6 Clever Ways to Add Vertical Storage in Your Home
June 15, 2017
Out of room? Maybe not. Try adding vertical storage in underused areas.
Not enough closets? Cupboards too small? Don’t despair because we’re going to help you magically make storage space when you think you ran out. Look, up in the sky. It’s an over-door storage rack – no, a garage rafter hoist… Think vertically. Think outside the storage box – and buy stackable ones while you’re out there. Careful planning, a little bit of elbow grease, and a few useful products put to good use on a Saturday afternoon is all you need to get organized. Fact is, you have lots of space around your home you aren’t using… We’ll help you locate it.
Hanging Closet Shelves Shelves
Hanging closet shelves make good use of closet space and add room for sweaters, shirts and other clothing. They’re available in different widths and store a lot more than a similar span of hanging clothes, as they use the vertical space beneath the rod.
Stacking Plastic Boxes
Stacking plastic boxes come in a variety of sizes, some with interlocking features for more secure stacking. Shoe boxes, photo boxes and larger airtight boxes are useful for storing a variety of items in your closet on the shelves or on floor if room permits. Stacking boxes are a versatile way to add vertical storage in unused areas of your home (under beds, on basement shelves, etc.).
Hanging Accessory Holders
Hanging accessory holders including scarf, belt and tie holders keep your favorite accessories accessible and consolidated for easier outfit staging or grab-and-go dressing in the morning. They occupy vertical hanging space in your closet and keep your drawers free for clothing.
Around your home, in your garage, your basement, the kitchen, and even in your closet, you’re likely to have unused overhead space that begs for a utilitarian and/or functionally attractive storage display. Pottery might find a home above kitchen windows, and a small shelf can be mounted over a door for infrequently-used items. Most shelves come with hardware and only require a drill and a level for installing. The best part is that they come in a range of widths and can be stacked in multiples – as many as you have space for. While built-in shelves are often desirable for their aesthetics, decorative brackets are available to dress up shelving and can transform ordinary wall shelves into attractive additions to your decor.
When you’ve overfilled your cupboard, wall and other storage space, look to the sky for creative storage solutions. Whether it’s pot and pan ceiling racks, or garage rafter storage, you’ll appreciate the extra room and, with the right racks, it will look neat while freeing other valuable real estate.
Doors provide lots of valuable vertical storage in spaces that are underutilized. Over-door hat, purse, shoe and other over-door storage racks provide TONS of storage. These are really great for small homes, apartments and dorms.
Wall-Mount Pot and Pan Racks
Horizonal, wall-mounted pot racks can be stacked up the wall to accommodate pots, pans and utensils. Aside from using up vertical space, these racks make it convenient for cooking – especially if you have room for them near your stove or food prep area. Large racks may include shelves and ceiling pot racks (see above) are another possible storage option.
Double Closet Rod Hanger
This inexpensive, rod hanger accessory doubles your closet real estate by providing an additional hanging span beneath the main one. You can easily hang sweaters, jackets, shirts and other items using unused space in your closet.
These are only a few solutions for making vertical storage in your home. Feel free to make your own creative solutions and even share some of your ideas here on our blog. If you struggle with small-space storage issues, you might also enjoy your small kitchen post, as well as our overhead storage slideshow.
Travel Tips – 28 Things You Need to Know Before Getting Off that Plane
June 8, 2017
Traveling this summer? Here are some useful travel tips to help you prepare.
Summer is the time for many of us to use our vacation time, so we seek out adventures in exotic or otherwise compelling locales. Here are some super-useful travel tips to keep in mind as you plan your escapades. Being over prepared is great and can prevent mishaps, but being spontaneous also makes for a fun vacation. Ideally, a balance of the two will give you the combination of excitement and relaxation you crave and deserve.
- For foreign travel – research the country you plan to visit. Are there travel advisories or other developments that could interfere with your plans? Getting stranded in Bangkok due to an airport political protest can be a real drag. Believe me. Lonely Planet is a great online travel resource and even has a booking search engine (no, we are not affiliated with them).
- Don’t pack too many clothes, but pack as many as you will wear – a dressy outfit for dinner out, something warm for cool nights, and comfortable clothing appropriate for your planned activities.
- Check local customs for attire before packing. You may choose to blend with the locals, or maybe not, depending on where you are going. In some instances, you may want to wear a disguise. Seriously.
- Not to sound bossy, but you might want to be culturally sensitive. You’re a guest and you probably don’t want to inadvertently offend someone by not making it your business to learn a bit about their customs. Touching someone’s head in Thailand might get you in dutch, and a racy top could get you booted from the temple tour. There are plenty of resources online (again, Lonely Planet is tops).
- Try eating the local food rather than just dining at the restaurants tailored to tourists. You will be glad you had the experience of fried grass hoppers and it’s really respectful to utilize all parts of the animal. No, really.
- Learn some common phrases if you are visiting a foreign country. It will make it easier to accomplish simple tasks like getting your check, and foreigners are likely to appreciate that you made the effort. “Thank you,” “What does this cost?” “Another drink, please,” and “Where the heck am I?” come to mind.
- Make a checklist for packing, one for booking tasks, and one for the administrative tasks you need to do at home to prepare for your absence (i.e., bills, mail forwarding, etc.).
- Bring extra batteries for your devices, as they may be hard to find in other countries. Also bring an appropriate charging adaptor for the country you are visiting. If you’re not sure what type you need, here’s a good resource.
- Buy medical insurance for your trip. It isn’t that expensive and, should something happen, you’ll be glad you did.
- Tell your bank or credit card companies where you are going. Many of them will block your card as soon as they see a foreign charge.
- Bring comfortable walking shoes. Really, like broken-in tennis shoes – not brand new ones. Blisters can ruin a trip.
- Mark your luggage in some way to make it distinct. You can spot it easier on the conveyors if it doesn’t look just like everyone else’s. Use pink tape, skull or flower-power stickers, or whatever is likely to grab your attention.
- Keep your most important papers, essentials and valuables with you on the plane. Probably half the times I have traveled, my luggage got delayed or lost. You can keep them in a backpack or other small carry-on bag.
- Tip hotel staff and other service people. They work hard and generally make little in hourly wages. While you can do it at the end of the stay, doing it daily might result in better service. You can check online to see what is appropriate for the service and for the locale.
- Make a digital copy of any documents you might need traveling and email to yourself in the event you lose the originals. This might include your airline tickets, passport, and other i.d.
- Bring any important phone numbers with you in the event you need to contact someone back home. I’m not trying to make you compulsive and yet…
- Consider committing other important information like hotel names to paper – in addition to adding to your phone apps. You’d be surprised how easy it is to forget a name, especially if it’s in a foreign language or you’re walking down a sandy beach with 30 competing hotels that all look alike and have similar names. Also, sometimes batteries die, phones break, and being without some information until you can charge or fix it could be potentially inconvenient.
- Learn to pack efficiently. There are lots of video sources online, but rolling jeans up small is one method. Stuff socks or accessories inside of shoes to maximize space. Roll-up, hanging jewelry holders are space-efficient for luggage and can be hung in your hotel closet. Vacuum bags rock for maximizing space in your luggage.
- Bring a book (or two if you’re a fast reader). There will be down time and bad movies.
- Invest in luggage with wheels or carts for your non-mobile luggage. Your back will thank you.
- Don’t forget luggage labels. This is another way to make your luggage stand out on the conveyer for pickup. Buy pink ones, neon glow, animal print, or whatever strikes your fancy.
- Toilet paper, tissue paper – bring some. Does your vacation country have public restrooms?
- Invest in a money belt or discreet wallet or holder to secure and conceal your valuables.
- Be careful using wifi in public places as it may not be secure. Be especially cautious doing financial activities when using free services.
- Engage with residents (locals) for suggestions on restaurants, stores and things to do. Of course, you want to plan ahead and research, but insider tips will likely reveal some little hidden-gem-of-a-cafe or other venue that didn’t make it into the travel “touristy” guides.
- Carry a mini-first-aid kit with you that includes things like Motrin, Band-aids, tweezers, ear plugs, a snake-bite kit, and other essentials.
- Purchase a travel bottle (or two) and keep water with you so you can stay hydrated.
- Feel free to plan, but also be flexible enough to bounce back from mishaps and be sure to schedule some down time, as vacations should be both exhilarating AND rejuvenating.
Hope you’ve enjoyed my travel tips. Do you have any tips you’d like to share?
Father’s Day Gift Guide – 2017
May 30, 2017
Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Every Flavor of Dad
Father’s Day is a day to show the dads in your life they matter. While it’s great to be a good child 365 days a year, a small gift and dinner out make an extra special memory for your dad AND for you. Whether your dad is that minimalist guy who wants everything spare and uncluttered, the baseball guy who yells at the Tiger’s game on TV, or the quiet gardener type, there’s something in this gift guide to strike his fancy.
The Grill Dad
The Grill Dad is that guy you can always count on to cook meat and chicken to perfection. He might have his own proprietary BBQ recipe, or if he uses someone else’s, it’s probably still a guarded secret. Like his profession, whatever it might be, grilling is part of his identity. He might have a special hat or apron, and he doesn’t want you near his grill. You can’t go wrong with a 20-piece grill utensil set for your Grill Dad this year. It includes spatulas, forks, tongs, a basting brush and every other grilling essential – plus it has a carrying case so he can lug it to away-picnics or tuck it in a garage cabinet for easy storage.
A grill thermometer takes the guesswork out of cooking if your Grill Dad happens to be in training. This dishwasher-safe, stainless steel surface thermometer ensures perfectly cooked food every time, even when your dad might be off his game.
An outdoor mobile serving station is just like having his own kitchen on the patio. Two folding leafs make forty inches of working surface for food prepping or arranging cooked food. Two cabinet cubbies are great for storing barbecue accessories, and casters make it easy to put it right where he needs it.
Wall Street Dad
If your father is a business man, you might want to go with a more traditional gift. It doesn’t have to be a tie, although it could be a unique one in his favorite colors. If your dad is one of those people who still wear watches (this is a rarity in the cell phone era), this watch holder is for him. Made of cherry wood, it has six padded inserts to keep watches safe and clean and includes a glass top for clear viewing.
Your dapper dad might be the type to stage his outfits for a special meeting or presentation. Even if he isn’t, a beautiful wooden valet might inspire him to get organized the night before, and this budget model (made from wood and bronze-finished tubing) is a low-risk investment.
A sliding tie rack and belt rack will help keep your Wall Street Dad organized and color coordinated in the morning when he’s getting ready for work. Ties and belts are the bane of closets and dressers when it comes to getting it together in the mornings. Sometimes getting organized requires a little extra something and valets make classy Father’s Day gifts. Both of these are great space savers and can be installed on any wall that has a 22.5-inch-width clearance (to accommodate fully extended racks).
Sports Nut Dad
So you say your dad is a sports fan, but what is his particular passion? Football? Baseball? Collecting? If he collects ball caps, the baseball hat rack is just the thing he needs to organize his collection. Just hang it over a door for accessible storage of 36 caps. Easy.
For sports collector types, footballs, baseballs and other sports memorabilia get safekeeping in an acrylic display case. These memorabilia cases are a great way for Dad to preserve those special memories, whether it’s from the foul ball catch at the Cubs game, or the Green Valley Softball Ohio Series Championship his team won last summer.
For the Serious Jock Sports Nut Dad, equipment storage might just be a permissible AND appreciated gift, despite the practicality. He may already have everything he wants, right? Nothing’s more annoying than toppled equipment in the garage and not being able to find things. Wall-mount and freestanding organizers keep hockey sticks, balls and skates together, accessible and off the floor.
Speaking of garages, if you really want to spoil your dad, consider gifting him some steel cabinets for his man cave. Organization might not be the first gift that comes to mind (it involves work), but if your dad is a man cave type, you know how he loves to putter. In addition to getting the cave in order, these cabinets just look cool – cool enough to induce man cave envy. Promise.
Gadget Freak Dad
Whether he’s a gadget freak or just a modern man, a charging station keeps his digital life going and devices organized and safe. This desk charger has three built-in USB ports – enough to satisfy the average person’s need to get charged and ready for the day.
If you’ve ever witnessed lost-remote hysteria or injured your derriere sitting on one, you know just how valuable this revolving remote caddy is. With ample room for four remotes – plus a center divider for manuals and other accessories, this caddy enables no-stress movie nights and game playing. This is another foolproof organizing gift that won’t go unappreciated.
Stylish and slightly retro (with contrasting, light stitching), this leather laptop bag makes a masculine, yet fashionable statement wherever your dad goes. It fits laptops and tablets up to 13 inches wide and comes in tan, black, and brown. It’s a bit more casual than a traditional soft attaché, but we have one of those too for bigger storage needs. For a more casual, campus-kinda-feel, this upscale leather backpack has room for lots of gadgets and even a lunch.
Green Thumb Dad
The Green Thumb Dad is a unique type, but we know they’re out there. They might be small-town dads cultivating 30-foot gardens with mini Sears rototillers or urban types growing raised-bed gardens in an empty lot, but they all have one thing in common, the need to bring seeds to life and they love getting dirty.
For weekend outdoor projects like landscaping, a garden cart makes lugging things around the yard so much easier. This one has 10-inch pneumatic rubber tires, steel mesh sides, and a 400-pound weight capacity, which makes it great for hauling rocks.
A seed planter makes quick work of planting and includes a dual hopper for double-plus fun (plant and fertilize at the same time, if you can pull that off). It holds 7.5 pounds of seed, fertilizer, bat guano or whatever concoction your father might use in his garden.
Managing hoses is one of the more tedious duties of a home gardener. A water-powered hose reel is a little indulgence your dad might like, but would probably feel guilty about buying for himself. This easy-to-use timesaver makes a winner of a gift for the gardener in your life.
Whatever flavor of dad you have, you’re sure to find something appropriate among our 15,000 listings at Organize-It. Organize-It Gift certificates also make great presents, especially if you’re feeling indecisive or started your Father’s Day shopping late this year.