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Author: Annette ReymanDownsizing Garage General Home Move Management Organizing Organizing Products Storage

6 Spaces to Organize When You Move In

You’re packing to move and you can’t believe you own this much.

“Where did all this stuff come from anyway? How did it all fit in here in the first place? I can’t believe how long this is taking and how many boxes we have! AAAaahhhh!!!!”

Moving

Well, it’s true. When we pull everything out of its storage space, we can see the volume of what we really have. And, for those things that haven’t been seen or touched in years: much of it is astonishing.

“Cans of hairspray? Wait. I haven’t bought hairspray in a can in at least 2…uh, 5…oh, I don’t know – better throw that out. How did these shoes get back here? Man, they’re dusty. And sort of misshapen. Well, okay very misshapen. Nevermind. Out! And, wait. Do we really have 6 new containers of black pepper? Six? I had no idea. This will last us forever!”

NOW is your chance!

You are moving into a new home. Whether larger or smaller than your last, it’s an opportunity to get organized – right from the start! Here are 6 spaces to set up when you move in so you can get and stay organized:

Spice Storage: There are so many options for organizing spices that there is really no reason you need to fight to find what you need, have bottles and jars falling out onto you as you reach behind, or repurchase multiples of what you already have. Sterline Deluxe Roto Caddy

  • Sterline Cabinet Turntable – not your average space-hogging Lazy Susan. I use it in my own kitchen!
  • Mountable Spice Rack – let’s you utilize wall space or the inside of a cabinet door.
  • Rev-A-Shelf Spice-Drawer Insert – if you have the drawer space, this is a convenient and user-friendly idea.

Pantry: DIY or go the extra mile and get pro-installation. A pantry organizing system will be a delight to your family today and a great selling point tomorrow.

  • Shelf Genie – products that are made to fit, professionally installed and guaranteed to last.
  • Container Store Solutions – want to avoid adding anything permanent? Shelf bins and door racks can do the trick.

Under Sinks: Either in the kitchen or bathrooms, under sink storage will make ALL the difference. Enjoy the control and say goodbye to yucky under-sink messes!

Shoes: The struggle is real. First decide where you want to store them (By the entryway? In a closet? Under the bed? In the garage?) Then, reign them in.Shoe Space Saver

  • Container Store Stackable Shoe Shelves – perfect for inside a closet.
  • Target Standing Shoe Rack – a little overwhelming for a bedroom but a great for solution for garage entryway.
  • Amazon Shoe Space Savers – these little devises will cut your need for space in half!

Bedroom Closets: If you are renting a home, you may want to save money and purchase some temporary solutions that you can take with you when you move out. For homeowners, installing built-ins is the way to go.

  • Closets By Design – Go for it and get it done right!
  • Temporary & Portable Solutions – Not ready to commit? Try something less permanent.

Storage Area: Before you go building columns and walls of heavy boxes stacked one atop another; stop and think. This is what got you into the last mess of storage chaos. Is there room for some shelving? Is there ceiling or wall space to be taken advantage of?

  • AtticTracPlus – quick and easy to set up. Makes attic storage usable!
  • Garage Sense – Use ALL the space your garage has to offer and get things out from under your feet!
  • Basement – Simple shelving will do the trick.

Make the changes and don’t look back. Move in and Move on.

Disclaimer: products in this post are in no way endorsed or sold by NAPO©
Author: Vali HeistFamily Garage Home

ORGANIZE THAT GARAGE!

Garages tend to become the dumping ground during the winter. But the best thing about organizing the garage is that if we do a really good job, it usually stays that way for at least a year. In reality, families use garages as storage facilities rather than a place for the car. That stuff can include obsolete electronics, delayed decisions about where to put something, overflow from the house, and unneeded building supplies. Since the whole family probably uses the garage, bring everyone together and make it a family affair. Let’s break it down:

START WITH A CLEAN SLATE AND UNCLUTTER

  • Pull everything out onto the driveway if you can. Sweep it out and eliminate the cobwebs.
  • As you pull items out, sort them by categories:
    • lawn and gardening, work bench, sports equipment, dry goods overflow, car accessories, tools and power equipment, paints/solvents, lawn furniture, beach items, camping, etc.
  • Talk to your children about their items and help them eliminate clutter. Consider having a garage sale to sell their unneeded toys.
  • Finish or get rid of the unfinished projects (two years old or more).
  • Find a new home for stuff that shouldn’t be stored in an uninsulated garage (e.g. photographs, items that could melt).
  • Eliminate duplicates and donate unneeded tools, doors, windows, appliances, or anything to build a house to Habitat for Humanity in your area.
  • Take hazardous waste items (e.g. oil-based paint) to local semi-annual cleanups.

STAY IN THE ZONE

  • Divide the garage into zones according to the categories you’ve established.
  • Think “grab and go” and store things where they are convenient.
  • Hang tools where they are most accessible.
  • Keep car accessories close to the cars.
  • Store overflow from the kitchen close to the door near the house.
  • Reposition some zones as the seasons fluctuate: move bikes, beach items, and lawn furniture down in spring and move the skis and sleds up high.

TYPE OF STORAGE/SYSTEM

  • Put big items back first and the rest goes around those items.
  • Think ‘up’: store infrequently used items on high floating shelves or beams.
  • Metal on cement will rust the metal. Rest metal on wood or up on the wall.
  • Studs with no dry wall are great for peg boards. Cut different sizes according to the types of stuff you have.
  • Use open wire epoxy-coated steel shelving: wet things can dry, mesh prevents dust.
  • Consider a garage storage system. Search the Web or go to Lowe’s or Home Depot.
  • Use different colored plastic bins for different zones so it’s easier to put them away.
  • Hang long things vertically so they take up less space. If garden tools don’t have a hole to hang, drill one.
  • Remix things you may already have: Use old drawers/cabinets, shoe bag on the wall to hold small garden tools, old table for a work bench, etc.

Finally, if you enter your home through the garage make sure it’s clutter-free and welcoming. Hang a welcome home sign, clean the door, and put a nice door mat in place. You deserve a nice welcome home!

And remember: “Every time you put something back where it belongs, it’s a gift to yourself.”

Author: Annette ReymanGarage Home Organizing Storage

Witches Brew

annettes-pic“Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
 wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
 adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
 lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing…”  ~William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Reaching into the cupboard for canned pumpkin, you come upon what appears to be a rotting bag of potatoes you’d forgotten that you bought a couple of months ago.

You go down to the basement to pull out your holiday décor and realize it will take days to even get close to the area where it is stored – the boxes you can reach have been chewed into by…something.

You look under a bathroom sink for the ointment you haven’t used since last year’s blister you got while raking and you discover what must be a leaking pipe (and a mass of soggy toiletries).

Just because you have not actively used a storage area for some time, doesn’t mean that it has remained unchanged in your absence. Storage spaces like basements, spare rooms, closets and cabinets can be easily ignored when organizing or cleaning. The items they contain do not present the issue of “visible” clutter. The door is closed and what is stored is not in anyone’s way. Besides, the everyday mass of new paper, gadgets and gizmos coming in that crowd our countertops are enough of a challenge. Who has the time to deal with what’s already stored? Right?

Well, unfortunately, what is out of sight and out of mind is not necessarily out of play in the functioning of our homes and lives.

We want to be able to use the storage that we have in order to be able to put away supplies, seasonal items, sentimental memorabilia and the like, so as to keep them from impinging on our daily living.  However, if we continue to shove new items in, we can end up pushing older items back, back, back into the dark recesses known only to the Boogieman.  Therefore, an occasional survey of storage spaces can keep them functional and friendly. And, although I doubt you’ll need worry about coming across any ingredients in Shakespeare’s brew, you may want to be prepared for the unexpected when venturing to take-on one of these areas.

  • Have trash bags on hand.  Trash inevitably shows up in spaces that have long been off your radar.   Be prepared for candy wrappers, leaky bottles of hand soap, broken hangers, and moth-eaten sweaters when addressing certain long-neglected areas.
  • Keep cleaning supplies nearby.  Unless your drawers, cabinets and closets are vacuum-sealed, you should, at the very least, expect a significant amount of dust.  Once you have purged any unwanted or unrelated items from the area, putting items back into a clean space will give you peace of mind and having the cleaning supplies on hand will allow you to get the job done there and then.
  • Stay calm.  Occasionally you may encounter bigger issues; a leaky pipe or an infestation of bugs or rodents in spaces that you have not visited in a while.  Although these discoveries can be unpleasant and startling, ignoring them will only make matters worse.   Open a window to ventilate the area and check the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website for step-by-step instructions for safe removal of messes such as mouse droppings and mold.

If you’ve seen signs of bugs or rodents, consider bringing in an exterminator first and holding off for a week or two on the organizing.  If there’s a leak that you cannot find or fix yourself, call a plumber sooner rather than later. Unaddressed leaks and critters can do damage to your health and your home, not to mention your wallet. Take care of them before they turn into a caldron full of trouble.

Let the witches and goblins that ring your bell for candy be your only scary surprise this fall season!

Click on the title above to learn more about the featured author.

Author: Danielle OBrienClutter Garage Organizing

NATIONAL CLEAN OUT YOUR GARAGE DAY

garageDid you know that there is a ‘National Clean Out Your Garage Day?’ Well, sure enough there is, and it was last Saturday, September 12, 2015. Why not take advantage of the beautiful, upcoming autumn season, and get the process started?

Purging your garage and utilizing all the space your driveway affords, is the perfect spot to sort through all the clutter that you’ve accumulated over the years. Soon enough, you’ll need your Halloween décor and Thanksgiving Day bin, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve been busy entertaining, traveling, and heading to the pool all summer. Believe it or not, even as a professional organizer, my garage tends to get messy. There’re serving platters from my last social gathering, cases of beverages that haven’t been placed into the garage fridge yet, suitcases from our last trip, my pool chairs, and my cooler which I bring to the shore on the weekends. Also, I have my donation bags that I fill year round, electronics that I plan to recycle for my clients, and gardening tools that I keep on the floor for ongoing projects.

Below are some helpful tips to help you get the process started:

Set up bins & trash bags in the driveway labeled donateshredtrash, recycle, & sell.  Keep in mind that most liquor stores give boxes away for free, and they are small enough to handle when heavy.
Put everything that is on the floor outside in the driveway. Now you can walk safely around your garage. Sweep and dust as you go.
Make a plan as to where you’re going to store your belongings. For example, garden supplies on this wall, tools here & seasonal items there. Set it up like a little store. Use temporary labels for your specific zones.
Start sorting like with like. Maybe you’ll need some shelving. Personally, I like Gorilla shelves or clear bins. Also, I use nice big labels on all sides of the bins and on the shelves.

Even though ‘National Clean Out your Garage Day‘ is history, the present state of your garage may require your getting it done even though it is a few days or weeks later. If the task seems a little daunting, that’s the perfect time to ask for a some help. Professional organizers are well equipped to help with the most exhausting of projects. You’ll get it done right, and you’ll get it done quickly!

Author: Vali HeistGarage General Goal Setting Home Seasonal Storage

Organize your Gardening and Enjoy the Process

bright flowers put a smile on any garden setting.

Finding the time and energy to garden has been a challenge for me in the past few years. Our property seems to be getting bigger or am I getting older? Regardless of the reason, I’m not willing to give up the great exercise and satisfaction I get from planting my garden, so I need to get more organized to get it done. I also have to be satisfied with an hour or two here and there instead of a full day of gardening. After I planted my garden last year, I took pictures of the planters and the gardens and made a list of the plants I bought at the local nurseries.

Our garden shed was built on top of an old outhouse and frankly it could withstand a hurricane. It has a waist high counter and wooden shelving. We used leftover linoleum flooring from the kitchen for the floor. It’s just the right size to hold the following:

  • gardening gloves and ball caps in a closed plastic container
  • small gardening tools-store in plastic carrier or basket with a handle
  • gardening planters
  • folding lawn furniture stored under the counter
  • gazing ball and stone statues for the garden
  • rod iron poles for hanging baskets, plant and tomato stakes, and long tools (small shovel, rake, edger)-stored in 5 gallon plastic bucket with metal part up
  • items to decorate my screened-in porch
  • flower seeds and bulbs in a metal container
  • leftover potting soil in 5 gallon plastic bucket with a lid

In the spring:

  • Use 5 gallon plastic bucket with handle to pull out weeds.
  • Pull everything out of the shed and sweep it out (mice and chipmunks have made their winter homes in my shed).
  • Take plants out of the garden that died over the winter.
  • Throw out older seeds and bulbs that didn’t make the winter.
  • Divide perennial plants if too big and share with your neighbors or replant in other parts of your garden to save money.
  • Move other plants around to fill in where plants died or didn’t come up.
  • Using pictures from last year, I bought plants and vegetables and planted the planters and the gardens.

In the fall after the first killing frost:

  • Fall is for planting, so buy perennials on sale and fill in where plants didn’t live.
  • Don’t forget to call 811 before you dig too deep to prevent damage to electric lines and natural gas pipelines.
  • Wash out the planters and store in shed.
  • Store leftover seeds and bulbs in metal containers
  • Donate any ceramic planters or recycle plastic containers you didn’t use

After plants have been hit by frost, I like to fill in with fall décor so it doesn’t look so empty. I use some of the more colorful pots I emptied to hold mums and fill in with straw bales, pumpkins, cornstalks and gourds. Organize your gardening so it’s a pleasure, not a chore.

Clutter Tips:

  • Don’t store 9 volt batteries against each other or other batteries. They can spark and cause a fire.
  • When you clear the clutter in medicine cabinets donate unused and unexpired medical supplies, to C.U.R.E., c/o Mission Central, 5 Pleasant View Drive, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050.

Green Tips:

  • Latex paint disposal: equal parts kitty litter and latex paint. Let sit for one hour and throw in garbage.
  • Make the switch to permanent water bottles instead of putting plastic into our oceans. Even recycling plastic bottles produces toxins.
Author: Vali HeistClutter Garage Organizing

Organize that garage!

Garages tend to become the dumping ground during the winter. But the best thing about organizing the garage is that if we do a really good job, it usually stays that way for at least a year. In reality, families use garages as storage facilities rather than a place for the car. That stuff can include obsolete electronics, delayed decisions about where to put something, overflow from the house, and unneeded building supplies. Since the whole family probably uses the garage, bring everyone together and make it a family affair. Let’s break it down:

Start with a clean slate and unclutter

  • Pull everything out onto the driveway if you can. Sweep it out and eliminate the cobwebs.
  • As you pull items out, sort them by categories:
    • lawn and gardening, work bench, sports equipment, dry goods overflow, car accessories, tools and power equipment, paints/solvents, lawn furniture, beach items, camping, etc.
  • Talk to your children about their items and help them eliminate clutter. Consider having a garage sale to sell their unneeded toys.
  • Finish or get rid of the unfinished projects (two years old or more).
  • Find a new home for stuff that shouldn’t be stored in an uninsulated garage (e.g. photographs, items that could melt).
  • Eliminate duplicates and donate unneeded tools, doors, windows, appliances, or anything to build a house to Habitat for Humanity in your area.
  • Take hazardous waste items (e.g. oil-based paint) to local semi-annual cleanups.

Stay in the Zone

  • Divide the garage into zones according to the categories you’ve established.
  • Think “grab and go” and store things where they are convenient.
  • Hang tools where they are most accessible.
  • Keep car accessories close to the cars.
  • Store overflow from the kitchen close to the door near the house.
  • Reposition some zones as the seasons fluctuate: move bikes, beach items and lawn furniture down in spring and move the skis and sleds up high.

Type of storage/system

  • Put big items back first and the rest goes around those items.
  • Think ‘up’: store infrequently used items on high floating shelves or beams.
  • Metal on cement will rust the metal. Rest metal on wood or up on the wall.
  • Studs with no dry wall are great for peg boards. Cut different sizes according to the types of stuff you have.
  • Use open wire epoxy-coated steel shelving: wet things can dry, mesh prevents dust.
  • Consider a garage storage system. Search the Web or go to Lowe’s or Home Depot.
  • Use different colored plastic bins for different zones so it’s easier to put them away.
  • Hang long things vertically so they take up less space. If garden tools don’t have a hole to hang, drill one.
  • Remix things you may already have: Use old drawers/cabinets, shoe bag on the wall to hold small garden tools, old table for work bench, etc.

Finally, if you enter your home through the garage make sure it’s clutter-free and welcoming. Hang a welcome home sign, clean the door, and put a nice door mat in place. You deserve a nice welcome home!

And remember: “Every time you put something back where it belongs, it’s a gift to yourself.”