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Get Organized With Real Simple

Jan 9, 2013

by kappenbrink handmade and vintage goods

Real Simple is dedicated to making life easier for the modern woman, from helping her find the perfect outfit to helping her get dinner on the table faster. Kristin Appenbrink is the Senior Editor for, where she oversees the Work & Life content, Simply Stated blogs, and social media for the brand. Originally from Kansas City, Kristin now lives in Brooklyn and likes to make things (namely ice cream and knitted scarves) on the weekend.

I don’t know about you, but inevitably one of my New Year’s resolutions is to finally get organized. So much of organization is having a proper place for everything, which is why a lot of my picks for this round up are focused on storage — and great looking storage, no less. Plus, I’ve included a few odds and ends (calendars, craft paper, etc.) that will help you stay organized by making your life easier.

  • Chalkboard Wall Calendar Decal

    Keep a family calendar in the kitchen or office to make sure everyone knows when soccer practice and dentist appointments are happening.
  • White Concrete Hexi-Bowl

    Keep fruits from rolling around in your fridge by storing them in this “bowl” reminiscent of an egg carton.
  • Finance Organization — Printable

    Get started tracking your budget with these printable worksheets. The best part? You get the PDF, so you can print as many pages as you need.
  • Felt Purse Organizer

    Make switching handbags incredibly easy with a felt insert that keeps your essentials organized.
  • Mason Jar Wall Organizer

    Whether you use it to store cosmetics or office supplies, this wall-mounted mason jar organizer is incredibly handy.
  • Vintage Small Cast Iron Bundt or Muffin Pan

    One of our favorite new uses for old things is to use a muffin tin or ice cube tray to store office supplies. This vintage fluted bundt pan would look great on your desk.
  • Custom Closet Dividers

    No matter what your system for organizing your closet (by color, by item of clothing, or by size), custom dividers can help keep things in place, even if you aren’t the one putting away the laundry.
  • Small Space Wine Rack Crate Handmade with Reclaimed Upcycl

    Perfect for small spaces, this wooden crate wine rack can hold up to 12 bottles.
  • Vintage Lockers

    If you need some larger storage options, look for vintage metal lockers in all shapes and sizes. These would be perfect in a kitchen or a kid’s room.
  • Jewelry Organizer

    Consider storing your jewelry collection in a jewelry roll. Hang it on a hook near your dresser, and when you’re ready to travel, your baubles are already packed.
  • Toy Storage Bin

    Make clean up easy on yourself and your kids with these fun fabric bins. You can toss toys inside and return them to a bookshelf in no time flat.
  • 3 Tier Organizer

    Made from vintage bowls, colanders, and more, these tiered organizers are perfect for art supplies or for storing your favorite herbal teas.
  • Retro Wooden Tennis Racket Jewelry Storage

    What better use for a vintage tennis racket than turning it into a rack to store your favorite baubles?
  • Kraft Paper Roll

    Keep this on hand so you can wrap everything from birthday presents to seasonal decorations that need to be carefully packed away.
  • 5 Natural Wool Dryer Balls

    Save time on your laundry by using these dryer balls to keep large items like blankets from getting wound up in the cycle.
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And if you really want to get organized, this month we’re kicking off the 2013 Organizing Challenge on Real Simple. We’ll be tackling a new room each month.


  • MrsGingerandWasabi

    Marta DQ from tribomo said 8 years ago

    Great post! I don't know why but I can't keep my studio organized! :) This will help!

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage said 8 years ago

    Cute! Love the magazine.

  • mlezcano

    Mary Lezcano from BellaBboutique said 8 years ago

    Very practical ideas and fun products! I could def use some of these organizational tools for my place!

  • EdelweissPost

    Patrick from EdelweissPost said 8 years ago

    Organization is extremely important to me, but something we all seem to struggle with (at least a little bit!). Working with postage stamps is, well, inherently messy! Categorizing and storing tens of thousands of those tiny squares of paper can be an arduous task, so these tips will very beneficial for me~

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 8 years ago

    I am all about organization! Makes tasks a lot easier :)

  • memckeen

    LovelySquid from LovelySquid said 8 years ago

    Getting organized is my New Years Resolution. These tips will certainly help and I will take all the help i can get!

  • lmouer

    Lynsey from lmouer said 8 years ago

    Great ideas! I especially love the chalk board calendar! Thanks for sharing!

  • kgpaintings

    Kirsten Gilmore from PaintingsByKEGilmore said 8 years ago

    I'm very fond of the "hexi-bowl". I just tackled studio, re-organization this week, ensuring paintings are well wrapped and supported so none warp--that sounds simple, but is tricky in a small apartment/studio. :)

  • amysfunkyfibers

    Amy Gunderson from amysfunkyfibers said 8 years ago

    Great ideas to use to get organized. I am going to be re-organizing my studio this week. I am sure I will find some treasures that I forgot that I had. It really makes me feel good /happy when the clutter is organized!

  • PrayerNotes

    Prayer Notes by Cynthia from PrayerNotes said 8 years ago

    Love this post! Great ideas that I will use! I struggle to keep organized! But, this is a good thing, because I am in my art studio, daily, preparing local and online orders!

  • hasincla

    hasincla from travelwanderings said 8 years ago

    For some reason, I LOVE organizing things! That doesn't mean that I don't have any disorganized things in my life, but I do like to have a place for everything and everything in its place. If it looks great, even better!

  • miniart

    Ania from miniart said 8 years ago

    I love simple resolutions! :)

  • hayleypearcey

    hayley from BabysGotCakeGifts said 8 years ago

    I have four kids and a house with pretty much no inbuilt storage solutions so I am always trying to rework things. I am off to a flying start this year and plan on just trying to organise something however small most days. one day the house will be organised.

  • RitaVanTassel

    Rita Van Tassel from RitaVanTassel said 8 years ago

    The timing for this is bang-on as I'm in the midst of re-vamping and destashing my own studio space!

  • MaruMaru

    MaruMaru from MaruMaru said 8 years ago

    I've bought so many organizing tools on Etsy because they're so cute but now I have so many of them that it looks cluttered lol

  • sonyarasi

    Sonya Rasi from sonyarasi said 8 years ago

    Great ideas!

  • SomeKindOfPretty

    Catheryn Dallenbach from SomeKindOfPretty said 8 years ago

    Love it all!!! I am already on an organizing kick with my workspace, maybe I will use some of these ideas!

  • valeriephoto

    Valerie from valeriestitchery said 8 years ago

    I love the mason jar organizer. That would be a great way to store make-up-related items in the bathroom! All those brushes and eyeliners and lipsticks are all long and skinny and that would be a great fit.

  • creativeclassics

    creativeclassics from creativeclassics said 8 years ago

    I wish I had space for even half this stuff :( Sometimes I think I'd be more organised if I had more space, but then I'd have more space if I was more organised...the eternal conundrum.

  • HappyWhoos

    Jessie Friedman from HappyWhoos said 8 years ago

    I love that Mason Jar Wall Organizer! Great picks!

  • QueenofCuffs

    mary from QueenofCuffs said 8 years ago

    Indeed - the urge to sort / clear / organize is hard to ignore - we all would like to have a clear start to the year!! Small spaces call for genius ideas. Love that Tennis Racket jewelry storage - just today I sweet talked hubby into drilling/sticking lots of wood dowels along the side of shelves for me to hang my ongoing pendants.

  • inameliart

    amelia from inameliart said 8 years ago

    great finds..thank you

  • TheBirdOnTheTree

    Irek from TheBirdOnTheTree said 8 years ago

    very useful and great finds!!!

  • TreadleLady

    Donna Kohler from TreadleLady said 8 years ago

    Organizing is a never ending struggle. Visiting my sister's home is like a mental massage, it is so calming and beautiful. She keeps nothing that doesn't fit her style or color scheme, she learned to "let go" and either sell or give away things. The more organizing tips the better, thank you.

  • rosebudsvintage

    rosebudsvintage from WillowsWear said 8 years ago

    Wow this is just what I needed the Mason Jar storage is GREAT smart idea. I always start out with very good intentions, go head on and then can't find whatever I just stored. I seem to be used to my Mess. Right now I am downsizing, clearing out, Simplifying and finally opening shop. But, alas, I have started on the new items and Oops! Clutter again. Should I blame it on Old House, no closets, or should I accept it and go with it. I think I will go with it but in a different way by following some of your great ideas. Happy New Year

  • PinesVintageClothing

    Pine from GoodOldVintageOnline said 8 years ago

    i heart storage

  • olusholaj

    Shola from YarningKnots said 8 years ago

    About two years ago, I found Real Simple on the magazine rack in a local grocery store. I picked it up and never put it down. Two subscriptions later and I'm still here, flipping through a Real Simple magazine. It's only now that I notice how closely Real Simple and Etsy are related. I would just like to say a big thank you to the both of you.

  • greenchicliz

    liz sheelin from greenchicliz said 8 years ago

    Awesome ideas!

  • totinette

    Torie from totinette said 8 years ago

    I love the ideas of taking things you already have and turning them into storage devices!

  • GardenApothecary

    Jennifer Lee Segale from GardenApothecary said 8 years ago

    I'm in love! Thanks for this post!

  • auntjanecan

    Jane Priser from JanePriserArts said 8 years ago

    I like the hexi- bowl! There are some good ideas here.

  • GracefullyGirly

    Kimberlee from GracefullyGirly said 8 years ago

    I have a love~hate relationship with organization. Oh, how I wish I were more organized... but I do so love when I have a creative fire and things inevitably always end up scattered all over the place! I am always on the hunt for new and fun/creative ways to organize, especially if it makes things look more neat and tidy and best of all, pretty.

  • DecadesOfVintage

    DecadesOfVintage from DecadesOfVintage said 8 years ago

    all are very clever. off to look at the grey bag

  • AlternativeBlooms

    Alternative Blooms from AlternativeBlooms said 8 years ago

    It seems every year it is the same goal .. let's just chalk it up to a bit of chaos over the holiday's .. yes, that's it.. I got disorganized at Christmas ... Alas, that is a lie. Thanks for the simple storage solutions! I truly agree everything needs it's own place!

  • ZorroPlateado

    Carole from ZorroPlateado said 8 years ago

    Great ideas!

  • morebutton

    Anny from MoreButton said 8 years ago

    Love this! I really need some of these! :)

  • KanzashiHairFlowers

    Haylee Allison from CrystalFiligree said 8 years ago

    Thank you so much! You have some great ideas :)

  • paramountvintage

    kristin from blackmoonsky said 8 years ago

    please more articles like this! i love organizing tips! i am going to make this one asap :)

  • ThePattypanShop

    ThePattypanShop from ThePattypanShop said 8 years ago

    Love the tips!!! Thanks!!

  • Rewoodtoys

    J and N George from Rewoodtoys said 8 years ago

    Awesome products and tips. This is a fabulous post.

  • aressa

    aressa from OriginalBridalHanger said 8 years ago

    Love this post! I wish I could get myself organized...I'd love to have time to concentrate on it....Someday!!

  • StayArtisan

    J.K. Ramirez from HudsonBlueArtisans said 8 years ago

    Thanks, I struggle with this....

  • Parachute425

    Terry from Parachute425 said 8 years ago

    I think I have the answer to my organizing issues. I'm looking for a bigger house.

  • KMalinka

    Natalia from KMalinkaVintage said 8 years ago

    Very interesting post!

  • SheEarth

    SheEarth Crystals & Creations from SheEarth said 8 years ago

    Oh I need one of everything

  • RenataandJonathan

    Renata and Jonathan from RenataandJonathan said 8 years ago

    Fun and useful !

  • GourmetHandbags

    Sonya from GourmetHandbags said 8 years ago

    I would love to get organized! Such wonderful and fun products.

  • thevicagirl

    VaLon Frandsen from thevicagirl said 8 years ago

    Love it, such great ideas! I always feel that I need to be more organized, but I may be the most organized person I know. The best tip I ever got was to figure out what it is you have then buy the items to organize it, don't buy the stuff first or else you will just have a bunch of container you then need to organize.

  • TheMillineryShop

    Marcia Lacher from TheMillineryShop said 8 years ago

    I just love to be organized and come down to my work space and see everything in its place. Of course I see this in my mind only, my imagination being way better than my time management. Does anyone here sell magic wands? I'm willing to pay extra for the top model.

  • christineshmisteen

    CHRISTINE SHMISTEEN from TheArtOfFinerThings said 8 years ago

    love Real Simple

  • capitalcitycrafts

    Barbara Moore from CapitalCityCrafts said 8 years ago

    Lots of great ideas here, I still have boxes I haven't unpacked from moving months ago!!!

  • gardenmis

    Priscilla from Gardenmis said 8 years ago

    Excited to read the month to month tips as they come out!

  • arsniccandy

    Amanda Dover from arsniccandy said 8 years ago

    Love it:]

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage from accentonvintage said 8 years ago

    Great resolution!

  • msbibliotecaria

    Adriana the Librarian from labiblioteca said 8 years ago

    Great ideas! I love the rolling pin, 3-tier organizer! :)

  • mattyhandmadecrafts

    Matejka Max from NattyMatty said 8 years ago


  • Snowdon

    Alexandra Snowdon from Snowdon said 8 years ago

    Loving the jar organizer!

  • poplovedesigns

    Andrea Hughes from PopLoveHers said 8 years ago

    Great idea, I've been reading Real Simple for about a year now when another English-speaking neighbor of my husband's family sent some old copies our way. I was hooked! I even got my mom a subscription for her birthday (which she loved). It's great to be able to "flip through" the magazine on my iPad, knowing that I've most likely saved who knows how many trees by going with a digital subscription. It's a great forward-thinking magazine, and keep up the great work!

  • ShoeClipsOnly

    kathy johnson from ShoeClipsOnly said 8 years ago

    Wonderful post, now I'm going to go out and get a copy of Real Simple!

  • kathyjohnson3

    Kathy Johnson from kathyjohnson3 said 8 years ago

    I've always considered my shop very organized with feathers, ribbons and fabric everywhere, but I think I just picked up some more excellent tips! Thank-you for the article!

  • AutumnLeavesJewelry

    Carolyn S. Miller from AutumnLeavesJewelry said 8 years ago

    Love Real Simple mag! Good ideas, I'm a fan of hanging old utilitarian pieces vertical for display and storage :)

  • SnowFallStudios

    Kristen from SnowFallStudio said 8 years ago

    Real Simple is one of my fave magazines, and I'm always on the lookout for new ways to organize my busy household!

  • verityunmondoaparte

    silvia beneforti from vumap said 8 years ago

    I love so much simple resolution to make my life easy ^_^

  • lovelyfeverboutique

    Jessica from LovelyFever said 8 years ago

    Fantastic ideas for getting organized in style. I especially loved the upcycled tennis rack jewelry holder.

  • lenkamuchnik

    Elena Muchnik from lenkamuchnik said 8 years ago

    Thank you! Very interesting information! Now I know how and what to do! Good luck to all!

  • VandaFashion

    Vanda Fashion from VandaFashion said 8 years ago

    Fantastic ideas!!!!

  • kitschencabinet

    Laura and Jaime from KitschenCabinet said 8 years ago

    Fascinating! I find organization to be such a personal topic, though. As an intensely visual person, I have to be able to picture where everything is. Stored boxes are my nemesis. As soon as it goes into a box, I forget about it and might as well just let it go. So my organization may look like piled chaos to other people, but I know exactly where everything is. I can picture each thing I have in its place. My partner, on the other hand, looks at my work space and gasps in horror... :)

  • LittleCottonStudio

    Kimmy Duong from LittleCottonStudio said 8 years ago

    Great post and great ideas! Real Simple is the only magazine I subscribe to!

  • ThreeBarDGifts

    Monica from ThreeBarDGifts said 8 years ago

    So many great ideas here! The mason jar organizer and cast iron muffin pan ideas are my favorites!The giraffes on the tote are precious!

  • gescate

    Gino Escate from Gygante said 8 years ago

    I use the Pringles can to organizate my brushes.

  • TheNorthWayStudio

    Maria B. from TheNorthWayStudio said 8 years ago

    Oh gosh, organization. I can't even begin to fathom that!

  • glowgirl16

    Deb Christian from glowgirl16 said 8 years ago

    One of my fav things about the new year - the need to organize and simplify! Great finds here!!

  • HandPaintedPetals

    Sheryl from HandPaintedPetals said 8 years ago

    Terrific post -- I love the absolute, straightforward approach of Real Simple!

  • nativestrandsjewelry

    Rachel from PeppersJewelry said 8 years ago

    Thanks! Great picks!

  • FreakyPeas

    FreakyPeas from FreakyPeas said 8 years ago

    The dryer balls are my "aha" moment.

  • opendoorstudio

    Martha Layton Smith from opendoorstudio said 8 years ago

    Great ideas. I have been meaning to organize my pantry for some time. I have a bunch of old wire locker baskets and think I will try to organize by meal... all of the non parishable ingredients needed in each locker basket, so that I can pull it out and everything is there. I always end up needing one ingredient...I am hoping this will help me at a glance to see what is needed to replenish.

  • curry8989

    LESLIE CURRY said 8 years ago

    Love it all!!! I am already on an organizing kick with my workspace im sure this will help!

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery said 8 years ago

    Some seriously useful picks here, I always try to be organised but unfortunately my messy side usually wins out


    Sikiu Perez from Sikiu said 8 years ago

    I'm in the mood of organizing too. A friend needed a remote control holder so a made a few on clay, love them!

  • Grandma1965

    Grandma Garcia from GrandmasEssentials said 8 years ago

    I really like this !!!! Thank You for sharing

  • fawndoevintage

    Fawn and Doe Vintage from FawnDoeVintage said 8 years ago

    Love this. I made some of these "shelves" a few months ago after seeing it on pinterest. It's perfect for my smaller crafting supplies!

  • judihartmanglassart

    Judi Hartman from JudiHartmanGLASSART said 8 years ago

    I used to be I'm older...don't know what that has to do with it??? These are some great ideas. I'll try some of them! Thanks

  • sillylittlesheep

    Veronika from sillylittlesheep said 8 years ago

    Great idea! I got organized by throwing away and recycling and donating a lot of stuff that I no longer use... Living simple is my dream. But I have an instinct to fill in the space once I have it :DD

  • GrowingUpWild

    Kelly Engel from GrowingUpWild said 8 years ago

    This is something I have been working really hard on the last few months, both with my own family (a 2 1/2 year old, a 5 month old and my husband) and professionally. My mind feels so much calmer when I am less disheveled. Thank you for the extra tips.

  • CharmedByWine

    Mary from CharmedByWine said 8 years ago

    love the ideas. i have a very small space for wrapping gifts....that kraft paper roll idea is GREAT. I might need to try some version of the wall jars in the bathroom next....

  • VBVintage

    Laurel And Carrie from VBVintage said 8 years ago

    Great Ideas for small spaces we appreciate!!! Thanks for posting this.... Lovin' the Real Simple organizing challenge too....!

  • BaxCatandCo

    Kelly from BaxCatandCo said 8 years ago

    As we walk into the new year, organization has been on my mind. These are great ideas; thanks for the perfect timing!

  • sevenscruples

    Anna Downing from sevenscruples said 8 years ago

    Dang! this inspires me to get my act together! thanks.

  • craftylumberjacks

    Dennis and Andrew from CraftyLumberjacks said 8 years ago

    Such great ideas and perfect for the new year! Thanks!

  • butikonline83

    Hendri . from butikonline83 said 8 years ago


  • TheKraftRoom

    TheKraftRoom from TheKraftRoom said 8 years ago

    This is one of my goals for this year. Cool post.

  • reginamiles1

    Regina from ChainAndCluster said 8 years ago

    I'm digging the mason jar holder... Thanks for sharing these ideas!!

  • tiff0277

    Tiffani from KnotEmporium said 8 years ago

    What great ideas, I plan to use a few! Thanks

  • gracearchives

    Leslie from GraceArchives said 8 years ago

    Say no to brand new plastic! Love this post!!!

  • cquis13

    Colleen Quisenberry from LavenderRoseAcc said 8 years ago

    Great ideas!! Love the mason jar holder.

  • JohnCheney88

    John Cheney said 8 years ago

    FIRST of all, I resent the implication that only a WOMAN would want to be organized! That being said (LOL!!!), I like MOST of these ideas but one question... Doesn't the glass jars increase the weight factor? Wouldn't cutting down clear two liter bottles actually give you size options to fit YOUR needs (i.e. the bottles cut to fit shelves instead of making shelves to fit jars)? Just a thought... <<>>

  • AprilofMcleod

    April Iris McLeod from ThereCanBeOnlyOne said 8 years ago

    I love Real Simple and I love Etsy. As a disabled vet, Etsy is my way of making supplementary income, as a crafter, it feeds that place in my soul that yearns to create. Now, if I could just organize my supplies, I could get so much more accomplished!

  • Princesssparkl73

    Debbie Dilly from LoveLettersMe said 8 years ago

    love this - some great ideas xx

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