Walter Mondale, Carter’s vice president, dies at 93

Solutions: When organizing, think up

Jeanine Matlow

Vertical storage lends a sense of order to your surroundings. Going this route can provide some relief from dealing with those piles of papers and other objects that get lost in the shuffle.

That’s because upright items have a way of commanding our attention. This approach can be especially helpful when you hit a busy spell and your mail begins to multiply before your eyes.

This is where I often find myself during the fall season, which happens to be my favorite time of year. September is a whirlwind of playing catchup from vacation, doing the back-to-school shuffle, planning for my daughter’s birthday and so much more.

By October, my papers get buried in what can best be described as one heck of a mess. Not that I could always find what I needed before, but I don’t remember it being this bad.

Then I had an epiphany during a recent shopping trip when I came across some simple organizers. Two words popped into my head: vertical storage.

I ended up buying a basic black file sorter and a metal and wood mail organizer that would motivate me to address the mounds of paper taking over my home.

In the past, my piles were neat and tidy, but now they’ve taken on a life of their own. It doesn’t help that they continue to expand rather than shrink which is my ultimate goal.

Now I feel the need to nip some of my bad habits in the bud before the holidays roll around and I can’t find my feet let alone my keys.

For starters, I plan to stop reading one intriguing book after another until I catch up on my newspapers and magazines, which not only provide an equally great escape, but allow me to recycle when I’m done.

Then I must go back to the same techniques that worked before like placing time-sensitive materials, such as bills, in their allotted slot before they reach the abyss.

Sticking with my daily planner on a regular basis will make it easier for me to get a handle on my to-do list.

There are additional opportunities for vertical storage on my corkboards and magnetic surfaces that can be better utilized, including the fridge for reminders like schedules and events.

I may even add a wall organizer or two for magazines and catalogs that seem less daunting and more accessible when arranged in an upright fashion.

The same principle applies to clothing. Instead of folding tops in a drawer (or tossing them on the floor) hanging them in the closet or better yet on a coatrack or hooks makes them easy to see.

Jewelry can be displayed on stands that showcase bracelets and other baubles like a boutique with everything out in the open and within reach. This system can also prevent tangling.

So far, I’ve found vertical storage solutions work like a charm, making the transition from messy to sensible not only seem possible, but relatively pain-free.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at