Diane Albright
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Archive for the ‘College’ Category

Back to School & College Tips

By Diane Albright CPO, Organizing and Productivity Expert
July 27th, 2017

This morning I shared “Back to School and College” tips and products with WFMZ-TV’s morning news anchor Eve Russo. These tips are not limited to students – some of them are great for adults at home or work!

A lap desk is a multifunctional tool that everyone should have and that I can’t say enough good things about. It increases productivity and keeps you healthier. I have my very favorite lap desk that I rant and rave about on my blog. It has the best features, comes in a variety of colors, and happens to be one of the lowest cost ones out there. You also can use a 40% off coupon. Read more….

snap_organizerA great way to store jewelry at college or on the go is in a hanging pocket organizer. (Pictured on right.) It can hang on a rod or hook, and then fold for travel. The one I showed is available at my store – All Bright Ideas 328 Main Street Emmaus, PA.

I was thrilled to find XL twin comforters, coordinating pillow shams, a large matching decorative pillow, bath towels, and washcloths all reasonably priced at Home Goods. They all coordinated in an orange colored theme.

One of my favorite finds at Home Goods was an extra tall easy-to-open step stool. I currently use a shorter version of this stool when working with clients. Not only is it a great step stool but it also doubles as a seat. I use it as a seat when needing to reach low places like under a desk or in a lower cabinet. Sitting is better than kneeling!

Home Goods also had some great storage bins priced $2.99 to 7.99. A bin on a shelf increases storage space while also making it convenient and attractive storage.

If you have any questions about this morning’s TV segment or our services, feel free to contact me at Organize@DianeAlbright.com or (610) 782-0636.

Happy organizing!


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Posted in College, Media Appearances, Moms | 0 Comments »

Lap Desk – Favorite Productivity Tool

By Diane Albright CPO, Organizing and Productivity Expert
July 27th, 2017


One of my very favorite productivity tools is a lap desk, but not just any lap desk, a lap desk with a cup holder and a penholder. It is a multifunctional accessory that provides increased productivity while keeping you and your computer healthier!

The cup holder can hold a variety of items from a drink to paper clips. The penholder, when it has a raised rim, keeps you computer from sliding towards you if the lap desk is angled on your lap.

First let’s talk about “health” benefits. If your computer is sitting on your bed or on your lap, the computer fan will pull in lint from your bedding and your jeans. This lint or dust disperses throughout the inside of you computer creating havoc on your computer, leading to hardware failure.

Now let’s talk about your health! When a computer is on a desk, not your lap, your arms are raised to desk height. This non-natural position puts your wrists and arms at risk for strain problems. Plus you can’t type as fast with your arms raised, hence making you less productive. Ideally you want your computer on your lap, on a lap desk.

The location of where you sit in a room also plays a factor in the health of your eyes as well as with your productivity. With a lap desk you can choose where to sit. You’ll want to choose a spot that meets certain criteria. Choose a location that allows you to easily gaze further away, like out a window or a doorway. If you don’t, your eyes will be limited to focusing on close up objects, creating eyestrain. Gazing in the distance reduces eyestrain.

Having the opportunity to gaze further away will also increase your productivity. First, it enables you to think creatively and problem solve. By looking off into the distance, you can let your mind drift and think. Here’s a perfect example of how NOT to think creatively or problem solve. Take an 8 ½ by 11 sheet of paper. Place the paper 12 inches in front of your face. Now try to think creatively. Take the paper away, look out the window, and now try to think creatively. You should see the difference.

The ideal location to sit should also have a solid wall or walls behind you. You don’t want doorways, openings, or windows behind you. All “openings” should be in your peripheral
vision. This will provide a sense of ease that someone isn’t watching over you or coming into the room unexpectedly.

Additionally, a lap desk is great to pull out when you’re a passenger in a car or parked when you’re the driver. It’s an ideal place to spread out lunch or dinner on the go; when doing work on your computer; or when in need of a flat work surface.

Last but not least, a lap desk with a cup holder also comes in handy when painting your nails. The flat surface is great for painting and the cup holder is ideal to place the polish in.

I must admit I have three of the same lap desks, just in different colors. I keep one at home, one at my office, and one in my car. I bought mine at Hobby Lobby with a 40% of coupon (coupon link is on Hobby Lobby home page).

Happy lap-desk-using!


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Posted in College, Computer Stuff, Electronics, Favorite Things, Media Appearances, Office/Workplace | 0 Comments »

Dorm Room Decor and Organizing Tips on WFMZ-TV

By Diane Albright CPO, Organizing and Productivity Expert
July 23rd, 2014

PrintThis morning on WFMZ-TV I shared with viewers tips on decorating and organizing a college dorm room. All the items shown were from Target and ranged in price from $3.99 to $19.99. When shopping in-store at a local Target, just look for the “College Shop” flags to help you navigate to what you need.

While it might be nice to coordinate colors with your roommate, keep in mind you may not have the same roommate year after year. Instead, consider a color that coordinates or blends with your room color at home. This way during the summer months you can take full advantage of what you purchased for college and use the items in your room at home such as a lamp, chair, ottoman, string lights, decorative pillows, etc.

Dorm rooms typically have either a standard length twin bed or an extra long twin bed. No matter if you know the size of your bed or not, purchase the comforter and sheets in XL. You never know what size bed you will have next year or the year after. The bed size may differ from dormitory to dormitory or if you move into an apartment. You won’t notice the difference if you buy extra long, but you will notice the difference if you are trying to fit a standard length mattress pad or fitted sheet on an extra long twin mattress.

While making your packing checklist, beware of the items that college student typically forget to pack. Add to your list a cable for TV, extension cords, batteries for remotes (TV and fan), postage stamps, and envelopes.

Items shown on the dorm room organizing TV segment: Comforter $16.00; Sheets $16.99; Decorative Pillow $18.99; Bed Rest Pillow $12; Paper Lantern String Lights $14.99; Metal Flower String Lights $14.99; Table Lamp $19.99; Ottoman $19.99; Decorative Fabric Bin $6.99; Decorative Bin $6.79; Beside Caddy $7.99; Over the Door Organizer $9.99; Storage Crate $3.99; Shower Wrap $11.00; Shower Tote $7.99; Shower Caddy: In-store Laundry Bag $9.99; Drying Rack/Towel Bar: In-store

Happy dorm room organizing!

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Posted in College, Media Appearances, Moms | 0 Comments »

It’s Time for Back to School and Off to College

By Diane Albright CPO, Organizing and Productivity Expert
August 7th, 2013

It’s off to college and back to school time! Every year there are new products on the market and this year is no different with fun colors and fun times. On WFMZ-TV’s Sunrise Show I was thrilled to share with viewers tips and tricks for back to school and off to college dorm room living.

Rubbermaid’s Lunch Blox for kids makes packing lunch fun, organized, and cool! There are two kits to choose from, one for flat lunch bags and one for tall lunch bags. Each kit is modular and airtight to keep items fresh and not soggy. Whether it is a sandwich or salad, these containers rock with cool colors and a Blue Ice pack that snaps to the containers. The containers are BPA free and microwave, dishwasher, and freezer save. You can find Rubbermaid’s Lunch Blox at grocery stores and Target for $10 to $15. Print a coupon for Rubbermaid’s Lunch Blox.

To minimize searching for sports gear, dance attire, or swim team suits, keep all “activity” wear in one dresser drawer or bin. This way your child is not sifting through regular t-shirts and shorts trying to find his or her soccer t-shirt or shorts.

The Academic Planner is a great time management tool for students of all ages. It provides students with a natural way to literally visual their available time so they can plan and manage it. It puts the student in control by giving them a place on the planner to record their activities and meetings. When they see available blocks of time they know they can easily schedule their studying and assignments. This planner is just any planner, it was developed by a mother whose child was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Executive Dysfunction. You can purchase the Academic Planner online.

If you are college bound, Bed Bath & Beyond offers a dorm room checklist specific for your college or university or use can use their universal dorm room checklist. No matter how well you think you’ve planned and prepared for dorm room living, there are common forgotten or overlooked items. Play it safe buy purchasing these items ahead of time and hang onto your receipt. Consider bringing along extra batteries (for remotes for your fan, TV, iHome, etc.); power strip, 3-prong cord, regular extensions cords, and TV cable (in case you place the TV far from the wall jack), Don’t forget to pack postage stamps and envelopes – you’ll most likely need them at some point.

Vera Bradley’s back to school line at the Heritage Shop Hallmark store on Emmaus Avenue in Allentown was a fun find.  The shower caddy in a number of Vera Bradley patterns goes great with a matching bath wrap and the coordinating pop up hamper compacts nicely and is easy to stash in the car.

For  guys or girls going off to college, Bed Bath & Beyond’s exclusive college bedding kits are a great deal. For $79.99 in-store you’ll get a comforter, pillow sham, sheet set, 2 towels, and a fabric storage bin to put under the bed or hang from a closet rod. I always recommend purchasing the extra long twin comforter and sheets as opposed to the regular length twin. The dorm you are living in this year may have regular size twin beds, but your dorm next year may have extra long twin beds!

Wishing you a happy and successful school year!

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Posted in College, Kids, Media Appearances, Moms | 0 Comments »

How to Setup a Dorm Room – Organize and Maximize Your Space

By Diane Albright CPO, Organizing and Productivity Expert
August 8th, 2012

"After" Photo by Diane Albright

With college around the corner are you wondering how you’re going to manage storing all your stuff? Although moving into a dorm is challenging, it can be made easier if you follow a few simple tricks and tips listed below. If you would rather some telephone “hand-holding” by our professional organizers consider our telephone consulting services for dorm room setup and organization.

"Before" Dorm Room Photo

First think vertical – use as much vertical space as possible. Your horizontal space will be taken up with your bed, desk, dresser, closet, refrigerator, etc. Unoccupied vertical space is lurking everywhere. Just a few of the places you will find wasted vertical space is under your bed, under short hanging in your closet, and under your refrigerator.

A perfect example of how to use wasted vertical space is putting your refrigerator on a refrigerator stand. A dorm room refrigerator stand will provide additional storage underneath the frig (great for snacks, cups, plates etc). Please photo at top.  A refrigerator stand will also raise your refrigerator to a more acceptable height – no more getting on your hands and knees to access the refrigerator!

When it comes to storing smaller items bins, baskets, and containers allow you to store more in less space. The sides of the container act as walls allowing you to maximize the vertical space without the items tumbling off or over. Containers also allow you to have easy access to items up high. Just pull the container off the shelf and you have access to all the items, none are hidden at the back of the shelf.

Throughout the whole process be open minded and creative! Repurposing storage containers to fit your needs can make all the difference.

Typically you have one day to move into your dorm room or campus housing. Well that is one day with your parents present. Parents usually are key because they’re the ones with the car, experience, and probably the finances to get you settled at college. Take advantage of the help while you have it.

Prior to departing for college I suggest buying containers, organizers, and bins. Buy them in various sizes

and types. Buy some with lids so you can stack others on top. If you buy containers and totes in solids and patterns your room will have a little style going and not look like you seriously got organized. Buy more bins, baskets, and totes than you think you will need knowing that you or your parents will be returning some. Be sure to keep your receipt in a save place.

Some great places to shop for college living are Bed, Bath, and Beyond; The Container Store; Target; and don’t forget your locally owned stores! When it comes to college-bound shopping each store has unique services, offers, and products for campus and dorm room living. Bed, Bath, & Beyond and The Container Store have special services for college bound students such as shipping your purchases to your residence hall or to the store closest to your college.

Below are a few of my favorite finds for college bound students:

Tapered Tote – Store more in less space – great for on a shelf or under the bed.

Small 3-Drawer Unit – Use vertical or horizontal. If need be, take out drawers to use drawer and unit separately.

Large 3-Drawer Unit – Use as one unite or take out drawers to use drawers and unit separately. Unit without drawers may work nicely on its back under your bed.

Lidded Box in Print – By using a lidded box you create more vertical storage space. Set a tote or another lidded box on top.

Horizontal Organizer – This set of shelves works great at the bottom of closet, under bed, or on top of the shelf above your clothing. They’re stackable.

Bed Risers – Create more vertical storage by raising your bed. Be sure to check if bed risers are permitted at your college.

Gearbox Bedside Caddy –Use this bed caddy to have important items at your fingertips.

Gearbox Deluxe Bedside Caddy
– This large bed caddy tucks under the mattress providing you convenient storage.

Command Hooks – Sold in a variety of stores such as Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target, and many grocery stores.

Remember if you would like advice on the best way to setup up your dorm room consider our telephone consulting services for dorm room setup and organization.

Happy dorm room organizing!

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Unique Storage Boxes

By Diane Albright CPO, Organizing and Productivity Expert
May 1st, 2012

New and innovative products are always coming on the market but Rubbermaid’s new Bento™ boxes take top prize when it comes to storage, innovation, and style. Bento™ boxes, a new line of storage boxes, are meant to divide and conquer your clutter. I discovered these unique storage boxes at the 2012 National Association of Professional Organizers Conference and Expo.

What sets these sturdy, fabric covered storage boxes apart is their hidden flexible storage compartments. The compartments pop back in and out of

place when needed and then not needed. The pop-outs form a square or rectangular compartment in the corners of the box. Pop out just one, two, three, or all four compartments depending on your box and storage needs. When you bring home a Bento™ box it’s like bringing home multiple boxes within a larger box but the smaller “boxes” (aka compartments) disappear when not needed – how great is that!

The sleek and stylish Bento™ boxes are so attractive they can be used at home and at the office. Wherever you use your Bento™ boxes they can change configurations as your needs change. Go from toys to crafts, or college to home office. Bento™ can stay with you all the way.

“Bento™ toppers” are also available. These tops can be used as a tray at the top of the box or as a lid to cover the box. Either way makes it easy to stack other Bento™ storage boxes on top of one another.

If style is what you are looking for, stack graduated sizes of Bento™ boxes on top of one another and consider alternating coordinating colors or patterns such as solid color Bento™ boxes with patterned Bento™ boxes. Your stack of stylish boxes will look just like that – stylish boxes, not storage and organizational boxes.

Prices for the Bento™ boxes range from $8.99 to $25.99. Currently the Bento™ boxes are available at Rubbermaid.com, Target, Joanne’s, Fred Meyer, Amazon.com, and Macy’s.com. Please note that Target does offer some exclusive colors and patterns like the one pictured at the top.

Click for more information on Rubbermaid’s Bento™ boxes.

Happy Bento™-ing!

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Posted in Clutter Busters, College | 0 Comments »


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FTC Disclosure: Every so often companies may provide me products at my request or theirs so I can review them for TV segments or my blog. I only review and recommend products I feel are worthwhile to my clients, audience, and visitors. On occasion I may receive compensation which helps to offset the time and expenses I incur reviewing and writing about products. I can assure you, I have turned down many offers as I truly must believe in a company and product to be associated with it. My reputation comes first.
Thank you for your understanding. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.