Tag Archives: tips

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.

 

 

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 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.