Who among us hasn't squandered a happy afternoon in a store specializing in organizing products?
Drifting from aisle to aisle, we make a mental list: this for the bathroom clutter, that for the computer desk.
All is bliss until we consider the bottom line. Specialty organizers can be costly! Someday, we vow, we'll get organized at home, but for now, budget realities step firmly on organizer dreams.
Stop the presses! Over the years, these top tools have proved their value, and they cost a fraction of the price of specialty products.
Everyday products from office supply and discount stores can take us 80% of the way to total home organization--for 20% of the price. It's a frugal application of the 80/20 rule.
Ready? On to the power tools for home organization!
View Binders and Sheet Protectors
Three-ring view binders and plastic sheet protectors are a top-notch home organizing duo. View binders show off custom covers for everything from recipe archives to crafts organizers.
Clear sheet protectors display recipes, organize articles, safeguard papers and make it easy to find phone number on telephone roster.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways! Use view binders and sheet protectors to handle these household chores:
- Create a Household Notebook: a family organizer for quick reference to important family and household information.
- Keep calendars, phone lists, kids' sport schedules, and volunteer rosters here. Never look up another pizza delivery number again!
- Use view binders and sheet protectors to organize and store all home appliance manuals and warranty information in a "Warranties" binder, and never forget how to change all the clocks (oven, thermostat, and security system) on Time Change Sunday.
- Quilters and crafters use view binders and sheet protectors with our fabric stash organizer to create a portable guide to the fabric stash. Cut swatches from each length in the stash, and fill in amount, fiber, and source locations. Don't leave for the fabric store without it!
- Simplify home decorating projects by building a Decorating Notebook. Page protectors hold paint chips, fabric swatches, and carpet samples, and organize torn-out articles from home decor magazines. Grab and go!
- Moving? A three-ring view binder with lots of page protectors holds paperwork, records, utility information and all those business cards.
- Homeschoolers love three-ring view binders for unit studies, student notebooks and idea files. Organized by student, by subject or by year, homeschooling parents use view binders and sheet protectors to keep homeschool records at their fingertips!
round up recipes
- In the kitchen, three-ring view binders keep clipped or copied recipes in visible order.
A bonus: sheet protectors can be wiped clean if the mixer turns desperado and flings cake batter to the winds (and the walls, the countertop, and the cook).
create a holiday organizer
- Conquer holiday-season chaos with a Christmas Planner. Record gift lists and track spending. Plan meals, menus and holiday decorating. Tuck our holiday forms into a three-ring view binder, and send Scrooge packing!
Oh, the magic of a whiteboard!
Also known as a dry erase board, whiteboards pack a powerful organizing punch.
Colorful and easy to use, they're a magnet for creative kids and time-stressed spouses.
Lists, calendars, reminders, menu plans and chore lists all live happily--and colorfully--on the white board.
Put whiteboards to work in your organized home with these ideas:
- Hang a whiteboard over the telephone to create Command Central.
- Phone messages are easy to take--and color-coded whiteboard markers (one color for each family member) make messages easy to read.
- In the kitchen, mount a small magnetic whiteboard to track freezer contents. It's a super resource for once-a-month cooking!
- A refrigerator-mounted whiteboard keeps an up-to-date shopping list or displays the weekly menu plan.
- Post a whiteboard in the garage to list house and garden to-do lists. Younger family members greet yard-work weekends more positively when the board--not the parent--tells them what to do.
- In kids' rooms, replace dusty blackboards with whiteboard/marker sets. Children love the ease and color of using whiteboards. To "record" their artistic creations, use a camera before erasing.