storage solutions

Jen Jones

Organize This: Multi-Functional Entryway

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.


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Jen Jones

Organize This: China Cabinet

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.


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Jen Jones

Organize This: Baking Supplies!

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.


 Recipe Box / Wall Shelf / Mixer Shelf / Hooks / Canister Labels / Shelving Unit / Baking Sheet Rack / Clear Canisters / Drawer Dividers / Flour Canister / Cookbook Holder

Erin Menardi

Friday Finds 8.29

Good morning all! With all of the activities that create our crazy lives, it’s hard to find time to do things just for the fun of it. These quick and simple DIY’s will treat you to a little me-time, and great pieces to show for it.


I’ve never been much of a carpenter, but even I could make this amazingly simple Leather Handled Cutting Board from Almost Makes Perfect. What starts out as a plain piece of wood turns into a gorgeous testament to your inner craftsman.



Another in-kitchen idea: decorated tea towels. I know, I know, how overdone…But these Confetti Trail Tea Towels on For The Makers were too cute to pass up. What an easy way to add some color and fun to your kitchen!



I love mirrors–the crazier the better. These amazingly easy Salvaged Yard Mirrors by Killer B. Designs put a creative new (or old?) twist on your framing options. Who says all that junk in your garage is useless?



I still really can’t get enough of terrariums and air plant vases. Pile on some color with this super simple Paint-Dip Planters tutorial from Vintage Revivals. I especially love how she hung them on her wall–SO ADORABLE.



And lastly, I love the look of this coffee table serving tray and drawer from The Design Confidential.  A little more demanding than the others, after you channel your inner craftsman one last time, you’ll have it finished and ready to impress in no time.



Happy creating! Have a wonderful week!


Erin Menardi

Friday Finds 7.18

Hello again, friends! This week I wanted to share some ideas for re-purposed wood projects, because I think those kinds of pieces are some of the coolest ones out there. It’s cheap, it’s creative, it’s fun, and it’s hard to beat that mix of old style and new flair.


Take a look at these amazingly easy dyed bamboo placemats from The Homesteady next time you’ve got a half hour to spare. I love their bright, simple, earthy look, and so will all of your dinner guests.



If you’re looking for some extra storage options around the house and have an old ladder hanging around in the garage, try this ladder shelf idea I pulled off of Refresh Restyle. It puts a fresh twist on an old piece of hardware almost everyone has handy but never uses.



For a more creative project idea–and one your kids will love–grab some branches from the yard and make some of Tonya Staab’s  tree art. It’ll be a fun afternoon for the kids, and a piece of their art you’ll want to keep forever.



I think these repurposed wood cut-outs from Primitive and Proper are super fun and full of character. If you’ve got the right tools and a decent drawing hand, customizing different shapes or outlines would be a cinch!



And finally, can we just talk about how absolutely awesome this tree house from Say Yes is?? I’m convinced I should probably build one ASAP (cue handy husbands/boyfriends/significant others everywhere). Who decided adults were too old for tree houses, anyway?



Get building while these crazy summer days last!

Jen Jones

Organize This: Pet Supplies!

Trend:  Chic Organization for your Furry Friends!


Our pets are a big part of our daily lives.  They bring smiles to our faces, are loyal companions and complete our families.  However, pets can come with a lot of stuff!  Leashes, dishes, food, treats, vitamins, grooming supplies, oh my!

All of those items can quickly look like loose clutter around the home, yet need to be integrated into daily life.  Here are a few of my favorite practical (and stylish) solutions for organizing your pets around the abode.




Create a dog walking station near an entrance.  I personally love keeping a tote on a hook to hold harnesses, doggy sacks, leashes, treats, etc…  The tote conceals the daily walking clutter, yet keeps everything in a convenient location.  Take things a step further by adding additional bins and caddies for other grooming supplies and daily necessities.


Tuck pet beds under shelves and in small nooks to keep them out of heavy traffic zones and to offer pets some quiet and security where they rest.



Add decorative labels to everyday tins and jars to take pet food and treat storage to a whole new level.  Both you and your pet will be smiling big at feeding time!



Add a small mat or tray under dog dishes and bowls to prevent water and food from spilling and spreading all over the kitchen floor.



Keep an open top bin or basket near floor level to promote daily play and to reinforce which toys are for your pets and which are for other members of the family.



Corral daily grooming supplies such as shampoos, brushes, nail clippers, ear solution and dental care items within a portable utensil caddy.



Unfortunately, our pets may become hurt from time to time and may need specialized first aid solutions.  Be prepared with a pet friendly first aid kit containing cotton pads, gauze, bandages, cotton swabs, scissors, tweezers, flea and tick treatments, worming treatments, antiseptic and sanitizer.



Keep important pet paperwork and vet records organized within a handy three ring binder.  Keep track of important items such as important dates, medications, veterinarian information, pet sitter notes, etc…


Create an all-in-one cabinet for all things pet related.  Pull out drawers to hold pet food, hooks for walking supplies, baskets of toys and grooming supplies.  The options are endless and everything tucks away neatly behind closed doors.


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