College Dorm List
July 25, 2016
College Dorm List – Back to School Ideas
Whether you are a freshman or a returning student, getting ready for college in the fall can be a bit nerve racking, exciting, and fun – all at once. Preparing for dorm living now and compiling a college dorm list can ease some of the discomfort. The following is our essential dorm list to get you started now on your exciting fall adventure.
1. Bed Risers
Dorm rooms are notorious for being small and having limited storage space. First thing to do if you have a freestanding bed is to add storage underneath. Use inexpensive bed risers to add extra height to your bed and more storage clearance underneath. They’re made from a variety of materials and colors to suit your needs. Elevating the bed gives you tons of under-the-bed storage options.
2. Under Bed Storage Containers
Shoes, clothes, books, jackets, linens and tons of other stuff can be stashed under your bed, provided you have room. Canvas chests, lidded plastic containers, and even containers with wheels are available for easy access to your goods. If you have a freestanding bed, you won’t want to miss out on the storage space beneath it. Under-bed storage containers are lifesavers for dorm living.
3. In-Closet Hanging Storage
You’ll want plenty of standard hangers to organize your clothes, but other in-closet storage hangers make the closet more versatile. Hanging cubes add convenient in-closet shelf space for jeans and sweaters. Scarf and belt organizers help get you dressed in a hurry while freeing up drawer space. Tiered hangers are really great for space-saving hanging storage of slacks and jeans. Usually, in dorm rooms, closet space is at a premium, so think about ways to optimize your closet using hanging storage solutions.
Umbra’s Little Black Dress line of organizers are great for storing jewelry, cosmetics, accessories and all kinds of smaller items. They are cleverly designed and feature tons of clear vinyl pockets for easy viewing and accessibility. The mini version is perfect for smaller storage needs and great for weekend getaways as you can roll it up and throw it in your luggage.
4. Over-Door Organizers
When space is at a premium, over-door storage hangers are lifesavers. A single shoe rack can store up to 36 pairs of shoes, freeing valuable shelf and floor space in your closet and living areas. Sharing with a roommate is a good idea, depending on your combined collection size. For the sports-minded, the Perfect Cap Rack makes for easy storage of baseball caps and again, it’s OK to share.
Over-cabinet-door hair care racks are another life saver for rooms with bathrooms. Made in a variety of configurations, these lightweight storage racks are designed to store hairdryers and curling irons – plus, some even have onboard shelves for storing hairspray, styling gels and other hair products. If no cabinet door is available, this wall-mount rack provides plenty of storage for all of your hairstyling accessories.
5. Makeup Organizers
Makeup organizers help keep your purse and vanity less cluttered by consolidating everything in one place. This two-tiered pink spinning rack holds a ton of makeup, nail polish and other supplies and is made from attractive pink mesh with a spinning mechanism for absolute accessibility. For smaller cosmetic storage needs, you can’t beat the clear acrylic two-drawer cosmetic holder. At only 7.25-inches wide, it takes up very little space on your counter or dresser, and the clear finish makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.
6. Device Chargers
Device charging stations are lifesavers, and not only keep your digital goods ready to use, but help prevent you from misplacing them, provided you make a habit of storing them in the station during your down time. Cell phones, iPods, tablets, mp3 players and other digital toys are likely candidates for this must-have college item.
7. Laptop and Tablet Stands
Whether you’re chilling while watching a movie, chatting on Facebook, or doing homework, Laptop and tablet stands hold your device upright at the angle you need. Whether you need a dedicated laptop cart, a squishy lap desk, or a bamboo tablet stand for your iPad, we have it.
Next on your college dorm list is backpacks. Backpacks are your portable workstations. They can be makeup bags, device holders, book bags and the portable refrigerators that keep you fed while on campus. A backpack, while essential to your campus experience, can also be a personal statement. Whether you want to strut your stuff in bold hot pink or prefer a subdued, earthy, low-key style, you’re sure to find something you like at Organize-It. Lots of pockets for writing utensils and compartments for devices and water bottles are must-haves. If you do a lot of walking, consider one with wheels. Laptop backpacks are designed with extra-secure storage to keep your devices safe. And leather ones are available as an upscale option.
10. Bulletin Boards
Bulletin boards make fantastic visual reminders for your new class schedule, things to do, and places to be. They are the hub by which you can communicate with your roomies, schedule events, and just write goofy stuff. Erasable, magnetic, stainless steel and corkboard ones are available. Choose something that suits your style. They also make a great way to temporarily decorate, hang your latest selfies, and share your inspired and not-so-inspired thoughts.
11. Laundry Bags
There is no surviving the dorm without a laundry bag. Baskets are nice, but when space is at a premium, it’s great having something that collapses and folds out of the way. For small needs, this compact, colorful laundry tote is great as it has carrying handles and takes up little space. It’s about 21 inches high and the sides expand, so it holds more than one might think. On heavy laundry days, this 33-inch high canvas laundry bag with strap has the heft and volume you need. Plus it has a heavy-duty shoulder strap and a smart, black and white design that makes dirty clothes look almost fashionable.
Getting your living space together is going to make staying organized for classes easier and we carry just about anything you need to get settled into your dorm life and start your semester off on the right foot. Be sure to make a college dorm list of your own as you prepare for your bold new life.
Also see our Pinterest College Essentials board for dorm organizing ideas and everything college related and check our blog archive for more back-to-school ideas.
Color Psychology – Organizing Your Home
July 19, 2016
Color has a profound impact on us psychologically, and while people generally have some awareness of that when choosing wall colors or window treatments, using color as an organizing principle is not so apparent. Color psychology is an interesting thing to explore when creating organizational systems in your home, office and play areas.
Color Psychology – History
The psychology of color, not surprisingly, has always been of interest to artists. In the late 1800s, Russian painter Wasilly Kandinsky wrote about the impact of color in Concerning the Spiritual in Art – exploring how colors and art awaken emotional and spiritual qualities in the beholder. Here are some of his observations about the spiritual and inherent emotional properties of color:
- Gray: “Immobility and rest.”
- Orange: “Like a man convinced of his powers. Its note is that of the angelus, or of an old violin.”
- Yellow: female principle – “Cheerful and sensual.”
- Blue: male principle – “Sharp and spiritual.”
- Red: physical and the “Material and heavy color.”
- Violet: “Sad and ailing.”
He also speaks of the spiritual vibration of color, which has its roots in ancient Indian Yogic principles. Of course, assigning genders to color, and even the way we experience them is highly subjective. Even color interpretations of chakras (from Indian traditions) vary from region to region and are subject to idiosyncratic interpretations by individuals. Chakras are energy centers throughout the body with seven (or more) major centers aligned along the spine. The basic energy chakra system looks something like this (in descending order from head to toe):
- Violet: crown – highest spiritual attainment.
- Indigo: third eye – spiritual awakening, intuition.
- Light Blue: throat – communications, self-expression, truth telling.
- Green: heart – love, god, healing.
- Yellow: solar plexus – life center, satisfaction, contentment.
- Orange: sacral region – creativity, joy, empathy, sexuality.
- Red: root – survival, early childhood, physical vitality.
Along with the more positive attributes of the energy centers, there are corresponding negative ones that may occur when there are energetic imbalances. There’s no need for more detail here, but you can certainly investigate on your own if this should interest you. It is interesting to note that rudimentary forms of color psychology existed centuries ago, and continues to be a popular area of interest to scientists, psychologists, artists and decorators.
Cultural differences also impact both our perception and responses to color. Consider blue and pink in American culture and the way we “sex” them. Researchers have long claimed that pink has a pacifying effect and it was used in prisons for that purpose. I personally find it nauseating and it makes me feel hostile. Slap some black diagonals on it and wrap it around a 60s Barbie and I’m a happy camper, however. Colors combine to hit different notes in us and pink and black apparently strike a nostalgic chord with me.
Green, which is found in nature, is felt by many to be a healing, rejuvenating color – especially when it’s a high to medium intensity pigment. A darker, kelly green might induce a more sedative effect. Black may be associated with grief by some, but others might find it empowering or dignified. White tends to open up a space, reflect light, and also connotes purification and goodness. Clearly though, we may all experience color in a distinct and personal way. What multiple psychological studies have shown is that testing and results are contradictory and that people emotionally respond to and visually process color in ways that are highly individual and subjective. What’s important for us then, is how we personally experience and use color, whether it induces calm, creativity, joyfulness or some other desirable emotion. For our home and work environments, we need to pay attention to how colors affect us and plan and organize our spaces deliberately and thoughtfully to induce desirable emotions.
Applying Color to Home Organizing
So how does all of this pan out when organizing? Clutter can induce anxiety or uneasiness and, unfortunately, hidden storage or organization isn’t always a possibility. Take books for example, large arrays of colors and disordered stacks can be visually chaotic. While color coding your book collection may seem like a strange alternative to more traditional methods like alphabetical or subject categorizing, it works really well for certain people, and most will agree it reduces discord in a room.
In lieu of ordering your books by color, colored magazine organizers are a way of consolidating books and adding a visual ground to your book storage area – a place for the eye to rest. Gray or neutral colors can calm the visual chaos and induce a sense of peace or even invitation. Staggering or alternating colors can provide some quiet visual interest as well, especially when kept in a similar tonal range. Keep in mind your own color psychology, as well as that of your housemates as you plan your organizational and decorative scheme.
Organizing with Baskets
Colored baskets and folding fabric containers are a great way to corral toys, crafts items, or odds-and-ends while providing a colored accent to a neutral-colored bookshelf or other storage arrangement. Placing odds and ends in baskets reduces the visual clutter, which most people will find more relaxing. This is also an effective way to organize pantries, while reducing the chaos.
Color Backdrops and Paint
Everyone has heard the advice about neutral paints for reselling homes, but committing to gray or white walls also allows for periodic inexpensive color accenting (upgrading), with less expense and work. Fabric-covered storage ottomans (which you can do yourself), are easy updates for a living room, and allow you whimsical color indulgences that you can change next season or next month if you like. You can add color to shelving units too as a way of complementing other colors in your room. Foam core or inexpensive fabric additions are easy and impermanent upgrades that invite creativity into your decorating.
Kids’ Color Palette
Brightly-colored, green, red and blue bins are festive and fun for organizing kids toys and likely to impart some joy in young and old alike. For bedroom organizing and decor, one might consider more calming color options to encourage rest at night. Read about more child’s play room organizing in this post.
In your home or work office, color coding files provides a quick visual index of your file system, while adding a splash of happy color to brighten your day while performing the more tedious tasks of life. Colored magazine bins and fabric boxes may be placed on a hutch or desk to add colorful or grounding visual elements while reducing clutter.
Inkitchens, when short on cabinet space, try displaying your herbs or spices in the open. Glass jars, attractively arranged, add an eye-pleasing color accent to your open-storage shelf or counter. Red kitchen organizers and accessories, while not for everyone, can spark up a neutral kitchen and combine well with grays (trendy right now) or contrast with muted greens for a nice vintage vibe. Color-coding your dishes and tumblers is an obvious choice for beautifying your cabinets.
Color and Wardrobe Organization
More practical color organization uses are sock or underwear drawer organization, which will save you time when getting dressed in the morning, with the added benefit of making your drawers look more appealing. Likewise, color-coded closets make it easy to find your favorite outfits, reduce your morning stress, and leave time for more enjoyable wakeup and leisure activities. Please read our drawer organization blog post for more tips on dresser organizing.
Exposed shoe and handbag storage looks a lot more compelling when organized using color. This is especially useful in dorm rooms or small apartments – or even homes without a lot of built-in closet storage. If you must display your belongings, organize them and even make them part of the decor if possible. As you will see, implementing a little color psychology – even to the most mundane household tasks – can impact your life in small, yet meaningful ways.
Creative Color Choices Are For You
There are resources and color charts for combining colors and harmonizing your surroundings. However, it’s really important to listen to your own responses to color and use the colors that please you. Color trends are seasonal, just like any fashion but you are the one who has to live with your choices. We all have an internal palette, just waiting for expression in the clothing and decorative decisions we make. You have to live in your environment so be sure to make your creative choices with you in mind, and your housemates too, of course. You spend more than half of your time at home and another half at work, so it’s important to do everything you can coloristically to create a desirable ambiance.
Years ago in school, my roommate took my red metal tool box, set it on top of a white-painted radiator, and placed a white vase and red rose on top. At the other end of the room was a red-framed tiny painting and a small display of randomly-matched red ceramic pottery pieces ordered into a single row on the mantel. We had little in the way of belongings, and it probably sounds silly, but it actually looked pretty fabulous in a poor art student kind of way. You can make anything into a decoration with a little creativity – even your clutter. My sister cleverly displays white pottery for a spare calming effect on her natural wood Ikea shelves. Color is visually and emotionally powerful – a springboard for creative organizing solutions, limited only by your imagination. Got clutter? Try introducing some color therapy into your organization and your life.
by Laurie Halbritter
*Photos courtesy of Kelly Halbritter and Organized Living.
Storing Herbs and Spices
July 5, 2016
Storing Herbs and Spices in Your Kitchen
Herbs and spices are kitchen staples that tend to take up a lot of cupboard and counter room. Over the years, my herbs exceeded the available wall cupboard space, and I found myself tromping across the kitchen from wall cabinets to the standalone cupboard to assemble what I needed for cooking. And I often had difficulty locating them, as there were a dozen different brands. Plus, I had continually haphazardly stashed the new additions wherever I found some room for them, leaving my spices in a bit of a chaotic disarray. I decided to end my frustration once and for all and purchased some oval glass canisters to replace the odds and ends bottles in my cupboards. Storing herbs, as outlined below, has made my kitchen more efficient, and cooking more streamlined.
First, I invested in some small and large oval glass canisters. The oval canisters have several advantage over my huge collection of mixed brand and bottle types:
- The oval profile takes up less lateral space in the cupboard.
- The oval shape is designed to accommodate a teaspoon.
- Glass is clear so you can see the contents.
- Silicone gaskets are removable, plus they provide airtight freshness when storing herbs and spices.
- Consolidating into the same bottle types allowed me to get organized once and for all.
- Displaying them in glass is actually quite attractive.
Once I transferred the spices and herbs into the new containers, I needed an easy way to identify them – especially the green herbs which are easily confused. I labeled them with these inexpensive adhesive labels. They come pre-printed for common spices, with included blanks for custom or uncommon mixes.
Having clearly marked my herbs and spices, racks were my next organizing priority. My most-often-used spices got mounted to the wall near the stove for convenience using this inexpensive wire rack. The lesser-used ones are now relegated to a two-tiered lazy Susan, which fits nicely in my shallow vintage cupboards.
The glass jars provide a pretty, colorful accent, making in-the-open-storage aesthetically-pleasing to visitors, while offering convenience and accessibility when seasoning food.
by Laurie Halbritter