The Coolest in Car Organizing Gear

Auto Clothes Bar - Expandable Garment Rack

Auto Clothes Bar – Expandable Garment Rack

Every once in a while I come across a really cool organizing tool.  This week my pick is actually designed for use in the car.  If you have a regular commute, you know how important it is to keep your car neat and tidy – it is essential to your well being on the road!  This awesome car organizing tool is great for anyone who uses the services of a dry cleaner, or for anyone who has a long commute and wears a suit.  This In-Car Expandable Clothes Bar is a must have to keep your business clothing in tip top shape.  Whether you simply like to hang up your suit and change at your destination or you have a large load of dry cleaning to pick up, this car organizer is a wonderful solution!  This hanging clothes bar simply hooks onto the existing handles in the backseat of your car and is expandable to fit most models.  Then, voila!  An instant closet rod in your car!
Here are some of my other favorite car organizers:
Glove Box Organizers – These range from envelopes to hold your registration and insurance paperwork to CD holders.
Trunk Organizers – I’ve seen great tools for organizing the trunk of the car, such as little handles and stands that keep things from rolling around while you are driving and large canvas carriers that hold grocery bags upright.  There are even specialty trunk organizers for golfers, tennis players and more.
Kids Car Organizers – With these, it’s important to make sure that your child can reach the items that they need so that you won’t have to turn around and help them.  I love the organizers that fit over the front seat headrests as they take up no extra room in the car and offer easy access for little ones to their toys.

Keeping A Small Space Organized

One of the biggest keys to succeeding while you are away at college is to keep your workspace and living spaces as clean and organized as possible. As someone who learned to change my ways and plan ahead to stay organized after consistently struggling to keep my surroundings structured while in college, I am an excellent authority on the subject. Unfortunately, I learned to get organized after I graduated from college, which did my academic career no favors but has prepared me for the world of employment. Learn from my mistakes and successes and you will find being organized is easier than you ever expected.

The Variety Stash - Hanging 23 Pocket Organizer

The Variety Stash – Hanging 23 Pocket Organizer

One of the biggest road-blocks to organization while in college is the simple fact that there is not much space in the dorm to store everything you need to survive for a semester. From snacks and cleaning supplies to notebooks and clothing, there are a lot of items that need to be stored and not much room to put it in. Because of this dilemma, it takes a great deal of ingenuity to get all of your stuff stored into the often cell-like college dorm (especially for freshman who always end up getting the worst dorms on campus).

A great way to save space and add organizer to your dorm room is to utilize every space available for storage. Over the door organizers are a great way to maximize under-utilized spaces in the dorm and have a variety of uses, from handbags to backpack and from jackets to classroom supplies.

The Variety Stash hanging 23 pocket organizeris perfect for catch-all organization and storage in the dorm room. This organizer has a variety of pocket-sizes, making it perfect for storing everything from pens to notebooks. What makes this organizer perfect for the dorm room is that it provides the perfect place to store small items that always end up cluttering a dorm room and making it uncomfortably messy. When there is an item that you cannot find a home for, simply find a slot in this organizer to keep the item, clearing up the coffee table, counter or desk that it would inevitably end up on.

Over the Door Hooks with Basket - by Richards Homewares

Over the Door Hooks with Basket – by Richards Homewares

Over the door racks are also a great accessory for the bathroom. In my experience, one of the most hotly contested areas in dorm-life is keeping the bathroom organized and separating your property from your dorm-mates’. An over the door hooks with basket is a great addition to your dorm bathroom. This rack has five hooks so you can assign a hook for each roommate, clearing up the icky and confusing game of “Whose towel is whose?” There is also a large shelf area that is great for storing extra bathroom materials and cleaning supplies for the bathroom.

Of course, not all of college is studying and hard work. Video games, music and movies are all important parts of social life in the dorms, so keep all of your gear organized by using a game storage over the door rack. This rack makes it easy to keep your games, controllers, gaming guides and other entertainment materials organized and in one convenient place. This over the door rack might have to be more of a supplemental organizer for your media, as many college students have gargantuan music / movie / video game collections, but it is a great way to keep frequently used items close at hand.

Over-the-Door Message Center

Over-the-Door Message Center

Lastly, communication with your roommates is a key component to keeping the dorm room organized and comfortable. Using an over the door message center is a great way to keep track of chores and to let your roomies know what your plan is for the day. The top corkboard is perfect for posting paperwork, bills and other items that always end up lost when left on the desk or counter-top.

With these space-saving and dorm-organizing over the door racks, you are one step closer to having an organized semester, perhaps for the first time in your college career!

Tight On Dorm Room Storage? Look Under The Bed!

With so little space it can be difficult to find storage in your dorm room for everything from clothes to books to sports equipment. Getting creative with the space you have is the key to keeping that tiny closet from getting overrun, because nobody wants to open their closet doors in the morning to fight with an avalanche of stuff!

Bed Lifters - Wood by Richards Homewares

Bed Lifters – Wood by Richards Homewares

What’s the one piece of furniture taking up most of the space in your dorm? The bed! By adding bed risers to your standard dorm bed you can take advantage of unused space and add convenient storage. Coming in a variety of styles and heights, there is sure to be a bed riser to fit your bed and storage needs.

The Bed Riser comes in several heights and features a streamlined design that looks like it’s part of the bed frame. This way your storage needs can be customized based on just how much extra space you add to the under bed area. Only need a little lift? Add the Bed Lifters – Wood that come in two wood finishes, perfect for matching with a wood bed frame.

Not sure just how much extra height your bed needs? Try the Adjustable 8 piece Bed Raiser for a versatile design that allows beds to raised at intervals so you can place the bed at just the right height. These stacking bed raisers are also easy to reuse at home when college is over.

Now that you’ve got so much new storage space you can organize it further with some under bed storage bins. Look for long bins that make the most of all that space with a split, lift top lid on one end for easy access. You can also treat the under bed area as an extension of your closet. Add bins with drawers to store everything from sweaters to shoes.

Dorm Accessories Get Really Basic

plastic hangers

plastic hangers

I remember the week before I started college.  My mom took me to the local drugstore to purchase “the basics”, or what she thought I would need to set up my dorm room, and to set up my new life as a professional student.  A few of the things I probably would have thought of on my own (toothpaste, deodorant), but beyond that, I have to admit that I was clueless.  She had been “furnishing” my life for 18 years up to that point for me, but now she was about to send me off, and clearly, by the look of the list she brought along, she wasn’t quite ready to hand over the reins for some reason.
It went something like this:  “Laundry Detergent?  Check.  Staples?  Okay, if you say so!  Roll of Quarters?  Huh?  What do I need those for? “
If you are in the shoes my mom found herself in (some 15 years ago, I might add), you’ve probably got the basics down yourself.  But here are a few more things you may not have thought of that you should add to your back-to-school shopping list:
·         Plastic Hangers – Why? They’re just so darn cheap!  And something I know that my mom forgot to send up with me (Imagine my surprise that closets don’t come complete with hangers).  Wire is great too if you have a bunch left over from the dry-cleaners (and free).
·         Roll of Quarters  (or two or three) – Yep, your not-so-much munchkin anymore is going to have to do his laundry all by himself, and he will have to pay for it.  And if you think he’s going to run out to get change when he runs out of clean sox, think again – he’s got better things to do now.
·         A jump-drive – also called a flash drive, barely yet invented when I was in college, but now an absolute must-have for every student.

Off To College And Organized Too!

Around this time of year one of the most comment inquiries I hear is are from flabbergasted parents that are sending their oldest child away to college. This is the first time their children are going to live away from the organizing hands of Mom and Dad; having their children ready to live on their own is very important to them, even to the point of near nervous breakdown!

3-Shelf Closet Organizer

3-Shelf Closet Organizer

The first thing I tell these concerned parents is to take a deep breath and relax – everything is going to be just fine. There are many ways to get your child prepared for the rigors of keeping a dorm room in order, and they are actually very simple and affordable.

A product I would recommend for a parent to get for their child is a 3-Shelf Closet Organizer. This hanging closet organizer is pretty much a standard fixture in the college dorm. Three shelves are good for shorter closets, but I would recommend getting a couple that feature more shelves.

There are a few reasons why these shelves are so popular with college students (and others that live in tight quarters). One reason for their popularity is first off, they are extremely inexpensive. For less than twenty bucks you can get the same storage that an expensive wood or metal shelf provides at a much higher cost. Because they are made from flexible fabric material, they are easy to pack up when it comes time to move out.

I have seen these organizers be used in a variety of functions, from standing in as de facto linen closets to serving as a shoe rack! I have even seen kids use them to hold their textbooks, though depending on what the closet organizer is made from, I would recommend avoiding this practice.

Easy to install onto any closet pole, hanging closet organizers are a great way to get help get your new college student ready to be organized!

Take Advantage Of Summer To Save Money

With long, hot days that never seem to end, summertime can be quite expensive on energy costs. For most of the United States, an air conditioner in the summer is not just a luxury, it is a necessity. Unfortunately, air conditioners can be pretty costly on your energy bill as they take a lot of electricity to operate. However, the good news it there are some things you can do to even out the cost of running an air conditioner all summer long.

A great way to utilize the excellent summer weather and cut down a bit on your electricity consumption is dry your clothing on an outside line or a drying rack. I for one get very sweaty in the summer, so I am always doing laundry to keep up with my demand for clean clothing. Drying loads upon loads of clothing can add up quite a bit on the energy bill. Cutting down on mechanical drying is a great way to lower your energy costs in the summer, bringing them down closer to spring or autumn levels. I like to take advantage of that hot summer air while I can – I find that it dries clothing just about as fast as a dryer!

Pullout Wooden Clothes Drying Rack

Pullout Wooden Clothes Drying Rack

The Clothes Drying Rack – Wall Mounted – wood is a great choice for those that have a space to wall-mount a drying rack. This is a great option because it does not take up any floor space and will always be right there for easy use.

Collapsible Clothes Drying Rack

Collapsible Clothes Drying Rack

However, some of us do not have a good spot to mount a drying rack – or others, like me, are renters and cannot be making permanent installations in the wall. In this case, I would recommend purchasing a product like the Collapsible Drying Rack. It is like this product is tailor-made for my situation. It can be folded down to a very small size, which is perfect for someone that is tight on space like me. It is pretty lightweight as well, so it I can move it all over the house so it is always in the sun.

While I try to cut back on my AC use to save on electricity, this just goes to show there are many other alternatives one can take to cut back on energy costs in the summer.

Save Space with a Wall Mount Ironing Board and Look Sharp

Many young people these days are opting to forgo a foray into the job market, putting that off and attending graduate school. These graduates are hoping that an advanced degree helps them when they do decide to enter to job market, plus they are able to bridge the recession by living off of student loans.

One of the most popular graduate school choices these days is law school. In fact, I can think of four or five people I know that have recently attended law school (including my wife!). It is a great way to get a prestigious knowledge of the law of the land, and is a great way to find work after graduation.

One thing to note about law school – it ain’t cheap. Unless you are a Carnegie, chances are you are going to be taking out a lot of loans and living as thrifty as possible. This means a very small apartment with a cheap rent and without a lot of storage space. There is one other thing to note about law school, and that is you are expected to be dressed to the nines, early and often. Having an ironing board to get your suits pressed to perfection is a necessity.

But where is one to store such a bulky item in a tiny apartment?

Fold Down Ironing Board - Pressing Perfection

Fold Down Ironing Board – Pressing Perfection

A great idea is to use a wall mounted ironing board such as the Fold Down Ironing Board – Pressing Perfection. What is great about this board is that it has feet that give the board better support than most wall mounted ironing boards. For those who are looking for something a little more simple, the Non-Electric Surface Mounted Wood Ironing Board in Cabinet by HANDi-PRESS is a great choice.

Non-Electric Surface Mounted Wood Ironing Board

Non-Electric Surface Mounted Wood Ironing Board

With one of these great wall mounted ironing boards, you will never have to worry about looking sharp!

Garment Racks for Beginners

If you are new to the world of organizing, you may be thinking to yourself, What is a garment rack?  In fact, garment racks are nothing new themselves, they have been around for ages.  In the olden days, they usually took the form of a large, bulky armoire, and while it is still possible to find a full size, wooden clothing or bedroom armoire, many people are foregoing those classics in favor of modern, updated, lighter style garment storage racks.

Here is a run down of the basic different types of garment racks, what to do with them and where to find them:
Covered Garment Racks – These models have a few benefits over other garment racks.  One is that they are designed to offer a bit more protection to your clothing.  It all depends on what the fabric is made of, though.

easyviewrack

Vinyl covered racks, such as the Easy View Crystal Clear Vinyl Wardrobe Closet offer maximum protection of your clothes, especially important if you are storing them in the garage or shed.  Fabric covers, like the 48″ Portable Wardrobe with Shelves offer some protection and could still work in the garage, as long as there is not too much moisture.  A model like this Wardrobe Center keeps dust and insects out, while still allowing for some air flow. It is compact enough for use in the guest room.

Double Bar Rolling Garment Rack

Double Bar Rolling Garment Rack

Rolling Garment Racks, like the Double Bar Rolling Garment Rack and single bar garment rack are great for use inside the home as a coat rack or as extra closet rod space.  The beautiful wooden design is a premium choice and enhances any room’s decor.  Casters make it easy to roll this stand in and out of place.
Simple Garment Racks – For the most basic of garment storage stands, the Fol-D-Rack simply can’t be beat.  It has an ultra-minimalist style and a great price point.  Plus it is portable, a big plus!

Pant Trolley with cedar hangers

Pant Trolley with cedar hangers

Other Types of Garment Storage – Not all garment racks are large, some come in smaller packages with just one type of storage in mind, like this Pant Trolley with Cedar Hangers.  This is great for the office worker who uses slacks everyday.  The rack is space efficient and eliminates wrinkles.

Think Collections When Choosing A Gift

Looking for a gift for that recent grad setting up their first apartment? While they need pretty much everything, it can be difficult to think of a present that is practical and fun. Storage for a collection of their favorite items can be a great solution, you just have to figure out what they like and find the right storage solution.

For any young woman with a love of bags or shoes an organizer is a welcome addition to their closet. A hanging bag organizer is a great storage solution for anyone with so many bags they don’t know what to do with them. Look for one with individual slots so taking it out doesn’t cause an avalanche of bags. This makes finding the right bag a breeze. Looking for a present for a serious shoe lover? Consider getting them a shoe rack with a fun, modern look to give their closet a stylish touch.

Over The Door Cap Rack

Over The Door Cap Rack

For any guy with a serious hat collection storing and displaying them in a small apartment can be a problem. With a storage option like the CapRack 36 it’s easy to keep them all in one place and in good shape. Fitting over a door this rack can be used on the inside of a closet door for concealed storage or on the back of a bedroom door so they are all on show.

Movie lovers who have DVDs scattered all over their apartment will appreciate a sleek DVD rack so they can always find the movie they’re looking for. DVD organizers come in sizes big and small so it’s easy to find the right size. Consider a modular option so they can add more storage space as their collection grows.

Give a gift they can enjoy for years to come and that helps them enjoy their favorite collection in their brand new place!

An Unexpected Entertaining Necessity

The warm weather months can be a great time to entertain, but hosting can be a lot of work. From freshly pressed table cloths to appetizers there is so much that needs to get done before the guests arrive. Make sure you don’t get stuck in the kitchen all night while you’re guests enjoy themselves. With the right tools, planning and preparing for that next dinner party or cocktail hour it can all seem like a breeze.

Empressa Steam Press - by Reliable

Empressa Steam Press – by Reliable

A pressed tablecloth is the perfect foundation for a perfectly set table. Don’t waste hours toiling with a hot iron, use the Empressa Steam Press to quickly and efficiently press table linens. Pressing a much larger area than a standard iron, this steam press makes it easy to breeze through ironing so that everything from the napkins to a button up shirt are ready for the party.
Don’t get stuck in a hot kitchen while you’re guests wonder where the host or hostess is. Consider serving some fresh, chilled fruit or veggies as a healthy appetizer. These can be prepared before hand and stored in a bowl with dividers and a compartment for ice in the bottom so everything stays chilled even after it has been served. This way guests can have a refreshing appetizer and enjoy time with their host.
Looking for a way to serve guests drinks without having to turn yourself into the bartender? Choose a mixed drink for the evening that can be made ahead of time and simply serve it in a lovely pitcher or drink dispenser. For a decorative touch add garnishes to the pitcher that compliment the drink of your choice, like slices of lemon or sprigs of mint.
These tools can make it seem like you had a staff of twenty helping to get ready even when it’s all you!