Products that organize your life that you couldn't live without?
July 18, 2008 10:41 PM   Subscribe

Products that organize your life that you couldn't live without?

I'm seeking specific product recommendations for things to simplify one's life and things easier and more organized. For example, things like a purse organizer, charging valet or laptop docking station (but I imagine there must be lots of products that I haven't thought of or even heard of). I am alway seeking ways to get more organized.

(In lieu of actual branded products, I'm also interested in interesting "hacks" or ways to use what you already have in a better way...or web sites that list and rate these things)
posted by mintchip to Shopping (20 answers total) 64 users marked this as a favorite
A label maker, Google calendar & BusySync
posted by jaimev at 10:54 PM on July 18, 2008

Ziploc bags. Good for kids, toys with small parts, travel, organizing small stuff. With my daughter i never bothered with a diaper bag, just used my old messenger bag with everything inside organized in Ziplocs. I take a ton when I travel, different sizes galore.
posted by Miastar at 10:55 PM on July 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

- a little notepad for jotting down stuff I'm likely to forget (i.e. everything)
- igoogle, for to do lists, notes, calendar and loads of other handy stuff at home and work
- ditto ziploc bags for EVERYTHING
posted by pootler at 11:06 PM on July 18, 2008

The fact that my iPhone syncs with my .mac contacts, email, and calendars, and is also a phone so I always remember to take it with, is pretty well-nigh irreplaceable. I became dependent on it in about a week.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:31 PM on July 18, 2008

A small pad of paper on the fridge door for grocery lists I can add to as I discover needs, then tear off and take with me to the grocery store.

Several key rings, with or without a distinctive bauble on each one, all attached to a main ring, for keeping groups of keys sorted (car keys on one ring, work keys on another, etc.). Because my large assortment of keys is going to be cumbersome anyway, this really helps me keep them organized so I no longer have to waste time searching through them all for the one I need.

I love my iGrip XL for keeping my iPod, cell phone, sunglasses, etc. all within easy reach on the dashboard of my car when I'm driving.
posted by Balonious Assault at 11:40 PM on July 18, 2008

Dry-erase boards with magnets. I have a rectangular one that I use to post the weekly dinner menu, and a calendar where I keep track of all the family doings. Multi-colored markers help me keep extra-organized.
posted by padraigin at 11:42 PM on July 18, 2008

Love the ziplocs, also using binder clips of various sizes for groups of papers, chip bags, cereal bags, bags of nuts...bags and papers in general...and stickies where I can keep everything from daily lists to notes from business phone calls arranged in separate "files", to vacations ideas, things to purchase...anything you wanted on a "stickie" but never could keep track of/categorize, etc. Really the best freeware I've ever downloaded. I use it many times daily.
posted by mumstheword at 1:28 AM on July 19, 2008

simple but effective: my yahoo calendar is great. if i need to remember to do something by a certain date, i just type it in and select the reminder option so it sends me an email a day or week before.
posted by thinkingwoman at 5:50 AM on July 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

I hung a clear vinyl shoe organizer on the back of my basement door, and that is where I keep all my "thingies", like extra water bottles, batteries, my label maker, small tools, etc. - all the small important things one needs and can never find.

I have a lot of carabiners in various sizes. I use one for hooking my keys to my purse strap or belt loop.

Hooks on the back of my bedroom door - look kind of cheesy, but at least now I hang my not-quite-ready-for-the-hamper clothes up rather than tossing them over the back of a chair.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:04 AM on July 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

I've had a couple of different volunteer jobs at the same time, and started keeping canvas book bags for each, with everything I needed inside including pens, on coat hooks. Mail or anything went right into the proper bag, then when I had to get to a board meeting or something I could grab and run,
I have one work, one side jobs and a school one going now.
posted by readery at 7:27 AM on July 19, 2008 [3 favorites]

I love my iRobot Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner. I also love my PVR.

And I have an over the door shoe holder in my bathroom -- it holds all sorts of stuff (but not shoes).
posted by acoutu at 8:33 AM on July 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Honestly, things got a lot easier for me when I got my Queenbee Wonder Wallet. I really like the way it's laid out. It's really easy to see all my cards and keep my money and receipts organized.
posted by radioamy at 9:41 AM on July 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

We mounted our kitchen wall phone through the center of a bulletin (cork) board. We tack a small scratch pad to it, which serves as a single shopping list and gives us someplace to jot a note while on the phone. We keep a pen or pencil resting on top of the board. Everything "in play" gets tacked there, like phone numbers needed for immediate use, emergency numbers, stamps, reminders, etc.

The other thing we do is keep a single folder in the kitchen for each kid. All their papers go in there like notes from school, sports notices and info, camps, order forms, fundraisers... all the crap that generally accumulates and we used to lose track of.

Both low tech and inexpensive solutions that work great for us.
posted by Breav at 11:03 AM on July 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

- Garbage Can
- Recycling box
- Shredder
- 1-800-got-junk

I tried every organization tool and strategy under the sun until a few years ago when I got rid of virtually everything i owned so I could move 8 time zones. I found that having a lot less stuff turned me into an organized person. I didn't even have to try any more, stuff just stayed organized. The hard part was throwing the stuff out, but when I realized how little stuff I owned was really improving my life it became a lot of fun.
posted by Ookseer at 11:43 AM on July 19, 2008 [3 favorites]

File folders with 2-ply straight-edge tabs, in various colors. (I don't generally do color coding; I just hate manila.) The straight-edge tabs run the full length of the folder, so I can add longer titles in large type. Like these.

As others have mentioned, a good label maker and a good shredder. to stop most of the credit card offers. The DMA Mail Preference Service to eliminate a lot of other junk mail.

Mesh sacks to organize things inside my purse.

I'm a professional organizer, and my blog covers all sorts of organizing products.
posted by jeri at 3:18 PM on July 19, 2008 [5 favorites]

David Allen.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 10:18 PM on July 19, 2008

One thing I could never live without is a pen.
Like, really.
I generally always have a little notepad with me as well (I just like the mead memo. moleskines and their ilk are just too bulky to keep in a pants pocket), but the important part is the pen.

Just have a pen in your pocket. Take a note (on you hand, even, if there's nowhere better) whenever you think of something that needs to be done, or a creative idea pops into your head, review notes in evening.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 1:11 AM on July 20, 2008

A 1GB thumb drive on my keychain.
posted by girlmightlive at 5:33 AM on July 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Main key ring with house and transportation related keys, all other keys are kept where they will be handy when needed and out of the way the rest of the time.
Carabiners to combine different key rings when it´s handy to do so.

I´ve just started using a zippered notebook with pockets for pens and other supplies, which I´ve found is very handy to hold loose papers and small, important items.

A phone with a good database and web access is also nice.

Emergency supplies in the car, as well as not-emergency but often useful supplies, can save a lot of time when plans change.
posted by yohko at 11:21 AM on July 21, 2008

A notcard holder for my purse. I bought mine at Walmart years ago, but it is something like these for 3x5 notecards.

My Palm Centro with the following software. I have it with me all the time.

HandyShopper for shopping lists. It remembers things you've put on your lists in the past so you don't have to type them in again.

Keyring for storing passwords

The Memo application that comes with Palm software. I use it for things like vacuum cleaner bag sizes, gift ideas, measurements of things in my home, and sizes of clothing for myself and others close to me.

The Tasks application that comes with Palm software. I sync it with my Outlook at work and use it for work and professional items. I always know what I need to accomplish and don't have to carry around multiple pieces of paper.

And I use David Allen's Getting Things Done for organizing tasks at work.
posted by k8to at 9:17 AM on July 22, 2008

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