Tag Archives: Storage

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.

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.

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

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.