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Cover story: Clutter busting solutions from ShopSmart

These Bisley cabinets consisting of five drawers keep school supplies organized and neat. $100, containerstore.com
These Bisley cabinets consisting of five drawers keep school supplies organized and neat. $100, containerstore.com
Monica Buck; ShopSmart staff

To us here at Home and Living Examiner, life is a series of organization rules, clutter culling, and figuring out what’s important. And it gets more evident as we are growing older that by simplifying our lives and getting rid of stuff, we are more apt to do more of what we want instead of being caretakers for things.

That’s why our subscription to ShopSmart is so welcome. The March 2014 issue has some of the best organization ideas and how certain products helped frustrated women take more control. ShopSmart was nice enough to let us present some of the story and they also sent along photos that may inspire you to get more control.

Closet clutter is under control

THE problem
Three generations of die-hard shoppers—and all of their stuff—under one roof. That’s the organizing challenge that Kate S. Brown, the owner of Impact Organizing in Sarasota, Fla., was presented with as her client downsized to move in with her daughter and granddaughter. To help her client decide what to keep, toss, and donate, Brown marked items with color-coded super-sticky notes. The decision-making method worked so well that all three women adopted it as an organizing tool to help them prune their closets regularly to keep them from overflowing.

The SOLUTION
Post-it super sticky full adhesive notes, $7.50 per 12-pack, assorted colors, staples.com

Why it Works
Two years later, Brown’s client still relies on her stickies. She keeps pads in her dresser, her kitchen drawer, and her granddaughter’s playroom. Here’s how she uses them: Pink is “keep,” blue is “donate,” and green is “sell.” Notes are just stuck onto items—clothing, toys, sports equipment. No other action is needed. When someone is going to Goodwill, a quick glance pinpoints the items to be donated. When it’s time for the annual garage sale, any items with a green sticky will be sold.

When I see something with a blue sticky slapped on it, I know it’s going with me to Goodwill—and not back in the closet!

Dressing in the morning is easier
THE problem
Julie Morgenstern, an organizing pro based in New York City, worked with a client who wanted to project a more polished work image. But she was having difficulty just getting herself dressed and out the door in the morning. Although Morgenstern helped the woman edit her wardrobe, the aha moment didn’t come until they organized her jewelry, not her clothing.

The SOLUTION
Umbra Little Black Dress jewelry organizer, $20, bedbathandbeyond.com.

Why it Worked
Finding the right place for her accessories was the key. Morgenstern’s client had kept all of her jewelry in tiny, individual boxes in a dresser drawer. Who has time for that? So they worked together to display all of her jewelry where she got dressed— in her closet. “The jewelry organizer is thinner than a garment bag, so it takes up no space hanging in the closet,” says Morgenstern, author of “Organizing From the Inside Out” (Holt Paperbacks, 2004).

Now her client can build an outfit around one piece of jewelry, or she can just pull an outfit together from her closet in an instant. “It transformed how she presented herself,” Morgenstern says.

OMG! I rediscovered pieces of jewelry that I forgot about. It was like going shopping in my closet.