How does a famous foodie keep his recipes straight? What's a jewelry designer's secret for tangle-free beads and bangles? Here, six great ways to organize tricky items from the people who know them best.
Ted Allen, host of Food Detectives on Food Network and author of The Food You Want to Eat
Over the years, Allen's recipe collection has consisted of a Betty Crocker cookbook stuffed with torn-out magazine pages, a battered box full of index cards, and a tabbed loose-leaf binder. The problem: "I was tired of managing all of those papers and flipping through 400 recipes," says Allen, who has started scanning his recipes into electronic files on his computer. "You do lose some charm, not having grandma's handwritten recipe, but it's outweighed by the ability to search for her apple cookies and find them instantly," he says. Allen cooks with a laptop in the kitchen, but if the prospect of an olive oil-splashed keyboard sounds too risky, consider a digital recipe reader, like the Demy ( MyDemy.com ), a small, kitchen-safe device that holds up to 2,500 recipes.
Craig Kallman, chairman and CEO of Atlantic Records
To house the hundreds of thousands of vinyl records and CDs in his collection, Kallman is turning a three-room Manhattan apartment adjacent to his own into a music library. Floor-to-ceiling shelves will be organized by genre, then sub-ordered alphabetically by artist's name, from earliest release date to latest.
Gina Trapani, founding editor of the software and personal productivity blog Lifehacker.com
Trapani created her own DIY charging station by drilling a hole in the back of a nightstand. Inside the cupboard is a power strip, with the cord running through the hole to an outlet. On a shelf above, Trapani's gadgets are neatly arranged, their cables feeding through to the power strip.
Carter Oosterhouse, carpenter and host of Carter Can on HGTV
One thing you won't see in Oosterhouse's workspace is a toolbox, which he finds impractical because items tend to get lost in a jumble inside. Instead, he carries his tools in a roomy five-gallon plastic bucket with a tool belt wrapped around the outside for odds and ends. "Maybe that makes me a redneck," he says with a laugh.
Art Streiber, celebrity photographer
Unlike most of us, Streiber's home organizing system does not involve shoeboxes full of four-by-sixes still in their paper cases. Instead, he slips negatives into clear plastic sleeves (you can get similar ones at the Container Store) and arranges them in binders labeled chronologically. Prints are grouped by subject and year ("Christmas 2009," "Sienna, 5th grade") in leather storage boxes.
Carol Brodie, designer of the Rarities fine jewelry line for HSN
Harry Winston publicist–turned–jewelry designer Brodie tried numerous methods (drawers, cases) for organizing her personal collection of 100 baubles, plus 400 or so samples that she rotates in and out. But the jewels were never easy to see, and the bulky containers weren't exactly travel-friendly. Discovering professional jewelry rolls—fabric rectangles that roll up and unfurl to reveal holders for different types of accessories—was a game changer. "You can see 50 rings at once, and they take up no room in a drawer or carry-on," says Brodie, who has separate rolls for necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and so on. If you don't have an especially large collection, she suggests a "combination roll," which accommodates a few pieces of each kind of accessory. ( JewelrySupply.com ; Kassoy.com )
More O : The 10 habits of highly organized people
Photo Credits: From Top: Courtesy of Food Network; Courtesy of Carter Oosterhouse; Tanya Braganti; Courtesy of Atlantic Records; Dan Tentler; Elaine Browne