Tools of the Trade Tips

Read these 6 Tools of the Trade Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Organize tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What tools can I use to get organized?

Easy Labeling

Storage boxes should always be labeled. You can use your computer to type whatever you wish to label on your box (for instance the words "Christmas Decorations") in a big font. Then tape this paper to the storage box, cutting it to size if necessary. The big bold letters are super-easy to see and read, and taping the paper to the box as opposed to writing directly on the box, allows for being able to change the label if the contents of the box change.

   
What tools can I use to get organized?

Drawer Storage Carts

Plastic storage carts with drawers are currently a popular item and are easy to find at stores such as Target or Walmart. They come in all sizes from the mini drawers to keep small things like jewelry in, to the larger models that stand 4 feet high. I always look for one feature in particular when purchasing a plastic drawer unit. I look for drawers that can be pulled completely out of the unit. Why? It gives the unit greater versatility and more mobility for the belongings inside. As an example if you're using a storage cart for hobby supplies, you could pull out the drawer that contains all the paints and brushes and set it on a desk or table to begin a project. A drawer that contains cleaning supplies can be pulled out and carried to the area that needs cleaning, or a drawer with children's toys could be pulled out and carried to a different room of the house where the child wishes to play.

   
How do I label a file folder?

Labeling with Sharpies

One of the best permanent markers available for labeling is the Sanford Sharpie. I'm still partial to the basic black, but it can be purchased in a variety of colors. Perfect for when you need to identify things with big, bold writing that won't smudge or fade away.

   
What tools can I use to get organized?

Label Machine

While you can identify your files and possessions with handwritten labels, professionally typed labels are easier to read and provide a clean, organized look. Check one of the large office supply retailers such as Office Depot or Office Max for the Brother P-Touch PT-65 labeling machine which has a suggested retail of $29.95. This handy little machine prints out adhesive back labels that have a variety of uses in the home or office.

   
What tools can I use to get organized?

Rectangles or Circles?

What's the best shape for an organizing container? I vote for rectangles or squares. Containers with four distinct corners line up neatly next to each other with no wasted space in between. Line up a few circular containers and you'll see the difference. For maximum use of space stick with the rectangles.

   
What tools can I use to get organized?

Clear Containers

Containers are an important part of organizing as they allow you to separate your belongings so that things may be found quickly. When choosing containers, look for the clear ones that let you see at a glance what's inside. You may not be able to identify each and every object inside with just a glance but you'll at least have an idea if you're on the right track when you pull the container off the shelf. Most of the plastic shoeboxes and drawer storage carts on the market are made of the see-through translucent plastic and are good choices for getting organized.

   
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Guru Spotlight
Jolyn Wells-Moran