fit of “I can’t stand it any more!”) you do it yourself, you’ll end up always doing it yourself and you won’t empower your children toward their own independence.

Julie Morgenstern, author of Organizing from the Inside Out, recommends that you be an “organizing consultant” to your children. Sit down with them and make a list of what they want in their bedrooms, along with what’s working and what’s not. Do they want an art headquarters? How important is an easily set up sleepover zone for friends? Are they bookworms or dress-up queens? What’s most important to them?

Once you’ve come up with a list that accurately represents what they want, set aside a couple of days that work for them and for you, get all hands on deck, and start the transformation.

Linda, one of Org&Relo Boulder’s Professional Organizers and mother to two teenagers, says that kids respond to structure. “Our job as parents is to impose structure, and their job as kids is to push back against it. Even though they may say they don’t like it, their actions say otherwise. Over and over again I saw how much more my kids relaxed when they knew what was expected, what their parameters were, and what was next.”

OandRBlog-6-5-14-IM1.jpg

Start by simplifying, sorting, and storing. Simplify things by inviting your kids to help choose which outgrown toys and clothes can be passed on to other children. It’s never too early to introduce them to the concept of passing on well-loved items to others in need! Show them how to sort like toys with like, and delegate those with small parts--legos, doll clothes, blocks--into piles that they can corral in clear plastic boxes with lids. Label these using a large font or even with picture labels if your children are pre-readers, and store them on shelves they can access.

OandRBlog-6-5-14-IM2.jpg

Make sure the solutions fit the child. Take their height into consideration, and organize from the ground up. If you’re working with a younger age group, you want cubbies they can reach, lower shelves, step stools for light switches or higher shelves, and kid-size hangers in the closet. Let them choose what goes where. Think about hooks for hoodies and backpacks and hanging organizers or large baskets for action figures or stuffed animals. For the younger set you might want to organize and keep art supplies out of reach until you are sure they can use them unsupervised--high shelves that aren’t reachable with that step stool are perfect.

Maria Montessori, the Italian physician and educator who developed the Montessori system of education in the early 19th century, used a simple system in her classroom to keep her students engaged. She would display only so many materials for them to work with at a time on the shelves, and others would be packed away. Then she would remove the old ones and display the new ones. Adapt this logic in your younger children’s rooms. Instead of having everything out all at once, keep some toys and books sequestered and rotate things in and out on a bi-monthly basis. You’ll be amazed how fewer things can hold a young child’s attention for longer!

Implementing an organizing routine at a young age will make everyone’s life easier in the long run. Assign tasks that give your kids a sense of empowerment. Making their beds in the morning, picking up books and toys in the afternoon, and straightening the desk or dresser before bed helps them understand that even a little order can be a beautiful thing. Everyone sleeps better. Just a few minutes a day here and there gets them used to--and, with luck, desirous of!--a clean space to play and entertain their friends.

Happy Organizing!

Seasonal Closet Shuffle: Out with the Sweaters and Scarves, in with the Light and Bright

Daffodils. Crocuses. Poolside margaritas.

Okay, margs by the pool in mid-April are a stretch in most areas of the U.S. (yes, we woke to snow in Boulder this week), but weather with a hint of summer is definitely arriving and, with it, the potential to maximize your closet space. Rotating out woolly sweaters and bulky jackets that suck up precious closet real estate and re-stocking your space with breezy shirts, tees, tank tops, and flip-flops is one of early spring’s most gratifying rituals. I can taste the salt on the rim just thinking about it.

All clothing projects start with--gold star if you know the answer!--that ruthless purge I like to encourage at any opportunity. Go through clothes with a critical eye, discarding what no longer works or fits. Get rid of stuff you haven’t worn and fling out anything you’ve tried on several times but always end up taking off at the last second. Why is it that certain clothes are forever the ugly stepsisters who never make it to the ball? And, honestly, if they haven’t by now, will they ever actually get there?

Most of us organize into two seasons: spring/summer and fall/winter. The idea is to pack the old season away to make room for the new. If you have the space or prefer to keep all your clothing in your closet, you can still separate out by season and file the current season front and center and the other in the back.

Here’s how you do it.

OandRBlog-4-17-14-IM1.jpg

First, make time. Pulling everything out of your closet, cleaning it, and then re-organizing it takes a few hours. I like to make sure I have a clear pathway to my closet from the folding and sorting area, otherwise known as my bed, so do a quick rearrange if need be to ensure that.

Before you begin you should know where and how you’re going to store clothing. Is it going to the basement on racks? Into storage containers on high shelves or under the bed? What do you need to make sure the task is as streamlined as possible? Gather boxes, garment bags, wooden hangers, large Ziplocs, or whatever supplies you require, and keep them close at hand.

As you begin, move methodically in one direction across your closet. Sort into piles: to be laundered, to be stored, to be given away, to be consigned (might as well make a little money if you can). Remember, you’re also purging while you’re doing this, so your donation bag should be getting a workout. When you finish, all that should remain are the crossover clothes that you may need for unpredictable weather; a few sweaters, a mid-weight jacket, a couple of long-sleeved tees, etc.

OandRBlog-4-17-14-IM2.jpg

Do your drawers the same way--move in one direction across them, pulling out the old and useless, storing the clean, and dropping anything in the laundry basket that needs to be washed but will ultimately be stored. Keep like items together so that in six months when you’re doing the reverse, items will already be organized and easy to reinstate.

Making sure that everything you’re storing has been laundered or dry cleaned is critical--you want to avoid stains becoming permanent. If you’re using boxes, consider tossing in a dryer sheet or two for freshness. Depending on the climate where you live, you may need lavender or cedar balls to deter critters. You want to make sure you don’t hang sweaters or knitwear that can become misshapen over time; instead, arrange them in storage containers with the heaviest on the bottom and the lightest on the top. You can also store any items you buy on sale at the end of the season that you’ll discover as “new” when you’re reversing the process in six months.

As much as it’s tempting to just hang and rearrange the incoming clothes, take a few extra minutes to clean your closet, drawers, and shelves while empty. Bust out the hose attachment on your vacuum, and get those corners sparkling. Then, and only then, bring in your spring clothes to colorize and categorize.

Make sure you store things out of sunlight or away from any extreme temperature fluctuations: think clean, cool, dark, and dry. A guest-room closet is a good solution for off-season clothes that need hanging space as long as you don’t have to rearrange the closet to accommodate the guest. Zippered portable closets can be stored in the basement, or rolling racks with garment (or even garbage) bags work well.

A side benefit of a critical examination of your wardrobe like this is that fewer things to try on equals less time getting dressed. But the really satisfying part of a spring closet shuffle is to see your wardrobe ready for barbecues, picnics, and those poolside margaritas. Can someone pass the guacamole, please?

Happy Organizing!