On Your Walls, Off Your Counters

Tricks for clearing

The other day I was sitting with Beth in her office, and she pointed out her handy, dandy wall filers. She mentioned how she always suggested clients to get files off of valuable desk space and up on the wall. That’s when a lightbulb went off! How many items  in my home are taking up prime counter/desktop real-estate unnecessarily?

When I went home, I realized that I have a toaster oven that takes a HUGE amount of space on my counter, but (here’s the kicker) I don’t eat toast! Granted, I can’t very well mount my toaster on the wall (well, not easily at least), but this spurred my interest in what else I can clear away to unveil a clear surface. Here’s what I found!

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To start, let’s talk about those wall-mounted filers! Beth collaborated with the lovely, Emily Henderson for this fresh looking office set-up. See how to create your own, HEREhr_shelf-mounted-paper-towel-holder

If your kitchen is feeling a little crammed, consider taking the paper towel roll up off the counter. You can get this under-shelf paper towel hanger HERE.

tr-postal-mur1hIf mail hangs out on your kitchen counter or desk for too long, consider this: The Tri-mail wall organizer.

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Installing a few hooks by your front door can do wonders for your surfaces!

Adding a magnetic knife rack is a way to get that knife rack off the counter.

Have you heard the news?? Pegboards are all the rage. Putting fruit baskets on them, now that’s just genius!

3 Simple Steps To Do BEFORE You Start Organizing

by Melody Mesick

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Finding the incentive to tackle that jam-packed closet or address the pile of papers tumbling off the desk is difficult for even the most ambitious of individuals. Why? Because it can feel so overwhelming!

For many, organizing seems to remain on the “to-do” list rather than the “done” list because the time commitment to complete it prevents us from beginning at all.  We think, “I don’t have time!” or “I don’t know where to even begin.” We’ve quit before even starting.

How can you take your organizing project from overwhelming to attainable? Here are 3 simple steps or approaches to consider before you even begin, so that when you do, you feel in control, motivated, and efficient.

1. Prioritize - Most of the time, you simply don’t have enough hours in the day to complete an organizing project from beginning to end. So identifying which areas to focus on first can really alleviate the pressure. A great rule of thumb is to address the visible clutter first. Instead of starting with a hidden desk drawer, begin sorting the clutter on top of the desk. If you can see your progress early on, you’ll feel more encouraged to continue working.

2. Clear Space – When you are sorting items, it’s super helpful to have a space to group like-items together outside of their long-term home. So clear off a counter, a bed or even some floor space to designate for category groupings as you go. You can use hampers or boxes that are labeled things like “toss,” “donate,” “storage,” or even more specific item groups, like “office supplies,” “Joe’s sports gear,” etc.

3. Time It – An organizing project may need 10 hours to complete, but instead of waiting until you have 10 hours to spare, start small. Set a timer for 10 to 15 minutes and try to get as much done in that allotted time. You may actually gain some momentum and go well beyond your time frame. Whether if you complete 10 or 20-minutes of work, these regular “power sessions” will really add up.

Featured Image: photo source

Could You Live with 33 Items of Clothes for 3 Mos?

Article by Lauren: Bneato team member (reprinted from the February 2013 Bneato Newsletter)

Beth first brought Project 333 to my attention before the holidays and asked if I wanted to blog about it. I checked it out, and it intimidated me. The gist is, you pare down to thirty-three items of clothing (including outerwear like jackets, shoes, accessories and even jewelry; excluding under garments, PJs and workout gear) for three months. The woman who created the concept lists the items she chose and how living with less made her a convert. I’m by no means a fashionista, but I don’t like looking like I wear the same thing every few days. Plus I like to have variety of items, and even indulge in some trends (color, prints, etc.), which is difficult to do when you have a wardrobe consisting of 33 items. Typically most items are neutrals so they can be mixed and matched with as many options as possible.

When I realized I was moving I thought I’d take on an altered version of Project 333 and would cut down my wardrobe as much as possible, living with only what I needed for one month while my stuff went into storage. One of my immediate concerns was that I was starting a new job and knew I’d need some professional clothing. Luckily, I’m working at a start-up where most of the guys wear jeans and a button down flannel shirt or a hoodie. But that’s not me; and I am the client service rep. so I wanted to look professional. Having lived in NYC for many years I adopted the mantra ‘Dress for the job you want, not the job you have’ and I guess that’s stuck with me even now that I’m in laid-back California.

It took two days of re-evaluating, but I was finally able to get my clothing down to 50 items. And that was a huge accomplishment considering I had already packed at least 4 large boxes of clothes and shoes. I included 2 coats, 2 suits, 4 dresses, 3 skirts, 8 sweaters, 7 work tops, 7 casual tops, 1 scarf/mitten/hat set, 2 dress pants, 4 casual pants, 2 leggings, 2 pairs of heels, 3 flats, 1 moccasin, and 2 pairs boots (uggs, and rain – which I didn’t want to bring but it was rainy when I was packing so I kept them out). I did not count jewelry, underwear/panty hose, workout clothes, or pjs – but I only brought what I needed of those).

Once I arrived to my temporary living situation and unpacked, I realized I could’ve done with less. I could’ve cut out at least one thing from each category and been totally fine. I was scared to live with less, but I think it would’ve made my life simpler – and my suitcase lighter! I’m now more open to the Project 333 challenge and think I might do it for real now that I’ve tested the waters. Something tells me this would be easier come summer time. I do enjoy living with less clutter in general, and while I always try to keep my clothes to a minimum, clearly I could be doing a better job! Project 333 has opened my eyes and I will look at the purchase of clothing a little differently now.

Inspired by Bneato

Lauren (Bneato team member) had a fab idea to start a series called, ‘Inspired by Bneato,’ when a friend sent her a picture of her organized closet after being inspired from one of our blog posts. I love the idea as it creates accountability around our goals and makes the task a little more fun when we share and are recognized. Please send in your photos and a quick blurb if you’ve been inspired by us to get your space organized (info@bneato.com).

Like most people, I tend to accumulate clutter on my dresser.  When I used to come home from work or being out, all my jewelry, old receipts, change, phone, etc. would make its way onto the top of my dresser.  For someone who does not like messes (but is most guilty of letting things get messy), this habit of mine gets me so frustrated.  Recently I was lucky enough to visit with one of my nearest and dearest friends, Lauren (who frequently guest blogs on Bneato.com). I saw how amazing her place looked after all of the great organizational projects she had done–and my inner organizer (it’s in all of us!) rallied and I decided to bring some order back to my bedroom!

First, I decided to clear out a shelf in my cabinet, which was great as it forced me to get rid of some old clothes and things I was not using. Next I used lavender drawer-liner paper (purchased at Bed Bath and Beyond) to line the shelf.  Then I used various plastic, metal and acrylic baskets and containers to create separation between my different products and such. (the “metal drawer” is from BBB- recycled from College) 10 extra points? – the plastic and acrylic baskets are from the dollar store, and the earring holder is from Home Goods.  Before I knew it, all my lotions, perfumes, beauty products, receipts – EVERYTHING – had a place!

When I started this project, I did not realize what a big difference it would make, but my room definitely seems bigger now.  I now try and stick with the rule that every other day I need to hang up any jewelry that may accumulate in the free space.  It is great not having to worry if someone stops by there will be a mess to greet them as soon as they walk into my room. For less than 20 dollars and a little bit of time, I have an organized system that works! Thanks Lauren and Bneato for the inspiration! Hmmm, now what can I organize next…

–thanks Deepa Mehta!!

The gift of organization for the holidays

A guest blog by Bneato team member Lauren Mang. 

I was very blessed this holiday season with many wonderful, thoughtful and functional gifts (I must’ve been extra good this year)! I wanted to highlight one of my favorite gifts I received this season, because it included the gift of organization!

This stylish trunk organizer helped me transform my messy trunk into a perfectly organized space. Mine came from One Kings Lane (they have it in the houndstooth or the plain black fabric), but you can find them on various websites; some have the cooler option and others do not.

There’s a section for a blanket and emergency kit; plenty of space to hold all my reusable bags; and the middle compartment which normally holds the cooler also doubles as a great space to hold my laundry detergent (for trips to the laundry mat). The trunk organizer stays put as I drive around town, and is easy to move around when I need more room in my trunk.

I highly recommend this product and am so thankful for the gift!

Packing Tips from the Packing Guru: Top Ten Essential Tips

A guest blog by Bneato team member and packing guru Lauren Mang.

I’ve done my fair share of traveling in my nearly 32 years on this planet. It all started at the age of 5 when I began earning my frequent flier miles on various airlines. A few stints abroad really tested my ability to pack my life into just two suitcases – a nearly impossible task. What’s more difficult was packing it all plus more when I moved back state-side. And when I worked as a recruiter for two years (and was on the road 8 months out of the year) I really had to learn to pack efficiently or suffer the consequences.

Several friends have asked my advice on how to pack for certain trips which made me realize I should start a ‘packing series’ here on the Bneato blog. It started with the Holiday Travel + Packing Tips post last year. This post will focus on my TOP TEN ESSENTIAL TIPS (after the jump) for packing and future posts will address specific questions (how to pack for a weekend in one bag; how to pack for a 2 week Mediterranean cruise; how to better organize what you pack, etc.). Please feel free to post comments or contact us at Bneato with your specific packing questions!

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Mock Headboard Makeover

A guest blog by Bneato team member Lauren Mang.

Happy New Year everyone! This new year has inspired me to check many things off my to-do list from 2012 that I never got around to (yes, we organizers are not perfect either). One of those items was to buy, make or create a mock headboard in my bedroom to liven up my large, plain, boring, white wall.

I’m currently renting and my landlady does not want me to paint the walls, so painting a headboard was not an option. I’m trying to save money so buying a headboard is out of the question. And all of the DIY projects on Pinterest seemed a bit daunting. I thought back to the medicine cabinet makeover I did a few months ago and remembered how much I loved the paper options available at Paper Source. *lightbulb moment*

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Playlist for putting your stuff away

Grace is one of those friends that you want at every gathering. She is ridiculously funny, has the interviewing skills of a ninja, and always has the best stories. Her instagram feed is pretty priceless; killer cute pics of her 2 huskies (adorbs). So without further ado, I’m going to let Grace crack you up with her playlist for today. #getreadytolaugh

When it comes to doing chores, my mind’s telling me NOOoooOOoooOO! But my boooody..my boooody’s saying YES! Well, actually not really. But sometimes we all need that pep talk to get motivated. While some people rely on guilty pleasure pop songs, let me just hip you to a little secret: R Kelly is The Business to Get Your Shit Organized. Let DJ Wayne Williams slide you into a cleaning stupor with some smooth grooves; and then come back and tell me if that wasn’t the most productive fifteen-twenty minutes of your week.

Step to the Left, Step to the Right, Spin Around and Bring it Down Tonight Happy People – Seriously, have you seen this video? If not, it’s amazing, especially with the Kells wearing a floor-length button down shirt. IT’S FLOOR LENGTH. With side slits. I know, your mind must be blown. But this song is the perfect gateway to get you stepping and excellent to listen to while ripping through piles of junk mail and throwing out old magazines.

Toot Toot Beep Beep Ignition Remix – This jam is a classic, and there’s even a shout out to Angela Lansbury. Not only will this song make you want to sip on some coke and rum and acknowledge that it’s the freakin’ weekend, but it’s particularly effective when you’re doing the dishes or folding laundry.

It’s the Pied Piper of R&B Y’All Step in the Name of Love – Ready for some REAL TALK? This is R Kelly’s musical calling card right here, so…what to do when you’re stepping to this song? How about trapping yourself in the closet and remixing your fall wardrobe?

Friday, November 30th playlist curated by Grace 

Order in the Linen Closet, Part I

A guest post by Bneato team member Nicole Tenret

When I moved into my fantastic new place a few months ago, I implemented the “shove-everything-in-the-linen-closet-and-be-done” unpacking strategy. In a short amount of time I realized this wasn’t working.

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