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In-and-Out Organizing

Blueprint, July/August 2007

Keys and letters and loose change, oh my! The little odds and ends you unload as you enter the house can add up to a big mess. Conquer the clutter with these streamlined systems.

Solution No. 1: Modern Marvel
Vitra's iconic plastic organizer is the ultimate catchall. It's been tidying offices for decades but is tailor-made for foyers, too: The nooks and crannies will hold everything from gym locks to digicams.


Uten.Silo,, Ikea PS cabinet,, Letter holder by Blu Dot,

Solution No. 2: Square It All Away
Which loose bits drive you to your wit's end? It varies by person, so Rebecca devised a customizable setup that works for someone with four sets of keys, five favorite gadgets, six magazine subscriptions -- or all three at once. A simple wire-screen panel holds smaller items, while a basket becomes your home's in/out box. The cubbyhole console keeps the larger stuff stowed -- at last, a proper place to stash your handbag!

Tools and Materials
Heavy-duty canvas stretcher bars, 24-inch and 32-inch, both

Handy Roll hardware cloth (wire screen),
Cubbie console table,
Wire basket, Moon River Chattel, 718-388-1121


Screen Organizer How-To
1. Buy four heavy-duty canvas stretchers at an art-supply store and a roll of wire screen. Assemble stretchers to form a frame. Staple screen along top face of frame. Repeat on bottom, pulling screen tight. Do the same with sides. Trim excess, overhanging screen to make even with frame edges. Spray paint or brush on semigloss latex. Cover small cans (mini paint tins work well) with contact paper and use an awl to punch holes near their rims. Hang with S-hooks. For keys, we painted the hooks and paired each with a medallion tied to the screen. Magnets keep notes and lists handy.

Solution No. 3: Kitchen Caboodle
Don't be afraid to steal ideas from other rooms -- a sleek stainless pot rack relocated to the foyer proves adept at corralling clutter. The matching magnetic strip holds receipts and pretty postcards. Stacking bins can be labeled by family member or category (e.g., bills, catalogs).


Magnetic strip bulletin board and magnets by Three by Three Seattle,
Utility shelf,
Aberdeen desk, Wonk, 718-596-8026
Letter-tray baskets and basket spacers,
Patent bag by Maxx New York,

Another idea: Ceramic tagines are great for couscous, but they're also an artful way to keep sundries contained and out of sight. "This area is the first thing you see when you walk in the door," Rebecca says, "so make it beautiful."


Moroccan tagines, Global Table, 212-431-5839
Chunky console table,
"Cherries on Pink" and "Bruised Peach" artwork by Raina Bajpai,

Try This
More tips and tricks for outsmarting your stuff:

1. Place a pretty trash can near the door so you can toss junk mail as soon as you enter. (We like trash cans by Magis,

2. If space permits, use a desk in lieu of a console. The added surface area will come in handy for paying bills, and drawers can hide pens, maps, etc.

3. Convert shoe cubbies into mail cubbies like those found in old hotels. (Try the six-cube modular storage system,

Comments (37)

  • ddemoney 29 Oct, 2010

    Try Ikea's Expedit in a small size. I think it's $49 or $69. Just add a backing to it and you're there!

  • ibcrafter 28 Oct, 2010 does not have a six-cube modular storage system for $30. They do have some wire storage cubes for $19.99, but nothing like shoe cubbies.

  • Connielh 27 Oct, 2010

    Yes, I agree with the suggestions to ENLARGE the pictures. Please consider and thank you!

  • Frisketbisket 27 Oct, 2010

    Just a thought: If I could afford to spend $1,600 on the cubby console, I sure wouldn't be hand making an organizer from wire screen.

  • Twinkling 29 Jan, 2009

    thankyou for your wonderful ideas. very clever.
    i would like to leave a suggestion for the web page.
    please find a way to enlarge the pictures of your wonderful ideas when they are clicked on

  • Twinkling 29 Jan, 2009

    thankyou for your wonderful ideas. very clever.
    i would like to leave a suggestion for the web page.
    please find a way to enlarge the pictures of your wonderful ideas when they are clicked on

  • memastar 27 Jan, 2009

    How Great do we have it to be able to have all kinds of ideas at our fingertips. Some of you should work for Martha, you have great suggestions! I grew up by a single mom of five, and no one knew that we were short of $$. My mom knew how to shop and sew and redo furniture, cook( self tought)and other things she read in a book. We have the internet, HGTV, DIY, FoodNetWork, Create ect...... WE ARE SURELY BLESSED. Thanks everyone, keep sending your ideas.
    Grateful in Miami

  • NDW 26 Jan, 2009

    I'm with you two. I get so many good ideas here. OK, some of the pics are definitely too small, and sometimes the instructions aren't as clear as they should be, but on the whole this is such a great resource - and it's free! .......... er...... It's a good thing?..........!

  • lreal1 26 Jan, 2009

    thank you humbelina for getting the spirit of these projects. We can't all afford to shop where Martha shops, but the idea should make us think about what we need and how we can make this project work for us. I hate looking at the project of the day and seeing people with bad attitudes tear it apart. If it soesn't work for you, hit the delete key.

  • humbelina 25 Jan, 2009

    o.k ladies, I get it ,its expensive. my budget cant take it either but, I look at these projects as suggestions only. From there I can modify, alter, or do whatever suits me. Take this by the way great idea , to a craft store or home depot type store and go wild. Its an easy project to modify for those of us who are financially challenged
    I really like the idea of the plastic shoe rack. I think I will try that . Thanks

  • cheermom928 25 Jan, 2009

    If this idea sounds great but a little pricey. Why not try a shoe holder that goes on the back of a door. This is way cheaper and very handy. These bag like holders are great and come in lots of colors.

  • Mitzi1 25 Jan, 2009

    This is a great idea but the price is ridiculious. It should not cost this much to get organized.

  • ducksoup 25 Jan, 2009

    I know i don't have to buy it, but why for goodness sake is the Uten. Silo so expensive? Way overpriced and totally out of reach for the average working mom. Duck Soup

  • dorrainelmt 25 Jan, 2009

    great idea...I went to home depot and made something similar for about $ is great way to get clutter off the desk and table

  • pas_non 25 Jan, 2009

    i thought this was a project :( way too much $

  • moj400 25 Jan, 2009

    I liked the wall organizer, but thot it would be good inside my office armoir, not out in the open. Also way too much$! You could probably make your own from a cookie sheet and magneticl locker organizers and other containers.. You can buy various styles of sturdy and attractive cubbies from school supply companies like Lakeshore and Kaplan for under $500. I do like the idea of the writing table with drawers and pretty ceramic containers for odds and ends! Not as practical, but classier!

  • euni 25 Jan, 2009

    I agree with most of the posters; tjis is too rich for my retirement funds. Some of the posters have more reasonable suggestions and within the price range of most of us.

  • JeannieP 25 Jan, 2009

    I went to the website and the larger view there wasn't much better. I want to "see" what I'm looking at. And is that thig $360??? That's crazy outrageous. I don't want my junk drawer hanging on my wall either. I just want something small with small drawers on my side counter; something sleek and nice. Something that disguises and hides the clutter. No thanks on this one.

  • diannam 25 Jan, 2009

    PotteryBarn has a much more attractive wall organizer system than this, and it costs less.
    I agree with the poster who would like the option to see larger images.
    Can't imagine Martha would have this thing at her back door!!

  • Molly454 25 Jan, 2009

    who wants to display their junk drawer on their wall?

  • impulse2create 25 Jan, 2009

    I too wish Martha would set these pages up so you could click on an image and bring up a larger easier to view photo.

  • CajunDoll 25 Jan, 2009

    I have a hard time believing anyone would suggest a $360 or $1,500 plus item for organizing. Wake up, Martha!

  • carolinedefran 25 Jan, 2009

    so did i and it didn't cost $360!

  • sharonmanis 7 Nov, 2008

    I framed Peg board with wood trim and hung all my sewing tools on it, works great and looks really nice too!!

  • Moski 6 Nov, 2008

    My thought is to do this for an earring rack p where's my stapler!

  • Moski 6 Nov, 2008

    My thought is to do this for an earring rack p where's my stapler!

  • gramma52 6 Nov, 2008

    a couple of years ago I used an old picture frame to make my organizer, it worked very well and only cost me .75 cents at a thrift shop, and used small small tomato paste cans that I spray painted, the project cost me about $5.00.

  • jenmjo24 6 Nov, 2008

    I have a clear shoe holder in the pantry in the kitchen. I put it on the inside of the door and filled it up with snacks for my 2 year old. It is awesome, when I ask him what snack he wants he will look at the door full on snacks

  • saragrey 6 Nov, 2008

    I also use the not so glamorous clear shoe holders to house my collection of sunglasses, bracelets/bangles, and belts on the back of the closet door.
    The cubby they show is also very similar to one that they sell at IKEA for under 100$ (instead of 1500$).

  • mcstiles 6 Nov, 2008

    I did this same thing a few years ago on a larger scale for all my utensils. I made a large frame, painted it with milk paint, and covered it with chicken wire. A few "s" hooks, and all my measuring cups, slotted spoons and strainers have a new home that is tidy and super accessible...makes great wall art in the kitchen.

  • Balls 6 Nov, 2008

    Especiallly useful are those clear plastic pockets for eight or more pairs of shoes. The clear plastic lets you see whats there, even if it doesn't peek out. I hang them on the back of the doors: back door, bedroom door, etc. Perhaps not as glamorous, but every bit as functional for keys, pens, notes, pocket change, cell phone and ipod and their chargers, wallet, tickets, checkbook. You can fill your purse choice as you are leaving. Balls

  • joyoneil 10 Jul, 2008

    I use hanging shoe and pocketbook pocket hangers to sort and keep my knitting supplies. I sell half of my work, so I have several projects going at once. This way it is easy to see and get at instead of piled on top of each other in a container.

  • shearsnip 9 Jul, 2008

    I've used one of those shoe pocket organizers hung inside a panrtry/closet door. It's another way to organize all that "stuff "

  • ashleyarsenic 24 Mar, 2008

    a picture of this is going on my "to make" list!

  • PinkiePunky 6 Feb, 2008

    You can get less expensive cubbies at Target (built it yourself) or at AC Moore (stain or paint yourself). You can also use stacking baskets, which I think would be prettier, and can also be purchased online at Target or at the Target store.

  • cchamberlain 28 Dec, 2007

    Trash can for junk mail? Junk mail should go into recycling - or separated for shredding/recycling. I find letter or A4 paper trays work really well for holding recycling paper in various areas of the house. It won't hold all your paper, but should do for a week. In the entry you could also use one of the vertical magazine holders tacked to the wall under your console/desk.

  • famerebel 12 Dec, 2007

    gosh its too bad you cant click on an image and bring up a larger one :(