Jeffrey Phillip
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6 Places To Organize More Easily

Published April 11, 2014 Bathroom,Children,Kitchen,Storage,Toys 3 Comments

Last week I was scrolling through my Facebook and I came across the Good Housekeeping article – “6 Places We’re NOT Organizing Anymore.”  Naturally, it caught my attention and I, of course, quietly gasped.  What areas could they be talking about? I asked myself.  I immediately clicked on the article to see what over 1,000 people “liked.”

As I read the article it all made sense and I knew where the author, Lauren Piro, was coming from.  The areas she confronted are a constant struggle for many of us so I completely understand sending up the white flag.  And, to Lauren’s credit, leaving these areas disorganized is not going to prevent you from reaching your ultimate goals in life.  However, as the person who comes in when these areas become overrun with clutter and cause daily frustration, I can attest to the fact that some level of organization is necessary.  After all, organization is about making your life easier by living lighter and more efficiently.

All of this got me thinking… maybe we need to address some of these areas in a more simplistic way and just get real about the level of organization needed to make life easier and not add more work to the to-do list.

So, here’s what I have for those who would still like to have a little order to their chaos…

  • Junk Drawer – It doesn’t have to be perfect, but a junk drawer still needs to be manageable so you can find a 9volt battery when you need it.  A junk drawer can easily and quickly be organized by dividing it into sections with drawer dividers and keeping similar items together (e.g. batteries, pens/pencils, office supplies, tools, etc.)

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Phillip


  • Photos – I completely agree with Lauren that many of us don’t have time to scrapbook (I know I personally don’t); however, printed photos in a box will never get looked at and they will only take up space.  Don’t even bother printing them.  Drop them into an online photo album that can easily be shared or printed into a beautiful book with the few clicks of a mouse.  The book will take up less space, look great as a decorative accessory and be easier to flip through.


Photo Credit: Moleskin Milkbooks


  • Laundry Room – While we don’t entertain in the laundry room, we do want to make it a pleasant place to be.  After all, many of us don’t enjoy the task of laundry so it’s important to keep the space looking good so that we can keep ourselves motivated and so that there is enough space to work in the room.  Using decorative bins for loose items is a simple way to remove the visual clutter from open shelves.  Tidying up the space on a regular basis will keep the piles of clothes at bay, the dust to a minimum (in what can be a very dusty room) and keep you on top of your detergent and pre-treater levels so you always have back-up supplies.


Photo Credit: Four Generations One Roof


  • Kids Play Area – Organizational skills can be taught at a very young age.  While it is not the end of the world if My Little Pony gets put with the animal figurines, the play space will always become a disaster if the munchkins are tearing about the whole area looking for something that isn’t in its proper home.  Keeping items in their home will make life easier and will teach kids the benefits of organization at a young age.  Keep them involved in clean-up time so they become responsible for being able to find things.  Staying on top of this type of work on a regular basis (even once a week) prevents things from getting out of control later and creating one of the most overwhelming and time consuming sorting and organizing projects you will ever encounter. (Check out my Springpad Notebook “Organize the Play Space” for tips on making over your child’s play space.)
  •  Nail Polish – Sorting through 10 or 15 colors every time you paint your nails can be annoying to say the least.  I’ve witnessed many of my friends’ and clients’ chaotic drawers/bins and the process they go through to find the color they want.  Keep the colors neat and tidy by taking a Q-tip and dabbing the color on top of the lid.  This way you won’t have to pull out every single nail polish to find what you want and you’ll easily be able to keep the colors in order.


Photo Credit: Obaz.com


  •  Serving & Cooking Utensils – Purging is always helpful, but even after a purge you may still be rifling through things to find what you want.  Using drawer dividers, split the drawer into sections to easily organize the items you use on a regular basis (if you have more than one drawer, use one for baking utensils and one for cooking utensils).  Then, put the once or twice a year items in a canister that gets stored in the pantry.  After all, you don’t want to be without that turkey baster come Thanksgiving.

Enjoy this post?  Like me on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Springpad to stay connected and to learn more great tips and tricks.


 

The 8th Day of Neatness… – 12 Days of Neat Products for Holiday Giving

Published December 8, 2013 Favorite Item,Gifts,Holiday,Kitchen No Comments

ON THE EIGHTH DAY OF NEATNESS…

I love a kitchen crock. I think they’re useful. I think they are a great fix for those most used or too-long-for-the-drawers kitchen utensils. I think they’re also a wonderful solution if drawer space is limited. The challenge has always remained that before you know it, your slotted spoon has a wooden one shoved through it and the whisk is hugging the tongs. Well, CHEFS® Catalog has come to the rescue with their neat product on this year’s list. Finally a bit of organizational genius! Try as I might to create something like this on my own, nothing beats the real deal. The tall, durable quality stoneware Kitchen Tool Crock comes with a built-in, three-way stoneware divider so you can finally put some order back into your kitchen. Whether you separate by utensil type (wooden, silicone, metal) or utensil purpose (spoons, spatulas, miscellaneous), it’s a very neat-making and visually pleasing solution for any kitchen…and those utensils can finally start behaving themselves.


 

The 4th Day of Neatness… – 12 Days of Neat Products for Holiday Giving

Published December 4, 2013 Favorite Item,Gifts,Holiday,Kitchen,Space Saver No Comments

ON THE FOURTH DAY OF NEATNESS…

I gotta say when it comes to style and efficiency the folks at Joseph Joseph® have it mastered. The Nest™ 9 Plus mixing bowl to measuring spoon set is perfection on so many levels, it keeps words from coming out of my mouth in complete sentences. The classic and simple design, and its unique ability to skimp on bulk makes this four-in-one kitchen staple perfect for every kind of cook. This clever set saves precious drawer space, which can be primo real estate in a kitchen with limited storage options. The Nest 9 Plus includes 5 measuring cups which snap together into a small unit. They’re designed to fit perfectly in the small mixing bowl, which then sits inside a stainless steel mesh sieve, which THEN all fits neatly into a medium plastic strainer/colander and FINALLY, all collectively rest compactly and perfectly inside one large mixing bowl. This kind of space-saving brilliance is a neat product that truly speaks my language.


 

A Simple Thanksgiving To-Do List: 3 Tasks to Help You Get Ahead

Published November 19, 2013 Entertaining,Holiday,Kitchen,Seasonal,To-Do's No Comments

Thanksgiving is only nine days away. Let’s just repeat that for effect: Thanksgiving is only nine days away. And if you’re like any other living, breathing, working, person out there, there is still so much to do to make sure you are ready for the big day. Never fear! Breathe, relax, get those shoulders down from your ears, because I’ve outlined 3 simple to-do’s to make sure your kitchen is ready for one incredible feast!

  • Plan + Confirm – Take a moment to review your menu (or put it together if you haven’t yet). Make sure you have enough food for the number of guests expected and don’t forget to take into consideration any food allergies your guests may have. Be sure you are working with recipes that allow for some advanced preparation. The last thing you want is to spend the holiday festivities stuck in the kitchen, or stressed out about not having enough time to get everything done. While offering great food is of the utmost importance, you want to be sure that you get to enjoy time with your guests and share in the fun. And, if you don’t know your way around the kitchen very well, keep it simple. It will make the entire process much less stressful, and I promise your guests will be just as delighted with what you serve.
  • Take inventory + Stock Up – Once you’ve confirmed your menu and determined all your needed ingredients, take inventory of your pantry to make sure you don’t run out of any staples. Make a trip to the supermarket to stock up on all these non-perishable essentials ahead of time to avoid elbowing your way through the crazy crowds next week.
  • Tools – Don’t forget to check your cooking tools and serving essentials – this is an often overlooked area when prepping for the holiday. Do you need a new meat thermometer? Maybe a turkey baster or twine.  Does your carving knife need to be sharpened? Take a moment to make sure everything is in working order and that you have everything you need for Turkey Time. The last thing you want is to go cook your Turkey and discover your roasting pan is missing in action.

Taking a little time to plan in advance will help you feel in control of your party, rather than at the mercy of gravy boats and green bean casserole. Above all, remember that the whole purpose of the day is to come together with family and friends to enjoy a beautiful meal. Stress does not get a seat at the table!

Take a peek at my Springpad notebook to see some of my picks for Turkey Day Essentials!

Jeffrey Phillip's Thanksgiving Day Essentials

 


 

As If From Nowhere

Published August 22, 2013 Furniture,Kitchen,Multifunctional,Office,Shelving,Uncategorized No Comments

Orla Reynolds, a recent graduate of the Dublin Institute of Technology, has designed this invaluable solution for those of us who live in small spaces.  The ‘As if from nowhere’ bookcase functions as any typical bookcase, but it also ingeniously stores four chairs and a table allowing you to easily transform your space to host a small dinner party, or create a functional work area.  I personally love the pop of color that this original design has.

 


 

Lil Davinci Art Cabinets – Easily Frame & Store Photos & Artwork

Published June 27, 2013 Children,Kitchen,Memorabilia,Project No Comments

Lil Davinci is a simple way to display and store your child’s treasured pieces of art.  Each frame can store up to 50 masterpieces, helping you keep these special memories safe while eliminating clutter from your kitchen refrigerator.  These easy to update frames make the idea of framing every piece of your child’s art a breeze and makes it easy to show them just how proud of them you really are!  This fantastic idea isn’t only for your child’s artwork either; Dynamic Frames also makes other great solutions such as the Pinster shadow box frame for displaying memorabilia and gallery frames, which can store as many as 288 photos!

Pinster Shadow Box    Lil Davinci Art Frames     Dynamic Frames - Gallery Frames


 

Clean Cubes for Easy Cleanup

Published February 19, 2013 Convenience,Entertaining,Kitchen,Problem Solver No Comments

With the Oscars this Sunday, many people are gearing up for a festive evening with friends.  From parties with themes based on the movie nominees to parties with competitive voting contests, for some it is a night bigger than the Super Bowl.

Unfortunately, at the end of the night whether Best Picture goes to Argo or Lincoln, the task of getting the award for “Best Cleanup” still remains for the gracious host or hostess.  To make cleaning up from this “star studded” evening a little easier, pickup a couple Clean Cubes.  A recent discovery at the New York International Gift Fair, Clean Cubes take away the mess and frustration of taking out the trash or recycling.  This fully biodegradable product is leak resistant and a great solution for when you need an additional receptacle for your disposables or recyclables.  Plus, it’s sturdy construction means there’s no worry about bags tearing or breaking on the way out the door.

Great for any type of party, or even every day, Clean Cubes are currently available on Amazon.com, or in the New York City area at select Duane Reade locations.


 

How to Organize Your Pantry with Sara Jane Mercer

Published August 15, 2012 Kitchen,Project,Storage No Comments

CLICK TO WATCH “HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR PANTRY”

If you like to cook, or dream of cooking more often, having an organized kitchen is imperative.  By keeping your kitchen and pantry organized you will have the proper foods and tools more accessible, which will ultimately lead to a healthier diet and greater ease moving around your space while you’re slicing, dicing and sauteing.

I recently had the opportunity to work with my friend, whole living guru Sara Jane Mercer, to help her organize her pantry.  Since Sara spends a large part of her day in the kitchen creating new recipes and discovering ways to help her clients eat more healthfully in an easy and simple way, having the right foods easily accessible is very important to her.

After spending some time sorting, editing and labeling, we were able to create an organizational system that allows Sara to always see what she has on hand; saving her time and money (no more buying unnecessary duplicates).  To learn about the great tips and tricks I taught Sara and see the changes we made to improve her pantry, check out our quick and fun video.

CLICK TO WATCH “HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR PANTRY”


 

A Better Beater Whisk

Published June 26, 2012 Favorite Item,Gifts,Kitchen,Space Saver No Comments

Maybe it’s because I love food and secretly have a burning desire to open a bakery, or maybe it’s because there always seems to be room for improvement in this often overcrowded room, but I frequently find myself talking about kitchen products that help improve the room’s functionality, efficiency and storage.  So it should come as no surprise that my latest favorite find is this collapsible whisk from German design studio Ding3000.

This space-saving whisk can easily be put into action by sliding the colorful ring, which doubles as a hook for storage, to expand the whisking tentacles.  Made of nylon this cheery kitchen tool is easy to clean, dishwasher safe and sure to put a smile on any chef’s face.

Available from: Gretel


 

Architectural Dish Drying

Published August 18, 2011 Kitchen No Comments

Here is a hot item that I came across at the black + blum booth while visiting the New York International Gift Fair earlier this week.

I’m in love with their approach to taking this basic, household item and turning it into an architecturally designed, functional piece that is not only more efficient in terms of its use (i.e. sturdy construction for delicate glass drying, a flip-up drainage spout, and removable cutlery holder), but also in its ability to be easily stored away.  It is the perfect solution for those of us who live in small spaces and have limited counter space in the kitchen.

In March,  black + blum was honored with the best product design award for the high&dry dishrack at the prestigious Homes&Gardens design awards in London.

Check out Google Shopping for a list of online retailers in the U.S.A. where you can purchase this everyday, must-have item.


 

Get Your Tote Bags Organized

Published August 15, 2011 Gifts,Kitchen,Storage No Comments

Over the past several years companies have done an excellent job of taking the eco-friendly, reusable tote bag and making it not only functional, but stylish and fun too.  However, these must-have, useful bags can very easily become a cumbersome mess as you start to collect them.  The colorful collection you accumulate as event gift bags and from different stores, typically end up getting tossed around your car or your cabinets – you may even frequently forget them when you walk out the door.

Lucky for us, Julie Zizka seems to have had similar frustrations and has created the perfect solution – The Tote Buddy.  This super simple product allows you to organize and neatly store your tote bags so they will no longer be a cluttery mess, and will always be ready for your trip to the store.   The Tote Buddy works with a various size totes and is available for purchase on the company’s website.

Now, why didn’t I think of that?


 

It’s Fun, It’s Strong & It’s Disposable

Published August 12, 2011 Entertaining,Kitchen,Outdoor,Seasonal No Comments

It is the height of the outdoor summer season, and whether you are spending your time at the beach, or in your backyard, chances are that you are outside BBQing and entertaining friends and family.  However, just because you’re outside doesn’t mean you should have to resort to the typical white disposable tableware.  Let the summer fun follow through to your tablescape with the Waverly Tableware collection by Hefty.  These vibrant disposable plates carry the Hefty tradition of being super strong, while donning some of the Waverly prints that have become synonymous with American style.

You can find this fun and colorful collection of tableware at Walmart and your local grocery store.


 

Your All-In-One BBQ & Garden

Published May 23, 2011 Gifts,Kitchen,Outdoor,Seasonal No Comments

The countdown is on….  we are less than one week away from the official start of the summer grilling season!  If you have been dreaming of joining the summertime cult of men and women who are OCD about BBQ-ing, but you are short on space for a grill, check out Black + Blum’s Hot-Pot BBQ.

The Hot-Pot puts your BBQ and garden in one, helping you not only save space, but also save you from a horrible eyesore in your outdoor living area.  Made from stainless steel and a heat insulated ceramic coating, the Hot-Pot allows you to maximize your outdoor square footage by growing your garden on top of your grill.  It is the perfect solution for those of us living in areas with limited outdoor space.

With the Hot-Pot BBQ you will finally be able to have that sizzling steak you have been craving, as well as the fresh home-grown herbs for the marinade.


 

Organized Dicing & Slicing

Published April 18, 2011 Gifts,Kitchen No Comments

A couple months ago I wrote about The OCD Chef cutting board, which, due to its genius grid layout, enables you to dice and chop with exact precision.  Well, here is another great product that helps make the dicing and chopping of food prep easier and more organized.

The Ute Bowlboard, which is made of carbonized bamboo, was designed with four inlaid food prep bowls to help keep you organized.  Simply chop your ingredients and slide them into the appropriate bowl so they are neatly stored and ready for cooking.  The bowls sit flush to the surface of the board so there is no mess and not lost ingredients.

While you can purchase the Bowlboard direct from the manufacturer in Australia.  There is a limited supply still available through CSN Stores on Amazon.com in the US.

P.S. – It will also serves as a great snack tray with built-in condiment bowls!


 

A Neater Way to Display Your Child’s Artwork

Published February 21, 2011 Bedroom,Children,Decorating,Kitchen,Office No Comments

If you have little children, I am sure that you are familiar with the constant flow of artwork that comes home with them almost daily from their daycare or school.  With every new piece being their favorite, you can’t help but put it on display – not only are your refrigerator doors full, but their bedroom walls have become a gallery and your desk at work even houses several of their masterpieces.  As proud as you are to display their work, you may be wondering if there is a way to more neatly showcase their art that won’t leave your walls or refrigerator cluttered.

Several years ago, the ladies of Wexel Art were pondering the same thing, which led to the creation of the Wexel Art Floating Frame.  This easy-to-install, acrylic panel frame comes with 4 pairs of strong magnets that allow you to quickly and effortlessly change the prized work of your little artist (or, update the latest photo of your child with this week’s favorite Kodak moment).  The clean modern design blends well with a variety of decorating styles and can easily be incorporated into a kitchen, a child’s bedroom or playroom, a casual family room, or even a home office.  Use one frame to make a singular statement, or group them together to create a trio or a fun collage.  These frames will not only leave your walls looking neat, but they will also make your little artist feel proud as you display their work in a more special way.

Wexel Frames come in various shapes, sizes and styles, which makes them the perfect solution for displaying:

  • Artwork
  • Photos
  • Menus
  • Recipes
  • Store signage
  • Award Certificates
  • And more!

This Spring, Wexel Art will also be offering a limited edition run of frames designed by Eva Zeisel.  Visit their website to find out more about the various sizes available, or to inquire about creating custom shape or custom size frames.