Author Archives: Contemporary Closets

4 Essential Tips for Livening Up the Laundry Room

Blue-Laundry-Room-Organization-SystemIn our last blog, we gave one quintessential Pro Tip for the garage, the laundry room, and the pantry. It was one of our favorite posts yet, and so we’re going to expend on each room in a follow-up post starting right now, with the laundry. If you didn’t catch the last blog, here’s the laundry room tip you missed:

Laundry rooms are usually smaller spaces that have to contain some of the largest machinery in the home besides the refrigerator. If you haven’t bought your washer and dryer yet, or if you have a stackable pair that’s stacked. Consider side-loaders arranged side-by-side to maximize surface space along the top. To spruce it up, lay a counter top down across them and/or install shelves.

To spruce up even further, put up a color besides laundry-room white, or tile a portion of the wall and in between shelves…

Now we’re really going to take care of our own with 4 more Pro Tips for the laundry room:

laundry-room-with-counter-and-window-treatments1. Lose a Few Cabinet Doors

As we said, the laundry room is already burdened with some massive pieces of heavy machinery, and many laundry rooms are small enough spaces as they are. If you’ve got cabinets, then to open up the room a little bit, and add some needed flare and variation, take off some of the doors and effectively convert them into cubby holes. You might improve storage capacity or ease of access with this tip too, but you’ll definitely liven up the space, especially if you’re feeling a bit cramped.

2. Flare out the Forgotten Spaces

We mentioned above and in our last post that mixing up the laundry-room white is essential but often overlooked. You don’t have to do every wall, you can accent paint, or tile portions. The same goes for the inside of cabinets, cubby holes, and in between shelves. Decoupage even. Like it or not, you’re going to have to spend some considerable time in the laundry room. We promise that spiffing up the scenery will make a big difference, and this is an easy step you can implement incrementally on Saturdays and free moments to make a little go a long way.

Smart-fold-out-laundry-room--ironing-board

3. Roll Out

Multitasking, portable elements like rolling laundry butlers and racks that fold out can be a smaller laundry room’s best friend. They work overtime everywhere you need a surface, a basket, or a rack and they hide away when not in use. If it’s a small area, you’ll have to be strategic, and a rolling butler or smart ironing board can be just the ally you need.

4. It’s a Place for Laundry, But it’s Still a Room

The laundry room is a utilitarian space, but a space nonetheless. And that means using a little bit of that essential part of interior design we call accessories. Hang some art, or a mirror, treat the windows. If you’re living in the U.S., chances are you’re doing anywhere from two hundred to seven hundred loads of laundry a year. That’s a sizable amount of time spent in the laundry room, even if you do your folding elsewhere. So make it a place that’s comfortable to be. Incorporate design elements you enjoy throughout the house into the laundry room.

Organization Pro Tips

Laundry RoomToday we’re going to crack open the organization playbook to the pro tips section and hit you with some of the best ideas you probably never of heard before for organizing your garage, pantry, and laundry room.

Garage

The biggest issue contributing to garage clutter is storing things that have no place anywhere else. Well, the truth is, these things may not belong in your garage anymore either. It might be time to get rid of some of the things that have settled here over the years. Here’s the rule of thumb:

The Three Year Rule

It you haven’t used it in three years, get rid of it. It’s time.

What do you do with all the things you’re getting rid of? Donate them, there’s a charity for almost everything. Check out our comprehensive list of charities that specialize in donations of almost any household item here.

Pantry

Get rid of store packaging that only makes sense in stores. Cereal comes in a box not so that you can easily store them efficiently within the precious space in your organized pantry, but because a cardboard box allows the marketing department to compete on the shelf among other brands, and sell the cereal. We don’t need this in the pantry.

Using glass jars is not only a more sightly way to store things like cereals and pastas, it keeps foods fresher longer, shows you exactly how much you have so you know when to by more, and saves a lot of space.

Super Pro Tip – make sure the glass jar is dry and room temperature before storing anything.

Laundry Room

Laundry rooms are usually smaller spaces that have to contain some of the largest machinery in the home besides the refrigerator. If you haven’t bought your washer and dryer yet, or if you have a stackable pair that’s stacked. Consider side-loaders arranged side-by-side to maximize surface space along the top. To spruce it up, lay a counter top down across them and/or install shelves.

To spruce up even further, put up a color besides laundry-room white, or tile a portion of the wall and in between shelves, like the photo above.

Quick Fixes For The Shallow Closet in Your Old Home

16Many of us live in older homes that don’t seem to fit the new standard sizes of things. The shallow closet is where this is easily evident. Depending on the age of your home, you may not even have a closet deep enough to fit standard hangers properly. If this is the case we have a few suggestions to get the most out of this shallow space.

  • Hooks. Many old closets within older homes had hooks, rather than closet rods because hangers weren’t invented until the early 1900s and weren’t in homes until much later. Some may still have hooks installed, or have evidence that there were hooks. If hooks are something you don’t mind, and you want to keep the home close to original, this is a great option. Installing hooks will keep everything in arms reach, off the floor and clearly visible.
  • Install shelves. If you can, this is a great option and it will give you the much needed room for your clothing and shoes. Or use an old dresser if it will fit easily within the closet, instead.
  • Downsize the hangers. If your shallow closet is too narrow for standard hangers, purchase smaller hangers (like children’s hangers), or put your hangers diagonally on the closet rod. Another option is the tiered hanger solution. This way the clothes can be easily pushed away from the door so it can close.
  • Combine closet rods and shelving. Shallow closets usually continue a foot or more passed the door. So if this is the case install a short closet rod, from the back wall to the front wall next to the door, on each side. This will work perfectly for those items that need to be hung. Then, install shelves directly in front of the closet door for the clothes that can be folded neatly.

Get creative with your shallow closest. Combine two or all of the suggestions to get the most out of your closet space.

 

 

Tapping the Attic’s Potential

atticAttics are amazing storage units that you don’t have to pay for. If your attic hasn’t been turned into a secret bedroom hideaway, then take advantage of the space and start storing!

Keep in mind though, that unfinished attics generally aren’t heated or cooled. Meaning, whatever the temperature is outside is the temperature your attic will be, so be sure that what you want to store won’t be affected by the temperature change.

Check it Out & Clean it Out

Check out your attic, if you haven’t been up there. Look around and see how much space you have to work with, as well as check for any unwanted pests. You may even want a floor system installed if your attic doesn’t have a floor. Also be sure that your attic is properly ventilated, so that the air doesn’t become stagnant and damage what you will be storing.

Once you’re pest free and well ventilated, clean it out. Years of dust and grime should be vacuumed up, so it doesn’t put wear and tear on your items.

Store & Stow

Now that your attic is cleaned out the storing can begin. Here are a few suggestions of what to store in your new space:

  • Seasonal Clothing you don’t have room for
  • Baby Items
  • Kids’ Toys
  • Old Furniture you can’t part with
  • Holiday Decorations
  • Bedding

Anything you want can be stored in the attic. Remember, easy to stack and label, boxes and bins will keep your items dry and dust free. Everything should be covered, or boxed up.

Finally, organizing where you place everything will help you find what you need easily. We suggest putting items that you’ll need more often closer to the attic entrance, like clothing and holiday decorations, and things like old furniture you’re saving should be placed farther back.

So take advantage of that attic and get that clutter out of your living spaces.

Storage Trunks: an Overlooked Multipurpose Powerhouse

57 Cadillac storage trunk

Trunks, we all have at least one, but we don’t all use them to our advantage. Whether it’s a “sea-trunk” that Great-Grandma brought with her to America or one you bought last week, trunks are a unique storage space and conversation piece.

Put some Junk in the Trunk

Depending on the size and shape of your trunk you can store nearly anything. Some even have separate compartments or drawers, thus helping store and organize whatever items you want.

  • Use it as a toy chest or board game storage, so kids can easily reach and store their favorite toys and games.
  • Store bedding that clots up your closet space
  • Store clothes (especially if it has drawers) during college, or long trips
  • Use Great-Grandma’s “Sea-trunk” as a TV stand or use it as a coffee table (if the lid isn’t smooth get some table glass to put over it). People will take notice of all those old travel stickers.
  • If it’s a small trunk that can easily fit on a dresser, store small things like: jewelry, makeup or even rolled up ties.
  • Use it as a hope chest, and store any Family heirlooms, photos or newspaper clippings.

Trunks can store and be used for nearly anything, so long as it fits. Whether it’s Great-Grandma’s old beat up one, or one from college covered in stickers from your friends and vacations, or even if it’s plain wood or wicker, each trunk has a unique look and personality.  Use trunks to your advantage because they are a great storage asset.

Stylish stairs: Five can-do ideas that add personality

Stair styles

(BPT) – Stairs are no longer just a way to get from one floor to another. Realizing that staircases are quite often major focal points in their homes, homeowners are showing love to this once underappreciated space with a wide variety of creative and easy updates.

Add personality and perk-up the daily climb in your home with these five do it yourself projects.

Walls that wow

In most homes, the staircase is the centerpiece of your entryway and serves as the first impression. Transforming this space into an extraordinary one is easy by painting a bold accent wall. To add extra panache and go beyond the expected look of one solid color, paint the wall next to the stairs or the landing with an eye-catching pattern using a premium painter’s tape, like FrogTape Multi-Surface. Pick a pattern that packs a punch, like an all-over diamond motif, geometric shapes, or classic stripes, which complement staircases well. The patented PaintBlock Technology applied to the edges of FrogTape helps prevent paint bleed and leaves precise lines, keeping your pattern looking sharp.

Dazzling photo display

If you already love the current color on your staircase wall, you can easily add a personal touch by creating a photo gallery. It’s easier than ever to find inspiration and instructions for this project – simply visit Pinterest.com to view countless ideas and find one that works with your design style and space. The key to creating an impressive photo gallery is to keep one element consistent throughout. Whether it’s the color or material of the frames, or the shading of the photographs, having a uniform component allows the finished product to look polished and intentional, instead of haphazard.

Rethink risers and steps

For an unexpected update, focus your attention a bit closer to the floor. The area of your stairs that really takes a beating are the risers. Breathing new life into them can be accomplished easily with a fresh design. No need to stick with neutral shades. Risers are the perfect place to tie in a daring pattern. Opt for a chevron or Moroccan design with colors consistent with your home’s interior to achieve your decorative stairs.

Another stair expression is to apply a haute pattern directly on your steps for a faux carpet runner look. Paint your stairs with the base color of your choice and opt for a diamond motif or patchwork design. Be sure to protect your work with two coats of polyurethane when your design is complete.

Modern touches

The spindles between the treads and banister on a staircase are there to protect people – especially children – from falling off the sides, and are an easy item to swap out for a more up-to-date look. Simply remove the old spindles, which are typically held in place with a few nails. Clean up the wood around the spindle holes and scrape off any old stain, dust, dirt and sand around the tread for a tighter fit.

When shopping for new spindles, choose from these styles to take your staircase from boring to extraordinary:

* Swirls to add a hint of elegance

* Spindles with shapes such as diamonds or squares

* Outwardly curved designs

* Twisted styles

No more wasted space

Reclaim unused space under a staircase by adding storage. If it’s hollow underneath, remove the drywall to create an instant mudroom by installing cubbies to store coats, shoes and other items. Another option is to transform that once wasted space into a nook to meet your family’s needs. Whether you long for the perfect spot for reading, a desk to keep paperwork and bills organized, or a secret play space for kids, the ways to utilize this area are endless.

With a little inspiration and elbow grease, it’s simple to add the perfect dose of personality to your staircase. For more information about FrogTape, visit frogtape.com.

Storing Neck Ties

tie-rack

Every unique item calls for its own unique storage and organization requirements. If your shoe size is very large, if you have a penchant for top hats, if you like having more than just a few umbrellas, then you know this all too well. But there are a few items in most peoples wardrobes that take some special storage creativity, chief among them is the neck tie.

Neck ties have to be stored in a way that doesn’t crease them so folding is not an option (though rolling is), and they need to be stored and organized in a way that makes their varieties easily accessible so that a business person or fashionista on the go can play the mix and match game quickly and efficiently.

There are many ways to do this right. Our favorite is first.

1. The Extendable, Pull-Out Tie Rack

tie-rackThe pull-out tie rack covers all the basic needs when it comes to tie storage. It stores ties full length which is ideal to keep them from crinkling in a drawer. It takes up minimum space in a closet and goes out of site when unneeded. It’s a flexible closet accessory that’s not hard to fit or install anywhere that’s ideal. And when it comes time to figure out which neck tie compliments the confidence and dress of the day, it’s easy to pull out the rack and quickly access any tie that might do the job.

2. Hanger-Mounted Organizers and Tie Hooks

Tie hooks are either affixed to the closet itself or hang from the closet rod with a top curl that looks exactly like that of a hanger. In short, we don’t recommend them or any other hanging closet rod option.

The permanent tie hook fixtures tend not to store too many ties, and they also tend to integrate awkwardly into the closet. Because they can’t pull out, they must be incorporated into the actual interior closet scheme and more often than not there is no room for accessible features inside the storage spaces themselves.

The hanger-mounted accessories are often flimsy and may not protect your ties from crinkling between other garments hung on either side.

This is not to say that there aren’t situations in which either of these options would be perfect, just that the majority of the time they are less than ideal solutions, especially against other comparable options.

3. Rolling Ties and Drawer Dividers

drawer-devidersAnother option for tie storage is in the drawer. In the drawer, folding, as we know, doesn’t work as well as rolling. An advantage to the rolled approach besides avoiding creasing is that someone can easily look over an organized drawer of rolled ties, choose, and compare. But it’s got to be organized. That’s where a drawer divider can make all the difference helping to keep everything together.

If you’re a person who tries on ten ties each morning to get the perfect match, you may be in for a lot of rolling with this approach. If you’re a person who usually gets it the first time, this is a perfectly acceptable organization strategy for you. The tie drawer can even be combined with other accessories, all organized with the divider.

Whatever strategy you use to optimize your storage spaces, organize your closets, and store your ties, know that there are plenty of solutions to choose from!

 

3 Simple Steps for Thinning Down Your Closet

Beautiful-Walk-in-closet

Yes, your closet can look “fat”. A fat closet happens when your clothes, shoes, and other items look as though they are about to explode. Basically, your closet will be silently screaming for help, that’s when our tips and tricks will come in handy.

Step 1: Lay It Out

Take everything out of your closet: purses, clothing, shoes, jackets, everything. Lay it all out according to what it is. Then go through each category and decide what to keep and what to trash or donate. If you decide to donate, here is our helpful list of places that can take almost anything, and give it to someone in need.

If you never wear that old sweater, donate it! If that T-shirt is too small, donate it! If Grandma bought you an ugly pair of bell bottoms, trash it, no one should have bell bottoms.

Step 2: Clean Out Those Skeletons

Now that your closet is empty, it’s time to thoroughly clean it! Vacuum up those cob webs, Lysol those dusty shelves and toss out those skeletons you’ve been hiding. Make your closet sparkle and shine before you place anything back inside it.

Step 3: Coordinating your Clothes

Decide which items need to be hung in the closet and which can be neatly folded into drawers or onto shelves. For example, your “Snoopy and Woodstock” pajamas don’t need to be hung. However, your dresses or suits should be. This alone will cut down on what is in your closet.

The clothes that are left to be placed back into your closet can be organized further. Coordinate your clothing by color, season, and/or use. In other words keep pants, shirts, dresses, suits, and skirts separate.

To organize your shoes look to one of our previous blog posts: What to do With All Those Shoes, and organize them whichever way you see fit.

If purses or bags are stored in your closet, go through all of them and be sure you have trashed or donated as much as you can. Invest in purse hangers if you want to have them hang, or place them on a shelf, in a neat row, if your closet is equipped.

If you follow these steps your closet will thank you. A thinned down closet, is a happy closet and we are happy to help you and your closet find that happy place.

Great Tips for Getting Rid of the Kitchen Clutter!

Closet-Pantry

If you are guilty of disorganized kitchen cabinets and pantries, then you spend countless minutes searching for the spices and ingredients you need to make delicious meals. Here are a few tips and suggestions to help you no longer have to worry about opening the doors of the pantry and cabinets and having everything pour out toward you.

3 Steps to Organizing your Pantry

If you already have a pantry, here are a few steps to organizing one of your kitchen’s key storage spaces.

Pantry-Drawer1)      Take everything out of your pantry. Lay it all out according to what you use most, expiration dates, and like items, such as: spices and herbs, cereals, snacks and chips, soups, etc.

2)      Once you have it all laid out you can easily reorganize your shelving space. Most used items should be placed at eye level and in front. Things that are rarely used should go towards the back of your pantry, or on top shelves. If need be, invest in an over-the-door organizer to store your herbs, spices, and other smaller, often used items.

3)      If you find you just have way too many boxes and packages, invest in large, clear jars to easily store cereal, sugar, flour, pretzels and any other foods you see fit. Also, put erasable labels on the jars so everyone can find what they need.

No Pantry, No Problem

If you aren’t blessed with a pantry, don’t worry, we have you covered.

If you use cabinet space to store your pantry goodies, then similar steps can be taken.

Pantry-Rack

1)      Organize everything placing most used and similar items at eye level. Thing that aren’t used as often can be place on higher shelves or farther back on the shelves.

2)      Use clear jars or other containers to store cereal, sugar, flour, etc.

3)      Experiment with storage systems and organizers such as pull-out racks. Can a moving part the extends or rotates help you access more of your precious cabinet space?

Use your Drawers!

Pantry-Drawers

1)     Invest in drawer organizers if your cabinets are filled to capacity. Have a space between your fridge and cabinets? Get a thin, sliding shelf storage unit to put in that small space.

The Pantry Closet

1)    If you use a closet as your pantry, get creative! Get a decorative door for the closet, or put a chalkboard on the door to write a grocery list of things in the pantry you need.

Whatever you use for pantry storage, use these tips to stay organized.

5 Best Tips for Organizing a Bath for Space and Efficiency

bathroom-from-aboveOrganization can optimize any area in the home, from the closets to the baths. This week, let’s take a peak into the 5 best strategies, tips, and steps to maximizing space in your full bath – no matter how small it is, or how many people need to use it.

1. Organize the Tub and Shower

It may be true that while Dad needs a dandruff shampoo and Mom likes a specific conditioner with her very specific shampoo, a daughter might still prefer her 3-in-1 while a son wants the popular stuff with the scents that waft off all the “cool kids”. Baby might require three rubber duckies and a plastic diver to boot, and now we’re talking about quite a lot of items for the ledges and soap dish alone. But before each washing becomes a symphony of different bottles sliding off the edges and hitting the shower floor, let’s talk storage solutions.

Shower caddies are one great solution and come in a variety of sizes and shapes to attach and accommodate all types of showers and baths. Here’s our tip. Don’t go with suction cups as your preferred form of adhesion. We’re trying to get away for the shower symphony of falling objects, remember? While suctions might be a great solution in your car for you GPS or radar detector, the dampness, humidity and other unique environmental factors present in your shower or bath make them less than ideal.

If you want to give a DIY solution a shot, try adding an old shower curtain to the back wall with hooks for loofahs and caddies. As always, it’s just a matter of getting creative, tweaking, and starting over when things don’t work.

2. The Super Simple Solutions for More Space in the Shower

This one is a two-parter and it’s about having more space to bath, and so having more comfort.

First, understand that light colors always open up a space, and that goes for shower curtains as well. If it’s a dark color and you feel like you’re showering in a small, enclosed space, switch to white and see if your morning doesn’t start out bright and airy – that’s a pretty good change for not a lot of effort.

Second, give a curved shower curtain a shot. It may give you that extra space you were looking for so you can really spread your elbows during those dramatic shampoos that are usually only seen on TV.

3. Bathroom Closets, Vanity Storage and Out-of-the-Way Places

It’s time to get rid of the non-essentials including perhaps 10,000 sample-sized guest shampoos reclaimed from hotel rooms that nobody uses, ancient bath toys the teenagers used a decade ago, cleaning products that are nearly empty, expired, or taking up space, etc. Like all the spaces, the bathroom needs that organizing care. Once you’ve successfully pared down to the bare essentials, considering storage containers, storage bins, closet organizers or, at the very least, a carefully thought-out strategy for keeping everything both neat and accessible.

4. Shelves, Shelving, and Hooks – Organization System 101

We’ve only got so much surface area in any room to work with, right? Wrong. Shelves come in so many varieties, shapes, and sizes to fit the different demands of your life and home that you don’t even have to pull that old bookshelf in from the garage.

Consider the function when you’re considering the form. Is a shelf going to hold smaller, lighter items like toiletries and perfumes for her. Then why not install a small decorative shelf? Is a shelf going to be where the teens slam down their toothbrushes on the way to jumping a wide arch into their beds. Then here we would recommend something a little more sturdy, and maybe even lower for access by younger bathroom users.

Hooks can and should be incorporated for needs just like shelves. Brushes should either go in a drawer or on a hook. The sink and countertop is not the place for things that don’t seem to fit anywhere else, because if you’re not making designated spaces for things anywhere else, your counter-top is going to fill up very quickly.

5. Put on Your Inspiration Goggles

Remember, it’s exceedingly rare that the wheel has to be reinvented. People have been dealing with bathrooms that they wish were larger for generations. And they succeed in this task all the time. Be vigilant and attentive in friends’ bathrooms and see how their space is organized, ask yourself what works and what doesn’t, what things you would change, and what things you might incorporate.

Hotels and restaurants are pros at working effectively with different space and size requirements, take notes of the things that the professional decorators are doing with those bathrooms. Maybe go wash-up even if you don’t need to, just to look around. Eventually, you’ll gain a sense of best practices and your own likes, wants, and needs. Then it’s going to be easy and fun.

Photo Source