Number 6: Cast-Off Containers
Starting an organizing project usually requires at least one trash bag and possibly one box. As I work with clients, more boxes and bags become available as we begin sifting through the clutter. These cast-off containers may be plastic bins, old laundry baskets, small gift bags/boxes, even reusable shopping bags. Since they are no longer holding the stuff that was sitting in the garage, closet, or guest bedroom, these containers can be repurposed for organizing, donating, shredding, or discarding. Most clients have more than enough reusable shopping bags. The extra bags become the “bins” for future donations that can be stored in closets and laundry rooms, ready to catch the next cast-off item. Boxes, broken plastic containers, and bags are great for collecting trash, recycling, or shred items during a clean-up. As I help my clients, we create piles of empty containers ready for repurposing. It’s a FREE way to help you get the job done!
Number 5: Measuring Tape
This might seem like a no-brainer, but too many folks forget to measure while they organize. Measuring ensures the perfect fit for exactly what you need to store. It also helps you pick the perfect drawer, shelf, or container for your items. A 25’ tape is perfect for small organizing jobs.
Number 4: Straight Tab Files
There is nothing more beautiful than an easy-to-maintain filing system, unless you add straight tabs to the mix. In that case, the system just went from beautiful to DROP DEAD GORGEOUS! Straight (or single) tab folders have the tab for labeling only on one side instead of the left, middle, and right. Straight tabs allow you to add and delete without having to reset all the other tabs so that they appear “in order.” Hanging files that allow for different tab positions are great too. These can easily be converted into straight tab to line up neatly in the cabinet. “But isn’t it hard to see what the labels say since they’re all stacked one in front of the other?” you ask. Not in the least. Labels should be written in thick black ink with a Sharpie marker or label maker that allow for ease of reading. Additionally, files always hold more than ten documents, enabling the files to spread out a bit. (If a file has less than ten documents, you probably don’t need a separate file for those papers. Quality, not quantity, should be the determining factor when creating a filing system. Additionally, you should only keep the documents that you’ll need to retrieve, thus eliminating a big portion of file folders you may have in your current system.)
Number 3: Multitool
Remember your dad’s Swiss Army Knife? The one with 16 different features? Yep, that’s the one. I keep my multitool in my apron, ready to cut, screw, slice, and nail whenever I need it. The one I love isn’t fancy or big, but it gets the job done. It also keeps me from having to run back and forth to the garage or utility room for the tools I need.
Number 2: Wire Shelves
Almost everyone has at least one in their home, or they are guilty of recently giving one away because they just couldn’t see a good use for it. The truth is that these buddies rock! I recommend them for EVERY kitchen project because they double your cabinet space. These shelves are perfect for stacking plates, mugs, and glasses. I also like to use them where the breads are stored since breads are impossible to stack without squishing. The key for a wire shelf is to make sure you have a purpose for the shelf before you buy. They come in standard sizes, so check your cabinet dimensions too. When it comes to color, I prefer white because it seems to create the cleanest look. Bed, Bath, & Beyond is my go-to store for picking these up in a pinch! Amazon, Walmart, Old Time Pottery, and TJ Maxx also carry these.
Number 1: Painter’s Tape
You weren’t expecting that were you? Does it seem anticlimactic? Well it shouldn’t. You see, painter’s tape (or any colored masking tape for that matter) is PERFECT for tackling EVERY job. In the beginning stages of organizing a space, I use the tape to identify locations of items that need to be contained. It’s always best to plan first and act second. The tape allows me to see EVERYTHING that requires a home in the space and allows for easy swapping BEFORE any of the items get involved. Kitchens and bedrooms are notorious for being covered in my lime green tape! The painter’s tape also prevents any damage to finishes as it moves around.
I also use my tape to create temporary labels before printing them on my label maker (which is a bit more than $16). “Why not just skip the temporary and print the final?” Simple. Everything deserves a rough draft. Sometimes, while categorizing, the names of the categories might change and it takes less time to cross out a word on tape than to set up the label maker. At other times, the temporary labels are affixed to temporary storage containers. I always recommend shopping for containers LAST so that clients know exactly what size and how many containers they’ll need. In the meantime, it helps to have the mismatched bins and recycled shoe boxes clearly labeled.
A bright roll of painter’s tape also makes for a fabulous bangle. It never hurts to look good while getting organized!