Tag Archives: organization

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.

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.

What to Do with All Those Shoes

shoe-storage-ideas-2

Shoes, we all have a growing pile of them on our closet floor. Then we complain about spending what feels like hours trying to find a matching pair, which turns the whole bedroom into a shoe explosion. Here are a few ideas for organizing the shoe clutter that haunts you.

Using the Space You Already Have

shoe-storage-closet-ideas-1If your closet has loads of shelving, reorganize it! Reorganize the shelves to clear up some space and line up your shoes in neat rows. If you have deep shelves put a few rows of shoes on one shelf. Organize them by height, color, or season, whichever you choose. Now they’re easy to find, and within easy reach!

If you don’t have shelves and you’re not a shoe hoarder, we suggest even lining them against the back wall of your closet. Once again organizing them the way you prefer; by color, height, or season. Now you can easily spot the pair you want with ease.

Hang It Up

The shoe hanger, we all know someone that uses it. They may not be the most attractive thing to see in a closet, but they get the job done. There are many types of shoe hangers: clear pouches or solid colored, long or short, and of course the door hanging version, or the two-sided version that hangs from your closet rod. Choose the one that fits your closet best and hang up that shoe clutter.

If the shoe hanger is something you want to avoid here’s another alternative. Have those thin metal hangers lying around? Cut the bottom of the hanger and bend each end to create hooks. Now you can hang up your sandals, heels and other shoes.

If wall or door space isn’t an issue, hang up a coat rack! Yes, a coat rack and hang your sneakers or strappy sandals and heels. Hang up a few coat racks if you can and create rows of decorative, stylish shoe storage.

If heels are causing most of your clutter, and wall or door space isn’t a problem, use towel racks! Create a few rows for your heels and hang those heels up for easy access and keep the clutter off of the floor.

Getting Creative with Shelving

shoe-storage-closet-ideas-3Narrow closet? No problem. Use extra spring rods! Put the back spring rod higher than the other for easy heel and stiletto storage. Have two spring rods level with each other for easy sneaker and other flat shoe storage. Make levels, and store shoes underneath. Spring rods can create great makeshift shelves for your shoes!

As mentioned in last week’s upcycling post, create shelving using an old cardboard wine box. Stack up a few wine boxes and decorate them with wrapping paper to create the perfect shelving unit for your closet space.

Give an old dresser new life! Remove the drawers and use the spacing like shelves. If there is no extra wood between the drawers, saw off the front of the drawer to create shoe shelves that slide out! Now there’s a unique spin on shoe storage!

So get creative and reorganize that monstrous pile of shoes in any way you choose.

And if you liked any of the pictures of our closet system solutions for shoe storage, check out the rest of the eShowroom here.

5 Fun Upcycling Ideas

UpcyclingInstead of throwing away an old item, turning it into something useful and creative reduces your carbon footprint and helps you become part of a wider, growing movement called upcycling.

Upcycling is growing in popularity so much so that not only do large, established retail brands incorporate refurbished and repurposed materials into their designs, there is even starting to be a popular design aesthetic using the refurbished theme as a motif.

Since upcycling is such a broad and growing category, let’s just focus on creative storage and closet related ideas. Here’s five to get you started.

1. New Life for Grandma’s Old Sweater

upcycled-skirtWe all know grandma bought that sweater out of love, but let’s be honest, it’s hideous! Well now you can turn that nasty sweater into something beautiful, through upcycling. Combine sections of shirts and sweaters to create a unique, one of a kind dress, skirt, shirt or sweater. Don’t restrict yourself to just shirts. You can upcycle jackets, skirts, dresses, gloves, scarves, any type of clothing really. Just be sure colors and patterns go well together.

Also be sure your end product will fit you, so you can start filling your closet with all sorts of interesting things and one of a kind pieces.. just don’t let grandma see what you’ve turned her reindeer sweater into.

2. So Many Things, So Little Space

Now that you’re filling your closet with upcycled clothing, where are you going to put it all? Well, if we helped you out, then you’re all set.

If not, try supplementing and creating your own unique storage systems with upcycling ideas. Use a sturdy tree branch to create a unique clothing rack. Either hang it from your ceiling using a small chain, rope or cable, or install J-Hooks, decorative curtain rod hooks or holders to hold it up from your wall.

wine-box-into-shoe-rackHave any old wooden crates lying around? Put them on their sides and nail them together to create shelves. Use them to store books, clothes, games or other knick-knacks you may have. Put it anywhere you need extra storage.

Reuse large cleaned-out coffee or sauce cans, and be sure to vary the sizes for a unique look and dynamic storage capabilities. They can also be turned upside down, threaded with a light and used as lamp covers.

Hanging shoe organizers can be a multipurpose space saver. Don’t just use it for your shoes. Use it to store kitchen or bathroom supplies, mittens, scarves, toys, crafts, and anything else you can think of.

Above is an old wine boxed turned into a new shoe box.

TIP: Spray painted jugs and bottles make great vases. Just be sure to clean them thoroughly first!

3. Not a Bookshelf, but a Book Shelf

books-as-shelvesWe’re not talking about a shelf for books, we’re talking about a shelf that actually is a book. That’s all you need. Just firmly affix two right angle hooks to the wall with a slightly narrower width between them than a hardcover book, and place the book on top. On top of that goes the things you’d like to place on your new shelf. The look achieved is fun and creative.

4. Very Specific Storage Problems and their Upcycling Solutions

toilet paper cord holderUsing old paper towel rolls and toilet paper rolls once all the paper is gone can mean a lot more than just throwing out less trash. It can help you organize all the wires that will inevitably tangle up together if left anywhere in the vicinity of one another.

 

TIP: If you’re using the wire, a pen spring might keep it from fraying where it meets the jack.

pen-spring-cord-protector

5. Share Your Ideas

The online upcycling community is abuzz and growing day by day. There is so much to find because so many creative, new ideas are being posted and shared every single day. Follow great upcycling blogs like Upcycle That and be sure to submit your own new ideas to contribute and give back.

The possibilities are endless…

upcycled card catalogue wine case

Photos courtesy of denisebrain on Etsy, more clothing available, Twisted Sifter, more tips available, and Life Hacker.

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.