ISN'T THAT CLEVER
weekly tips for using the stuff you already have to organize the life you want
If you've ever bought a craft or office supply to help you get organized, but never used it, then this feature is for you. You're not alone, either--at some point, most of my clients sheepishly hold up an empty color-coded accordion file with categories that seem to be useful printed on the tabs, and explain "You see? I had good intentions..."
You may have already encountered the advice that says you should sort your stuff first, then go shopping. But its hard to resist the brightly colored do dads beckoning from the shelves with promises of beauty, order, and a room worthy of a Martha Stewart Living photo shoot. Meanwhile, your place looks more the "before" pictures on Hoarders. If only organization could actually be purchased off the shelves of Wal-Mart.
So what do you do with all that stuff? Never fear; we usually end up using almost everything when it comes time to create the systems that make the office or kitchen functional. I collect them as we declutter and put them in a box.
This week we'll kick off our inaugural column with some ways to use binder rings to corral your stuff. Binder rings are just what they sound like--the ring part of the binder itself. You can find colorful ones at crafts stores, as scrapbookers use them to bind chipboard pages together to make small books. They vary in quality, so it may be worth it to spend a bit more. They don't have the tensile strength of split rings, so they aren't suited for keys, but they can be handy if you want to be able to get what their holding off the ring easily.
So grab a couple and straighten out that junk drawer. Here is a sampling of some stuff that could be tidied up:
You can also use them to keep track of up papers and booklets that you want to refer to frequently, by sliding them into page protectors and clipping the rings through the holes. You can even make your own customized pamphlet holder by punching a hole in a zippered plastic bag.
Taking this idea a bit further, you can use the rings to make a set out of anything you could laminate and hole punch, from paint chips to home-made flash-cards.
Any clever ideas of your own? We'd love to read about them! Or just post a comment to say hi.
about Liz Logan
I'm a professional organizer in Atlanta, fighting the good fight on my own home front and sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly.
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