Organizing Kids – Book Review – Benji’s Messy Room



Teach Kids Organizing Skills Using Fiction

Benji’s Messy Room is a beautifully illustrated book with a purpose – to get kids organized. Cowritten by two professional organizers, Jonda Beattie and Diane Quintana, this book is written in first person in the voice of Benji, who takes you along on his journey from a messy to immaculate room in manageable-sized steps.

The story begins with a bit of defiance and a feeling of being overwhelmed by his mess, but Benji progresses through the task of room cleaning and reducing his toy collection in a step-by-step process (which includes a reward at the end).

The authors include tips and techniques for teaching organizing at the end, but the real meat is in the story itself, which was written by two women, both teachers, in a way that engages kids visually through a compelling, first-person narrative that kids can identify with as they build their own tidying habits.

Teaching kids to organize is a skill that they’ll benefit from their whole lives, both personally and professionally. Benji’s Messy Room is a fun learning tool that young mothers, grandmothers, teachers and professional organizers alike will appreciate. A female counterpart book, Suzie’s Messy Room is also available.

The illustrations are visually compelling, warm, distinctive, and entertaining, which kids will surely love. Both Quintana and Jonda Beattie are certified professional organizers and teachers, so they know how to communicate with children, as evident in this delightful book. Find out more on Jonda’s professional organizing website.


Nail Polish Organizers


nail polish organizers

Nail Polish Organizers – 3 Great Ideas for Decluttering Vanities

Nail polish organizers are something we never think to buy, and yet, they can make our lives so much easier. Nail polish has catastrophic potential when mishaps occur, so why not take a little extra care to prevent that from happening? If we could get through life without feeling the despair of Passion Red on light blue carpeting, we would be lucky. Nail polish organizers keep your polish upright and safe from you and your naughty cats, who, incidentally, enjoy Passion Red on any color carpeting.

Nail polish organizers come in a huge array of sizes and styles suitable for everyone, from the occasional get-pretty-for-a-date user, to those who must have an expansive array of nail polish – in every shade and finish – in order to feel sexy and complete. Here are several of my favorite nail polish organizers.

1. Spinning Nail Polish Organizer – Spinning nail polish organizers give you complete access to all of your nail polish bottles with only a slight turn of your wrist. This 30-bottle nail polish holder (shown in main photo) boasts center storage with four sections for nail files, buffers and other manicure tools. Clear acrylic makes it easy to identify your colors and the raised sides ensure that nail polish bottles don’t spill.

2. Acrylic Nail Polish Organizer – The occasional nail polish user will love the simplicity and compact size of this 12-compartment organizer. It measures 9.5 W x 3.5 D inches, taking up little space, while keeping your nail polish standing upright and ready to use.

3. Nail Polish Organizer Rack – With two shelves and room for 22 to 44 bottles of nail polish, this versatile metal rack looks as lovely as it is useful. The bottom shelf has about 2.88 inches of depth, plus plenty of clearance for storing small bottles of any kind (think lotion or shampoo). Rubber feet keep it from marring your vanity, and the scalloped open-wire design provides visibility while adding a decorative accent to your room.

There you have my top three picks, but you may need to check out our other nail polish organizers on our website. Plus, we have an enormous variety of cosmetic organizers, if you’re in the MOOD to organize, which I’m sure you are, since you made it to the end of my blog post.

‘Til next time.

Clutter Control Freak

You also might enjoy this how-to for another way to organize nail polish on the Organize-It blog.


Car Organizer


car organizer

Dude – your car is a mess!

Maybe you should invest in a car organizer and increase your dateability.

For some, a car is a means of transportation. For others, a car might be a mobile office, a filing cabinet, a second closet, a cheap hotel, a gym storage locker or your own version of a trending tiny house. I carry a massage table in my car, just in case there is a need for some roadside Reiki assistance, or if a date should unexpectedly turn into a massage. I might also need a nap on a long day trip. You never know. In the modern world, a car can serve a lot of purposes, for sure. What’s the weirdest thing you keep in your car?

Whether you’re a dude or a dudette, if your car’s a mess and you find yourself constantly losing things – like your favorite CDs or your wallet – you might think about tidying things and develop some car interior maintenance habits. Here are a few car organizer products and ideas for keeping your car clean.

Auto Litterbag

Nothing’s more disturbing than unidentified white wads of tissues and napkins tucked between seats, in your door caddy, etc. This waste container attaches to your seat. If you hang it in the front, it will be right there where you need it while you’re driving.


Those stray papers scattered everywhere don’t need to be there. They look like inept confetti droppings from a fright parade. Keep a folder for all those receipts, Post-its and other bits of paper that seem to end up everywhere. You can take it in the house and empty it once a week – shred them. Get a cheap dollar store one with an elastic closure to keep your mess put.

Beer Bottle Carrier

beer bottle carrier
Cans like to hang together in a six-pack format, just like your abs. Put your cans or bottles in this carrier and recycle them when they’re empty. This beer bottle carrier is also great for tailgating parties, as you can bring your beverage of choice (and maybe share). And don’t forget to dig out those ones that rolled under your seat. Ew. It will look less conspicuous without them rolling about if you get pulled over for speeding. Trust me.

Car Visor Organizer

visor organizer
A visor organizer is another place to put receipts – plus it can hold a parking lot card, passport, or other important papers. A built-in padded sunglasses holder ensures you won’t lose your shades. This car organizer is always near your head where you can remember it.

Car Seat Organizer

A car seat organizer holds all of your travel essentials including sunglasses, cell phones, beverages, CDs and more. It hangs over the headrest on the passenger seat and keeps everything within arm’s reach (provided you hang it in the front passenger seat). The cool part is that you can take it inside when you get home (not a purse, dudes). This one has lots of pockets and two side mesh beverage holders. If you have junior travelers, they can put their tablets and other gadgets inside and keep themselves entertained on the journey. Here’s a blue back-seat car organizer designed just for kids.

Car Trunk Organizer

car trunk organizer
If you must carry lots of stuff in your car, consider corralling it using this trunk organizer. It’s made of sturdy black denier and has two large inside pockets and exterior mesh pockets for storing bottles and other items. It measures 25 W x 13 H x 13 D inches and works equally well behind a truck seat. It’s great for tucking small grocery items too, and it stores flat for compact storage.

Handheld Car Vacuum

handheld car vacuum
A car vacuum means you always have the tool to keep your carpet, mats and seats clean and when there are mishaps, you’ll have it handy for quick cleanups. This one is fairly inexpensive. Alternately, you can use the car wash ones. Probably for the price you pay for the car wash vacs, you’d pay for the handheld car vacuum in a year.

Once you have your new auto storage accessories in place, it’s time to develop some car organizing habits. Remove your paper file folder once a week and shred/sort/trash the content. The waste basket keeps trash funneled into one location that you can also empty on a weekly basis. A cigarette-lighter-powered vacuum helps keep the interior clean and, again, try to make a point to vacuum and do a quick clean on the weekends. If you develop good habits, you will feel more comfortable driving, plus you won’t freak out your dates or your mother. And if you stop using your car as a gym locker, you’ll be instantly more dateable. Promise.


Clutter Control Freak

car organizer happy date


Roll Jeans


roll jeans

Roll, roll, roll your jeans…. gently and efficiently.

You’ve been told to roll jeans for compact luggage transport and you did and it saved you tremendous amounts of space, but guess what? You can do it for your drawers too. Twice as many jeans in half the space.

One might wonder looking at this drawer why she needs all of those jeans. Well, you should’ve seen the bag I threw out. Still working on it. Reducing possessions is an ongoing process.

Sometimes less is more. Today is one of those days. Now roll jeans and enjoy all the extra space you are making. You might find some you don’t need, or a whole garbage bag full.


Clutter Control Freak

You might also enjoy this article on folding shirts.


Bread Substitutes


bread substitutes - brown - rice-paper-rollups

Bread Substitutes – 3 Low-Carb, Healthy Substitutes for Sandwiches

I love bread. Most people do. Give me some Wonder bread and I’ll roll it up in a ball, pop it in my mouth and embark on a nostalgic trip that includes orange peanuts, memories of Bozo and playing with Slinkies on avocado shag carpeting. I love good bread too, Panera bread, Zingerman’s bread, Crust loaves, homemade sourdough, Texas toast, seven grain bread and every kind of starchy, unhealthy, fattening white bread there is. If you can roll it up and bounce it off the wall, that’s fine by me too. I love all kinds – with practically any and every ingredient. Thing is, my metabolism is misaligned with my desire for starch and chewy, super-satisfying goodness.

Mind you, I’ve tried healthy breads and gluten-free cardboard products and would rather have my sandwich served naked in a bowl with no top or bottom. My quest for a healthy sandwich-like food led me to the following three products, which you might also find useful. Whether you have sugar or gluten issues, or are just looking for healthy low-carb alternatives to eating bread, you might enjoy these bread substitutes in your lunch, for dinner or any time.


Romaine lettuce comes in large leafs, making it perfect for building sandwich-like creations out of healthy vegetables. Romaine makes especially nice tuna sandwiches and has practically no calories or carbs. Consider it a free food for making guiltless sandwiches and snacks.

Rice Paper Wraps (brown rice)

If you’ve ever had cold Thai spring rolls, you’ve eaten rice paper. Although hard to find, the brown rice ones are much more healthy and have a different flavor altogether. Brown rice has a low-glycemic load, and while it does have carbs, they are low compared to most breads. They are somewhat rubbery and noodle like and only require soaking in water for a few seconds before rolling your ingredients in them. This is my favorite bread substitute and it also fills a need for something noodle like, as my metabolism doesn’t like pasta either. You can put almost anything in them, including scrambled eggs for a healthy, tasty breakfast roll-up.

Brown rice paper wraps by Star Anise Foods are sugar free, gluten free, fat free and have only 96 calories and 22 carbs per serving (about three sheets).

Kelp Sheets

High in iodine, kelp is a sea-harvested product that adds a hint of Japanese cuisine to your faux-sandwiches. Low in calories, these make a very healthy bread substitute with a distinct flavor all their own. Use them to get creative and feel free to use brown rice, quinoa, or other ingredients for your own sushi-esque non-sandwich creations. To use, simply spread the seaweed flat, add ingredients and roll. Very finely chopped items help sustain the shape of the rolls.

Along with iodine, kelp is a super-food, rich in anti-oxidants and has the highest calcium ratings of any natural food (even higher than milk).

All three of these bread substitutes are great springboards for creative non-sandwich making. Whether you’re pursuing a paleo diet, monitoring glucose, or looking for tasteful gluten-free alternatives to bread, you’re likely to enjoy experimenting with all three of these.

Bonus Recipe – Tuna Fennel Salad Brown Rice Paper Roll-up


  • 1 can of drained tuna (or 4 ounces of fresh cooked)
  • 2 tbs. of low fat Miracle Whip
  • 1 tbs. of very finely chopped fresh fennel
  • 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/8 small onion very finely chopped
  • 4 brown rice wraps
  • Fresh parsley or vegetables for garnish (optional)

Mix the tuna, Miracle Whip, fennel and onion in a bowl. Prepare the wraps by soaking in a pie plate or lid with warm water. You don’t need to soak long – maybe five seconds. Carefully shake off some of the excess water and spread on a clean plate individually for building your roll-up.

Sprinkle a small amount of chopped spinach in a straight line across the center of the wrap, leaving plenty of spare space on the ends for folding. Carefully spoon your tuna mixture on top of the spinach. Then add a little more chopped spinach to the top. Be your own gauge for amounts here.

Fold the ends over towards the center, then carefully roll the wrap. Roll it tightly and squeeze it into a neat tube as you go. Set aside and then repeat for the other rolls.

You’ll find that as the roll-ups sit during the process, the water evaporates. Brown rice wraps are a bit sticky and rubbery, very much like rice vermicelli noodles and they have a very distinct flavor from the more common white rice counterparts.

After rolling all of your wraps, garnish if desired with some vegetables or herbs and serve and enjoy. If you’ve never thought to put fennel in tuna salad, you don’t know what you’re missing. Delicious tuna, fresh herbs and brown rice paper wraps (one of the best bread substitutes available) make for a delicious late summer snack.

Clutter Control Freak

P.S. You might like an OXO salad crisper to clean and store your romaine.


Declutter Kitchen Instantly by Tossing These 8 Items



Tossing duplicate and worn pans and utensils is an excellent way to declutter your kitchen – plus it paves the road to kitchen organization. Kitchen organizing, while a challenge, starts with the difficult process of letting go. Most of what we have, we do not use, and this is true of clothing, kitchen accessories and most other possessions. Here is a list of common things you most likely need to toss to help declutter your kitchen quickly and efficiently. Sometimes we want to sell you things; today we want you to just let go.

1. Duplicate Utensils

You don’t need three spatulas, two slotted spoons and four ladles. Determine what you need and don’t need and give them away or donate them. Utensils takes up tons of storage in your drawers and on your counter. Someone else will be happy to have your discarded ones.

2. Ragged Towels and Dish Cloths

Know when it’s time to let go. Your clean new ones will bring you joy when you see them hanging from the towel bar.

3. Extra Coffee Cups

You saved them because they were gifts, or because you felt guilty. But do you really have to? No. Unload them on your coworkers (don’t tell Marie Kondo) or give them to the Goodwill. Think of all the inches you reclaimed in your cupboard.

4. Extra Drink Containers or Water Bottles

They find their way to the back of the cupboard. You can’t find them. You purchase more. Yes, you must stay hydrated. No, you don’t need all of those extra bottles. You are one person, not a camel – okay, maybe four, including kids, but those bottles are just hogging space in your cupboards. Make sure to check under the car seat too. You’re sure to find more, plus things you might need.

5. Worn Anodized Pans

Toxic, ugly, are you really eating those flaky bits? Use the excuse that they are worn to finally let them go. You’ll feel safer and you won’t regret it. Feel free to toss the duplicate ones too and be glad for the 100 plus cubic inches of space you now have. Pat yourself on the back. Breathe. It’s a good day.

6. Chipped and Cracked Dishes and Glasses

They’re chipped. They’re cracked. They might cut your mouth, or someone else’s. You feel sad every time you see the damage and remember the careless thing you did to break it. It was once shiny and new. Now it’s not. Why keep the negative reminder? You have other ones that are perfect.

7. Expired Canned Goods and Other Food

Think of a reason you need to keep these. No, don’t. Compost pile or trash. Now, please, thank you. You rock.

8. Orphaned Plastic Lids or Storage Containers

You will never find them, so just let go. They are off with the socks somewhere, also never to be found. But rest assured – they are happy, wherever they are, and they’re not alone – they’re keeping the socks company.

Make yourself a nice meal now with your newly spacious kitchen. Or just enjoy a warm cuppa and congratulate yourself. You’re on the right track to decluttering your kitchen. You did it! You let things go. Enjoy your splendid emptiness.


Clutter Control Freak

You might also enjoy this kitchen cleaning for single people blog post on


Tiny House Accessories


tiny house accessories girl kitchen

When converting to small, tiny house accessories are as essential to staying organized as reducing our belongings.

over door towel rack Tiny houses and small kitchens alike make for unique storage problems. Tiny House Accessories such as the Over-Cabinet-Door Rack are lifesavers for small kitchens. This particular one is unique in that it has cleverly-designed, two-sided storage for maximum space efficiency. One side is useful for holding sponges, scouring pads and similar kitchen accessories and the other provides a handy towel hanger, which is great to have right under your sink.

While there are no actual products marketed as “tiny house accessories,” a variety of over-door, over-cabinet-door, under-cabinet, and simply small and efficient products are available for small kitchens and bathrooms. Here is a quick list of space-saving organizing and kitchen products that are well-suited for your tiny house:

  • Collapsible kitchen products: strainers, dishpans, dish drains.
  • Over-cabinet-door towel hangers and racks.
  • Over-door racks: shoe racks, cap racks, clothes racks, pantry bins.
  • Shower caddies that hang over your shower head.
  • Floating shelves add instant storage to any free wall.
  • Expandable cabinet shelves can be tailored to most cabinet sizes.
  • In-drawer spice racks add convenient, concealed storage to any free drawer.
  • Over-toilet storage racks make good use of underutilized space.
  • Wire, over-sink storage shelves provide access to kitchen cleaning supplies.

Of course, when owning a tiny home, reducing your belongings, as well as your attachment to things is as essential to getting organized as having the right tiny house accessories. Simple living is part of the tiny home draw.

We’ll be posting more ideas about tiny home organizing, so be sure to check back. In the interim, you may enjoy these two small kitchen blog posts on, our sister site:

organize-it sidewalk sale


Remove Water Stains from Wood



Remove Water Stains from Wood

7 Tips for Removing Water Rings from Wood Furniture and Wood Surfaces Using Simple Household Products

Spilling a beverage or leaving a window open next to heirloom furniture can feel devastating when it happens. White rings from glasses or blotches from rain can ruin the surface of an otherwise beautiful piece of furniture. Fortunately there are a few solutions to remove water stains from wood that can reduce the appearance of blemishes and sometimes remove them altogether. Of course, if the damage is too great, a furniture piece might require refinishing, but you owe it to yourself to try a few of these easy water stain removal methods before throwing in the towel.

  • Sometimes carefully applied heat via an iron (with a cotton ironing cloth) will lift white rings – especially if they are still fresh. Applying heat removes some of the moisture trapped in the grain.
  • Toothpaste, very carefully rubbed in to a small area with a cloth. Use the white paste, not the gel, and don’t over-rub because the polish can alter the finish and make it glossy.
  • Mayonnaise – rub it over the stain and leave for an hour. Wipe it off and see if it improves the stain.
  • Equal parts olive oil and vinegar. Rub across grain with a soft cloth and see if it restores some of the depth and color of wood. This works the same way as mayonnaise, as it replaces oils in woods but it has a higher oil concentration.
  • Massage petroleum jelly into the stain (yet another variant of the oil remedy).
  • Combine a teaspoon or so of salt with a little water and put that on the stain. Salt has an absorbing capability but will also act as a mild abrasive so do this with caution, or you may polish the surface of your dresser.
  • Mix oil or butter with powdered charcoal or cigarette ashes and rub into the wood. Using a dark substance is especially effective on dark old furniture as it can replace some of the color and conceal the damage.

The main photo shows before and after images of a water-damaged walnut dresser top. Imagine my dismay as I woke to find those water rings after absent-mindedly leaving the windows open. I used the mayonnaise method to remove the water stains, which produced rather amazing results. As you can see in photos, it’s barely visible now. The stains were about two years old. If you treat water damaged wood right away, it’s likely to yield even more impressive results.

There are no guarantees that the methods above will fix your water rings, and please try them at your own risk. Before resorting to refinishing or even veneering your furniture it may be worth it to try some of these water-stain-removal hacks, however.

mayo water stain removal

organize-it sidewalk sale


Star Wars Storage Combats Toy Clutter


ball gown prom dresses The last of the Christmas cookies are gone, the tree has been taken down, but the house is covered with all those new toys that Santa brought. Sound familiar? We love seeing the thrill and joy in our kids eyes Christmas morning, but we don’t necessarily love the clutter that comes with the holidays.  Toy storage is just one of our many job descriptions at It is important to utilize organizers and storage pieces that appeal to kids and entice them to want to organize. Lo and behold — our new line of Star Wars toy storage pieces. These awesome organizers come just at the right time — after the splurge of Christmas gifts and as the new Star Wars: Force Awakens film masters the box office. Using pieces like these branded organizers encourage healthy habits at a young age — ones that will follow kids throughout their entire lives. Let’s take a closer look: Star Wars Toy Storage.


  1. Star Wars Fabric Storage Bin: This fabric storage bin is collapsible so you can easily store it in a drawer when it’s not in use, and the removable rigid bottom keeps the bin upright so you can easily store items inside. The top of the fabric bin is completely open so you can see and retrieve stored items with ease. The durable cardboard interior structure offers years of reliable use while the polypropylene fabric provides long-lasting style.
  2. Star Wars Folding Play Mat (Millennium Falcon): Make it easy for kids to play on the go with the Star Wars Folding Play Mat. Crafted from soft, bendable fabric, this toy organizer is easy to clean. With young kids, it is important to keep toys and other surfaces disinfected; the sleek finish on this case can be wiped down with a wet rag or anti-bacterial towelette. A fabric handle makes this lightweight piece even easier to carry — especially for little hands! The multi-use design does double duty for play and storage; this storage case is also a race track play mat. Two zippers create a small storage case for race cars and other toys, or reveal a cool two-lane space themed track.
  3. Star Wars Toy Car Storage: Whether their favorite vehicles travel pavement or space, this carrier is made to transport them between home, school, friend’s homes and more. Crafted from durable tin, this lunch-box style organizer is made to withstand years. A strong latch keeps contents safely inside while an easy-to-use handle makes the lightweight piece easy to transport. Inside, this bin boasts 15 slots that are just the right size for toy cars, action figures and more.
  4. Star Wars Collapsible Toy Box: Kids can play on the go or transport their favorite toys thanks to the Star Wars Collapsible Toy Box. Crafted from soft fabric that is safe for ages 3 years and up, this box features a special coating that is easy to clean. The sleek surface can be wiped down with a wet rag for quick sanitation. This versatile piece is designed for storage and play. Four zippers follow the length of each corner; zip them all up and this piece turns into a lightweight storage box perfect for toys. Two velcro straps hold the lid on securely and two side handles make the entire piece easy to transport. Create a play mat by unzipping each corner and letting the piece lay flat. The inside surface is designed to replicate the inside of a spaceship, perfect for encouraging imagination and creative playtime. On the outside, you will see the faces of classic Star Wars characters.
  5. Star Wars Playmat: This activity mat is made from a soft fabric that features a protective coating; keep it sanitary with the easy wipe of a wet rag or disinfecting towelette. Measuring a large 3 feet by 1.5 feet, this play mat is perfect for the home or on the go. The pliable piece is simple to roll or fold, so you can tuck it away in storage or transport it. The large surface is great on tables, protecting hardwood from rough playing; it’s great on floors, creating a clean play space; even use it in the car to keep young travelers focused and happy. 



Celebrate New Year’s Eve with class — and good food


We’re just starting to reach the calm after the storm of Christmas, and here comes New Year’s Eve. If you hosting this event, it can be easy to give in and let it get out of control. But this celebration can be simple and elegant. Here are some tips to ring in your new year with less work.

  • Serve small plates: Since most of your party-goers won’t be arriving until later in the evening, you don’t need to plan a large meal. Make prep and clean up easier on yourself by serving small plates or horderves. Divided serving dishes make it super simple to present small offerings like olives, nuts, cheese and more.
  • Utilize serving trays: While we’re on the subject, serving trays will be your best friend. With them, you won’t clutter up your surfaces with your normal plates. And some designs, like this one with room for ice, are designed to keep your food cold all night — so food is fresh for all parry-goers, no matter what time they show up. Tiered serving trays are also a great investment; these decorative pieces are also super convenient because they allow you to present more options without taking up previous space.
  • Use a serving caddy: Keep plates, napkins, flatware and serving pieces all in one area. These awesome caddies make it even easier for guests to help themselves to food. Opt for the disposable plates and flatware, too.



1.) Bamboo Entertaining Set

2.) Serving Caddy

3.) Three Tier Serving Tray

4.) Appetizers on Ice Serving Tray

5.) Divided Serving Dish