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Posts Tagged ‘organizing’

10 Things to Stop Hoarding

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Every collector knows that there's a fine line between curating an assemblage of treasures and hoarding them, something that happens when a collector loses control (or count) of his treasure trove. Even if you've found yourself close to the latter—it happens so easily with beautiful things especially—be comforted that the season of purging is upon us.

In the spirit of spring cleaning, I've detailed below the clutter-culprits that sneak up most easily in my life.  I also reached out to my friend and organizing expert Anduin Havens to see what she recommends cleaning out. Let me know in the comments below what items you love to collect and the ones you find yourself accidentally hoarding.

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My Top 5

1. Unless you re-use them, eliminate that stash of once-used paper and plastic shopping bags. Paper ones can go right into a recycling bin, and plastic ones can be donated to farmers and flea markets (or even animal shelters) for re-use.

2. Same goes for boxes. Truly beautiful boxes worth keeping are actually rare, so though my Achilles heel is a well-made box, I've limited myself to keeping Hermes and Marc Jacobs boxes.

3. As much as it pains me to say it, get rid of some of your magazines. Rip out the things you're interested in and file them. In the industry we call this "swipe." Martha calls me The Tear-orist because I'm ruthless about ripping things out.

4. Beauty and cleaning products. I don't know what it is, but everyone wants to open that new bottle of product before finishing the last. Toss forgotten half-used bottles or commit to using them up before puncturing a new seal.

5. Mugs. Break them all! Novelty mugs are the bane of my existence. Buy one nice set and leave it at that.

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Anduin's Top 5
1. Get rid of clothing! If you haven't worn it in 7 years, it's wasting space. That size 4 you haven't fit into since the 90's is a pipe dream. More and more re-sell boutiques are cropping up, if it pains you to give away something beautiful.

2. Go through jewelry and accessories regularly. Unless it's a classic piece, be ruthless.

3. Kids toys, books and games. Keep the absolute favorites for posterity but toss the junky plastic that has seen better days. Teach your children about charity by donating gently used items.

4. Electronics that you've replaced with updated technology – bring it to an electronic recycling center.

5. CDs! They take up so much space and can be easily uploaded into a digital computer file. If you must keep the actual CD, get binders so that they store smaller and no matter what, ditch the cases.

Closet Organization

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The arrival of fall is the perfect time to reorganize your closet. Every six months, it's a good idea to review your wardrobe. Decide what you want to keep, what needs repair, and what should be given away or discarded. New acquisitions may demand new storage strategies, such as rearranged shelves, extra bins, or additional rods. Here are a few examples from my own closet.

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How you arrange items is just as important as the architecture of the closet itself.

1 How you arrange items is just as important as the architecture of the closet itself.

A valet hook can be used to hold dry cleaning or an outfit for the following day. And I can't stress enough how important it is to put clothing on hangers designed specifically for the particular type of item. It will extend the life of your clothes.

2 A valet hook can be used to hold dry cleaning or an outfit for the following day. And I can't stress enough how important it is to put clothing on hangers designed specifically for the particular type of item. It will extend the life of your clothes.

For the center island in my closet, we tailored drawer depths to their contents: 17 inches for ties (I have been obsessed with ties since working in Lord & Taylor's tie department while in college).

3 For the center island in my closet, we tailored drawer depths to their contents: 17 inches for ties (I have been obsessed with ties since working in Lord & Taylor's tie department while in college).

This drawer pulls out to a sectioned hamper -- keeping laundry and dry-cleaning piles organized and ready to be cleaned.

4 This drawer pulls out to a sectioned hamper -- keeping laundry and dry-cleaning piles organized and ready to be cleaned.

The shoe closet is one of my favorite areas. First, we pared down my footwear then boots went up top, and shoes below, arranged by color. The shelves are protected with nonslip shelf liner.

5 The shoe closet is one of my favorite areas. First, we pared down my footwear then boots went up top, and shoes below, arranged by color. The shelves are protected with nonslip shelf liner.

The finished closet.

6 The finished closet.

This is also an opportunity to brush up on the basics. I suggest choosing a grouping principle that makes sense to you. I organize by kind–button-down shirts, blazers, sweaters–then by color, from white to black. This helps me know my options right away. I hang anything that is likely to wrinkle (linen, rayon, all-cotton shirts) or slide around in a drawer (silks and satins), as well as garments that are pressed or have pleats. I also suggest folding all knitwear, cotton T-shirts, casual pants (jeans, khakis, corduroys), and sportswear (in a separate drawer from your other clothes).

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Windowed boxes covered in tweed make it possible to find a specific sweater in an instant.

1 Windowed boxes covered in tweed make it possible to find a specific sweater in an instant.

Make full use of the space beneath your hanging coats in a hall closet. Here, we set up an office-supply storage system on wheels so you can easily take it out and store it when not in use.

2 Make full use of the space beneath your hanging coats in a hall closet. Here, we set up an office-supply storage system on wheels so you can easily take it out and store it when not in use.

Another options is to install shelves below your coats. Here, each member of the family has their own bins for hats, gloves, and scarves.

3 Another options is to install shelves below your coats. Here, each member of the family has their own bins for hats, gloves, and scarves.

Here, basic wooden shelf brackets from the hardware store help to organize your closet when you use them on top of shelves, instead of underneath.

4 Here, basic wooden shelf brackets from the hardware store help to organize your closet when you use them on top of shelves, instead of underneath.

Label shoe boxes and bins like these raffia boxes with tags made by attaching unlined index cards to clothespins.

5 Label shoe boxes and bins like these raffia boxes with tags made by attaching unlined index cards to clothespins.

Digital pictures, tucked into card-stock tags with windows, identify the contents inside each garment bag so you don't have to waste time opening the bags and pulling the contents out to see what's inside.

6 Digital pictures, tucked into card-stock tags with windows, identify the contents inside each garment bag so you don't have to waste time opening the bags and pulling the contents out to see what's inside.

To help avoid clutter in a broom closet, make sure you only have what you need, nothing more. Use the wall and shelves to help keep the floor clear and group cleaning supplies by what room they're used in.

7 To help avoid clutter in a broom closet, make sure you only have what you need, nothing more. Use the wall and shelves to help keep the floor clear and group cleaning supplies by what room they're used in.

For a tidy linen closet, slip each sheet set into one of its pillowcases, and store the sets by size -- twin, full, and so on -- with colors, trim, or other defining details clearly visible.

8 For a tidy linen closet, slip each sheet set into one of its pillowcases, and store the sets by size -- twin, full, and so on -- with colors, trim, or other defining details clearly visible.

An Organized Home Office

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Maybe it's back-to-school season that triggers me, but as the carefree days of summer wind down, I am motivated to head indoors to organize. As kids return to the classroom, there is an influx of paperwork in many households, and it is important to have a system to keep everything in order. I find that the way people arrange their home offices can make a significant difference in their ability to stay organized. All it takes is a little bit of effort and planning to create a space that is both functional and beautiful.  Below, I pulled together tips from past issues of Martha Stewart Living, to give you ideas on how to get started.

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Hanging file frames, available at most office supply stores, can be adjusted to fit inside decorative baskets.

1 Hanging file frames, available at most office supply stores, can be adjusted to fit inside decorative baskets.

Plastic file boxes are perfect for long-term storage and are water-tight. Cardboard varieties can also be used for long-term storage in a dry place.

2 Plastic file boxes are perfect for long-term storage and are water-tight. Cardboard varieties can also be used for long-term storage in a dry place.

Metal filing cabinets are useful for files you need to have on hand at your desk.

3 Metal filing cabinets are useful for files you need to have on hand at your desk.

A blotter with an elastic strip is a good place to tuck your to-do list.

4 A blotter with an elastic strip is a good place to tuck your to-do list.

This clothespin organizer is easy to make–just attach pins to a piece of wood and mount to the wall. Pin up small items like postcards, invitations, and business cards that might get lost otherwise.

5 This clothespin organizer is easy to make–just attach pins to a piece of wood and mount to the wall. Pin up small items like postcards, invitations, and business cards that might get lost otherwise.

One of the essential elements of a home office is shelving. These shelves hold items that are not used frequently, but need to be within an arm's reach.

6 One of the essential elements of a home office is shelving. These shelves hold items that are not used frequently, but need to be within an arm's reach.

If you don't have a great deal of room, set up a home office in your bedroom, using under-the-bed space as a place to story files and supplies.

7 If you don't have a great deal of room, set up a home office in your bedroom, using under-the-bed space as a place to story files and supplies.

Kitchen drawer organizers can be painted and glued together for a custom tray to hold desk supplies.

8 Kitchen drawer organizers can be painted and glued together for a custom tray to hold desk supplies.

Here the tray fits inside of a storage bench for a pop-up office. We used molding as rails for the tray, cork sheeting for a pin board, and adjustable rods to hang files from.

9 Here the tray fits inside of a storage bench for a pop-up office. We used molding as rails for the tray, cork sheeting for a pin board, and adjustable rods to hang files from.

This idea can be used on a smaller scale too.

10 This idea can be used on a smaller scale too.

A roll down shade makes it easy to hide a workspace in an alcove.

11 A roll down shade makes it easy to hide a workspace in an alcove.

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On the wall we used a pot lid holder as a mail sorter. If you're innovative, you can find office organization items anywhere. We often look in the kitchen or at hardware stores.

13 On the wall we used a pot lid holder as a mail sorter. If you're innovative, you can find office organization items anywhere. We often look in the kitchen or at hardware stores.

Here, cup hooks and a drapery rod function as a place to display photos and business cards.

14 Here, cup hooks and a drapery rod function as a place to display photos and business cards.

When attached to the underside of a desk, a kitchen basket is perfect for corralling cords.

15 When attached to the underside of a desk, a kitchen basket is perfect for corralling cords.

Food covers, traditionally used for outdoor dining, can be used as a makeshift mail bin.

16 Food covers, traditionally used for outdoor dining, can be used as a makeshift mail bin.

Uniformity gives any home office a sleek look.

17 Uniformity gives any home office a sleek look.

Recycled paint cans make convenient cubbies for mail and office supplies.

18 Recycled paint cans make convenient cubbies for mail and office supplies.

Create a custom Rolodex by cutting file folders to make index dividers.

19 Create a custom Rolodex by cutting file folders to make index dividers.

A recycled shoebox can be customized with a grommet and ribbon to hold mail and small papers.

20 A recycled shoebox can be customized with a grommet and ribbon to hold mail and small papers.

Here, a vintage floral frog is used as a pen holder.

21 Here, a vintage floral frog is used as a pen holder.

Any unit with multiple compartments is ideal for organizing a desk.

22 Any unit with multiple compartments is ideal for organizing a desk.

A recipe file can be repurposed as a card file for addresses.

23 A recipe file can be repurposed as a card file for addresses.

Screw hooks and clips are an easy way to keep important papers visible.

24 Screw hooks and clips are an easy way to keep important papers visible.

Two medicine cabinets can be outfitted as a office. The doors have been fitted with metal and homasote covered in linen to make a pin board and magnet board. Inside, files and supplies are stored.

25 Two medicine cabinets can be outfitted as a office. The doors have been fitted with metal and homasote covered in linen to make a pin board and magnet board. Inside, files and supplies are stored.

The back of this bookshelf is also fitted with homasote covered in linen for a tucked away pin board.

26 The back of this bookshelf is also fitted with homasote covered in linen for a tucked away pin board.

Labeling files and bins is a great way to save time. This way you don't have open up each bin.

27 Labeling files and bins is a great way to save time. This way you don't have open up each bin.

This pin board features pockets for supplies, papers, and other important items.

28 This pin board features pockets for supplies, papers, and other important items.

The pockets were sewn onto the fabric that lines the pin board.

29 The pockets were sewn onto the fabric that lines the pin board.

Create a home office in a formal dining room that is only used a few times a year, but utilizing the drawers of a hutch or china cabinet.

30 Create a home office in a formal dining room that is only used a few times a year, but utilizing the drawers of a hutch or china cabinet.

Here, everything you need is tucked away.

31 Here, everything you need is tucked away.

Supplies can be organized in an extra drawer. This one is designed to hold silverware.

32 Supplies can be organized in an extra drawer. This one is designed to hold silverware.

Storage under a window bench is an idea place to store files.

33 Storage under a window bench is an idea place to store files.

Adding casters to a file basket makes your work space mobile.

34 Adding casters to a file basket makes your work space mobile.

A secretary desk is perfect for a narrow hallway, as you can fold up your work space when it is not in use.

35 A secretary desk is perfect for a narrow hallway, as you can fold up your work space when it is not in use.

Here is a look at the desk in use.

36 Here is a look at the desk in use.

This is such a great use of a small space.

37 This is such a great use of a small space.

Tension rods can serve as file dividers.

38 Tension rods can serve as file dividers.

To maximize your storage, use space below the drop down desk for fills and a waste bin.

39 To maximize your storage, use space below the drop down desk for fills and a waste bin.

This dual workspace has plenty of drawers and cabinets to help you keep things tidy.

40 This dual workspace has plenty of drawers and cabinets to help you keep things tidy.

Kitchen cabinets that flip up, instead of out, make contents easy to access.

41 Kitchen cabinets that flip up, instead of out, make contents easy to access.

A cart outfitted with casters is a great place to house supplies.

42 A cart outfitted with casters is a great place to house supplies.

Cubbies are another storage option if you are comfortable with having your items in plain sight.

43 Cubbies are another storage option if you are comfortable with having your items in plain sight.

Compartmentalized boxes can hold a variety of supplies.

44 Compartmentalized boxes can hold a variety of supplies.

A paper shredder is another great tool, essential to any organized home office.

45 A paper shredder is another great tool, essential to any organized home office.

Labeling computer and other electrical cords with small tags is a smart idea.

46 Labeling computer and other electrical cords with small tags is a smart idea.

(Martha Stewart Living, November 1998)

47 (Martha Stewart Living, November 1998)