Functional & Decorative: Up-Cycled, Eco-Friendly Organizers

I love organizers! They make life easier, they add life to a room, and they give us more space to move in.  Today, I put together a selection of functional, decorative pieces that can be used to organize clutter. These pieces are handmade, upcycled or recycled, and eco-friendly – which makes them even more special.

These stitched wire sculptures are created by bird from a wire. That birdcage wire frame is so cute, don’t you think?  Those of you who love to sew might use it to hang ribbons or fabric scraps. I would love to hang my hubby’s neckties there alongside photos and postcards or notes. (The 2 wooden clothespins are included set.)

I love these wall organizers from post road vintage! The cool thing is that each one has been put together using recycled materials like mason jars, tin cans, salvaged metals, etc. They certainly would make any space more interesting!  If you hurry, there is a giveaway on her blog right now.

These creative storage bins are from sewing momma‘s shop.  They are made from felt fabric produced from 100% recycled plastic bottles.  The pretty flower embellishments are created from fabric scraps.  Perfect bins to dump in your magazines, shoes, craft supplies, toys, and thingabobs!

Loving these burlap message board, journal, and bookends from next door to heaven.  I can imagine those bookends with my favorite books on a white or neutral shelf.  So lovely!

This shop called bowenism is all about felted pottery made out of wool fabric.  These fuzzy vessels  would look fabulous by the window or on a shelf to contain small items or potpourri.

I want these French script clothes pins from The Shabby Chic Cottage.  The bird tea light holder and pin cushion are adorable as well.  And so is that ivory lamp shade with French scripts.

These soft, fuzzy bowls are from Valeries Gallery.  They were stitched or crocheted from wool yarn, processed through the washing machine, shaped and hung dry.

Midwest Finds is all about upcycled and recycled vintage jars.  I love the jar liquid soap dispenser.  I can imagine it inside a simple white bathroom.  And the half-pint jar spoon rest, isn’t it so creative?  The natural blue tinge of these Ball jars would look perfect against a white or gray background.  Combine it with a colored accessory and the glass will reflect the colored light.
Oh, how I would love to take home even just one or two item from each shop. What about you? Which one   did you like?

Wall Organizer Must-Haves for the Home and Office

Are you looking for items to organize your stuff? Hang it up on the wall, save more space, and decorate your home or office with these cool finds:

Forget Me Not Wall Organizers and Wandregal Wallflower Weis
from: Design-3000

Uten.silo by Dorothy Becker at


Loop de Loop Lace Shelf ; Shower Caddy
Birdcage Wall Jewelry Holder ; Honeycomb Bracket
Key Hook
All from: Urban Outfitters’ Apartment Decor

Cubby Wall Organizer and Kitchen Spice Rack
from: Pottery Barn

Bird Paperclip Magnet ; Toilet Man Scotch Tape Holder
Sink Paperclip Holder ; Tulips Hub

All from:

mesh letter organizer ; fabric wall organizer
scarf hanger ; closet organizer

All from: The Container Store


unclutter your home with hanging organizers
All from: Stacks and Stacks


1. Centipede Organizer by Adam Und Harborth 2. Tree Hooked by Jan Habraken and AlissiaMT
3. Studio Organizer by Joe Colombo 4. Mountable Wine Rack by Blomus
5. Storyline Wall Shelving bystudio Frederick Roije 6. Modern Wall Bike Rack by Andrew Lang
All from: Nova68.c0m

Modern Organizer Pieces for the Wall
All from:



Graphix Wall Organizer from Madison Art Shop


Check out this DIY Project:
A Wall Organizer Made Out of Repurposed Cans
via: Green Upgrader

Which one of these pieces do you like?

Shop of the Week: Black Ink and

Last month, I was introduced to the Black Ink Store and If only I live in Boston or at Harvard Square or anywhere near these cities, I would definitely visit these stores. Apart from offering an array of unique, well-designed and functional items for the home and the office- perfect for organizing stuff- the stores also display a vintage collection of tools, decor, etc.

On this week’s Q&A, let’s get to meet one of the co-founders and the owner of Black Ink, Susan Corcoran.

What’s the inspiration behind your shop’s name?

Black Ink on Charles Street in Boston is our original retail store, opening in 1994. When we first opened we had a large selection of rubber stamps we produced ourselves, many were vintage images, all were a bit unusual. As black ink was my favorite color to stamp with, we named the store Black Ink. At this time we sold a lot of rubber stamps and a few select personal accessories/gifts – times change and we now sell a lot of gifts and accessories and just a few rubber stamps…

Black Ink at 101 Charles St. Boston was the 1st store

Change has been a constant at Black Ink, we have always experimented and tried products that would not ordinarily be found in a retail store. We purchased many industrial and vintage industrial products to use in the store as fixtures and props, as our customers commented and asked about purchasing these pieces, we began to source industrial items to add to our product selection.

The Museum of Useful Things retail store window

We sold industrial canvas baskets, steel lockers and stools, and many restaurant supplies pieces that were functional and beautiful. From this collection came the inspiration to start our first website, the Museum of Useful Things. sold pieces that were fun and satisfying to use, like the giant woodshop dustpan, a spinning restaurant order rail, and a kraft box filled with oversize paperclips. show bill

As interest in these products was keen, we opened a brick and mortar store to display our vintage goods and sell the currently produced items. Although we are back to a website only for the Museum of Useful Things, still provides those hard to find useful items, and, as our tagline still reads “the beauty of function.”

A beautiful vintage tool, a stencil cutter, it stills works!
Behind the cutter – some of Susan’s many industrial tool catalogs,
which are a treasure trove of great images and duo-tone printing.

In the interim, a new, larger Black Ink was opened in Harvard Square, Cambridge. And we finally succumbed to a Black Ink website: We currently operate out of these two stores, running the two websites, and I keep an office/collection at home.

shelf full of useful items at Black Ink, Harvard Square store

What was the toughest challenge you faced so far?

The toughest challange of our store’s history was losing our co-founder, Timothy Corcoran, to cancer seven years ago. We continue in his spirit, bringing a bit of wit and humor to our friends, staff and loyal customers.

Please Name:

the things I do when not busy in shops:

Travel! This is where much inspiration hits, visiting other cultures, seeing how others live and work, and getting a fresh perspective on my own businesses. We recently spent time in Tokyo and are headed to Iceland next.

Work on my house. My home’s design has a symbiotic relationship to the design of the stores. I have incorporated many retail fixtures and elements into the house I share with my two kids and our pets. Like the stores, it is a functional and utilitarian space with lots of unusual and idiosyncratic pieces. The design is quite minimal, but is full of the vintage industrial pieces I collect and books and products found in our travels.

Reading is another source of inspiration. We sell many architectural and craft titles in our stores, so I try to keep up with what’s new and try some of the crafts (amigurumi is a current favorite.)


Susan’s vintage product collection in her home office
The shelves were originally used in the Museum of Useful Things retail store.

stuff inside your bag you can’t leave home without:

My MacBook goes everywhere, as does my iPod touch – need to have music and images available, and a camera. (My kids and dog are usually with me, too)

Toby – the family dog, who often comes to work with Susan
in the front window of the Harvard Square store.

your favorite shops:

Tokyo is a shopper’s paradise, loved Tokyu Hands and the original Muji and the Ginza Ito-ya and all the small quirky fashion boutiques. I can get my Japanese shopping fix in New York at Kinokuniya Bookstore, Takashimaya, Uni Qlo and Muji…

your top 3 picks from Black Ink:

Super Clips, the oversize paperclips we have been selling for years, I use them everyday.


4 Way rubberbands, another ingenious twist on an everyday product.

Whatever is newest, and that is subject to daily change!

What tips would you want to share for aspiring home based entrepreneurs like you?

Best to find what you really love to work with, as it can and will be all-consuming in terms of time and energy.

Don’t be afraid of change once underway, businesses must continue to morph and respond to changes in the business, economic and taste/style environments.

Have fun with it!

Susan Corcoran standing in the door of her corrugated metal-clad house, a year ago.
co-founder and current owner of Black Ink, and


Your message to customers and friends of Black Ink:

It’s been fifteen years since the first Black Ink opened, thank you for a wild ride, looking forward to more and different!



Now for my picks.
I really want to get myself these utilitarian things to help me get organized.


Peanut erasers that look like REAL peanuts


clipiolas ROUND paper clips

This is called the BOOK HUG. For reading a book without holding the pages!


ASPIRIN paper weight
I can really relate to this:)


animal cups
This one reminds me of Blur’s Coffee & TV

thumb things –
Okay, these are so yoru thumbs won’t get strained holding a book open
and doubles as bookmark too!

“sneaky uses for everyday things” handbook
Really Interesting book this one!

Thank you Quin for writing me about this shop. And thank you Susan for taking the time to do the interview. All the best to Black Ink Store and

Mad About Shelves

Shelves are probably one of the smartest innovations in interior decoration. Shelves today come in all shapes and sizes, in all sorts of materials such as metal, wood, plastic, chrome, etc. and a wide variety of styles. Wall-mounted shelves are great for maximizing small spaces while free standing cases make way for instant storage in any open space of a room. Here are some cool pieces I found from various online stores:


1. Kartell Bookworm Bookshelf 2. Kartell Lovely Rita is a whimsical bookshelf
3. Wine Bottle Rack by Kartell from Office


French Style Wall Shelf from Home Decorators


French Style Wall Shelf from Home Decorators

Free Standing and Wall Mounted Utility Shelves from The Container Store

Wire Cables Mounted Shelf from The Container Store

White Wall Shelf from Furniture Paradise


Wood and Glass Shelves from The Shelving Store