Organizing is a discipline. Living an organized life requires establishing systems for your time, space, and belongings. Generally speaking, you don’t need to spend a lot of money or need a lot of fancy containers to be organized. At the same time, there have been some innovations in organizing that I thought it would be fun to share. In no particular order, here are a few “new ideas” that have caught my eye.
First is an idea I learned about via my friend and colleague, Kathy Vines of Clever Girl Organizing. It is called a “repair café,” offering a place for people to bring those broken and damaged items that have been lying around, cluttering up space. An example is this “Lend and Mend” event held at the VFW hall in Melrose, MA. The hosts describe the event as follows:
A repair cafe is a free community event focused on repairing things (together). Folks can bring broken household items like lamps, small kitchen appliances, small furniture, stuffed animals, and more! Volunteers are on hand to assess broken items and either perform a fix on the spot, or help make a plan for how and where to get them fixed.
Visitors submit their item(s) ahead of time so volunteers can be prepared to help on the day of the event. Everything is free. What a terrific and earth-friendly way to eliminate the piles and corners of things we just don’t know how to fix. I hope to see one around me soon!
Busy families benefit from having a central calendar where everyone can see what is happening, when. In the past, this was often accomplished with a large paper or dry-erase wall calendar. While this system still works, I recently learned about a more modern version from my friend Emily Maiocco of Next Level Organizing, one that links together the digital calendars that many families now use. It is called the DAKboard wall display. Think of it as a giant monitor that can be linked to all of your devices. You can choose to see your calendar in a variety of views (e.g., month at a glance, day at a glance, etc.), and can also show photos, weather, and more.
I love this system because it allows users to update the calendar from any location, and it will automatically appear on the home calendar. It is sleek in appearance and hangs on the wall, freeing up your computer screen for other tasks.
The board is operated from your device via wifi. I think it is an attractive and very practical way to get everyone in the family on the same page. What do you think?
When I work with clients, it is common to find a few boxes in the home that never got unpacked from the previous move. In many cases, people have no idea what is inside. A label such as “basement” or “attic” is not very helpful.
A company called BoxBrain has developed a better system for keeping tracked of boxed items, whether you are moving or not. The kit contains a variety of color-coded stickers, each with a unique QR code. Put a label on your box, scan the QR code, and then add information about what is inside the box. You can either select from their list of options or add in your own custom information. You can even add photos.
To access your new database, simply log into the app and call up a label. This seems like a simple way to keep track of belongings during a relocation, downsize, temporary storage situation, and more. A 50-pack of the medium stickers is only about $12. Would this come in handy in your life?
Most professional organizers recommend using labels. Labels help everyone remember what goes where. I remember “back in the day” using the kind of label maker where you spin a dial for each letter and squeeze a handle to make an impression on an adhesive strip. [I think these are called “embossing” label makers, and you can still get them today.] Label technology has come a long way, including the recent release of the Brother P-Touch Cube.
This label maker allows you to make labels on your digital device and then send them to the “printer” via Bluetooth (or USB). It offers a variety of fonts and templates, and it is especially handy when you want to print a number of labels at once because you can keep entering items without waiting for each label to print. It also automatically cuts each label as it comes out – another time saver.
If you know someone who loves a label, this will bring a smile to their face!
The Sharing Economy
One of the biggest struggles, especially for people living in apartment, is where to store large/seldom-used belongings. In a recent article of the New York Times (6/30/2023), I came across an article about the idea of a “common goods storage location.” Think of it as a room or closet with household items available to residents or members free of charge. Upscale developments like Caesura in Brooklyn, NY see such an offering as an attractive amenity for potential renters, whose products include things like a sewing machine, professional blender, and porcelain dinner service for 12.
I’ve heard about a similar service offered by some community libraries, such as this one in Brattleboro, VT. This library has a wide selection of kitchen utensils, garden tools, and e-bikes for members to borrow.
In some cases, a landlord may wish to offer such items for a small fee. A company called Brevvie out of Irving, CA specializes in product-distribution units – picture large vending machines – that can be stocked with items for rent. The company, whose name is a contraction of the phrase, “briefly rent everything,” customizes the contents of the lockers for the location in mind. For example, they may contain surfboards in California, or dorm essentials at a university. If you want to borrow an item, you select and pay for it on the website. Users even get a reminder when it is time to return the item.
I think this concept makes so much sense. Who wants to store an ironing board if you only use it once or twice a year? Not only does the “sharing economy” reduce the storage demand on users, but it also frees up funds that might otherwise have been required to invest in purchasing.
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I love seeing all the new ideas, products, and services that are being developed to meet people’s demands for living an organized and productive life.
Have you heard of these innovations? Which one is your favorite?