Carley’s Organization Must-Haves for Making Life Simpler

In my 20s, I prayed at the altar of Martha Stewart. She taught me how to plant herbs, fold my sheets, organize my art supplies, mop my wood floors, wrap a gift, and cook a mean turkey. The idea that one could elevate the mundane tasks to high art, and that there was a precision to the act of housekeeping was one I really dug (as millions of us did).

That idea has stayed with me, and although I can’t say I love all the chores of housekeeping, I do love identifying tools that can help me do the job well, and with pleasure.

For example: Let’s talk about laundry. I’m thrilled to have a washer and dryer that outperform any I’ve ever had, with big basins and a steam cycle that de-creases my husband’s shirts and shrinks my jeans to wear another day. These things make me happy! In our new home, our laundry room isn’t exactly Pinterest-worthy — it’s small, doesn’t have any natural light, and hasn’t exactly been given the designer touch. That hasn’t stopped me from outfitting it with gear and organization that makes the chores of life easier.

I thought I’d round up some of those gadgets here — high tech and low tech things that make my life simpler, whether I’m doing laundry, shopping for groceries, managing paper piles or putting my kitchen waste in it’s place.

Brabantia Ironing Board

Confession: I used to iron on a towel at the kitchen table. I didn’t get what an ironing board could do — for my clothes, and for my aching back! This ironing board from Brabantia has an extra wide, extra stable worktop that adjusts to 7 different heights so you can create a custom ironing set-up that’s right for you. Non-slip caps keep everything in place (and from scratching my floor), and the iron rest ensures that my iron is easy to grab and won’t burn a hole in my clothes while it waits to be used.

Joseph Joseph Waste/Composter System

This compact station has thought of everything. At the top, a removable waste caddy for kitchen garbage that’s waiting to be composted, complete with an odor filter for those stinky banana peels. In the middle, a 9.5-gallon garbage can, and underneath a multi-purpose storage drawer perfect for recycling or water bottles. Your trash will never be the same.

Neatfreak Car Organizer

Popping an organizer like this in the back of my trunk seems like a small gesture, but it has been life-changing. It wrangles all those things that roll around: the dog’s leash, a stray football, plus it’s got plenty of room for cleaning supplies which come in handy on the road. Outer mesh pockets organize smaller things, and the whole thing is washable.

Bigso Boxes

When storage is stylish, I’m more likely to put things away. These fiberboard boxes are covered in canvas and sport smart leather handles. They come in a range of colors to fit any decor, and sizes so you can organize everything from DVDs to bulkier items to papers in just the right receptacle.

Flint Lint Rollers

Ah, lint. A modern annoyance that seems small but can take down a whole outfit… and your whole day, if you’re headed into an important meeting and you look like a cat used you as an ottoman! These retractable lint rollers are adorable, portable, and always ready to clean your fuzzy self up. You can pop them into a desk drawer, your car, a purse, and when you need it, just pop up, peel away a sticky sheet and start rolling.

Laurastar Lift & Steam Generator

With a convenient carrying handle and a small frame that makes it easy to store, this steamer will give you enough steam to rid yourself of wrinkles in 3 minutes. It comes in adorable colors, too, but it’s the function that makes a steamer like this a closet must-have. It’s laundry nirvana.