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07/15/2014 10:54 am ET

5 Everyday Hacks For The Chronically Disorganized Woman

Cooking, cleaning and hunting down spare double-A batteries eats up about 2 1/2 hours each day, a 2013 study found. Here's how to reclaim some lost time.

By Candace Braun Davison

The Unexpected Alternative to Your Old Makeup Bag

magnetic makeup board

The average woman spends close to 6 1/2 hours a week (or roughly two weeks per year) getting ready, a 2014 AOL/Today Show survey found, and although the study didn't delve into it, we imagine at least a few hours of those two weeks involve rummaging through shelves and makeup bags for that mascara that you just used yesterday or the bronzer you swore you just had in your hand. That's why we love this DIY Magnetic Makeup Board idea from Handmade in the Heartland: Just cover a sheet of metal with your favorite fabric or gift wrap, and add magnets to your go-to eye shadows, brushes and BB cream, and you have them within arm's reach.

The Cure for Too-Short Charger Cables

diy cell phone holster

If you've ever stumbled over a charging cord that was stretched from the outlet to a side table, you may want to take a cue from MakeIt-LoveIt.com blogger Ashley Johnston, who turned an old lotion bottle into a cell phone holster. The container keeps your phone close to the outlet, and tucks away the cable, so you don't have to worry about tripping over your cell again. (Johnston notes that she's had no problems using the holster, but commenters on the blog suggest sticking an adhesive hook on the wall near the outlet—that way the cord is still contained, but the holster isn't resting against the socket.)

The Little Reminder That Saves Your Skinny Jeans

dry eraser doing laundry

No matter how pulled together you are, last-minute loads of laundry are inevitable. And in the mid-week scramble, it can be easy to go on autopilot and shove everything from the washer into the dryer—including those borderline-highwater pants that can't afford to shrink anymore. It's prompted Sarah Khandjian to keep a dry erase marker next to the washer, so she can jot down anything that needs to air dry, then wipe it off the washing machine as soon as the laundry's done. (Worried about losing it? Try gluing a magnet to the marker or Velcro-ing it to the top corner of the machine.)

The One Thing That's Missing from Your Junk Drawer

labeling dividers

Little containers can corral pens, batteries and half-used bottles of hand sanitizer so your junk drawer has a sense of order—at least until people take things out and forget what goes where. I Heart Organizing blogger Jennifer Jones puts vinyl labels on the bottom of each divider, taking the guesswork out of keeping things orderly. Also, Jones recommends putting a strip of rug tape under the dividers so they don't move around when you open and close the drawer.

The Bathroom Space-Saver to Borrow from Your Closet

shoe organizer for bathroom storage

Grabbing hairspray in the morning shouldn't be like playing an extra-annoying version of Pick-Up Sticks, where you slowly try to remove the bottle without accidentally jostling the 47 other ones, yet it so often is. A Thoughtful Place blogger Courtney Fernan has found a surprisingly easy solution: She cut a cloth shoe organizer to the size of the cabinet under her bathroom sink, then screwed it into the inside of the cabinet door. It's the perfect size for holding lotion, hair products and any other beauty potion.

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  • The "Leave No Space Behind" Answer to Those Stubborn Angles
    Courtesy of 320 Sycamore
    Even though your closet is called a "reach-in," the name doesn't quite fit, since the only way to retrieve clothing from its dark corners is with a stretch, a yank and a pull. If you're frustrated with the dead space on the sides, try blogger Melissa Smith of 320 Sycamore's ingenious solution. Remove the long rod and shelf that go straight across the closet side-to-side and replace it with one that is the width of the doorframe. In one corner of the closet, install two closet rods, one lower and one higher (basically, perpendicular to the new, shorter left-to-right rod). The top bar should hang approximately 75 to 80 inches from the floor; the bottom bar, ideal for shorter items such as shirts and skirts, approximately 36 to 40 inches. Tension rods make this a snap (if you're storing lighter-weight items). For more detailed information, see Melissa's tutorial here.
  • The New Home for Your Strappy Party Shoes
    Roeshel at DIYShowOff
    Not all shoes are created equal -- which means wear-only-for-special-occasions heels often get short shrift. But instead of keeping them out of sight in shoe boxes, use crown molding along the back wall of your closet (or even on the inside of the door) in one or multiple rows to create shoe organizers. Just 30 inches of molding can hold four pairs of shoes. If you need more guidance, this Home Depot community forum outlines the how-to steps you can follow to build the shoe racks.
  • The Upcycle That Will Double Your Space
    Tara Charlton from IdeaBottle.blogspot.com
    Before you recycle that Diet Coke can, pull the tab off to use as a quick way to double the hanging space available on one hanger. As shown in this tutorial from Idea Bottle, simply slide the tab down the hook of a hanger to its base, and then slip another hanger hook through the lower hole of the tab. Voila! Now you can store more clothing on a single closet rod. (This also is a great way to pair outfits together.)
  • The Leftover Hooks That Are Afraid of Water
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    Wondering what to do with the surplus shower-curtain rings lurking in your linen closet? Laura Wittmann, author of Clutter Rehab: 101 Tips and Tricks to Become an Organization Junkie and Love It!, and blogger behind /orgjunkie.com/" target="_blank">-your-scarves-hats-with-shower-hooks.html" target="_blank">I'm an Organizing Junkie, clips shower-curtain rings to a hanger and then loops scarves through them, which saves space and keeps everything wrinkle-free. (The same trick works for hats and belts.)
  • The Slipped-Your-Mind Solution That Takes Less Than 1 Minute
    One Good Thing By Jillee
    You could spend $30 on a set of felt hangers; or, you could try one of these DIY methods from blogger Jill Nystul of One Good Thing By Jillee. Take a few pipe cleaners; wrap one around each end of a hanger, starting slightly after where the neckline of the clothing would sit. Rubber bands work, as well. However, Jill's favorite solution is to use a hot glue gun to make a zigzag pattern along the top of the hanger to create a grip, which, she says, is just as effective but the clear glue is less noticeable.
  • The Trick You Learned at the Office
    Ainhoa from A Little Bite of Everything
    We've worked in offices. We've also woken up to realize the one T-shirt we wanted to wear was at the bottom of the dirty-laundry pile. But it was Ainhoa Vega of the blog A Little Bite of Everything who put two and two together. She installed two towel rods lengthwise, one across the front and one along the back of the drawer; and then placed several metal rods that slide perpendicular to the towel rods, joining them. The result? An at-home closet-filing system where you fold T-shirts on rods in drawers so you can see all your options at once. For a complete how-to explanation, visit her blog post and say goodbye to T-shirt clutter once and for all.
  • The Third Shelf You Didn't Know You Could Fit
    Roeshel at DIYShowOff
    If you've already doubled your closet space by installing two levels of hanging rods, you might not realize that there's space for one more rod -- and no, it's not at the ceiling. If you put a third tension rod right below your lowest rod, you can use /diyshowoff.com/" target="_blank">loset-boot-storage-day-4.html" target="_blank">pants hangers to corral your boots, store flip-flops with bent wire hangers and dangle purses or hats from S hooks.

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