4 Organization Tips for Hosting Holiday Meals

By CSC - November 18th, 2016

Holiday meal dining table

Hosting big family meals at the holidays can be very fun – or very stressful. The key to a successful gathering is organization and planning. So, whether you’re hosting twenty people for Thanksgiving or five people for New Year’s Eve, here are a few tips from Closet & Storage Concepts to make the process easier:

1. Plan the menu ahead of time.

If you’ll be doing all the cooking yourself, plan your menu far in advance. For example, print the recipes you plan to make and paperclip them together as a reminder. However, if your guests will also be bringing dishes to share, be sure to communicate clearly ahead of time. You can assign each person a specific menu item or simply a course (appetizer, dessert, side dish, etc.), but be sure to make a note of who is bringing what.

2. Take stock and make a grocery list.

Once you have your menu, write out a list of all the ingredients you need. Then check your fridge and pantry to see what you already have and what you need to buy. Having a clean, organized pantry makes this step a lot easier, but if yours isn’t up to par, give Closet & Storage Concepts a call! Our experts will work with you to design a custom storage system for your pantry.

3. Schedule your prep.

Start your prep a few days before the event. Do your grocery shopping and make sure you have decorations and place settings. As you get closer, plan out tasks you can do ahead of time – chopping vegetables, baking desserts, etc. And when the big day arrives, write out all your tasks based on priority so that everything gets done on time.

4. Don’t forget leftovers!

If the meal is a success, then chances are that your guests will want to take leftovers home with them. Be a gracious host by thinking ahead and buying cheap plastic or disposable containers for your guests’ use. That way, you won’t have to worry about loaning out precious containers that you may never get back.

If you plan ahead and follow these tips, your holiday meal is sure to be a success! But if you want some extra help, contact the experts at your local Closet & Storage Concepts – they can design the perfect pantry or storage system to streamline the holiday hosting experience.

Photo by James DeMers, licensed under Creative Commons CCO 1.0.

10 Tips for a Better-Organized Kitchen

By CSC - November 11th, 2016

kitchen organization storage closet

Are you tired of spending your valuable time searching for the right measuring cup or mixing spoon? At Closet & Storage Concepts, we tell our customers that they can have the kind of kitchen seen in magazines—simple, efficient, and free from clutter—by taking small steps. Here are 10 simple tips for a better-organized kitchen:

1. Organize your kitchenware by frequency of use.

The things you use most often—your favorite saucepan, spices, utensils—should be in easy-to-reach cabinets. High shelves should be reserved for less commonly used items, like seasonal dinnerware.

2. Hang your potholders, dishtowels, and aprons from pegs on your wall.

If your kitchen allows it, pots can also be hung to free up space underneath your stove.

3. Keep your tupperware organized by size.

There are few things more frustrating than finding the perfect sized Pyrex for your leftover goulash and having to endlessly hunt for its lid. If you keep your containers and lids separate, consider organizing lids by size or color.

4. Pull-out shelf organizers can transform your cabinets.

They make it easy to find that egg skillet hiding behind your spaghetti pot.

5. Master dishwasher loading by grouping like items.

Keep your forks, knives, and spoons in their own groups, so they can be unloaded quickly.

6. Harness the mysterious power of magnets.

They can be used to mount your knives on the wall, freeing up valuable drawer and counter space. You can also mount just about anything to the side of your refrigerator, including tin foil, plastic wrap, and small spice jars.

7. Make a list of kitchen essentials, hang that list from your fridge, and mark ingredients that you deplete.

You’ve just made a handy shopping list!

8. Hang tools on the backs of cabinet doors.

This is a great solution for oft-used tools, such as measuring cups, spatulas, and whisks. Adding a corkboard gives you a place to display your favorite recipes.

9. Use bins to consolidate small items.

This works especially well for your junk drawer, where loose paper clips and rubber bands abound. In your pantry, group ingredients by function. A “baking” basket could include flour, sugar, baking soda, and yeast.

10. Maintain your kitchen as a space for cooking.

Kitchen counters often become the first place that we set down papers, bills, and keys. Consider reorganizing your entryway with shelves and cabinets to keep your kitchen clutter-free.

A well organized home gives you more time to enjoy the most important things in life: friends and family. Give us a call today for more information!

Photo by shadowfirearts, licensed through Creative Commons Zero (CC0 1.0).

Creative Kid Costume Storage Ideas

By csc-admin - October 31st, 2016

Halloween trick-or-treating

From fairy tales to space odysseys, costumes can help bring the stories from your kids’ imagination to life. Halloween costumes can be used multiple times for playtime, but if you’re worried about where and how to store them, don’t fret! Closet and Storage Concepts is here to help.

Use Hooks

If floor space is it a premium where your kids play, one solution would be to use your wall space. Hooks can be very effective with this and can help store costumes that have multiple pieces. Hooks can also be re-installed at different heights as kids age. Choose from a wide range of finishes and colors to fit any space.

Try a Pegboard

Another way to use your wall space would be to try a pegboard or slatted wall system. While we usually use these in a craft room or in a garage, there’s no reason why we couldn’t adapt it for a playroom! Notch baskets and hooks into your pegboard to hold capes, fairy wings, or shoes and other accessories. The hooks and baskets can be moved around as costumes change.

Try a Trunk

A storage chest can double as a bench for reading stories. Just toss some blankets and some thick pillows on top! Using a trunk keeps costumes out of sight. This is particularly helpful if a playroom is also a main entertaining area for guests. When using a storage trunk, be sure that little ones will help to put away costumes when playtime is over, or those costumes may end up scattered on the floor. Storage bins that divide the trunk into sections can help sort costumes.

Girls reach-in closet with dress up clothes

Use Their Closet

Dedicate a section for costumes. This can help minimize the number of costumes you store around your home. You can do this in a few different ways.

Fabric cubbies that sit can be installed in a hanging area can be used to create vertical space. And when they outgrow the costumes, they can be used to store clothing items like jeans and sweaters.

You could also try dedicating a hanging area specifically for costumes. We recommend using a double hanging area. This is great for very small children as their clothes are generally shorter. You can use one hanging area for regular everyday clothes and the other hanging area for costumes. As they grow, the double hanging area can be used for separates like blouses, button-ups, and pants.

Adjustable wood or infused melamine shelves also give your home extra value. They are sturdier and are visually more appealing than the typical wire systems found in many homes.

No matter how many costumes and characters you need to store, you can get organized with Closet and Storage Concepts. Contact your local team of storage experts to see how we can help your whole family make room for life.

How to Prepare for Holiday Guests? Start With The Entryway

By CSC - October 19th, 2016

custom entryway organization system closet and storage conceptsThe holiday season is quickly approaching. With it comes valuable time spent with family and friends, delicious food, and possibly a bit of anxiety when it comes to preparing your home for guests.

There are usually a few places within every home that experience reoccurring clutter. For many families those places are the entryway, kitchen counters, and perhaps a living room coffee table. Inconveniently, these are also parts of the home that holiday guests are almost guaranteed to see.

As you prepare for the holidays don’t hide your clutter simply because it’s an easy solution. Now is as good a time as any to implement lasting storage and organization solutions. Here we’ll be focusing on the entryway, a part of the home notorious for accumulating weekly clutter. We encourage you to read on!

Why Is My Entryway Messy All The Time?

As its name suggests, the entryway is the entrance into a home. For many people this space signifies the formal start and end to their day. When you think about it, it’s not such a surprise that entryways are often messy. This place by the door is where we empty our hands after a long day. The home is a place of relaxation, and therefore dumping everything at the door as you walk inside can be a form of triumph. In most entryways one can find shoes, jackets, backpacks, keys, mail, and other knickknacks.

Organizing Your Entryway

Part of organizing your entryway successfully is thinking realistically. It’s reasonable that after a long day you’d prefer to leave everything at the door rather than put it carefully away in closets and cupboards. The key to entryway organization is capitalizing on the moment you enter your home. If you’re going to leave your jacket, shoes, bags, and mail at the door they need a place to go, and that place needs to be easy to access.

This is where a custom organization system from Closet and Storage Concepts can come in. Although some items left at an entryway are the same for everyone, we all have different preferences and eccentricities, which influence what we carry with us each day. Thus, a custom organization system that fits your habits can be extremely beneficial.

We recommend a combination of visible and hidden storage, as well as designated shelves and drawers for specific items. One of our designers can work with you to create an entryway storage system that is reflective of your needs. For instance, say you’d like to have a space for ingoing and outgoing mail, a hanger for your keys, or a drawer for cold weather gear. These are all elements that our designers can incorporate. We’ll also create a three-dimensional model of your custom storage system before we start building anything.

Here at Closet and Storage Concepts we look forward to helping you get organized for the holidays. We would love to create a built-in storage system for your family that will stay clean long after your holiday guests have departed. Call us today, we’re happy to help!

7 Tasks for a More Organized Office

By csc-admin - September 30th, 2016

Charlotte Closet & Storage Concepts custom home office

If your desk (or your child’s) already seems to be filled to the brim with paperwork and other clutter, it’s time to get organized for increased functionality and storage space. Get started with these seven tips!

  1. Hit Reset

Use the weekend to get organized and do a little purging. Clean up stray papers and trash any supplies that no longer work. In your children’s workspaces, see if you can catalog or say goodbye to any artwork from the last month. A little purging can go a long way towards an organized office. Work in 20 to 30-minute sessions to make it easy to stay focused, especially if you anticipate purging for multiple hours.

  1. Consider Layout

Your home office could be in need of a more functional layout. This can be especially true if you share your office with a significant other or use it for multiple purposes. To test new layouts, you can use painter’s tape along the floor to see how it would feel. If you work with one of our Closet and Storage Concepts designers, they’ll show you how everything would look with our proprietary 3D computer software. They can even do re-designs to help you get a feel for your options.

Clean office with cactus plant

  1. Keep it Fresh

Before you start bringing in storage solutions, freshen up your space. Whether you need some new paint on the wall or a simple dust down, a cleaner space can help you stay focused and organized. For a touch of color, add in fresh cut flowers or change up your artwork. Fragrant flowers help your space smell just as good as it looks!

Photo by donterasedonterase, under public domain (CC0 1.0).

  1. Get Organized

It’s finally time to start making improvements to your office by getting organized. Use file drawers and folders to keep paperwork organized or use this time to organize your computer files and back things up. Sort like items together and use dainty containers for small items like paper clips. Keep stationary and paper products together and have a designated printer area. Built-ins are great especially if you have a small or uniquely shaped space with multiple needs. Your units will be custom cut and installed just for your space so you know it will meet all of your storage and design needs.

  1. Consider Comfort

A home office needs to be comfortable to foster productivity. Evaluate your keyboard, mouse, and chair to start. If you frequently have cramps or aches after sitting for a prolonged period, a more ergonomic chair to support your spine could help. The same thinking goes for your keyboard and mouse setup.

Also, consider any guest seating! Maybe you need to add cushions to your existing chairs, or maybe you want to add a couple of plush chairs. Any new seating can also double as a place for you to curl up with a book.

Built in desk and workspace

  1. Do a Test Run

Once your new office setup is complete, make sure to do a test run to see if anything can be improved. Our shelving can be adjusted in some instances, which means it can adapt very easily to your needs. We can even come in to help you reassess any issues and help you find the right solution.

  1. Make Adjustments & Celebrate

You made it through all seven tasks! Take a moment to celebrate in your newly remodeled home office! After you test out your new space, it’s time to make any adjustments. Maybe it’s as simple as moving your lamp to the other side of your desk to reduce glare or adding in curtains to help filter out harsh light. It could even be time to cave in and admit you need professional help.

When you finally want to tackle getting organized, give our designers a call! They have experience making the trickiest office situations more functional.

Styling Your Shelves to be Decorative and Functional

By CSC - September 15th, 2016

custom shelf, closet and storage conceptsOften times a bookshelf goes one of two ways: Either it’s filled to the brim with books, trinkets, and miscellaneous items and looks rather messy, or it’s adorned with decorations, figurines, and artwork but doesn’t seem to be fulfilling much of a storage purpose. The latter example leaves us scratching our heads, because although the bookshelf might look nice it appears to be an inefficient use of space. The former example is visible storage that’s gone over the top. Although the bookshelf is providing a great deal of storage space it offers little to no visual appeal. Below we’ve outlined some tips to help you avoid both situations. Your goal should be to create a shelf that’s both decorative and functional. To accomplish it you’ll need two things: A storage system customized to your needs and some creativity when assigning items a home.

1. Utilize visible and nonvisible storage

A problem with many ready-to-install shelves is that they usually offer either visible storage or nonvisible storage, but rarely both. To achieve a balance between the storage and aesthetic functions your bookshelf needs to fulfill, having a bookshelf that offers both types of storage is extremely helpful. This way you can hide items that are less visually appealing, like a plain book, or a set of dishes that don’t match the color scheme you’re looking to create. Visible shelves on the other hand, provide an opportunity to showcase items that are beautiful. Perhaps you have a book with a quirky cover or a small houseplant in a unique-looking vase. You can arrange these on the visible storage sections of your shelf. Closet and Storage Concepts offers custom storage systems, cabinets, and shelving. One of our experts can work with you to design a bookshelf based on the items you’d like to showcase and those that you’d like to store.

2. Get creative

There are a few rules when it comes to arranging items on a bookshelf; our number one tip is to be creative. You can stack visually appealing books both vertically and horizontally to break up the monotonous appearance of books on a shelf. You can also place art in the visible areas of your custom shelving units, which will help personalize your space. What is art is up to you. Maybe it’s a sculpture or a framed picture, or your child’s latest project. Our designers can even include shelves of different shapes, sizes, and depths depending on your needs.

Here at Closet and Storage Concepts we’d love to help you create storage that is not only pleasing to look at, but also serves a purpose. Feel free to contact us today!

Photo by Jay Mantri, licensed under Creative Commons CCO 1.0

3 Reasons Why You Should Wear the Same Outfit Everyday

By CSC - August 30th, 2016

organize and dress efficientlyFor some, a childhood spent wearing a school uniform was a traumatizing experience, one that embodied the suffocation of individual expression and creativity. For others wearing a uniform meant more time for sleep and watching cartoons during breakfast. What do school uniforms have to do with organization? We’d like to suggest that wearing a similar outfit to work everyday may increase your productivity, because you’ll spend more time making important decisions at work and less time contemplating what to wear. Here are three reasons why wearing the same thing can be a good thing.

1. Wearing the same outfit everyday saves time.

Just like wearing a school uniform makes getting dressed in the morning easier, creating a uniform for yourself allows you to get ready in the morning faster. When you already know what you’re going to wear each day you have one less thing to do. This will leave more time for other morning tasks, such as walking the dog, getting the kids ready, or packing lunch.

2. Wearing the same outfit allows you to save energy for more important tasks.

Behavioral economics researchers have found that our ability to make good decisions decreases overtime when we’re forced to make many choices throughout the day. As it turns out a lot of successful individuals have taken to the idea of wearing the same outfit everyday to save on this decision-making energy. President Obama has said he only wears gray or blue suits in order to save energy for more important decisions, and Steve Jobs was known for his minimalist wardrobe of black turtlenecks, blue jeans, and sneakers.

3. Wearing the same outfit everyday ensures confidence.

Some could argue that wearing the same outfit everyday is unstylish and limits self-expression in the same way a school uniform does. We’d like to argue the opposite. If you choose an outfit that you look and feel great in you’ll no longer have to deal with the dreaded bad-outfit-feeling. The confidence that a signature outfit can yield can translate into your work.

In the same way that wearing the same outfit each day can save time and energy, organizing your home can save you time and energy in the long-term. Proper organization can ensure that you don’t spend valuable time looking for your misplaced belongings, and is just one way to reduce stress. Contact your local Closet and Storage Concepts design associate to help you create the organized home of your dreams, we’re happy to help!

Photo © Sarah Dorweiler, licensed under Creative Commons CCO 1.0

Dorm Room Storage Tips

By csc-admin - August 17th, 2016

Dorm Sweet Dorm Sign

All across the country, kids are heading back to campus! If it’s your first year at college, a soon-to-be graduate, or the proud parent of a college student, we’re here to help you make the most of your (or your child’s) dorm room. Dorm rooms are often known for being stuffy, small, and cramped. Don’t worry, it’s all a part of that quintessential college experience! Get tips below to help you make the most of your space, giving you time to enjoy college and study.

Under-Bed Storage

Utilize valuable floor space starting with your bed. Risers are perfect to help you sneak in a few extra inches of storage space. Cloth bins can store bulky and seasonal items like sweatshirts, games and puzzles, and smaller sporting equipment (think swim goggles or biking gloves). Shoes can also be stored underneath a bed. Keep booties, sneakers, and flats in a covered storage box to keep them dust free. Under-the-bed storage can also be used to store extra bedding and linens.

Cabinet Solutions

Make existing cabinets and armoires in your dorm room more efficient. Consider attaching magnetic strips along the inside of the door to keep stray bobby bins or even some tools like nail clippers and tweezers. Little cubbies and holders attached to the door can also free up shelving space in your cabinet. Be sure to use damage-free strips to hang them.

You can also use magazine racks and paper filing racks in your cabinets to keep baking sheets, pans, and plastic containers. This keeps items neatly stacked in your cabinets. Using expandable and stackable racks doubles your cabinet space in a cost-effective way – perfect for students on a shoestring budget.

Sharing is Caring

If you’re sharing a room with someone, this tip is especially important. Sharing certain belongings (like a TV, toaster, or kettle) can help cut down on costs. Communicating with your roommate ahead of time will also prevent duplicate purchases and items being brought into the dorm room, which means less clutter to deal with. Sharing organization tips or even bins or organizers can help you meet new people – which is just one part of the college experience!

Keep it Personal

This will be your home for at least nine months of the year! Make sure it speaks to you and feels personal. A few personal photos sprinkled in with other mementos can help make the transition away from home (for first timers) smoother and more relaxed. Finding bedding to brighten up a drab dorm room, or other décor items can help turn your space into a place you love coming back to.

Check out our other posts to get even more organizing tips for your entire room. Have other tips or want to know more? Let us know!

Closet and Storage Concepts are experts in custom closets, built-in office furniture, Murphy beds, and other custom home storage products. We have over 10 locally owned and operated locations nationwide.

Featured image, by slgckgc, used under Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0).

Maintaining Privacy in a Shared Home Office

By csc-admin - August 2nd, 2016

Shared custom home office

A home office is often where you can browse the news or your Facebook feed, a place to shop online, or even to run your business. Unfortunately, privacy and productivity can dip if you share your work area with a spouse or your kids. To make the most of your space and remain productive, your local home storage experts at Closet and Storage Concepts can help you explore desk and storage options. See some of our top tips to maintain privacy below.

You can have customized shelves installed under, over, or between your work areas. This allows for ample storage space while giving the separate workspace you and your partner may need. A filled bookshelf can act as a sound barrier, while creating a sense of separateness. Plus, it’s a great way to store materials or books that you and your spouse share. Try a double-sided, custom designed shelf that goes between your desks or divide side-by-side desks with a shared wall. If one or both of you is on the phone a lot, try a custom L-shaped work area built into a corner so you’re not facing each other.

For those with a designated home office, you’ll have room for separate work areas that allow for more privacy. If you tend to get in each other’s way, install shelving and cabinetry on separate walls. Work with a reputable custom home storage company like Closet and Storage Concepts to determine the best storage solutions to hide unsightly cords, shelving for items you may need to access frequently, or space to file confidential material. The possibilities are unlimited if you have an entire room you can use as office space.

In smaller homes, you and your spouse may end up sharing a room that also serves as the family room, gym, or master bedroom. This means having to be extra clever with your storage and design plans. Have your furniture pull double duty. For example, if your office is in the living room, use your ottoman for supply storage.

To maximize your productivity and privacy, keep any distractions at bay. Separate your entertainment system from your workspace as much as possible with cabinets that hide the TV. This allows boundaries to be made when you’re working; when the TV is concealed it’s time to work, when opened it’s time for a break. Add lighting to create a pleasant work environment. Lighting can also designate separate work areas.

Sharing a home office can – and does – work for many couples. The trick is to design the right kind of desk and storage space that provides the kind of privacy you need. Get started with your free in-home consultation from Closet and Storage Concepts today!

The Easy, No-Brainer Purge

By csc-admin - July 22nd, 2016

Clean organized apartment

Do you feel like you’re buried under a pile of clothes, junk mail, or expired foods? Maybe you have overflowing drawers filled with makeup, medicine, or tools. Or maybe you’re looking to de-clutter. Purging is easy with this list; simply toss these items out!

  1. Expired Coupons. Put these into the recycling bin and start looking for other deals! There’s no reason to be keep unnecessary papers in your kitchen or home office. To tame the paper, be sure to go through your coupon piles at least every two weeks.
  2. Expired Food. Moldy milk and food can say hello to the trashcan or compost bin! Free up fridge space to make space for your favorite summer harvests and treats.
  3. Expired Medicine. Expired medicine can be harmful to your body. Be sure to pay attention to the expiration dates on medicine bottles and toss them should they be past their expiry date. For certain products, you may need to properly dispose of them at your local pharmacy.
  4. Expired makeup and skincare products. Notice a trend on this list? Using some expired makeup products can cause irritation or scarring to your skin. Be sure to note when you opened your products and toss items that have been opened past the recommended lifespan. Many cosmetic and skincare items will have a stamp with a jar icon and a number in it where you can find the expiration information. If the number says “12M”, the recommended lifespan of the product is 12 months (roughly a year).
  5. Take-out menus. Let’s be honest. You probably already know the menu backwards and forward for your favorite places. It’s time to clear out part of your kitchen drawer. Plus, many restaurants will have their menus online for you to browse.
  6. Broken items. Chipped mugs, plates, and glasses can be tossed. Or repurpose some of them as a water saucer for plants. For items that you’ve been meaning to replace or repair, but haven’t gotten around to for over 6 months, it may be time to say sayonara.
  7. Clothes that don’t fit. For items that no longer fit, or never quite fit right, just say goodbye to them and don’t think twice about it! These items don’t make you feel good, so you shouldn’t keep them around. Think about the space you could create for items that you love by getting rid of these pieces.
  8. Excessive cords. Have extra extension cords? Or maybe cords for your computer or entertainment center that you don’t need? Consider donating them and saying hello to a neater looking and more streamlined space. This also goes for electronics you no longer need.
  9. Coins. We know that many households can accumulate change and coins over the years. Clear up some space and get some money in your pocket. While we don’t recommend throwing them out, we do recommend converting them to bills and depositing them into your bank account.
  10. Procrastination. Throw procrastination out the door! It’s time to get focused and start checking off chores and home projects. Make a schedule to complete projects and set a timeline you can stick to. 

It’s time to get organized today! Get customized home storage ideas from the experts at Closet & Storage Concepts. Find a local designer here.

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