Ten Favorite Organizing Tools

posted by Andrea | 08/23/2010

Photo Credit: Simplify 101

I am often asked what my favorite organizing tools are…and let’s face it, there are SO many great tools to pick from! And since I’m a total organizing junkie, I thrive on finding the right tools for each of my clients!

By faithfully using a few of my favorite tools, I’m confident you will be able to simplify, organize, and enjoy your home and your life just a little bit more.

1. Planner/Calendar:

There are SO many options; it’s important to find the calendar that works for you and your family. It can show a day, a week, or a month at a time; just make sure there’s enough room to include everyone’s activities, as well as birthdays and anniversaries. Even if you use a digital calendar for yourself, it’s still helpful to have a paper calendar so your family can see what’s going on too.

**Remember to check your calendar before you go to bed to plan for the next day!

2. Timer:

I’m a huge fan of timers! I use them to stay on track and increase my productivity. Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how much you can accomplish. Set timers for your kids to limit TV or computer time or to encourage them to quickly pick up their rooms. It’s amazing how a little competition can totally motivate you!

3. Filing Cabinet:

You don’t necessarily need a huge metal filing cabinet, just something to keep all your papers in one spot. I like using both hanging file folders and manila file folders…but do what works for you. See how I set up my filing cabinet.

4. Notebook and Pen:

If you are anything like me, you have tons of thoughts and ideas floating around your head ALL the time! I have so many ideas, I need to write them down so I don’t forget. I honestly keep a small notebook and pen with me at all time, even by my bed!

5.  Baskets:

I use baskets for everything…see for yourself!

6. Recipe Box:

If you like to cook, {or even if you don’t like to cook but do it anyway} you should have a spot where you keep all your recipes. You can use an actual recipe box, a shoe box, a photo album, or go paperless with a digital recipe box. By keeping all of your recipes in one place, it will be easy to quickly find the one you need when you’re rushing to plan a quick meal.

7. Donation Bag/Box:

I keep a donation bag in every closet and another one by our back door. As I find things we no long wear or items we don’t need, I add them to our donation bags. When the bags are full, I bring them away. This helps me to “practice what I preach” and continually eliminate clutter from my home and my life.

8. Labels:

You don’t need a fancy label maker {although they are fun!} You can make cute tags, pictures, print computer labels, or simply use masking tape and a marker. Whatever you choose, labels are a great way t0 get organized and remind everyone in your home where things should go.

9. Over-the-Door Shoe Organizer:

I have 3 of these shoe organizers hanging on different doors in my house…and none of them organize shoes! I use one on my pantry door to organize spices and other smaller condiments and tools. I use one on our back entry door to keep hats, gloves, scarves, etc. organized and easily accessible. I also use one on the back of my (very small) laundry room door to corral cleaning supplies.

10. Commitment:

This isn’t a physical tool, but without commitment, you are more likely to fall back into your old, disorganized ways. Commit to using one of these tools daily. Commit to getting a system in place. Commit to getting your family on board. Commit to doing one thing every day to simplify and organize your life. You get the idea…this one is important!

What are your favorite organizing tools?

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22 comments

  1. Karen

    08/24/2010

    Thanks for the list. I also love my labelmaker, and label every cord when we bring a new gadget home. I use my hanging shoe organizer for all those gadget cords, and since they are labeled it saves so much time. I also have plastic organizers in my sock and underwear drawer. At first it was weird to fold underwear, but I have to admit it saves so much time when searching for a certain pair.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, labelmakers are great! I label all our cords too. Thanks for the tips Karen!

    [Reply]

  2. Ashley

    08/24/2010

    Just found your site and love it! I love to be organized..thanks for today’s tips!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for stopping by Ashley. I’m glad to meet another organized person!

    [Reply]

  3. Ashley Pichea

    08/24/2010

    I like the idea of having a shoe hanger for hats & gloves and such – will definitely be using this soon! :)

    [Reply]

  4. Eos Mom

    08/24/2010

    Considering how disorganized I am (though I’m trying to improve), I’m glad to see I have 6 of the tools already. :-) Great list!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    6 out of 10 is pretty good…and this is just MY list…not THE list!

    [Reply]

  5. Kendra

    08/24/2010

    I have a question about the over the door hangers, do they make the door harder to shut. I have never had luck with over the door hangers because the doors are very difficult to shut and even scrape paint off the door jam. Do you have a specific kind (picture) that works for you?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Kendra, I have not had any trouble with my shoe organizers. My doors shut just fine…however, I do have one door that has a few scratches on it from the shoe organizer…but it’s our back door so I don’t really care!

    [Reply]

  6. staci

    08/24/2010

    I also like the over the door shoe organizer idea. I am going to have to look for some of those.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Staci, yes they are a wonderful {and very cheap} organizing tool!

    [Reply]

  7. oh amanda

    08/24/2010

    Over the door shoe organizer is a must. I use it for craft supplies. Also good to take on vacation for all those little extras that float around your hotel room!

    And timers! Oh, I couldn’t live w/o timers!

    a

    [Reply]

  8. Amy

    08/24/2010

    Oh my goodness… you are so right. We DO have great minds! Ha!

    I love your list… especially the timer idea! I will be definitely be using that one :)

    As for the over-the-door organizers, none of the “over-the-door” hanger part ever fit on our doors, so I just use thumbtacks. I know this may not be everyone’s ideal way of doing it, but our doors are older, and it IS on the inside of the door. And they still hold up just as well!

    Great list! Nice to “meet” you :)

    [Reply]

  9. Nony the Slob

    08/24/2010

    I love the idea of having a donate bag in each closet. I did so much decluttering over the past year, had a huge garage sale, and am now struggling with the “continual purging” part of my quest for an orderly home. I know it’s necessary, and I’m going to try your suggestion. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  10. twinsmomof4

    08/24/2010

    You mention over the door shoe organizer. Mark Industries manufactures two products that you will just LOVE as a Professional Organizer. Pantry Pouch and for For Wii Mote Store It.
    Awarded ‘Mom’s Best Award’ for durability, design and organizational features. It is made of a heavier gauge vinyl and is custom sewn for durability. It has a strong header with built in grommets and… wait for it…… it has a specially formulated VELCRO adhesive strip sewn in so you can place it at a reachable height. You tear off the adhesive strip, attach it to the wall and then attach the product. SO easy! I have four of them! It has reinforced custom sewn pockets that are long lasting. You can’t buy the adhesive they use on the Velcro from your local hardware store – it is truly one of kind product. This patent pending design is one of their biggest sellers for dorm room, kids room, and family room organizers. Saves space! I use one for wrapping paper, greeting cards, for Wii and for baby food supplies. The organizational aspects are endless for this must have product.

    [Reply]

  11. Heather

    08/24/2010

    I dream of a “miscellany drawer” like the one in your photo, above. Currently, mine is just a JUNK drawer! I used a timer tonight to see if I could blast through kitchen clean-up after dinner, and I was surprised at how much I got done in 15 minutes compared to the usual slog.

    [Reply]

  12. Jena

    08/30/2010

    Love your site! I am a huge fan of the timer also! Yes, you are encouraging a lot of people here. Keep up the good work.

    [Reply]

  13. How to Organize Your Home with Labels

    08/30/2010

    [...] :: Tags or pictures *see #8 on Andrea’s list [...]

  14. Friday Wrap-Up: Hobby Farms, 4H and Butterflies

    02/18/2011

    [...] Ten Favorite Organizing Tools is a good one by my friend Andrea Dekker over at Simple Organized Living, I just love her skill. [...]

  15. Anna

    09/13/2011

    Andrea, I found your site today while looking for decluttering motivation.
    Thank you for sharing your ideas and presenting them in such a clear and organized way!
    I see that I need a daily planner.
    I love your baskets ideas and plan to set aside one for my husband—functional and look nice!
    Thanks for you inspiration!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Anna! Yes, you DO need a daily planner and in a few more weeks they will start coming out with the 2012 planners so I’d just wait until then to buy one!

    Oh, and you could definitely get your husband a “man basket” — works like a charm for concealing all their junk… I mean stuff!!

    [Reply]

  16. L.L.

    02/12/2012

    where can I get a recipe box from? I really want one and can’t seem to find them:(

    [Reply]

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