Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Five of my favourite organising products

If we had The Container Store in the UK, it would be heaven! But we don't . There are still great organising products available in the UK, however, so I thought I'd do a post of my favourites. I use all of these products in my home (some of them are quite old, so I have linked to newer versions), and I haven't been paid or asked to recommend any of them - I just love them and want to share!

1. Vacuum Tote Bags


These are from one of my favourite shops - Lakeland. I have the standard sized one, and plan to buy the jumbo one soon. Unlike some of the vacuum storage bags on the market, these ones don't re-inflate in the cupboard while you're not looking! They are basically a vacuum storage bag inside a zip-fastened tote bag, with straps to 'hold' the storage bag. Worth the money, in my opinion, and useful for storing out of season clothes, duvets, pillows and bedding and anything else soft and squishy (soft toys?) that you can think of.

2. Corner Plate Rack


I know, exciting, right?! I've had mine for about 25 years, again from Lakeland. Mine are that plastic coated metal, but now they are fancy pants chrome. It's much easier to get plates out from this than one huge stack.

3. Label Maker


One of the organising bloggers most important tools - mine is a Dymo LetraTag, and has been very handy for labelling boxes, containers, files and folders over the years.

4. Drawer Dividers

From Lakeland, obviously. They're not paying me, I promise! These are called an '8 piece interlocking bin set'. Catchy. I have an older, similar set, which I use for my make up drawer, as seen in this post.

5. Ecloths Window Pack

Not strictly organising, but I am a complete convert to these microfibre window cleaning cloths. The cheaper imitations I haven't found as good for window cleaning. Just warm water and a wipe over with the waffly cloth, then I use a squeegee to get most of the water off the window, polish with the polishing cloth and hey presto, super clean windows (or mirrors). You don't have to use the squeegee, but if you're cleaning a lot of windows (it's very nearly fun with these things, you might get carried away) the polishing cloth will get wet more quickly and then it doesn't polish effectively.

So that's it, five of my favourites. What are your favourite organising products?

Happy decluttering!

Lemons xx

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Sentimental clutter and memorabilia - Part 3 - the final round up!

This is my final round up of sentimental decluttering and organising, dealing with a couple of categories which can be tricky.

Children's artwork and creations
Children are little clutterbugs - and I don't mean that in a bad way! Even a child who is not that keen on drawing and crafting will bring piles of artwork and school work home. When my children were little, I dealt with this in a very slapdash way, randomly picking 'favourites' to keep, and putting other things on the wall in their rooms or on the fridge. I know better now! If I'd have thought about it, I would have kept one year's worth of art and work for each child, and at the end of the year picked out 3 or 4 items to keep, with the help of the child, of course. It would have been far more manageable! I know in
the attic there are several boxes of school papers and art to deal with.
I will be doing an attic declutter post in the future!

Another thing that occurred to me, when helping my younger son to sort out his bedroom, is that there will be things your child wants to keep, and things that you want to keep, and they'll probably be different! I now have in my memory box a couple of his drawings and pieces of written work that I wanted, but that he wasn't interested in keeping. I don't think many children would like to reach adulthood and have their mother give them every piece of art, craft project and school book they had ever owned! Be realistic about what you have room to keep, and why you are keeping it - a few pieces that make you smile are better than an overwhelming attic crammed full. Someone will have to deal with this stuff when you're no longer here.

Another alternative, particularly good for those towering creations made from cereal boxes and barely held together with glue, is to take a photo and then dispose of the object. A friend of mine used to use her children's paintings, cut up, to make their party invitations, thank you cards and as presents for doting relatives. I also found these rather pricey frames for children's artwork. I think simple, cheap frames from somewhere like Ikea or any large supermarket would serve the same purpose.

Greetings cards

I don't keep them. They are displayed for a week or so after the event (longer for Christmas cards) and then they are recycled. Occasionally I will keep a card with a special message written in it, but other than that, out they go. I'm aware, though, that many people keep all the cards they are sent. All. The Cards. That's a lot of cards, in the case of one of my relatives who is in her eighties. Realistically, how often is she able to look through them all? And does she remember who the sender was (I'm not casting aspersions at her memory - I recently found a leaving card from a job I'd had in my twenties - I didn't remember 90% of the people who'd signed it!). It seems the issue of what to do with greetings cards divides lots of bloggers - Colleen of 365 Less Things is against keeping them, here, and Jen keeps and stores them here at IHeart Organizing. Whatever you decide, you need to have the room. And, just my opinion, but why store something if you never, ever look at at it again?

I'd love to know what you think about keeping cards and children's artwork.

Happy decluttering!

Lemons x

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Things I've learned from other bloggers

Apparently, this was all over blogland and Pinterest, but completely passed me by until I read this post by Jen at I Heart Organizing.

Here is my drawer 'before' - despite only have two appliances in there, they still used to get tangled, and I'd pick up the hairdryer, only to have the plug of the straighteners fall on my foot. That hurts a lot :-(

I used cut up kitchen roll insides, rather than loo rolls (I used to volunteer in a primary school, and using the insides of toilet rolls for any crafty activities was frowned upon for hygiene reasons). I also don't have scrapbook paper, so I used wrapping paper.

And there you have it, the after shot. No more plugs landing on my feet in the morning.

Simple, but brilliant.

Thanks Jen, and all the other bloggers and pinners, for sharing.

Happy decluttering!

Lemons xx