Category Archives: Tips

5 Tips for Optimizing, Organizing and Designing an Exquisite Mudroom.

Red MudroomYou might be surprised to find out about one of the most talked-about spaces in a designer’s consultation with home owners, and one of the most popular problem/solution ares in the house: the mudroom. One of the first things a new homeowner will realize is just how important this space really is, and one of the greatest improvements a veteran homeowner can implement is to make sure at least one of the entrances to their house functions as a mudroom.

The mudroom is where you leave your muddy boots as well as all the mud on them. It is where you leave your snowed on jacket as well as all the water runoff. With a mudroom, the hazards of the outside are contained, and don’t make their way all over the rest of your home.

The mudroom is also where you’ll find your boots again the next day, where you’re snow jacket and umbrella will be waiting for you before you go out, and where you’ll put them on. So, the mudroom is a functional space, not just a storage space.

Lastly, the mudroom is or is a part of at least one of the entrances to your house, and in this sense it’s an introduction to your home. So, the mudroom is a design space, too. A mudroom has to be well designed and look good as an introduction to your home, it has to contain all the things that happen to you when your outside the house, and it has to be a comfortable place to slip in and out of your outerwear; it’s a tall order for just one area, but we’re here to help you out with the most helpful tips to a successful mudroom.

1. Varieties of Storage

The mudroom might contain the largest variety of different storage needs out of any single space in the rest of the house. Everything from the hat on your head to the shoes on your feet, and anything in between must be stowed here. That means bins, shoe racks, hooks for jackets and scarves, shelves for hats, and that’s just the beginning. Drawers for gloves, surfaces to put things down on when you need both hands for dressing, a place for your umbrella. If you’ve got kids, then we’re talking about places for book bags and strollers.

Reach in foyer closet for mudroom

A careful brainstorm at the onset of a mudroom design or re-design project goes a long way. You don’t want to be leaving anyone out. And that includes a pet that might require doggie bags, leashes or pet clothing.

2. A Mudroom Must Function

Not only must your mudroom store all your articles of outdoor clothing, it must also cater to the process of putting them on and taking them off. A bench makes lacing up shoes easier for Mom, and especially for Grandpa. A mirror prevents you from forgetting that your hat and your scarf don’t match, and proper lighting ensures that you can see that mirror.

Make the mudroom a place where coming into and leaving your home is a seamless transition.

3. No Mudroom? Making it work.

The mud, and this refers to all the varied thing you’d rather not track into your home, makes it’s way in weather you’re ready for it or not. But if you don’t have a nice space to act as a mudroom, don’t worry. You can work with what you’ve got. An entrance that doesn’t have its own enclosed space may still be able to accommodation hooks and shelves, standing drawers, and a mat to contain the dirt or mud and protect the floor in the rest of the house.

4. Mudroom Combinations and Materials

The mudroom often doubles as a laundry room, or a workshop for messier hobbies. The porch can also function as a mudroom. Or, as mentioned above, sometimes the mudroom isn’t a room at all, but a necessary buffer nonetheless between the outside of the home and the inside.

No matter how you organize it, the mudroom’s function is simple. To get dirty so the rest of the house doesn’t, and to be easier to clean than the rest of the house. For this reason, pay close attention to what colors and materials you use in your mudroom. Since it’s the first place many guests will see, it must still exhibit a sound design and reflect the sensibilities of the homeowner. That said, it’s not the place for soft woods, carpets and difficult to clean nooks.

5. Making a Mudroom

A mudroom can double as a laundry roomMudrooms are something a custom company like Contemporary Closets can definitely help you out with. If nothing else, the consultation is free and you’ll learn a little bit more about what you are looking for in terms of storage and organization in your spaces.

If it’s a DIY job you’re after, you can use some of the tips above to help get you closer to realizing your vision for your home. Pay attention to other peoples’ entrances, laundry rooms, and mudrooms. See what types of things you would use or avoid in your own.

How do your needs differ from those people, how does your space offer you different options? Take some time to walk through entering and leaving your home in different seasons, and in different types of weather in your head to make sure you don’t forget anything obvious, like a place to put your sunglasses.

5 Tips for a Small Closets with Sloped Ceilings

Closet with Sloped CeilingWhat To Do About Sloped Ceilings In a Small Closets

Sloped ceilings are one of the most common problems encountered by homeowners trying to optimize and organize their closet space. When a structural requirement arises in the building of a new home that calls for slanted or sloped ceilings, they are as often as not incorporated into the closet space.

But you can’t ignore the things you throw in your closet, even if they are architectural peccadilloes,  especially if you don’t have a few steps and tips, and a sound strategy for dealing with your sloped ceilings. Suddenly every little detail becomes bound to your overall organization:  your choice of shoe rack, storage containers, hamper, placement of your closet rod, even how you organize your belts and ties. It’s a delicate dilemma, but here are five easy steps to demystify it for you:

1. The Closet Rod and the Sloped Ceiling

Depth is askew in a closet with a sloped ceiling. That means that, depending on the angle of the slope and the size of the closet, the most space is at the bottom, and the closet narrows and tapers off at the top. Because we are going to have to optimize and organize with what we’ve got, it means we’re going to have to use that low depth, which means the closet rod needs to be installed as far forward as possible (which means higher up, too).

Shelf space at the top of a sloped-ceiling closet would be sparse anyway, so forgo narrow closet shelves, and prioritize prime placement of the closet rod. You’ll make up for it with added storage space behind and beneath your hanging garments. It may not be ideal. But it is the first thing to start thinking about when dealing with the less-than-ideal situation of sloped ceilings in the closet.

2. Shelving in a Closet with Sloped Ceilings

If you’re done thinking about step one, and you’ve still got room on the slope for closet shelving. Then it’s time to think about how to accomplish it. There are a verity of brackets and fasteners, as well as specially made shelving and shelving units which specifically accommodate the sloped ceilings in your closet. Many of them work on a hinge system so that home installation can be easily accomplished regardless of the varying angles of the slope. The bottom of the shelves is the place to put an extendable tie rack, retractable belt racks, and maybe even some lighting if doing so will save you valuable space up top. Since the floor space is going to be crucial, consider a hanging or hanger shoe rack as well.

3. The Four Seasons of a Closet with Sloped Ceilings

That would be spring, summer, fall, and winter just like everywhere else. And just like everywhere else, your closet – if it isn’t large and the slope is cutting into the organizational space even more – is going to change seasons. The winter is going to be the most tricky because of the larger, warmer clothing the cold requires. But the spring is going to be even more important because that is the time you are going to do the crucial change over from the winter clothes taking up all the room in your closet, to your summer clothes airing it out. Remember that awkward spot that may have been created at the low back of your closet, the least accessible, most annoying spot. This is a good place for storage containers which can hold the winter clothing you really aren’t going to need ready access to until next year. A closet that may not be big enough for all four seasons to be accessible at once, may just be big enough (with some diligent organization) for one or two seasons worth of clothing to be accessible at a time, while storing the unneeded clothing as well for the remaining two seasons.

 4. Talk to us about your Closet with Sloped Ceilings! It is fun and free!

At Contemporary Closets, we are a team of professional designers and installers who deal only with organizational storage spaces like the closet, the pantry, the garage, and the laundry room. We will come right to your house for a free consultation and do what we love and do best: show you how to optimize your closet spaces in ways you couldn’t have imagined. If you don’t like us. Just kick us out. But most people like us; just check out the testimonial section of our site.

We are faster, nicer and better than anyone else in the custom closet industry, and it’s free to give us a try.

5. Don’t Worry… About a Thing… Including Your Small Closet with Sloped Ceilings.

Wrangling with the space in your closets is a nearly universal dilemma. Even if you have a spacious wing of your house devoted to you wardrobe, you still have to think about your organization if you are going to find anything. Storage spaces are daunting, especially if they’ve got sloped ceilings! But take advantage of these tips. Reach out to us in the comments section, or call us at (877) 647-7331 .. and you’ll be just fine.

Help Your Own Spring Cleaning by Helping Others

Spring Cleaning with Donations

Contemporary Closets knows the importance of spring cleaning, and knows that it’s easier and more efficient to get rid of old items when you know they are going to a good cause. So, we put together a helpful list of charities who will gladly help you take advantage of your spring cleaning as an opportunity to donate and support people in need.

That’s it. Thank you for letting us help you realize the potential for you life’s organization. The pleasure was ours. And thank you for letting us continue to be a part of that process.

1. Vietnam War Veterans of America
- Accepts clothing, shoes, housewares and glassware, drapes, toys, games, bikes, tools and      small appliances
- Picks up directly from your home
- Contact them at 1-800-775-VETS (8387) or visit online at www.vva.org

2. Habitat for Humanity Re Store
- Accepts new and gently used furniture, appliances, lumber, hardware and unique items to the public.
- Contact them at 973-782-6993 or visit online at www.patersonhabitat.org/restore
- Store located at 415 Hamburg Tpk, Wayne, NJ 07470

3. New Jersey Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center Inc. c/o Katzenbach School for the Deaf
- Accepts Eyeglasses
- Contact them at lcif@lionsclubs.org

4. Dress For Success
- Accepts women’s suits and professional attire
- Contact them at 973-822-3188 or visit online at www.dressforsuccess.org, or in person at      Morris County Madison Community House, 25 Cook Ave, Madison, NJ 5. Sole 4 Souls
- Accepts gently used footwear

6. Get Well Gamers Foundation – Accepts video games
- Visit them at www.getwellgamers.org

7. National Christina Foundation
- Accepts computers – Visit them at www.cristina.org

8. Earth911.com
- Accepts all electronics, computers and household items.
- Visit them at www.earth911.com

9. Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation
- Accepts musical instruments
- Visit online at www.mhopus.org

10. Nike
- Accepts athletic shoes – Visit them at www.nikereuseashoe.com

11. Goodwill and the Salvation Army
- Accepts almost anything
- Find locations at www.goodwill.org and www.salvationarmyusa.org

If you have a favorite charity that we’ve left off the list, please let us know in the comments below.

Spruce up your home for spring in just a weekend

Sprint Cleaning

(BPT) – As the weather gets warmer, everything outside becomes fresh and new – so why not make your home as nice inside as the weather is outside? In just a weekend, you can complete a few quick, easy projects that will make a big difference in your space. Get inspired to give your home a spring spruce-up with these handy tips.

Wash away winter grime

The first step to making your house feel like new is to clean. Use a weekend to focus on three main areas: the kitchen, bathroom and living room. In the kitchen, toss expired items from your refrigerator and wipe down the inside with soap and water – don’t forget to sweep underneath and give the coils a good dusting, too. To get the bathroom in shape, replace dingy shower curtain liners, pitch old toothbrushes and other unwanted items and purchase a new toilet brush. In the living room, thoroughly dust light fixtures and blinds, and remove and launder slipcovers on couches or chairs. While you’re at it, don’t forget to replace batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Time to de-clutter

Still haven’t eaten that candy from Christmas? It’s time to pitch it. Spend a few hours cleaning out kitchen cabinets, cluttered closets and the junk drawer – you’ll feel more relaxed and organized as a result. Once you’ve gotten rid of items you no longer need, refresh shelves, drawers and pantries throughout the house by installing shelf liner. It’s an easy and inexpensive task that can give any space, whether it’s the kitchen, bathroom or laundry room, a new look in a jiffy. Non-adhesive shelf liners, such as those from Duck brand, are easy to cut and install. The company’s Smooth Top Easy Liner has a grip bottom, meaning the liner stays in place, with a smooth top, making it easy to clean and wipe off debris. Available in a variety of colors and prints, it’s also a great way to add an unexpected pop of color and personality to your shelves and drawers, providing the perfect mix of fashion and function.

Add some accessories

Shelf LinersIt’s amazing what a few accessories can do. To revive a room without spending a fortune, attach some new trim to your existing drapes or add new shades to your favorite lamps. Wall decals or stencils are another way to add a personal touch to a room. Highlight your favorite inspirational quote or try an interesting illustration, such as a floral design or a sophisticated chandelier. Stencils and decals are available at local craft stores in numerous shapes and sizes – some are even offered in wall-size shapes, making the project super simple. You can also bring the season inside with spring flowers in a brightly colored vase or buy a new piece of art to hang as a focal point in your room.

Pull out your paintbrush

If you want to go for a more dramatic redo – but one that’s still doable in a weekend – pick up some paint. The warmer weather means you can keep your windows wide open, making it the ideal time to add a fresh coat of paint to your room. For the simplest touch, paint an accent wall instead of redoing the entire room. Pick a vibrant color for some spring cheer or try tackling a decorative painting technique – such as stripes, zig zag chevron or a geometric print – to really make your room feel modern and stylish. To make painting a breeze, use a premium painter’s tape like FrogTape brand painter’s tape. Its PaintBlock Technology prevents paint bleed, helping to ensure clean, sharp lines. On fresh paint 24 hours old, select the FrogTape Delicate Surface grade for best results.

To really get in the spring spirit, make painting an excuse to have some fun with friends and family. Take turns helping friends with their painting projects and reward the effort with pizza, ice cream or other treats provided by the host.

Whether you’re going for a dramatic makeover or simply giving your home a good scrubbing, find inspiration in these tips to help you make the most of your weekend and get your home in superb shape this spring.

 

Apps For Your Closet

Phones for your Closet

When you are working with peoples’ closets all day you see A LOT of things, and meet a lot of people who are looking for a solution to their organizational quandaries. But lately, I’ve been seeing something very interesting; clients are experimenting with closet organization apps on their smartphones and tablet PCs, and they are having varying amounts of success.

Like all things, there are the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to choosing an app to add to your life. Here’s a quick guide to help you sort it all out.

1. NETROBE  Gold Star

NetrobeWe like Netrobe for iOS (iPhones and iPads) a lot, and we’re giving it a gold star.

The App requires a bit of TLC in terms of uploading EVERY article of clothing in your closet to its database. But it’s worth the investment, because once it’s there you have a categorized inventory of everything you own. You can mix and match outfits and save them to your “styleboard” for quick reference later, you can even go shopping and match clothing that your thinking about purchasing against the things in your closet.

You can even save items you’ve found online or taken pictures to a “lookbook” and then take it with you when your shopping, too.

If you’re so inclined, Netrobe even has an agenda calender in which you can save your outfit picks for each day of the week or special occasions.

Lastly, there isn’t anything these days that isn’t social, and Netrobe is no exception.

Of course, you don’t have to take advantage of this feature if you don’t want to. But even people who don’t like sharing their styleboard outfits out, enjoy a little fashion voyeurism perusing through the outfits that other people are sharing, and even saving them to their own lookbooks.

All in all, Netrobe is a nifty app that, like anything else, gives you back what you put in. But Netrobe is very neat, with a well thought out user interface and list of features. And we think it gives you back a lot for your time and energy investment. In terms of financial investment: it’s free.

2. STYLEBOOK Gold StarGold Star

Stylebook

Stylebook is also an iOS phenomenon (iPads and Iphones only), with a full version that costs $3.99. But before you discount it in favor of a free app, please consider that Stylebook’s full version is very VERY full. Stylebook is the Rolls Royce of closet apps.

There’s hardly a fashion magazine that hasn’t at some point mentioned the Stylebook app, and there are even a few technology magazines that have featured it too. It’s simply loaded with features.

It’s free-form canvas for creating looks actually let’s you put the outfit together so you can see what everything looks like side-by-side. Then you can categorize it any way you like. For example, as a going-out outfit, or a casual look. You can do this with the items in your closet, or with items you find online, or in person.

Stylebook has the sharing capabilities and calendar-planning functionality you’d expect, but add to that a packing list feature, a shopping feature, personal size tracking, and an built-in, interactive expert style blog.

Stylebook will even keep track of what you’ve been wearing and generate statistical data for you on your own personal style trends. It’s a beast of a closet app, and for that, we’re giving Stylebook two gold stars.

3. CLOTH

ClothCloth, free for iOS (iPads and iPhones) doesn’t get any stars from us. Essentially, it’s simply an alternative camera role to store “selfie” photos of your outfits. There are some organizational features here, and some sharing features too, but there really isn’t anything to do with closet inventory at all. It’s essentially a mirror with a memory, which is cool, but doesn’t offer anything above and beyond your phone, so while we’ll list it here, because that is something, we’ll save our precious gold stars, too.

There are a multitude of apps in addition to these three which you’ll encounter when searching specifically for “closet apps”. However, we’ve found that most of them fall into the subtly, but importantly different category of “fashion apps”.

But, if you want to leverage the bleeding edge of modern technology to bring your closet into the future, and get an optimized experience when picking out outfits, shopping for clothing, or organizing your life, than we recommend one of these three.