Posts by Jen Jones
Temperatures are already starting to fall in our area and that has led to us digging out our bin of winter gear. This time of the year always gets me thinking about how to make the most of our entryway and how I can maximize our given space to hold those bulky jackets, winter boots, snow pants, scarves, hats and mittens. In doing some inspirational research, one of my favorite images seems to come up over and over again. There is so much to admire about how the space works and how it can be adapted into multiple entryway situations.
Whether you are starting from scratch or modifying an existing setup, it is always important to list out how you want a space to function when you are done with it. In order to really stretch your storage capacity out of an entryway closet, nook or mudroom, it is important to include a variety of versatile solutions. In the image above, one small alcove performs a multitude of tasks and offers big function with a little footprint.
- Cabinets above provide concealed storage for less frequently utilized seasonal pieces. Place bins within the cabinets to hold jackets and footwear that is out of the current season, yet is easily accessible when it comes time to rotate out belongings.
- Install a clothing rod paired with wooden hangers and / or multiple hooks to hang outerwear and handbags.
- Place a tray or liner on a shelf to protect it from moisture and dirt tracked in on snow boots and rain boots.
- Add casters to a shoe organizer to create an instant rolling bench that can easily tuck away when not in use.
- Select containers that are moisture resistant when storing hats and mittens. Receive bonus points for installing a drying rack that can be pulled out to hold wet outerwear overnight.
- Lined baskets are ideal for concealing small accessories and pet gear.
With the hosting season quickly approaching, it is time to set up storage and organization that will make entertaining a breeze.
About a year ago we found an inexpensive china hutch on Craigslist and transformed it into one of our favorite pieces in our home. Not only does it make a statement in our dining area, it expanded our storage capacity for all things dining, partying and hosting. Now that we have been living with it and using it daily for storing everything “entertaining” related, I couldn’t image life without it.
The most traditional use of a china cabinet is to store and display dishware and serving pieces. Selecting cabinets with glass doors and open shelving creates a grand visual statement within any dining space, allowing you to swap out decor and display items seasonally or as needs change.
Proper flatware and china boxes should be used to store your most valuable and precious pieces, while plate stands and wire baskets keep things simple and casual.
Drawers are another winning solution for dinnerware storage. Place plates, bowls and mugs within drawer dish organizers and you have quick access at meal time. These organizers are easy to grab from and keep the putting away process easy breezy as well.
Aside from the most common uses; china cabinets also double as storage for table lines, candles, centerpieces and napkin holders. Line the bottom of the linen drawer with a mild or unscented dryer sheet to keep napkins and table runners smelling fresh in-between uses. Butterfly clips work great for keeping sets of linens together as well.
Installing floating shelves above a cabinet or credenza can achieve the same storage impact as a standard china cabinet. Whether using the credenza or a china hutch, both are fitting for creating a coffee station. Install mug hooks, add trays of special syrups, sugars and creamers along with your coffee machine and you have just created a zone that will make for a smooth morning routine.
The addition of a wine glass rack, serving tray, drink mixers and bar accessories and suddenly you have a stocked bar for 5 o’clock happy hour.
These stand-in cabinets make the most of a kitchen and dining area by adding more cabinetry and storage than what was ever built-in with the home. Not only are these furniture pieces ideal for the pretty serving pieces, cookbooks and barware, the concealed storage below makes them optimal for stashing away those bulky cooking and baking gadgets as well as unsightly small appliances.
Trend: Fall Baking
There is something so wonderful about celebrating the arrival of fall with a trip to your favorite orchard, then heading home to bake up some delicious treats. Warm baked goods make perfect fall comfort foods and the smells create a coziness within the home.
Although I am not personally a solid baker, I do like to dabble with new recipes from time to time. So when the time comes to pull out the mixer and baking dishes, it is always a “treat” to have my items organized and ready to go.
My first tip for organizing baking supplies is to create a specific zone within the kitchen for everything baking related. This could be a small spot in the pantry, a rolling island / cart or an entire armoire filled to the brim with supplies. By keeping everything with a common theme stored together, it prevents searching every last drawer and cabinet for the special spatula or cookie cutter.
There are a few fail-proof ways to create these baking storage zones, and one of my favorites is with simple industrial shelving. These shelves come in a variety of shapes and sizes and some even on casters, and promise to lend quick access to the items you use most. Everything from cookbooks to mixers to spice jars filled with sprinkles, these shelves pack a lot of storage punch.
Another option for storing a bulky mixer, is to install a mixer shelf riser inside of a kitchen cabinet. Mixers can be very heavy and bulky and the designated shelf provides instant access when the baking mood strikes, then tucks back away in-between uses and frees up valuable counter space.
To maximize cabinet storage, add hooks to the backs of doors for mixer attachments and measuring spoons / cups.
Another way to make the most of a cabinet is with risers that allow you to double your shelving space. Small spice jars are great for storing candles, embellishments and sprinkles.
Many baking supplies look beautiful on display while also allowing you to store the most frequently used items right within arm’s reach. Open shelves or vintage crates are a really great solution for keeping those goodies up off of the counter.
Another beautiful yet functional way to display and store baking essentials is with a pegboard system. Being one of my favorite and most versatile storage solutions; there really isn’t anything that glorious pegboard cannot handle.
Baking trays and dishes are awkwardly shaped and can pose a few storage challenges. Stacking them will result in difficulty retrieving items on the bottom, therefore, storing them on their sides is typically a smarter option. Whenever possible, storing baking pans near the stove will gain you a few bonus baking points.
Another way to make the most of your available space is to store smaller baking supplies such as cookie cutters and frosting nozzles, within larger baking items such as batter bowls and storage canisters.
A similar method works wonders inside of your baking drawer as well. Measuring cups can corral muffin liners while appetizer trays are great for measuring spoons.
If creating a specific zone is not convenient and items must be stored away from your primary baking location, create a portable caddy that will allow you to easily transport basic items during your baking sessions.
Baking recipes are usually collected over time from family members, cookbooks, catalogs and printed from online websites. Keep them all neatly corralled and protected within a three-ring binder. Pair it with a cookbook stand and the recipe will be simple to read yet off of the counter and safe from batter splatters.
Trend: Fall Boots are BACK!
Summer days are winding down and fall is coming at us in full force. Time to pull out those cozy throws, soft sweaters and tall boots to prepare for the chilly months around the corner.
Whether it is a rain boot, a riding boot or a trendy knee high boot, storing your favorite footwear can be a little tricky. Here are a few of my favorite ways to make the most of your space while keeping those boots looking chic all season long.
First and most importantly, the way the boot is stored will ultimately impact the shape and the boot’s total lifespan. To maintain a proper form, there are many inserts on the market made specifically for boot storage. I highly recommend using one of these forms, or getting creative with objects around the home to create a form to tuck inside. Everything from wine bottles to foam pool noodles to rolled magazines, all make great alternative boot forms.
What makes storing boots so difficult, is dealing with their bulkiness and height. Whether in an entryway or a closet, there are many wonderful shoe and boot organizers designed to accommodate awkward sizes. One way to battle the height issue, is to invest in a closet system containing adjustable shelving. Stand alone bookshelves also work perfectly for this as they offer adjustable shelving as well, and are versatile enough to be used in almost any room of the home.
If you are looking to store your boots outdoors, consider purchasing or building a solid wooden rack, which can store the boots inverted. This will allow them to remain dry no matter what the weather brings.
If you find that storing boots indoors is more convenient, there are many ways to get creative with your entry space. I really love the idea of recycling old crates to offer flexible winter gear storage.
Or utilizing a tall console table as a drop zone with a boot tray tucked below. A good rug and boot tray will protect the flooring from all of those outdoor elements that typically come in on our feet.
Consider adding a bench to your entryway, which doubles as seating and ample shoe organization. Building in a second shelf doubles the storage capacity and offers space for foot gear of all shapes and sizes. Quick tip: Toss small baking soda pods or dryer sheets into the bench to absorb any foot odor that may get locked in.
Limited on floor space? Just like any good organizing project, think vertically! Oversized binder clips attached to the wall will provide creative and space saving boot storage. And as great as this is, consider adding a small strip of felt inside each prong of the clip to protect the boot’s material while they hang.
Just as clips rock in the entryway, they also work wonders in a closet. Hangers typically designed for pants and skirts also double as an amazingly creative way to stash away your trendy fall footwear.
And just as much as maintaining the boot’s form is crucial, caring for the boots finish is equally as important to extending the boot’s life expectancy. Taking a few minutes to put together a shoe care kit will ensure your boots hug your feet for more than a single season. A few items you may want to add to your kit are saddle soap, leather conditioner, weatherproofing protector, shoe brush and soft cotton rags.
Trend: Packing up and setting off to enjoy the final days of summer!
As much as it hurts to say it, summer days are numbered. With summer winding down, many folks are doing what they can to make the most of those final sun filled days. Whether heading up north to a friend’s cabin, packing up the family to head to the beach or jet setting across the country to explore an unfamiliar city, packing for a trip can cause unnecessary pre-travel frustrations. What should I pack? What should I button up around the house before we leave? How do I make the most of the space in my carry-on bag? Here are my top ten tips for stress-free organized traveling.
- Make a list, check it twice. Create a master list of things to do around the house before heading out of town for a few days (turn down heat, water plants, set alarm, etc…) as well as a master list of frequently packed items. Give yourself empty blanks to fill in so the list can be tweaked based on your current trip and begin filling out your checklist a few days prior to traveling. Save the list digitally to prevent filling it out from scratch every time the travel bug hits.
- Use your calendar of travel events when planning what to pack. Keep a list of potential activities that will be taking place on your trip and use that as a guide when packing your clothing. Place clothing into piles based on day/event and select items that are easy to mix and match to give you more looks with less. Accessories go a long way in changing the look and feel of an outfit, but are much less bulky in a suitcase.
- Use packing cubes within your suitcase to divide out your contents by type and to prevent items from mixing. This will be handy as you begin to rummage through your suitcase more and more each day. Toss in a few empty pouches for a damp swimsuit or dirty laundry. Garment bags work well for this also.
- Roll clothing vs. folding. You will have less creases to iron and it takes up much less space.
- Select a cosmetic/toiletry bag that opens flat and contains a hook. Hooking the bag to the back of the door or a nearby towel bar will clear up limited hotel counter space. Only utilize the cosmetic bag for non-liquid toiletries; the liquid items should be transferred to travel size bottles and packed within a clear plastic bag and placed in an easy to access pouch of the suitcase. Also remember that hotels are always stocked with daily essentials which allows you to skip packing the soap and makes room for another pair of shoes (wink wink).
- Pack an ultra-lightweight, nylon tote which can fold up nice and small (and takes up minimal space in a suitcase), yet turns into a portable market tote or beach bag for any day trips you take while on vacation.
- Place all flight information, hotel / automobile reservations and other itineraries into a durable folio and tuck it inside of your carry-on tote. This will ensure your boarding pass is simple to locate at the airport and that you can quickly pull out an address for the taxi driver.
- Add a pocketed purse organizer to your handbag / tote to keep all of your carry-on essentials neat and tidy. The added pockets provide designated space within your bag for pens, tech gear, cords, currency, ear-buds, cosmetics, etc…
- Place shoes inside of shoe sacks to prevent suitcase contents from becoming soiled during travels. Reusable grocery bags and even plastic shower caps work great for this purpose.
- Be sure to add a luggage tag to your suitcase containing your important personal information in the event your luggage becomes lost, but don’t share too much. Create a specific email address just for your luggage identification and also include a cell phone number and the phone number of the hotel you will be staying at. Adding a home phone number or home address may ultimately put your personal information into the wrong hands. Select a tag that is unique and easy to spot on a baggage carousel or even add decorative washi-tape around the handle to make your suitcase stand out from the rest.
travel checklist / packable travel bags / jewelry roll / hanging toiletry bag / nylon tote / passport cover / luggage tag / folio / purse organizer / toiletry bottle / luggage grips / carry-on suitcase
Trend: Romantic Grunge
It is time to start thinking school-like thoughts again and romantic grunge is popping up everywhere! Florals, plaids and whimsey prints paired with dark neutrals, worn leather and edgy elements create this fresh back to school look.
With school days lingering in the near future, it is time to design an organized study space to set your teen up for success! Here are a few simple tips to putting together a dedicated work zone that will keep your teen organized throughout the entire school year.
Consider using a desk that offers enough surface space to double as a vanity for hair and makeup in the morning, and study sessions in the evening. Add storage that will accommodate both functions separately; such as a cart of drawers below for beauty supplies and drawers and organizers above for office accessories.
Let’s face it, teens don’t always do homework at their desk (sometimes the bed or couch is more appealing), so keep favorite writing supplies and homework tools within portable zippered pouches. This keeps small items corralled within a backpack at school and ensures your child is ready to do homework no matter where they land.
When it comes to organizing supplies at the desk, shop the home everyday items that can double as free storage. The kitchen is typically a jackpot of storage solutions, everything from leftover food packaging to muffin tins and mugs can be utilized to corral paperclips, stamps, erasers and pushpins.
Place a memo board nearby to offer your teen a place to pin up important notes, photographs and homework. The visual reminder will ensure that important details, dates and papers are not missed during busy mornings and sports seasons.
Add decorative hooks near the workspace to hang backpacks, handbags, hats, umbrellas and lunch totes. Keeping all school related items near the desk will create efficiency during study time and in the morning when heading off to class.
A simple wall pocket is another workspace storage solution that will ease the daily school routine. Fill the pockets with the items your child uses on a daily basis, such as jewelry, lotions, journals, lip balm, etc… By keeping favorite daily necessities corralled in a single location it reduces the risk of rummaging through drawers and slowing one down.
Additional quick tips:
- Assign each class subject a specific color to use for organizing folders/notebooks.
- Find a good wall calendar or portable planner to keep track of important dates and deadlines for tests and extra curricular activities.
- Invest in a good task lamp to take care of the eyes during late night study sessions.
- A good set of headphones works great in reducing noisy distractions.
- With technology being front and center in our daily lives, take advantage of the different organizational applications available on the market.
- Attach a USB drive to a keyring or clip it to a backpack to ensure that important data being transferred from school to home is never misplaced.