Organizing Tips from the Editors

Martha Stewart Living

The upcoming February issue of MSL has a "tear out and try it out" type of article called Organizing Principles which lists tips and tricks from the editors on getting things in order throughout the home. Jump below for a few good ones:

Our Favorite! (shown above the jump) A Kitchen Gadget, Repurposed:
A magnetic knife strip works just as well for storing tools as it does for holding knives and other metal utensils in your batterie de cuisine. Install a strip under the sink to keep basic tools, such as a hammer, a screwdriver, a utility knife, and a flashlight, easily accessible. You might also find them handy for items used frequently in other rooms—paintbrushes in the garage or decorative scissors and punches in the crafts room, perhaps.

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Cleaning Essentials, Together at Last:
Take a tip from professional cleaners by collecting and storing your usual supplies—all-purpose spray, glass cleaner, rags, and rubber gloves, to name a few—in a bucket. This go-to approach can be adapted for other items and tools you may need to transport to different parts of the house and yard. Stow often-used garden supplies in a bucket in the garage, and store all your vacuum-cleaner attachments in a small canvas tote bag hung near your vacuum, so you can carry them easily up and down stairs and from room to room.

Easy-to-Find Digital Photos:
Photo editors use this trick to archive their images: When uploading photos, group them in a folder titled with both the event and date, for example, valentines_0209. Place these folders in larger ones organized by year and month. Stick to this convention and you’ll be able to find the right image with a few mouse clicks or a quick search.

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Bathroom Makeover:
Less-than-attractive packaging and mismatched vessels often can clutter a bathroom. Instead, store toiletries—cotton swabs, toothpaste, and hairbrushes—in coordinating, appropriately sized containers, such as blownglass jars, old mustard crocks, Wedgwood cigarette boxes, or ceramic vases. If you purchase shampoo, conditioner, and other bath products in bulk, decant them into transparent plastic bottles labeled with their contents, and store the rest.

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An Inventory of Textiles
Extra fabric can be overlooked in a drawer or on a shelf. To keep track of your collection, attach an adhesive label to a corner of each piece, and cut out a swatch (cut just inside label to minimize fraying). Write the type of fabric, where you bought it, and the width and remaining yardage. Punch a hole in each sample, and slide them onto a binder ring. If you knit, tie pieces of yarn to similarly annotated note cards. Flip through the swatches when you need ideas for projects.

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For lots more organizing tips check out the article beginning on page 80 of the February issue of Martha Stewart Living, on newsstands January 19th.

Photos: Martha Stewart Living