After 5 years of writing about organizing and storage, I'm sharing my absolute favorite organizing products. To say I would be lost without them is an understatement. Every product recommendation is something I use in my own home and office, is budget-friendly (I love a deal!) and has stood the test of time. When I find a great new product, I come back and add it to this page.
A note: I don't think you can buy personal organization; I believe your best bet for organizing your life is... to follow routines and continually work at being organized, but these organizing tools help you maintain those routines.
01 of 08
Calendar you can see from your workspace
The absolute most important organizing product I use is my calendar. Actually, it's more like a calendar system that works at home, at my desk and on-the go.
- On my computer, I prefer to use Google's Calendar tool because it's accessible from any computer (including my iphone).
- I carry a Moleskin notebook with a weekly calendar page. It's fantastic for jotting down notes and I even attach receipts and business cards for easy organization on-the-go. This is my version of organizing... with a little notebook. Note: Anything I write down in my Moleskin, I input into the Google calendar during my daily or weekly review.
- But my most-used calendar my wall calendar that I can see from my desk. I don't write anything on it, but I use it constantly throughout the day when I'm scheduling articles or blog posts and when arranging meetings. Recommendation: the Kraft Dry Erase calendar is super chic while also plain enough to be useable.
Whichever type of calendar you use, make sure you keep it accessible at all times and jot down appointments in only one calendar.
02 of 08
Label maker for use in the home and office
A label maker can be used to label food, cables, boxes and bins, shelving spaces, etc. It may seem ultra-nerdy and overly-organized, but once you get started you'll find it's actually quite fun (and helpful!).
Here's the trick: buy one that's very simple. Chances are you don't need lots of bells and whistles.
03 of 08
Shredder for important documents
Three things I look for in a shredder:
- Handles credit cards without jamming;
- Shreds staples and (small) paper clips; and,
- Ability to shred of mixture of paper products at once.
Think about how you work at home: do you shred a large amount or a little adjust accordingly.
04 of 08
Despite its racy legacy, a little black notebook is one of the most useful tools for keeping yourself organized. I find notebooks dovetail nicely with the methodology behind David Allen's Getting Things Done. His concept is that the human brain is wired to wander, so in order to be organized, you need to create receptacles for your constant thoughts, musings, to-do list entries, and the brilliant ideas that pop into your head mid-commute.
To put it simply: You never know when your... "A-ha!" moment is imminent so you need to be prepared to capture it when it strikes.
There are many receptacles with which to capture your thoughts on the go:
- Voice recorder/Dictaphone
Those all work, but I prefer the "Keep It Simple, Stupid" method of a small notebook for its sheer portability. I never have to turn my notebook off, it never runs of out of batteries and it can fit in my work bag, gym bag, coat pocket or even an evening clutch (yes, I even bring it out on the town). If you're new to organizing, carrying a small notebook and pen is a habit you should develop.
It's endlessly portable, user-friendly and never needs re-charging. You never know when you'll need to quickly jot something down:
- Upcoming events
- Notes about something fascinating you've heard or read
- Money you've spent
- Things to buy for an upcoming trip or project
A small pocket-sized notebook is endlessly useful.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Tape meaure for your workspace, and in your homeAny home organization project you undertake will consistently call for one item: a tape measure. A basic, easy-to-use tape measure is essential.
- Use a small one to measure the width and height of desk-sized items like picture frames and cards.
- Use a large one to measure the width of a room, the length of a window treatment, or the depth of a closet.
06 of 08The ubiquitous pen is useful for just about everything and offers many advantages over the average marker:
- Sticks to most hard surfaces (plastic and glass as well as paper)
- Comes in fine point to fat marker sizes
They also come in a rainbow variety of colors so you can mix and match whether you're labeling, color-coding or writing out a greeting card.
07 of 08
A working launch pad or "life inbox"
This one you don't have to buy - you create it yourself based on how you want to manage paper clutter. A launch pad can live in your kitchen or entryway, and it's the receptacle for all of those little odds and ends and papers that end up in your handbag, school bag or wallet. You can just dump everything here and declutter it once a week while you do your weekly clutter sweep.
08 of 08
A good bag
I own this cross-body satchel bag from Sam and Libby and it's perfect for commuters. I prefer satchel bags because when I open them, it's easy to see the contents of the bag rather than having to dig around searching for keys, work badges, wallets, etc. It's very reasonably priced for the quality.