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.

Simple Steps for Organizing Your Garden Shed

By CSC - June 30th, 2016

Garden Shed Organization
This is a favorite time of year for green thumbs. The garden is in bloom and fresh veggies are sprouting from the earth, fresh and ready for your summer salad or a quick char on the grill. Nature’s abundance in the summer is something to look forward to, but managing a garden can quickly become a tedious chore if you don’t have the right tools for the job and storage space to help you stay organized.

If you are ready to create the garden shed of your dreams, read on for some inspiration.

Start with a Sturdy Surface

The most important and heavily used space in your shed will be the potting bench. Gardening will be a joy with a level and sturdy surface and tools within reach. Consider using a mesh hardware cloth as a tabletop in place of, or in addition to, a solid surface. This will allow excess dirt and water to filter through to the floor and keep your potting bench mess free. Attaching a magnetic strip to the work surface is also a great way to keep your small shovels, spades and shears close at hand.

Add Ample Storage

No garden shed would be complete without hooks and shelving for tools and supplies. A pegboard can be a great option if you have a lot of items to hang. You won’t have to hammer nails in the wall, and it’s easy to move items around if necessary. When you have everything hung just where you want it, consider outlining the tools on the wall so you will always be able to put things back in their proper spot.

Shelving is also essential in a garden shed. If low to the ground, consider sliding shelves to avoid bending and reaching for hard to see items. Having closed lid storage containers is also important for toxic chemicals like pesticides. Installing an exhaust fan in the shed can help keep the air clear and prevent mold and mildew from growing inside.

Don’t Forget the Little Details

Once you have the essential work surface and storage you need for a functional garden shed, think about the details that will really help you become a master gardener. Keep a large calendar or blackboard on the wall to remind you of important planting and harvesting dates. Hang small rods on the wall for your spools of twine and wire. And, if possible, consider installing a little sink to fill your watering can and wash up when you’re done.

Getting organized and creating the shed you’ve always wanted will inspire you to get outside this summer and get a little dirty in the garden. Whether you plant flowers, herbs, or vegetables, use these tips to have some fun in the garden this summer.

For more garage and work space organizing solutions, give your local Closet & Storage Concepts team a call.

Photo by PublicDomainPictures, under Public Domain (CC0 1.0)

How to Pack Light For a Vacation Getaway

By csc-admin - June 17th, 2016

Travel duffle bag

With summer just around the corner we know that many of our readers and fans are heading out on a summer getaway. To stay organized and meet those pesky airplane luggage weight limits, we know that many of you may be looking for ways that you can pack light while still having enough options for all of the adventures you’ll be going on this summer.

Prep, Prep, Prep

While it’s great to pack light, you also wouldn’t want to forget any essential items. Travel disasters can be averted in the planning stages. For example, if you’re going outside of the continental US you’re likely going to need travel adapters and your passport, plus your wallet.

Making a list of your items can help prevent over packing, by giving you an overview and visualization of how many items you’re planning on bringing. If you see a list of half your whole wardrobe, you’re likely packing too much.

Make Combinations

Choosing clothing is often the most difficult part of packing for any trip. You’ll want to tailor your clothes to the activities and weather of your destination. Going to a beach in Mexico? You’ll likely want cover-ups and lots of bathing suits. Hiking through southern China? Don’t forget the socks and hiking boots.

In addition, to pack light (and smart!) it’s best to make combinations of outfits you actually want to wear rather than thinking about items individually. Think how different tops can be made into new outfits with a different skirt or pair of jeans. In addition, adding jewelry or other accessories can help to make any outfit new again. To see how many combinations you can create, take a picture of each outfit you create. This way you always have a reference for an outfit at your fingertips.

Go for the Smaller Bag

One of the easiest ways to not over pack is by going with a smaller bag. It’s also a great way to challenge yourself to see how much you can actually under pack. Be sure to pick a suitcase that is durable and light. Before leaving for your trip try to weigh your bags to be sure you meet the weight requirements for you airline.

Prevent Duplicate Items

Have you ever brought along your hair dryer only to discover that your hotel, hostel, or Airbnb had provided one? Think of what you could have packed or brought back instead of the hairdryer you barely used! Plan for this by checking ahead to see what types of amenities the place you’re staying at has and prevent bringing unnecessary items along. You’ll thank yourself when you can bring home more souvenirs.

Toiletry Pare Down

A weekend trip down to the beach likely won’t require a full-sized bottle of conditioner, even if you’re packing for a family of four. Be sure to decant your favorite products into travel-friendly containers. In addition, especially to our female readers, look for skincare and makeup items that can do double duty. This helps to limit the items you bring and the space they take up! Should you feel the absolute need to bring or buy travel sized mascaras or other beauty products, just remember that you’ll have to store them in your home after you return.

If you’re having trouble finding clothes you want to pack in your wardrobe, be sure to bring organization to your closet! Call in the experts at Closet & Storage Concepts today to help you make the most of your summer and your home. Our local designers can’t wait to work with you.

Pre-Summer Organizing To-Do List

By csc-admin - June 7th, 2016

Summer is just around the corner! If you’re looking for ways to get organized and clean up before going away on vacation or the summer lull hits, here are a few ideas.

Plan For Summer Getaways

US passport in holder for summer trips

If you’re going on a trip this summer, get a jumpstart. Start with your packing list. Take inventory of what you already have and want to take and make a list of things you need. When packing, take photos of outfits you can make with your items to reduce the number of pieces you bring, and don’t forget to leave room for souvenirs!

Begin making arrangements with friends and family especially if someone will be dropping you off or picking you up from a train station or airport. Gather travel documents and make sure your passport is not expiring well in advance. Make a copy of your travel plans, passport, and credit cards and leave it in a safe or with someone you trust should you lose anything while on vacation. Get the kids organized early by helping them draft a list of items they want to bring along.

Photo under public domain (CC0 1.0).

Clean the Grill

If you haven’t already, it’s time to get cleaning and ready for barbeques.

If your grates simply can’t be cleaned with a little scraping power, try pre-soaking them in a large bucket of soapy water. Clean along the hood and walls for a deep clean. Don’t forget to disconnect the propane tank before hand to avoid any disasters. Should your grill be built-in to a cabinet or island, make sure the cabinets surrounding it are clean too! It will be better to get everything cleaned and ready to go in one go before guests arrive. Wash the grill tools and sweep out any debris that could have made it’s way into the cabinets during winter and spring.

Patio Cleaning

Speaking of barbeques, is your patio up to the task? If your patio has been buried by snow, it’s time for a spruce up. Simply dusting items off and adding a new table runner could do the trick. Also consider adding more storage like a bench that creates additional seating space and also stores pillows and outdoor supplies when not in use.

Tend to the Shed

Organized shed with flowers

Summer is often a time to complete outdoor home projects like painting or landscaping. If you pushed off organizing your shed earlier this spring, it’s time to tackle it now to make completing any summertime projects that much easier. Refresh your stockpile with items you need such as fertilizer or simply sharpen the shears. If everything is in disarray and you’re tripping over the lawn equipment, or stubbing your toes, it may be time to organize your shed. Clean everything up by utilizing proper hanging and shelving areas. Create separate zones for different items to keep the shed organized for multiple uses and projects. If your lawn equipment is at home in the garage, get a custom solution to fit your unique situation. This will help you fully utilize your space.

Start your summer off on the right foot by getting organized and cleaning beforehand. When you’re in need of more organization help call in the experts at Closet & Storage Concepts. Our local designers can’t wait to work with you.

Photo by Tino Rossini, used under Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY2.0).

How to Create an Inviting Space For Summer Guests

By CSC - May 18th, 2016

Guest Room Closet & Storage Concepts

Summer is primetime for houseguests, and that travel season is almost upon us. Whether you’re expecting intimate friends or distant acquaintances, preparing a special place for guests in your home will help everyone enjoy the visit.

At Closet and Storage Concepts, we believe it isn’t the size of your space that matters. It’s how you utilize that space that will really count when guests come to call.

Put Away Your Clutter

The most important thing you can offer guests is hospitality. But a well-organized space doesn’t hurt either. If you have a dedicated guest room this can be as simple as making sure the closet is clear of any winter clothes or craft projects you may have stored there. Multi-purpose closet space is a breeze when you have the right storage solutions, such as adjustable shelving, built in drawers, or even bins from your local home goods store to clear away the clutter.

If guests will be staying in a shared space, there are creative solutions to help make them feel at home. A murphy bed can be an excellent way to make a room do double duty. Providing a luggage rack for suitcases will allow your guests to access their things off the floor. This can be easily folded up and stored in a closet when not in use. Clearing a shelf on a bookcase can be useful, or providing bins that can be stored in a closet or under the bed. Even if you can’t clear a whole closet, giving your guests some space and plenty of hangers will be much appreciated.

Pay Attention to Detail

Once your guests have unpacked their bags, it’s the small details that will take their stay from good to great. Make sure there is a nightstand near their bed and stock it with all the essentials for a restful night, such as a water carafe, new earplugs and an eye shade, a clock, and some reading material.

Give guests a tour of your home and make sure they know where all the essentials are located. Set out travel size toiletries, extra towels, blankets, and pillows. Thoughtful details such as nightlights to brighten dark corners and a power strip to charge all their devices will ensure everyone has a peaceful night and a great start to the day. And nothing says welcome home like fresh cut flowers. Keep a vase of some simple blooms or greenery near the bed to bring a fresh and natural air to the room.

Thoughtfulness and hospitality go a long way when hosting houseguests. Of course, a clean and organized space will help guests settle right in. Give your local Closet and Storage Concepts a call for a free design consultation. Our intelligent storage solutions will ensure your guests feel at home.

Photo by Erika Wittlieb, under Public Domain (CC0 1.0).

Tips When Storing Out-of-Season Clothes

By csc-admin - April 29th, 2016

closet-reach-in-wall-mounted

Spring is often a time for cleaning, adjusting your clock an hour ahead, and organizing. This is also a great time to bring in your warmer-weather clothing and pack away your winter items. At Closet and Storage Concepts, we’re experts at all things storage and want to help you create a life well organized. Keep your clothes fresh and make the most of your space by using these tips when storing your out of season clothes.

Clean Carefully

Before clothes or shoes are put away, make sure to give them a clean. This is also a perfect time to assess your wardrobe. If there are items that you bought that you intended to wear last fall or winter but never actually used for whatever reason, consider donating it.

With clothes, give them a wash or bring them to the cleaner before stowing them away for the season. You’ll be able to wear them right away once they’re pulled out of storage. When storing dry cleaned items, take them out of the bag and let them breathe as some chemicals can continue to emit from them and cause build up on your clothes. For shoes, make sure caked on dirt or scratches are buffed and cleaned before they’re put away to prevent staining and a future headache.

Determine Storage Areas

Once you’ve determined the items that need to be stored, it’s time to figure out how and where they will be housed.

If winter blouses, tops, and suits or skirts need to be hung, we suggest putting them towards the back of a reach-in or in a less-used area of your walk-in. If your closet space has a lot of vertical space, try a wardrobe lift. These are great custom closet accessories. The lift makes it easy to store out-of-season items out of reach, with easy access when you need it. This can be a perfect solution when storing heavy wool coats as you transition in lighter pieces.

Boxes or drawers keep long-sleeve shirts and sweaters, which are impractical during the summer, perfectly neat in your closet. Store them out of the way as you make the transition. Clear boxes or bins are perfect so you can easily see items without the hassle of digging around in them. For extra security and something more permanent, try a glass front insert on your drawers. This can give a nice modern touch to any built-in closet system.

Have a small closet? Consider storage areas outside of your closet or wardrobe. Under-bed storage is one popular option. Utilizing multipurpose furniture pieces are also great choices for those tight on space.

Keeping Clothes Freshcloset-accessories-wardrobe-lift

Keep your clothes and accessories fresh even after they’ve been stored. Having the right storage areas will help to keep your clothes wrinkle and damage free. Be sure to use other tools to keep your clothes in top shape.

Using proper hangers will help to keep slippery silks off the ground and wrinkle free, while keeping suits on sturdier wooden hangers will help to keep the shape of the garment. Also consider using cedar wood or mothballs to prevent damage from insects. Bins and tubs that have a lid are especially helpful in preventing dust and dirt from wreaking havoc on your clothes while they’re tucked away. For leather purses and shoes, be sure to place them in their dust bag.

If you’re running out of closet space in your home, it’s time to get organized! Start with a free design consultation from your local Closet and Storage Concepts designer.

Click here for a free estimate