10 Easy DIY Hacks To Get (And Stay) Organized

Old receipts littered at the bottom of your handbag. Unmatched socks piling up on the top of your dresser, still hopeful of reuniting with their ‘solemates’. And how can we forget the notoriously chaotic linen closets? Clutter has a sneaky way of creeping into our lives. If left unchecked, it can easily take a toll on our health, productivity, and peace of mind.

Try these ten clever (and totally doable) DIY hacks to kick clutter to the curb this instant:

  • To Corral Paper Clutter: Cut up three or four empty cereal boxes and connect them to create a handy mail organizer. Use each section for outgoing mail, bills, important stuff and coupons/fliers, respectively. You can also use it as a desktop organizer. Use an empty tin can or a glass jar to keep all the receipts in one place. You can store them by month or by category (food, entertainment, miscellaneous, etc.). To make it aesthetically pleasing, decorate the jar with some Washi tape or spray paint.
  • To Organize Your Car: Make this DIY no-sew pouch to store all your travel essentials like first-aid items, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, etc. Use an empty gum container for storing loose change. If your car doesn’t have a trash can already, make one yourself with an empty cereal box and a grocery bag. Seriously, that’s all you need! Check it out here.
  • To Organize Your Kitchen: Blogger Toni Hammersley suggests organizing your pantry staples in see-through, pull-out baskets or storage bins to make it easier to see what you have and what you need. Store spices and seasonings in small stackable tins or mason jars for easier access and better storage. Label them to avoid confusion. (If you’re storing them in a drawer, paste the labels on the lids. Or, put the label on the sides of the jars in case you’re storing them in a rack). Instead of stashing plastic bags in a kitchen drawer or the under the sink cabinet, use an empty tissue box to make a quick DIY garbage bag/grocery bag dispenser.
  • To Organize Your Linen Closet: Use dollar store baskets or clear plastic containers to organize your linen closet so that you don’t have to pillage the rest of the closet every time you need a clean towel. Also, before storing bedsheets, stash each set inside a matching pillowcase so that the whole bedding set remains in one place.
  • To Tame Tangled Cords: Keep those power cables and cords from becoming a ball of wire spaghetti using old bread tags. Also, store USB cables in these easy-to-make TP tube holders to keep them organized and untangled.
  • To Organize Office Supplies: Make your desk easier to work by repurposing an ice tray or a muffin tin as a desk drawer organizer. It’s a great storage solution for small office supplies (like paper clips, thumb tacks, rubber bands etc.) that can add to work desk clutter.
  • To Organize Your Handbag: Put bobby pins in a used Tic Tac container and wrap hair ties around it so that you don’t have to rummage around your bag every time you need something to hold your hair in place. Keep all your gift cards, coupons, business cards etc. in a mint tin. And if you carry your headphones and smartphone charger with you, wrap them with binder clips to keep them from getting tangled.
  • To Organize Remote Controls: Tired of digging through sofa cushions every time you need the remote? Make this DIY caddy so that you never lose it again. You can also keep things like eyeglass cases, magazines, newspaper, etc in it.
  • To Organize Outdoor Tools: And while we are talking about putting all your stuff in order, how can we forget about garage and garden tools? Repurpose old pallets to organize all your outdoor tools in minimum space. You can check out the DIY tutorial here.
  • Multi-Purpose Shopping Bag Organizer: If you are like me, you probably keep all the pretty shopping bags stacked somewhere in your cupboard. Turns out, those cutesy bags can also be used as inexpensive organizers. They can be used to store everything from files and scarves to grocery bags and gift wrapping supplies. Just hang them on your wall and you’re good to go!

Now, put on your creative hat and get started with these DIY ideas that’ll make your life so much easier!


Trying The Knot With A DIY Wintage-style Wedding Day

The quirky affair was a truly memorable occasion for Katie Hall and Samuel Crosby.

The bride and groom had their ceremony at Alnwick’s St Michael’s Church, followed by the reception at Rennington Village Hall, on July 29. Katie, who is from Alnwick but lives in Seaton Burn with Samuel, said: “The wedding was certainly a little unusual. We did absolutely everything ourselves and we used local suppliers where possible. “Rennington Hall was completely empty and over three days we transformed it. “Myself, family and friends hand-crafted all the decorations, such as bunting, and we hired all the tables, chairs, china and glassware, etc.

“In the bar room of the hall, we filled it with all our own furniture and artwork from our home, as we are into antiques and retro furniture. We even took our Chesterfield sofas and coffee table, along with wall mirrors and photographs. “The cake had flamingos and pineapples on, along with images of our two cats and dog. Our sausage dog was there, along with my auntie’s dog – and I had 12 bridesmaids!”

Katie, 28, wore a re-worked original vintage dress from Vintage at Number 18, in Newcastle. Her hair was done by Jenz Hair Salon, at Village Farm, Shilbottle; Plush Beauty, also Shilbottle, did her eye-lashes; and her make-up was done by kellyblickmua and Nikki Louise. Samuel, 27, looked dapper in his suit from Only & Sons.

A friend and one of the bridesmaids helped with the flowers, from Team Valley Flower Market, while Cake Stories, Jesmond, did the cake. Guests were treated to an afternoon tea, by Margaret Smith, from Belford, followed by an evening hogroast, from The Spitting Pig, at Morpeth

The Yellow Taxi, from Alnwick, and coaches from Travelsure were used for transport, while the wedding car was supplied by Brooklands Wedding Cars, in Durham. Entertainment was provided by Martha Hill, who busks in Newcastle, and Manchester-based band, Jive Swings.

How To Cut Plastic

When undertaking a home DIY project, there’s usually no question about the proper techniques for cutting wood. But cutting plastic—particularly acrylic or polycarbonate—is a whole different story. Plastic is trickier to handle for multiple reasons: some types can melt during the cutting process without proper precautions, the surface is prone to scratches, and the edges sometimes need buffing when the project is complete. Here are three different techniques for how to cut plastic, depending on the thickness of the materials and the desired style of cut.

Cutting Thin Sheets of Plastic

If you want a straight cut in a thin acrylic or polycarbonate plastic sheet (up to ⅛ inch thick), rely on a simple utility knife. First, secure the sheet to a large work surface, such as a table, with a clamp. Mark your desired cut line using a straight edge, then score the sheet of plastic with a utility knife, making several passes across the site until you achieve a deep groove. You’ll want the score line to go almost halfway through the plastic. Flip over the sheet and repeat the scoring process on the opposite side, along the same cut line. Reposition the plastic on your work surface so the scored groove is lined up with the edge of your work surface. Secure the plastic in place with a clamp, then snap off the portion that is hanging off of the surface.

Cutting Thick Sheets of Plastic

To make straight cuts on thicker sheets of acrylic and polycarbonate plastic (greater than ⅛ inch thick), you’ll need to use a table saw or circular saw. Look for blades designed specifically to cut plastic, which are often packaged as “No-Melt” blades and available at local home centers and hardware stores. Ideally, the teeth of the blade should be evenly spaced, of uniform height and shape, and spaced close together; teeth spaced wider apart may chip or crack the plastic. Note that if you choose to use a regular blade instead of a “No-Melt” blade,” creating too much heat may melt the plastic. As a precaution, you should pause between cuts to allow the blade to cool.

Mark the line you are cutting along with a permanent or grease marker and secure the plastic safely to the work surface with a clamp before making the cut. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, use the circular saw (or table saw) to cut through the plastic in the same way you’d cut through wood.

Cutting Curves

When you wish to make curved or rounded cuts in plastic, a jigsaw is your best bet, whether you’re working with thin or thick sheets. Ideally, you will use a sharp blade specified for use with plastics, but you can also use a blade marked for wood. However, it’s possible that friction from the blade will create too much heat, meaning the cut plastic can quickly melt back together if it gets warm enough. To prevent this from occurring, you may need to experiment with different jigsaw settings and speeds with a scrap piece of plastic. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how to use a jigsaw, and you’ll end up with a perfectly cut piece of plastic for your next home repair or DIY project.

Brew Period: The Craft Beer Labels That Are Works Of Art

With its barrel-aged stouts and gooseberry saisons, craft beer has transformed British beer. But that revolution has not solely been about flavour. It has been aesthetic, too. Beer cans are now a canvas for dazzling, cutting-edge design, and this golden age for beer art is celebrated in blogs-cum-books such as ohbeautifulbeer.com, and even at exhibitions.

This makeover of pump clips, bottle labels and packaging has been pivotal to craft’s appeal, says the beer writer and consultant Matthew Curtis: “Craft brewers needed an updated image to match the modern flavours in their beers. Breaking with traditional brewing imagery was essential.”

For Becky Palfery, the co-owner of the Leeds bookshop Colours May Vary – which in May held a beer art exhibition, Pumped – that marketing necessity has facilitated the rise of branding that can be considered art. “We wanted to see if, removed from the bottle and put in a frame, the artwork would stand alone,” she says. The beautiful, often logo-free bottles created by the revered Karl Grandin for the Swedish brewery Omnipollo, she insists, have the “aura” of artworks.

That is certainly how Textbook Studio would like its work with the Manchester brewery Cloudwater to be regarded – as art that, although shown on cans, would work in a gallery. The Salford design agency commissions and curates original art (about 130 pieces annually), which it then works into labelling for Cloudwater’s seasonal beers. It is a serious endeavour, as the notes for the current campaign explain: “Mariel Osborn worked with tactile fabrics and materials with a feminine aesthetic to create site-specific responses to the Cloudwater brewery.”

Last year, Anglia Ruskin University’s pubLAB research centre found that snazzy label designs were more important than shelf-space in catching consumers’ eyes. That may explain why craft has embraced such bold packaging. In a crowded marketplace, craft breweries want to stand out – particularly online. “A beautiful can goes a long way,” says Textbook’s Chris Shearston. “A lot of US bloggers get the cans, photograph them and it becomes part of the experience. People do collect them.”

The radical, tangential and aesthetically purist way in which many craft breweries approach branding has confounded big breweries. Larger businesses design product packaging to strict “brand guidelines” for specific demographics, whereas, initially, UK craft beer had no defined audience or marketing budget. It just made it up on the hoof, often differentiating itself not with the obvious signifiers of authenticity (retro printing styles, images of hops), but with wild, abstract designs that utilise everything from voguish hand-drawn illustration to landscape photography. When established breweries attempt to tap into this market (see the generic hipster branding for Beardo from the north-west brewery Robinsons), they often look, says Curtis, “Like your weird uncle trying to dance to Taylor Swift at a wedding.”

“The big guys are fascinated by it to the point of confusion,” says Nick Dwyer, the creative director at Beavertown in north London, where he executes all aspects of the brewery’s trashy, B-movie aesthetic. Dwyer talks of his illustrations building trust and intimacy with an audience of a similar age (he is 27) through a shared visual language of graphic novels, old Star Wars comics and cult movies: “This generation is not ashamed of nostalgia.”

Over at Partizan Brewing in south London, label artist Alec Doherty wasn’t “thinking about being distinctive. But do your own thing and you will be.” His work (a fusion of Soviet, modern European design and 1960s US counterculture influences) might reference a beer’s ingredients or its style, but obliquely (eg a wise old man to represent the herb sage). Doherty sees himself as cultivating a likeminded audience who might decode his artwork in the way rock fans once scrutinised album sleeves. Beer, he says, encourages such “nerdiness”. “We wanted to add to the experience in a visual sense. You might taste something unusual, look at the label and it would have these reference points.”

“If a product makes you feel sophisticated, you’ll keep buying it,” says Palfery. “In a way, it’s a clever strategy.” But, says Design Week editor Tom Banks, there must be an essential truth to such marketing: “Craft breweries see themselves as anti-establishment agitators, and people are buying into that. I don’t think that branding is disingenuous, and if the drinks weren’t nice they wouldn’t be selling.”

Naturally, a hardcore of drinkers regard any sharp design as suspect – a gimmick to shift substandard beer. But craft is a flavour-focused scene. A cool label may get a beer noticed, but if it is a lacklustre liquid, interest will wane. Conversely, says Curtis, an “awful” label (“It even uses the dreaded Comic Sans”) has not stopped Russian River’s Pliny the Elder from becoming one of the world’s most sought-after IPAs.

Nor is every new brewery compelled to spend big on design. The Kernel’s vintage labelling (black type on brown wrapping paper) is simple, instantly recognisable and conceptually fitting for a brewery obsessed with historic beer recipes. In Yorkshire, Bad Seed brewery’s inexpensive branding – a DIY effort based on the swing tags homebrewers use to identify bottles – works for a brewery pushing a handcrafted ethos. “It’s unique and comes from our story,” says co-owner Chris Waplington. “You need something eye-catching but it doesn’t need to be perfect. An honest reflection of you is more important.”

“There are a lot of old farts out there who don’t like change and complain about anything,” says Doherty. “Essentially, the label is inconsequential.” Except that this new wave of design is not entirely frivolous. Rewind to 2007 and real ale packaging was, as Palfery recalls, “ludicrous”. Its lingua franca of craggy moors, steam trains, adolescent fantasy imagery and lazy sexism (blond pinups on blond ales etc) defined good beer as a middle-aged, male pursuit. In contrast, craft beer’s aesthetic is asexual, inclusive, urban. “With skeletons and aliens you don’t have to think about gender, race, age,” says Dwyer. “It is what it is.”

Craft beer may look cool, but that stylistic shift is cultural, too. Beer is now in a far more progressive place.

Fall Crafts And Decorating Ideas

Fall is just around the corner—or, at least, I’m hoping it is. Seeing fall décor in stores and mums at garden centers just gets me in the mood for fall. I’m ready to throw some pumpkins around the house.

Here are a few fall crafts that might get you in the fall spirit, if you aren’t already there.

Glittery fall garland

This is an easy fall craft that the kids will enjoy as well. Find some fall-themed wood or foam cutouts, then glitter them up. Here’s how I made mine.

Ampersand pumpkin

Instead of just regular ol’ pumpkins, why not add a bit of embellishment to those faux ones you can find at craft stores? I made an ampersand pumpkin a couple of years back, and it’s one of my favorite fall decorations to date. The tutorial is here.

Go colorful

Instead of just decorating with orange and white pumpkins this fall, why not paint some in colors that reflect your taste and décor? I love painting pumpkins in kelly green or pink and then glittering the stems.

Five DIY and crafts projects you can make in an hour or less

I love seeing a custom painted accent wall or piece of furniture I’ve built turn out beautifully in the end. Sometimes, though, the small projects that take a whole lot less time turn out just as great.

Here are five DIY and craft projects for your home that you can complete in an hour or less.

Bottle into a lamp

Did you know you can take just about any bottle and turn it into a lamp? That’s what I did with this vintage wine bottle I found at The Insyde Outsyde Shop.

Fringe it up

Embellishing things like pillows, lamps or other small home accessories adds just the right amount of punch to a space. I love making fringe from duct tape for embellishing.

Faux jadeite

I love vintage jadeite, but it gets pricey. I came up with a way to get the look for way less.

Custom lampshade

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found the perfect lamp, but then finding the perfect shade to go with it has taken forever. One fix for that is making your own custom lampshade using any material you want.

Custom knobs

Ever since I discovered how easy it is to make your own custom knobs for furniture, I haven’t stopped thinking about what all I can make into a knob. Read this tutorial to start coming up with your own ideas for custom knobs.

Tips for Tackling a DIY Deck Project

MISSION, Kan., Aug. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — (Family Features) While planning a new outdoor living space can be overwhelming, chances are there’s a home improvement retailer nearby that offers an abundance of resources to help you tackle virtually any project. If a DIY deck project is on your to-do list, these tips can help you navigate the aisles like a pro.

Do your homework. Get started by perusing retailer websites to learn about their product offerings and services. Then visit manufacturer websites for more information and to compare aesthetics and performance. Research your options and decide what materials and styles make the most sense for your lifestyle and preferences. For instance, if you are looking to spend more time enjoying your deck than maintaining it, you may consider a high-performance composite material, like Trex. Unlike wood, composite decking won’t rot, warp, crack or splinter, and resists fading, scratching and mold.

Take advantage of retailer resources. After you’ve decided on a preferred material, your local big-box retailer can help you obtain additional information, design ideas and product samples. To help get you on your way, lowes.trex.com can help you explore the decking and railing collections available through Lowe’s. In addition to perusing an array of decking options, you also can preview designer-curated railing pairings. Once you find a combination that suits your outdoor space, you can download the materials list to better guide your in-store experience.

Explore the store. Once you have determined the direction of your project and narrowed down your product preferences, orient yourself with the store landscape so you can navigate the merchandise in an order that correlates with your project. It may be easiest to start with decking materials in the lumber aisle and then move to railings, which can typically be found in an adjacent aisle or on an end-cap display. Pay close attention to signage and look carefully for logos to make sure you’re finding the brand you want.

Ask an associate. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The staff at your local retailer can provide tips to help you successfully navigate your project and the store. For instance, if the materials you are looking for aren’t on the shelves, many options are available via special order. Typically, an associate can arrange for the product you want to arrive in-store in about 10 days. Most stores also offer assistance with installation.