Is your wallet busting at the seams? Your key chain weighing you down?

You hate to join the customer loyalty programs, because you know the store is just spying on you, but how can you pass up the deals and steals that come with it? You can’t. So you end up with loads of extra plastic cards taking up valuable real estate in your wallet, bag or junk drawer.

My friend Janet recently introduced me to my new favorite app: MyEchain. It converted this pile of cards (yes, I still have a Blockbuster card!)…

echain before edit

to no cards at all.

You simply scan the cards into your smartphone by hovering the phone over the card and… done! You have all of your loyalty/membership cards at your fingertips. No remembering numbers and no lugging around of the extra weight. It’s a free and easy way to lighten your load.


one plug, 4 charges

As I was flipping through my holiday Container Store catalog (one of the only ones I don’t immediately register with my Catalog Choice Mailstop app and then recycle), I came across a few good gadgets and thought I’d share this 4-port USB travel charger.

4-port usb charger polaroidIt’s perfect for holiday travel time. Rather than bringing every plug for your phone, headset, camera, and other electronic fare, how about just plugging this sleek number into the wall? It will save you room in your suitcase and also save you the trouble of outlet hunting at grandma’s house.

And guess what? You don’t have to just save it for travel. How about plugging it in at home as a space-saver?

Untangle your desk

Tangled cords are an inevitable part of our technology-driven lives. One desk can house umpteen different gadgets with snakey cords slithering their way across the room.

So what? So…

  1. It can be unsafe, if you are constantly tripping over electrical cords.
  2. Finding the correct plug can be a challenge in these piles.
  3. A scattered workspace can lead to a scattered mind. If you are in your office to be productive or inspired, it can be difficult to be either with a mess around you.

Check out this jumble of cords in a home office. Attached are a lamp, a landline phone, 2 laptop computers, and a miscellaneous USB cord to be connected for scanning when needed.

desk cords before

This entanglement can be cleaned up in a flash.

* With a Bluelounge CableBox, all of your cords are neatly tucked away. Just lift the top of the box for easy access to to plug or unplug.

* To hide the cords going from the floor to the desk, we simply taped them with clear packing tape, making them invisible from almost any angle of the desk.

desk cords after
 Now that is inspiring!

All clean in the shower

If every man, woman and child had an annual $200 gift card to the Container Store, the world would be a happier place (at least to a professional organizer). Oftentimes all it takes to go from chaos to cool is a container. Storage devices come in all shapes and sizes – boxes, drawers, bottles, on hangers, and more.

Here is just one example of a pile of things made neater with something to hold them. In an otherwise neatly organized shower, these extras lay strewn in a pile with no place to go…

This simple and cute Umbra toothbrush organizer holds the narrow and smaller items so that they are easily accessible and not just lying around.

Now everything in the shower can feel clean, not just you.

Which fork goes where?

This is not my most environmental statement of the day: I love the dishwasher.

But it’s true, because the existence of this appliance means that I don’t have to wash each item by hand and then put them away one at a time. It appeals to the lazy in me.

Unfortunately, lazy me still has to unload when it’s done. One way I have found to ease the peskiness of this task is to house the silverware with like items in the dishwasher bins.

Forks on the left, spoons on the right. Big in back, small in front. Knives in the middle.

It doesn’t take any longer to load dirty ones this way and it saves the annoyance of having to sort the clean ones on the unload.

It’s just a few seconds of time, but somehow this little efficiency makes the chore more bearable. In the end, I can use those extra few seconds to go do something good for the environment.

In the DEEP dresser drawer…

I keep my workout clothes in a deep dresser drawer. This seems like the perfect place, because it holds a lot and I can just toss clothes in when they’re clean. The problem is that the drawer quickly becomes a black hole. Clothing is crumpled up, shirts are mixed with pants, it’s a mess. Most of my clothes are black (good for a sweaty exerciser), so I can’t find anything and end up wearing the same few items all of the time.

Look at this lycra stew:

Creating order of this drawer is simple. Following the few steps below, the drawer looks like this:

1. Put separators in the drawer.

These drawer dividers are not too costly and are worth the $16.99 for two. You can also can make your own using a basic piece of wood. Or repurpose a shoe box or the right-sized box for your drawer.

2. Roll clothes and store them vertically…

Now you can see your options clearly when you open the drawer.

3. Maintain it!

This is the hardest part. If you see the drawer backsliding, take a few minutes to fix it and just keep trying.


SHOVING is not cool.

We are taught as early as pre-school that shoving is rude. Yet somehow we continue to do it through adulthood. We shove socks in the sock drawer, toys in the toy chest, shopping bags wherever we can fit them, and odds and ends all over.

Why do we do it knowing that it will lead to no good? Because it seems like an easy shortcut. But sorry to say, my cramming cronies, it is not an efficient short cut, it is one that will annoy you later, or even worse, fall on your head when you open a door.

Try these five steps to stop yourself from this bad habit.

1. THINK FIRST: Ask yourself if the shoved item is something you really need.

2. HOUSE IT: If yes, then find a real home for the it.

3. PURGE: If it doesn’t fit where it belongs (like the sock drawer), then throw out something that no longer belongs there (like holey socks).

4. HOLDING AREA: If you don’t have time to find a real home for it now, then set it aside in a to-do-later area (as in “later” being a specific time, not “later” being never). Just knowing that it’s okay to set aside in an assigned place may help you to not shove it now.

5. POLICING: Finally, catch yourself when you shove something and go back to step 1.

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