Guest Post + Giveaway: Organizing Products that Aren’t Clutter

Guest Blogger: Darla DeMorrow, Certified Professional Organizer ®.


If you are ready to get organized, don’t buy anything yet. First, start the sorting and purging process to see what you are really keeping. Then go window shopping with a critical eye. I’m going to help you spot organizing tools that aren’t clutter.

Let’s face it. We’ve all bought something spur of the moment with the idea that it might be a clutter-buster. But then it settles into the house like a stack of bricks, never actually delivering on that promise. Bins are the worst! I can’t tell you how many families are caught in the cycle of buying more plastic bins, bigger plastic bins, different colored plastic bins, in the hope that simply putting stuff in bins will help them contain the clutter. But you know it doesn’t work that way.

In fact, there are very few organizing products that are actually a good idea, and even those aren’t great for every family. Many organizing tools you can make yourself, like sock drawer bins, jewelry organizers,chalkboard tags, and gift wrap collars.

Every now and then a specialized organizing product can really help the cause. But how do you know before you bring it home only to have it scream, “I am clutter in disguise”? Look for these signs that it will actually be a good investment:

  • If the product solves a problem you haven’t been able to solve another way.
  • If there isn’t a good DIY alternative, even after a Google or Pinterest search.
  • If the product is attractive and sturdy.
  • If the product uses vertical storage, allows you better visibility and access.
  • If the problem actually solves a problem that you really have (as opposed to sounding like a good idea).

Many of you know that I write articles for a catalog called They’ve been providing space savers and clever solutions for decades, and they are based right here in Pennsylvania. But I’m pretty honest with them about what products of theirs that I love, and which ones I can live without.

Being the nice folks that they are, and just as happy as I am that January is National Get Organized Month, they are offering a $100 Organizing Products Prize to one of my readers to use on any of their catalog items. I’ve picked 4 lovely items that you could buy if you win the $100 Organizing Products Prize, giving you an organizing boost in your closet, your kitchen, your car and your gift wrap stash.

3 Pair Boot Rack – Black

Roll Out Lid Organizer

Black Folding Trunk Organizer

Over Door Gift Wrap Rolls

Of course, you don’t have to pick these 4 items if you win. You can pick ANY item in their catalog. But whatever you choose, or whatever you buy at Target or The Container Store or wherever else you shop, make sure that you are actually bringing home and organizing solution and not more clutter!

I can’t wait to see what items you like best. Just click here to go to my site and enter the organizing giveaway via Rafflecopter.

Please note that my standard disclosures and contest rules apply, no shipping to PO boxes or outside of the 48 states. There is no cash value to this prize, and the winner must specify in writing their choice of product for not to exceed $100.

And be sure to enter the other big giveaways, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab4, going on now during the 31 Days of Clutter-Free Living Series.

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What Are Some Stress Free Organizing Tips For After the Holidays?

The winter wind is howling outside and you’re suffering the post-holiday blues. Once you organize your decorations, wrapping paper and other items, you’ll feel better able to face the cold reality that it’ll be a long time before another holiday rolls around.

Putting away all of your holiday decorations can be quite a chore. Nothing ever seems to fit back into the box it came out of. It’s like Murphy’s Law for the post-holiday season. Using handy tools for organization will help you to de-deck the halls and get on with your life. In addition, you’ll be able to find everything you need next December.

The best storage bins to use are made from clear plastic. There are plenty of specialty storage bins and tubs available, and these all have a place in your organizational plan. Choosing clear plastic will allow you to see what’s in every container, so it will be easier to find things next year, says

Put away holiday items in the reverse order of the way you’ll need them next year. Store decorations that go up shortly after Thanksgiving in a separate bin, towards the front of your storage area. Label the Thanksgiving bin “Open First”. You’ll be able to find it easily when you need it.

Boxes that have dividers work very well for delicate ornaments. Divided boxes will be perfect for antique and large ornaments. Be sure to wrap your ornaments in bubble wrap, newspaper or tissue paper.

Bins made in the shape of egg containers are very helpful for smaller ornaments. You may want to coil your garlands, extension cords and lights around cardboard rollers that you got when you bought wrapping paper.

Pack similar items together in the same containers. All the holiday linens can be placed in one bin. Label all the boxes that you can’t clearly see into. You’ll be glad to find everything more easily next year.


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Guest Blog – Organizing Holiday Gift Wrap
Posted Under Guest Blog, Holiday Tips

Guest Blogger: Darla DeMorrow, Certified Professional Organizer ®.


Holiday gift wrap has been put away, but this is the time of year that many people stock up during clearance sales. Let’s talk about how to keep your gift wrap stash safe and organized.

By far the biggest danger to gift wrap is clutter!

It doesn’t matter how little you paid on sale for those extra rolls of paper or those pretty bows. If they get crushed, water logged, or torn, it’s all a waste of money.

Before you buy another bow, before you purchase more paper, make sure it has a home.

Wrapping paper, unless it has heavy wax, flocking, or metal attached, can be recycled with regular household recycling. Consider downsizing your stash or recycling old paper that is no longer in style or you no longer like.

There are some great ways to store gift wrap:

  • Rededicate an old dresser, one drawer each for paper rolls, bags, bows, and tissue paper.
  • Use the back of a closet door fitted with a gift wrap organizer to keep items handy.
  • Label the drawers in a plastic rolling chest, many of which are see through, and limit yourself to only what can be stored in each drawer.
  • Repurpose an old baby changing table into a wrapping station, using the bottom shelves to hold bins of bows and gift tags
  • Use a simple tall kitchen trash can to safely store gift bags or rolls of gift wrap
  • Use a zippered suit bag to store rolls of wrapping paper under a bed
  • If you have the space in a laundry or craft room, use a pegboard fitted with dowel rods to display and keep handy your favorite rolls of wrapping paper
  • Use tension rods fitted close to the ceiling in a narrow closet to place rolls of gift wrap up high and out of danger, but still easy to reach

My favorite tip is to purchase just one or two rolls of high-quality paper wrap in pretty colors that could be used for any occasion. Classic gold, silver, and black patterns work well. Paired with luxurious wide satin ribbon and an attractive gift tag, you’ll always have the right gift wrap on hand without taking up valuable space at home. More importantly, with these storage tips, you’ll always be able to find just the right wrap in a snap!

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