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Don’t toss it, reuse it

Professional organizer Schofield shares ideas on repurposing home items

POSTED: March 16, 2012 12:30 a.m.
/For The Times

Author Deniece Schofield will share her knowledge on home organization in her Get Organized seminar Monday at Comfort Suites, 1750 Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville.

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Where most folks view a coffee filter as a one-trick pony, Deniece Schofield sees endless possibilities.

"Coffee filters are wonderful for polishing shoes. Or, you can use them to wash your windows and they won't leave a speck of lint," said Schofield, author of five home management and organization books.

"I always put one inside the bottom of my potted plants. It lets the water drain out, but the soil doesn't. The filters are also wonderful for serving hot dogs, tacos and popcorn."

Having spent the last three decades honing her craft, Schofield is full of useful tips.

On Monday, she'll share her knowledge with the attendees of her Get Organized seminar at Comfort Suites, 1750 Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville. The seminar costs $20 per person and there will be two, two-hour sessions, one beginning at 10 a.m. and the second one beginning at 7 p.m.

Although there are two sessions, attendees shouldn't worry about trying to attend both. Schofield will be sharing the same information at each. Participants also don't have to worry about pre-registering.

"For the first 30 minutes, I'm going to talk about finding more space in your home without throwing everything away. Organizers are famous for saying, ‘Get rid of this. Get rid of that.' Well, some people can't do that," Schofield said.

"We'll talk about finding space even if you aren't willing to get rid of everything. Next, I'll be sharing specific ideas for organizing your home. The last half, we'll talk about

managing time and getting rid of the floating pieces of paper that clutter up your home."

Even though she's prepared a pretty thorough agenda - complete with handouts - Schofield is also leaving room for audience participation.

"There will be plenty of time for questions," Schofield said.

"And this is a self-contained seminar. You don't have to buy anything to learn something. You'll literally leave armed with hundreds of ideas."

Some of those ideas will include her unusual uses for common household items.

"Before I go out and buy (a specialty item), I look around my house to see if there's something I can use instead," Schofield said.

"It saves money. It lets you be creative and it keeps things from ending up in a landfill."

For instance, old pantyhose filled with cat litter make convenient deodorizers for shoes and other smelly areas around your home, Schofield says.

And those ponytail holders with the little plastic balls on the end? They make a great in-house substitute for bungee-style bindings used to organize loose electrical cords. Manual can openers an be used to hull strawberries, while non-glazed terra cotta pots can be use to store cleaning pads.

"They're wonderfully absorbent, so they help to keep your scouring pads from rusting," Schofield said.

Those plastic lids that no longer have their mates? Try using them instead of cardboard to create patterns for crafts.

"They don't fray, they're more durable and they're easier to use," Schofield said.

"The large lids from ice cream buckets make wonderful holders for flimsy paper plates. It gives your guests something sturdy to carry around.

"They're also good for mini cutting boards."

Schofield says her creative housekeeping and organization skills weren't her birthright.

"I wasn't born organized. I was horrible as a kid and hit bottom after our third child was born," Schofield said.

"This was before organizing was an industry. I made a list of all the problems I had and worked on them one at a time.

"It took a lot of trial and error. Eventually I got to the end of my list and turned that into a system."

She finished writing her first book, "Confessions of an Organized Housewife," in 1982. She followed that up with books about time management, getting your children organized and bringing order to your kitchen.

"If you're looking to organize your home, the kitchen is the best place to start," Schofield said.

All of her books are available for purchase through Amazon.

Although she's gotten the hang of things now, Schofield says her seminars are meant to be a "shot in the arm" not a sermon from a know-it-all.

"Getting here wasn't easy. We all need motivation to do the same things today that we didn't want to do yesterday," Schofield said.

"Getting organized is a lot like dieting. You do well for a couple of days, then you mess up. You have to keep starting over, but eventually you'll get there."



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