15.12
2019

Different Types of Closets and How to Choose the Right One for Yourself  

How do we best describe a closet?

An enclosed space or a structure designed for storage, particularly clothes? Or should we say, an amalgamation of aesthetics and function when it comes to storing things?

Whatever term we may assign to a closet, all definitions meet at a central point: it helps you to declutter and serves as your personal organizer. (Read: How to Organize Your Home Closet System)

Now, if you are looking to buy one for your master bedroom, you should be aware that there are many types available in the market. They all serve different functions and might not be right for every home. Let us guide you through the types to assess the attributes of each, so you can make the best decision.

 

1. Walk-in Closet

 

A walk-in closet is the ultimate design indulgence for your home, especially the master bedroom which sports a lot of space.

A walk-in closet is an architectural dream with multifaceted design storage that leaves you asking for more. In fact, the spacious storage element is often referred to as a room within a room. The closet can be a few sq feet in area or as huge as a room, equipped with windows to maintain the temperature within. The closet can be customized as per the need of the user.

There can be a set of multiple drawers in the closet for the storage of miscellaneous items. Then there can be sliding shelves with drawers behind the façade. With an array of pull out mechanisms, a walk-in can sport all type of pull-out accessories like a shirt pull-out, a trouser pull-out, a belt, and a tie pull-out or maybe a simple pull-out shelf — all with different functions. The vertical space can be used to store shoes and accessories too.

While some go overboard with its interiors, some like to keep it simple. It all depends on you, really. We have seen a lot of people using a gold chandelier above the closet for a regal addition, and we love it! You may add seating or a dresser inside it to make your life easier too. Think of this as your clothes kingdom and do as you please!

Ultimately, a walk-in is a style statement on its own but not every house may have the clearance for it. If you are lucky enough to, be creative with it. (Read: A Complete Guide To Walk-In Closet Dimensions And Layouts)

 

Benefits of Having a Walk-in Closet

 

  • A walk-in closet is a perfect choice for storing your clothes, shoes, jewelry, miscellaneous accessories and a lot more. They are completely open to customization and homeowners can have a lot of fun with them too.
  • A walk-in is the ideal private spot that you can use for getting dressed in minimum time. You can install a mirror, a hairdryer, and other stuff and change the space into a chic dressing room.
  • It is a perfect place for that coveted ‘me time’ and can serve as your personal den.
  • You can safely store all your valuables in here and simply lock the door. At least, within the home, this space can be attributed as the safest of all.
  • Since generally, a walk-in closet is spacious in area, organizing and retrieving stuff becomes a breeze.

 

2. Reach-in Closets

 

A reach-in closet is another widely used closet. However, it is smaller in size when compared to a walk-in closet.

These have been around for quite a while, and their main role originally is to provide space for hanging clothes by a rod provided in the closet, with an open shelf above.

However, this definition of reach-in closets has taken on a different semblance today. The closets today are at least an arm’s length deep with the width running anywhere between 3 to 8 feet. They are well equipped with partitions, hinged doors, the sliding mechanism to run the doors or even pull-aside curtains.

In short, reach-in closets have completely reinvented themselves to suit the need of the contemporary psyche. Closets with white folding doors, modern spacious wardrobes with matte glass doors — you name it!

 

 

Benefits of Reach-in Closets

 

  • Reach-in closets are perfect for combining various storage options aided by clever positioning. This opens up the storage space and also helps with the organization.
  • These closets come with storage elements, like long bars for hanging the clothes, and shelves and drawers for tucking away pants and shirts. Basically, the storage components are combined in a way that lets you store the content neatly without occupying much space.
  • The drawers can be utilized to store jewelry, accessories, lingerie and important documents.
  • They are also good enough to hang door organizers that will store your shoes or even cosmetics in a perfect organized fashion; highlighting the beauty of the arrangement.

 

3. Armoires or Wardrobes

 

An armoire is essentially a decorative, free-standing large cupboard which functions as a wardrobe.

There are some basic differences between a closet and a wardrobe, though. A closet is a designated space for storage, while a wardrobe can be procured from a furniture store or even built as per your requirements. These wardrobes are available in a variety of sizes, patterns and serve many dynamic purposes in homes.

Typically an armoire has a lot of hanging space, besides boasting of shelves and drawers for storage.

 

 

Benefits of an Armoire

 

  • An armoire is ideal for adding an elegant touch to your bedroom with its vintage flavor.
  • The piece of furniture especially complements the look of bedrooms that have large beds. However, smaller versions of armoires have also made a mark lately.
  • If you have a lot of clothes and want to keep them tidy and well-organized, this product is for you.
  • An armoire can even be placed in the living room for keeping the TV and other stuff.
  • You can even store your children’s toys, games, etc. here.
  • Use an armoire in the dining space to store your cutlery, crockery, and other tableware. You can even place a few artifacts in the armoire to give an ambient touch to your home.
  • An armoire is portable and can be moved around to any part of your home as desired.

 

4. Linen Closet

 

A linen closet is essentially a smaller version of a reach-in closet. They are generally narrow and are located in hallways between bathrooms and bedrooms. These closets can have architectural elements as bifold doors, sliding doors, hinged doors or doorless access.

 

Benefits of a Linen Closet

 

  • A linen closet is used to store towels, bedding, bed sheets, extra pillows and sheets for guests and even bathroom utilities.
  • It is common for the modern-day apartments to store a dryer and a washer in the linen closet.
  • The storage potential of a linen closet is largely determined by the extent of its shelving efficiency.

 

 

 

 

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30.11
2019

10 Tips to Design the Perfect Pantry for Your Kitchen

Modern kitchens are a perfect blend of contemporary aesthetics and an organized storage system.

We all want to come back to a kitchen that is clutter-free and gives the user ample space to move around. Everything in its place defines the minimally designed kitchen of the modern age.

The onset of minimalism has also led to the renaissance of good old pantries…and it is probably the best thing to have happened to our kitchens since sliced bread.

Now, how do we exactly define a pantry? A pantry is basically a tall unit or a structure that has ample storage space; whose inner pull-outs or shelves can be designed individually and one that provides easy access to the food items from all three sides. They were a rage back in the years for their convenience…and we are so glad they are back!

But before you get excited about having one, be sure to design it right. It can be expensive to replace; so make sure you cut no corners when designing it. Here we list down how you can get on the bandwagon and design a perfect pantry for yourself. 

 

 

1. Make Sure it’s Conveniently Accessible:

 

A pantry means that all food items can be stored in a single place. Now the problem is that despite having a pantry, things kept at the back of the shelf can get lost at times and are only discovered at the time of cleaning out the pantry. The best option is to have an opening like a glass door or a sliding door that you can slide into to have a full view of the contents within.

One can play around with designs too. It is possible to have a pantry that has two sets of double doors that can be opened to access it. Basically, a single pantry spanned by two sets of double doors.

Sounds good? Here the doors can be of the same texture as the rest of the cabinetry to lend a uniform & seamless look to the kitchen. Chances are, others won’t even realize that there is a pantry behind the doors!

pantry is hidden in plain sight.

 

2. Redesigning the Walk-in-Pantry:

These pantries were popular ages back where special rooms were allocated for the pantry. It was as good as having a room within the kitchen.

As per contemporary design ethos, this allocated space can be made a part of the rest of the kitchen with a little effort. In this case, the walk-in area remains the same whereas the door to the pantry is restructured on the design lines of the rest of the kitchen. This idea can be incorporated while constructing a new kitchen as well and you end up getting a huge walk-in modern-day pantry.

3. Utilizing Unexplored Spaces:

If you look around the kitchen, you will often find unused spaces at the end of the cabinetry. A number of modern intelligent kitchen concepts have been making the best of these unexplored spaces by using them for pull-out pantries.

They are super useful as they can be used to store stuff needed on a daily basis. Since they are located close to the countertop, it is easy to access the pantry to facilitate the cooking experience too.

 

Turn cabinetry into the pantry easily.

4. Use Assorted Hardware for Complete Space Utilization:

Compare a traditional pantry to one that uses functions such as sliding, swirling and moving.

What difference do you notice? In the case of the traditional pantry, the food items are placed in racks, baskets, etc, which are immovable. Here you can’t play around with space and the food items take up every inch of the space.

In contrast, say you have a pantry, where one bracket moves in both directions — it implies that you can place food both on the front and back of the bracket.

Another section is the corner swirls to give a full view of the contents. Here you can have items in the front as well as at the back of the swirling trays. Many times, we avoid placing stuff at the back of the shelves in the pantry as they are difficult to access. Having a shelf tray that can be pulled out will make your life much easier.

The idea is to make use of every inch of the space with a concept that is high on visual aesthetics as well.

 

 

 

5. Create a Step System in the Pantry:

Not every kitchen has the space for a well structured large pantry. Does this mean that these homeowners must contend with the idea of not having a pantry in their kitchens?

Absolutely not. No matter what sized pantry you go in for, all you have to do is create steps in here. This will give you a clear view of the contents up the shelves as well.

 

6. Classify Your Food Storage:

This can give you great benefits both in terms of saving unnecessary labor while cooking as well as neatly organized storage.

What this means is that all your breakfast cereal goes on one shelf. The veggies go in the wicker baskets. The sauces take one section, the salad dressings another. Similarly, the spices can go in the spice racks.

The idea is to classify the storage in a way that the next time you cook, you actually feel the difference that having a pantry can make to your life. It not only saves precious time but also makes you look forward to cooking.

 

7. Lay down the Boxes:

The boxes do not necessarily have to be placed upright. Maximize the space by laying down the boxes or stacking them.

 

8. Label the Boxes:

Make it a habit to transfer food items from cartons and opened containers to jars and boxes that can be labeled. Well-labeled boxes in the pantry keep your pantry organized and food easily accessible.

 

9. Arranging Items in the Pantry:

When arranging the containers, make sure that the taller ones go at the back with the shorter ones in the front. This will improve visibility.

 

10. Showcasing your Pantry:

Your pantry can become the exclusive vignette of your kitchen. Traditionally, pantries are far removed from aesthetics yet modern contemporary design sensibilities have redefined the concept of pantries.

They can complement your kitchen landscape with a number of design concepts. An all-white shelving, for instance, can serenade the kitchen with class. Lights that illuminate the entire pantry as soon as you open the door, glass doors that reconstruct the pantry with abundant elegance, design handles with understated charm — all are the ways in which the pantries have restructured their presence in ways unimaginable.

 

 

02.11
2019

A Complete Guide to Walk-in Closet Dimensions and Layouts

Walk-in closets rule the world of storage solutions. Although much more common currently, they still remain highly desirable and perceptibly luxurious.

But just like almost every other major element that goes into designing a home, walk-in closets rely heavily on the accuracy of their design. If designed properly, walk-in closets are truly the belle of the ball. We wouldn’t go into WHY you should design those — the abundant storage is reason enough to go for a well-designed walk-in, not to mention the private space it affords the user. Instead, we will talk about how you can design one that is perfect for your master bedroom.

What Do You Need to Know Before You Start?

 

You have been warned: Designing is not an easy job. You will need time to plan the layout and its interiors, but if you follow through this guide, you should enough to start.

 

A walk-in closet design will mainly depend on three factors:

 

  • Your budget
  • The space at your disposal
  • Your storage requirements

 

Before stepping into any project, you should know exactly what you need and want — for that will determine the final product you end up with. For example, for low/minimum storage requirements, a walk-in can be an overkill.  Similarly, if you don’t have the space, then cramming a walk-in closet in your bedroom will severely distort the layout of your house. Before you even begin, ask yourself the purpose of your walk-in closet and work from there. That will determine the layout, which in turn will determine the design.

 

Different Types of Walk-in Closet Layouts

 

First of all, let us talk about common designs and layouts in the walk-in world. Depending on individual needs, walk-ins can come in various designs. Some of them, however, are more common than others:

 

  • Single-Sided Walk-In Closet:  An extension of reach-in, this is the smallest and of all and is a pretty common design.The storage is placed on the opposite wall of the entrance and there’s clearance space for access.
  • Double-Sided Walk-in Closet:  For this design, storage units are placed on the opposing walls as you enter the closet, with a clear pathway down the middle. Small to medium in size.
  • Island Walk-In Closet:  Basically a double-sided walk-in closet with an island in the middle. Storage can be housed on all three walls or one side can be reserved as a dresser unit. They do require a lot of space and can be classed into luxury products.
  • Wrap Around Walk-In Closet:  This design maximizes the storage space available, with storage units placed on all three walls. Medium to large in size.

 

Walk in Closet Layouts - Closet and Beyond

 

 

The designs mentioned above are based on the placement of storage units. Talking specifically about size, walk-in closets can be broadly broken down into three categories — small & square, long & narrow, and large.

Once you have figured out your storage needs, your space constraints, and the functionality you want to extract from a walk-in closet — you can mix and match these styles to come up with the perfect closet for you.

For example, if you have ample space but minimal storage needs, you can incorporate a dresser inside the walk-in to take care of hair and make-up. Any leftover space can be utilized for an island or even an ironing board.

 

Determining the Measurements for Your Walk-in Closet

 

A standard full-size walk-in closet for two people should measure a minimum of 7 by 10 feet. It should preferably have an area of 100 sq. ft as this allows you to have storage units on all three walls with even a sitting area in the middle. In case you want a smaller one, small walk-ins can be built in as low as 25 sq. ft. of space.

 

Below are some standard measurements for various types of walk-ins as mentioned above:

 

  • Single-Sided:  Being the smallest, they are little more than a hybrid between a reach-in closet and a walk-in. On average, the closet is about four to five feet deep and occupies about 24 inches of the total depth. This leaves about 36 inches as clearance.
  • Double-Sided:  The depth of a double-sided walk-in can be flexible, ranging from four to six feet. It is wider than a single-sided closet, incorporating two 24 inches each storage space on opposite walls. With a 36 inch clearance in the middle, the total width comes out to be anywhere from six to seven feet.
  • Island Walk-In:  If you have an island in the middle of your closet, chances are you’re not worried about space. But in case you have been trying to ‘cram’ the island into the design, make sure that there is a three feet clearance on all sides of the island.

 

Tips to Follow While Designing Your Own Walk-in Closet

 

  • Double rods are a common and efficiency-focused element of a closet. They are typically placed 40 inches and 80 inches from the ground.
  • If you are using single rods, 72 inches is a good height.  Add shelves above the road to maximize the storage space.
  • Have a separate rack dedicated to shoes, or else it’ll take no time before the entire floor is covered with all sorts of footwear.
  • As a rule of thumb, a four-feet wide area will accommodate storage space on one side. A six feet wide walk-in can make room for storage on all three walls.  And a 10 feet wide room can sport an island.

 

Apart from this, if you want your walk-in closet to be compliant with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), you need to have a minimum clear space of 30 inches wide by 48 inches deep. It is not mandatory but is a great gesture, especially if you have space to spare. It’ll greatly help in increasing the resale value of your house if you ever decided to go down that path.

 

 

 

 

22.10
2019

German Students Begin Two-Week Exchange Program in Arlington

A group of high school students from Germany have arrived in Arlington, Virginia to start a two-week exchange program that will cover cultural visits in D.C. and New York.

Arlington high school students will host the guest teenagers and their adult chaperones until the last three days of their stay in the U.S., which they will spend in the northeast touring the Big Apple.

The program is part of Arlington Sister City Association’s (ASCA) series of exchange programs between Arlington and its five sister cities around the world. Besides Aachen, they are Coyoacán, (Mexico), Ivano-Frankivsk (Ukraine), Reims (France), and San Miguel (El Salvador).

Info Session on Reciprocal Visit to Germany on October 17th

All ASCA exchange programs are reciprocal. As such, a group of high school students will go and visit Aachen between June 20 and July 8 next year. The independent nonprofit, operational since 1993, will hold an information meeting about that trip at 7 p.m. on October 17 at Arlington Mill Community Center. The center is at 909 S Dinwiddie Street.

The planned trip to Germany will include cultural and historical sightseeing in both Aachen and Berlin, the German capital some 400 miles away to the northeast of the country where it borders Poland.

 

The 17-day trip to Germany is open to high school students between 15 and 18 who reside or attend high school in Arlington.

 

There is also an exchange trip from Arlington to Aachen for elementary school students. As part of that particular program, a group of 5th graders accompanied by at least one of their parents will travel to Germany next April.

A Relationship for Over a Quarter Century 

The sister city relationship between Arlington and Aachen is almost as old as ASCA itself. It began with the signing of a sisterhood protocol in 1993. Ever since, hundreds of students from both Arlington and Aachen visited each other’s cities and participated in as many out-of-class activities.

ASCA has a board of directors comprised of an executive committee and representatives from each of Arlington’s sister cities. There is also a corresponding committee of volunteers who actively work on promoting exchanges between Arlington and those five cities. Board Member Heidi Addison is in charge of the organization’s flagship cooperation with Aachen.

ASCA is a member of Sister Cities International, which President Eisenhower founded in 1956 to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation. Today, its network unites tens of thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers in nearly 500 member communities with over 2,000 partnerships in more than 140 countries worldwide.

17.10
2019
custom-closets-ashburn-va

Walk in Closet or a Built in Closet – What to Choose and Why

Storage is an area of home improvement that has taken a life of its own in recent times. Once seen as a mere utility and something to be tucked away from sight securely, storage solutions are now getting a lot of attention — and for good reason. Today, a chic closet is much more than a practical addition to a house: it is a style statement.

 

Now, we all know an efficient storage plan can alleviate a lot of stress from your day to day life. Not having to look for our socks every morning is a luxury that only a few of us experience if our closets are not organized properly. That’s what makes storage such an important yet underrated part of any home. It streamlines your life and gets rid of any unnecessary energy leaks. The question is not, “Do I need to update my closet?”. Chances are, your storage space is insufficient for your needs and needs to be organized properly, and that is why you are here, reading this. The better questions to ask are: Which one should I choose and why? Should I customize it? Should I just buy a built-in one?

 

We are going to answer some of these questions and help you make the right choice.

 

 

Choosing the Right Closet

 

In 2019, we are seeing an influx of inspired designs and styles in the storage world. Whether it is a monochromatic and minimalist design for a master bedroom or a superhero motif for the kids’ rooms — there are a lot of options available. You can blend the storage areas into an overarching theme or vice versa too; it’s completely up to you.

 

Related: Easy Storage Ideas For Every Room In Your House

 

Walk-in closets, built-in closets, armoires, pantries, linen closets, utility closets, etc. are some of the countless options in the storage world. The preference for these depends both on style and purpose.  For this article, we will be talking about the fundamental differences between a built-in and walk-in closet, what makes each of them unique, and how you can get the most out of either of them.

Walk-In Closet

 

A walk-in closet is the king when it comes to storage solutions.

As is obvious from the name, a walk-in closet is essentially a small room that you can walk into. Typically starting from 6.5 feet in terms of depth, there is no upper limit to the size of a walk-in. In fact, those with a passion for fashion, have been known to have closets that are bigger than a standard master bedroom.

The only limitation when you choose a walk-in closet is that you need to have some extra space for it. However, in our years of service, we have found that a significant majority of people who can afford the extra space go for walk-in without a second thought. That is to say, that walk-in closets enjoy a lot of popularity among those who want to add a personal touch to their closets.

 

Advantages of a Walk-In Closet

 

  • A walk-in closet can double up as a dressing room most of the time.
  • Some people use ironing boards in there; so you can iron, fold/hang and store your clothes — all in one place.
  • Walk-in closets provide ample storage. Shoes, jewelry, make-up, clothes — everything can be found at the same place at the same time.
  • A walk-in closet helps in removing clutter from both your bedroom and the master bathroom. Since you can get ready in the closet from start to finish, the bedroom is left untouched by the morning chaos.
  • By relieving your bathroom from the pressure of hair and make-up every day, a walk-in closet indirectly reduces the workload of cleaning up a bathroom.
  • A large enough walk-in can incorporate an island in the middle, which can be used as an organizer or even an ironing board.

Who Should You Choose a Walk-In Closet?

 

The biggest hurdle on your path to a walk-in closet is space.

In most of the major cities where real estate prices can give anyone a heart attack, a walk-in is seen as a luxury add-on. So, the first thing you should ask yourself is, do you really have the space to accommodate a walk-in closet?

Another factor to be taken into consideration is utility. If you don’t have enough clothes or accessories, it might not really be a necessary addition for you. If you live alone and do not really plan on starting a family, a walk-in closet can be overkill. On the other hand, if shopping is your go-to stressbusting activity or you have a family, it might be worth considering.

To put it concisely, if you have the space AND the items to fill the said space up with — go for a walk-in closet. In some social circles, it is even a brag-worthy addition and can add some extra oomph to your house. It is certainly a very luxurious buy, so make sure you make enough space and budget for it beforehand.

Making Up Your Mind About Walk-in Closets

 

The question of unnecessary opulence is a valid one, but let’s be honest. Who doesn’t want a private closet space that you can walk in and use as a trial room?  

 

If you decide to get a walk-in closet, make sure:
  • the space is not being used at the expense of any other important household project.
  • you have ample lighting inside the walk-in closet.
  • there’s ventilation in the room so that it doesn’t feel claustrophobic.
  • you resist the temptation of using the walk-in closet floor as a laundry basket.
  • everything is well organized. Since there are a lot of different items a walk-in closet would have to support, it is fairly easy for everything to go south and turn into a cluttered mess.

 

 

Built-in Closets

 

A worthy alternative to walk-in closets, built-in closets are perfect if you do not want to waste any area for a “storage room”.

You cannot walk into a built-in closet, and that lack of extra space is perhaps the only difference between the two.

However, built-in closets are equally favored as walk-ins if not more. They do not take a lot of space and are overall more efficient. Walk-in closets can feel like a waste of space after a while, especially since their size makes them prone to cluttering and chaos. That’s where the ease of maintaining a smaller closet comes out as the winner.

 

Why Should You Choose a Built-In?

 

If you live in a small house or a tiny apartment, utilizing every available square inch of space should be your top priority.

Built-in closets, if organized properly, can bear the weight of your entire wardrobe quite easily. And just like a walk-in, they reduce the clutter from the bedroom.

Even if you do have the space for a walk-in closet, you need to consider if you actually own enough things to have a separate room for those. With a walk-in closet, people tend to hold on to things they no longer use, just because they have the space to do so.

If you don’t have space, or want a low maintenance storage solution — built-in closets are the way to go.

 

Advantages of a Built-In Closet

 

  • Built-in closets force you to be more minimalistic and purge your wardrobe of anything you don’t absolutely need.
  • They are cheaper, easier to install, and easier to upgrade. You can swap the panels out if they get too old or outdated easily. Whereas renovating a walk-in can be a costly affair.
  • With a built-in closet, nearly everything you own will be in plain sight; as compared to walk-ins where things can get lost in a nook or a cranny if it is left unorganized.
  • Built-in closets are amazing for using the available space frugally. There are several add-ons available in the market which dramatically increase the capacities of a built-in closet like shelves, hanging rods, etc.
  • You can have a mirror stationed at one end or behind one of the closet’s door, thus doubling it up as a dressing space.

 

Making Up Your Mind About Built-in Closets

 

If you do not have space and/or enough items to fill up the said space, go for a built-in closet. They are cheaper, easier to maintain, compact, and even a little prudent when compared to the excesses of a walk-in closet.

 

Make sure you take into consideration the following points before you buy a built-in closet:
  • Built-in closets will naturally have less space for storage as compared to walk-in closets; so you must be willing to give up stuff you don’t need or use infrequently.
  • Although not as much as walk-ins, built-in closets do need some space to be installed or built. If you are extremely low on space, consider freestanding wardrobes or armoires instead.
  • Do you plan on staying put in your house, or do you plan on moving once the family expands? If you plan on staying put, it would be wise to think ahead and design the place in a way that it can sustain your future needs. If you feel that your storage space might become insufficient in the coming months, it may be better to go for a walk-in closet instead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

03.10
2019

Easy Ways to Declutter and Organize Your Garage

There was a time when life was simpler: When things were used for the purpose they were intended for.  So, a kitchen was for cooking, the dining room was for eating and the garage, well, for cars.

 

But look at how we complicated our lives!!

 

Chances are, if you go check 10 homes, more than half of them can barely fit a car in their garage. At some point, the humble garage becomes our favorite ‘dump yard’. From memorabilia that dates back to the 60s to the treadmill-you-will-never-use — everything that the house discards, the garage accepts.

 

Until it cannot anymore. 

Which is when you begin to wonder, “How did we get here?”

 

Well, we don’t know what to tell you — except we have been there too. But don’t worry! There are some very simple tricks that can help you not only overhaul your garage but also substantially increase the storage space inside it. You can still hoard goods — they will just be more organized.

 

Related: Easy Storage Ideas for Every Room in Your House

Prepping for the Garage Decluttering Process

 

To get started on the overhaul process, make sure you have the weekend for this job. You cluttered your garage over decades, the cleaning part deserves at least a weekend! Do it calmly, study things you will need and devote time to it. It can also be a good way to invite some friends and discuss design ideas with them over a beer or two if you want some company.

 

To begin, take everything out.

No more closed boxes and an unkempt hoard of stuff in corners you never reach. It is only when you see the complete scale of your problem will you understand the gravity of the situation! This is not only important to understand how much stuff you have, but also to gauge how much storage you actually need.

 

 

Plan How you Space the Place

 

If you do keep a car in the garage, there is only so much space that is left. So, start thinking about how you can best utilize it.

Do you have a garage with a high ceiling? Then high shelves can help. If you have a low-roof garage, storing the stuff vertically will make more sense. If you do not have a car and the garage will be turned into a complete workshop/storeroom, the storage solutions will change accordingly. You might have to make space for new heavy machinery and tools, for example, if you wish to build something in your garage.

 

Discard, Donate or Keep

 

Every product you have in the garage will fall into the above three categories. We all know that not everything in the garage is junk. Your child’s first cycle may not be useful now, but it might be a beautiful memory. But there will also be a tonne of stuff that you will never pick up or use again.

To Start, pick all the things you simply cannot do without. Keep them on one side. Then, get on to the stuff you have no use for but will surely help someone else.

Chances are, when you clean your garage you will find a lot of things that are almost as good as new. An old music player that you bought on a whim? A garish yellow jacket which is ugly but very warm? A bicycle you bought but never used? All such items are begging to be used.

And by donating them to a charity, you will only make someone happy. Nowadays, there are tonnes of local apps that can help you donate all you want without much fuss.

And in the last row, keep the things that are absolutely hideous. Throw them and never look back.

 

 

Organizing Your Garage 

 

1. Look Up: How many people stare at the roof of a garage? None, we would imagine.

But there is great potential there. Overhead storage is a great way to store big, flat items like ladders. You can use re-engineered wood or even laminate to build these overhead shelves. It will also work as the perfect place to keep old doors which you might have a use for at some point.

Just remember to keep enough space so that the garage door can be opened without any issues.

 

2. Shove it up a Shelf: Remember, this is a garage, not your guest room. Go for function over appearance and stay away from installing expensive cabinetry unless you have the money, in which case, by all means — indulge!

Instead, use the trusted old wire and wood shelves to store as many items as you want. They can be built very cheaply, especially if DIY is your thing.

Also, open shelves remain open — thereby keeping you on your toes when it comes to keeping things tidy. You can see everything you leave unattended, so you will eventually attend to it. Trust us, this is a great long-term strategy to keep things organized.

 

3. Pegs to the Rescue: Hooks and pegs attach to a pegboard are a smart way to store lightweight things. This system is not only sturdy, but it is also easy to rearrange and they remain one of the best ways to most efficiently utilize space in a garage.

 

4. Hang Heavy Items: After Cars, the most common item in most garages tends to be a bicycle. But bicycles, especially burly mountain bikes, can take up a lot of floor space.

The best way to keep them is to hang them, parallel to each other, by the wall. There are tonnes of rack solutions available for bikes so pick the best one for you. Or, if you are still bitten by the DIY bug, you can also build yourself a custom bike rack.

 

Related: Custom Cabinetry Vs Off the Shelf — Is There Really a Difference?

Happy organizing!

 

20.09
2019

Easy Storage Ideas for Every Room in Your House

Even though the cities are getting bigger, our living spaces have been constantly shrinking. Such a crunch obviously demands that we as homeowners be creative about how we use the available space and make the most of it. A way to solve the issue can be to maximize storage by reducing how much space things occupy. Just think about it: Why have an almirah to store out-of-season clothes when you can turn your bed into a storage unit?  Multi-level storage solutions, transforming furniture, etc. are a few innovative solutions people are using to aesthetically store things.

Let’s talk about another BIG issue these out-of-the-box storage solutions can solve: Clutter.

Even if you have ample space, storage units can be a way to beautify the place and declutter. Clutter can make even a decently sized room feel claustrophobic, and it is probably a worse problem to have than lack of space.

 

 

But before we start…

Undertake a thorough cleaning first.  Go through what you have and discard anything you don’t need.  Even better, have a garage sale for stuff you no longer use. You can use the money for buying yourself that expensive dress you have been eyeing on the way to work or even a short getaway. Donating old clothes, appliances or tools can also be a great way to go about it. This will help inventory everything you have so that you can look for storage solutions that fit your needs, while also helping you get rid of anything that has just been collecting dust over the years.

 

Confused about where to start and how to start?  We are here to help.  Here is how you can organize stuff in every part of the room in unique and easy ways:

 

Related: Updating Home Closet Systems

 

 

Adding Storage to Your Bedroom

 

The fortress of solitude — or as we call it, the bedroom, is supposed to be the most relaxing part of your house. Be it for waking up in the morning and getting ready for a hectic day, or going to sleep at night after a long haul — a bathroom HAS to be peaceful. And we all know how clutter is no friend to that. Here are a few storage solutions you can use to achieve that elusive peace of mind:

 

 

  • Wall Bed: The easiest and the most obvious solution for a bedroom.  A bed generally covers the majority of space in a bedroom, and a wall bed can help you free it up and make space for other things.

 

 

  • Storage Chest: Although tables are almost an essential, more often than not they do not afford too much storage space.  Consider investing in a chest instead. The chest can be placed anywhere in the bedroom and can be used to store everything from documents to books to gadgets and a whole lot more.

 

 

  • Knee Wall Dressers: To increase the storage space, you can also build dressers into the wall of your bedroom. These can be of varying sizes and if built expertly, they can be quite inconspicuous as well. Because they are recessed into a wall, you don’t lose out on any floor space either. Win-win!

 

Tip: Apart from these, you can also try multiple wardrobes and free-standing dressers according to your needs and space constraints. Walk-in closets can be the ultimate style statement too if you can afford them.

 

Related: How to Organize Your Closets to Make the Most the Most out of Storage Space

 

Adding Storage to Your Bathroom

 

Bathrooms have a very specific storage requirement: the material you choose should be waterproof.  But don’t worry, you can still be very creative with the storage if you use stones like Granite, Marble or Quartz. Wooden solutions can also be placed in a way that water doesn’t come into much contact with it too.

 

  • Mounting Shelves: If you have a small bathroom, you should really consider placing mounting shelves above the door or the toilet. They can have different sections for different types of essentials for convenience. Having a mounting shelf over the toilet is a very smart idea even if you have a big bathroom since it hovers over the toilet and doesn’t occupy any floor space.

 

  • Vanities: You might be tempted to go for classy pedestal sinks to match with the decor, but it is always more pragmatic to have a vanity with ample storage space.  It can be used to store towels, toilet paper, and reserve products like soap, shampoo, etc. This ensures that you always have some stock even when you run out of that toilet paper roll.

 

  • Laundry Hampers: Instead of having an open basket and displaying your laundry for everyone to see, go for a stylish wooden or even metallic laundry hamper.  Not only can it be a style statement in itself,  it will also help you keep your dirty laundry out of sight. (no pun intended).

 

  • Towel Racks: A space to hang your towels with a shelf on top can be a life-saving addition to your bathroom.  Instead of having simple hooks on the wall, it can be so much better to have a dedicated rack where you can keep the clean towels and some supplies. It is a perfect mixture of style and substance.

 

Tip: Bathroom storage is really about plenty of wall-mounted racks and bins & baskets.  It is important to keep the stuff just out of sight, but also easily reachable whenever you need it.  Subsequently, make sure that you do account for potential water damage before choosing any material/item.

 

 

Adding Storage to Your Living Room or Lobby

 

Just like the areas discussed before, you got plenty of options to upgrade the storage capacity of your living room or your entrance lobby.  Here are some of them:

 

  • Mudroom Bench: You can have an area right at the entrance where you can keep your shoes, umbrellas, raincoats, etc. This can help you maintain cleanliness around the rest of your house. Moreover, you can have drawers in the bench to store cleaning supplies and all the other cleaning tools too.

 

  • Storage Ottoman: An ottoman is a truly diverse piece of furniture. You can use it as additional seating space, as a footrest, or even a makeshift table.  But using an ottoman as a storage unit is not as common. If you choose to buy a hollowed-out ottoman, it can be a great place to store sheets and covers in a very unique way.

 

  • Cubby Units: Cubby units near the sofa or aligning a wall can be really beneficial when it comes to relieving the coffee table of clutter. You can designate different sections for magazines, trophies, pictures, etc as well. A sofa wrapped in cubby units can be a unique style statement as well.

 

Tip: Coat racks at the entrance, magazine stands, wall niches, key holders, are a few other common options you might want to try for maximizing the storage space around the living room.

 

Kitchen

 

The kitchen is probably the place that benefits the best from smart storage solutions.  There are so many options out there to store everything from perishables to spice to kitchenware — that it is hard to actually find what you need.  Here are some of the options you can try to maximize your kitchen storage:

 

  • Rotating Spice Rack: Spice racks are great for keeping your spice inventory organized and easily accessible. Instead of shoving the bottles into a cabinet out of reach, you can accommodate spice racks on the countertop itself.  A rotating rack makes everything even more accessible.

 

  • Kitchen Pegboards: Although mainly used in garages for tools, pegboards can be used in the kitchen to hang pots, utensils, and even cutlery.  A well-designed pegboard can turn your kitchen a center of attraction, while simultaneously being extremely helpful as an open storage solution.

 

  • Walk-in Pantry: Although a little expensive to build, a walk-in pantry is super useful for a heavy-duty kitchen. Besides storing groceries in there, why not add a small island in the middle of the pantry to be used as an alternate work station? You could even place appliances like grinders there so that your main kitchen remains mess-free. Talk about kitchen maintenance made easy! 

 

Tip: You can add cubbies around your kitchen, add drawers and cabinets on the island if you have one, have multi-level storage racks on top of the countertop, add a nesting table to your cabinets, and plenty more to increase the storage space around your kitchen.

 

 

Garage

 

If you have a garage, chances are it is one of the most disorganized spaces in your house. While there are some people who have found the elusive secret of keeping well-organized garages, most of us just cannot get our garages decluttered. And it is indeed understandable; after all a garage can easily become the ‘storage’ for the unwanted things in your house. Here are some storage options you can use to stop this process from repeating itself:

 

  • Pegboards: If you have tools in your garage and if you use them regularly, then having a pegboard is literally a no-brainer. A pegboard makes it look like you know what you’re doing (even if you don’t), and is also simultaneously a great storage option to keep your tools safe and accessible. Add a light source on top of the board to make a statement with it.

 

  • Garden Tool Shed: If you have a garden, you definitely need a place to keep those shovels and clippers. Rather than placing a shed in the middle of all that green in the garden, why not place it in the garage? It goes a long way in helping you preserve the beauty of your garden.

 

  • Workshop Bench: Just like a kitchen countertop, a good quality workshop bench can be really important if you are into DIY projects. You can have a small pegboard at the side with a couple of open cabinets built into the bench for convenience. Make sure that the cabinets are big enough to hold your tools and materials, and life would be very easy!

 

Tip: You can go a step forward and have multiple cabinets to store things you no longer need if you have the space to do so.  Make sure that if you are storing chemicals in your garage, they are secured out of reach of children.

 

 

Final Words

 

Figure out where you need extra storage space in your home and proceed accordingly.  For every room and every type of storage, there are hundreds of different products out there.  The important thing is to not let the lack of space freak you out — instead, take the matter into your hands, be creative, and defeat the clutter demon to live forever in perfect peace and harmony!

03.09
2019

How to Organize Your Closets to Make the Most of Storage Space

Keeping your closet well organized is one of those lessons that you are taught early in life. It is similar to those“keep your shoes clean” and “do not waste food” lessons that are meant to stay with you for your life. Except as an adult, there are times when we stare at our closet and find that it resembles a landfill (albeit a pretty one) more than an organized space for all our wardrobe.

 

But worry not. We are here to tell you how to best organize your closet and the tricks you can try to increase the closet space in your home.

 

But first, let us remind you why it helps to have a clean, organized closet.

 

To find what you need

 

Sure, you have an LBD and/or a Tuxedo that you bought either recently or years ago. You love it, you want to wear it, but you cannot find it. Because it too got lost in the rubble that is your closet. The biggest reason for having an organized closet is to be able to find what you want when you need it without going through every piece of clothing you own.

 

More space

 

There is a reason why parking spaces allot fixed and uniform area for each car. Imagine a parking space where everyone can park as they like! Chaos, it will be. The same logic applies to your closet. When you want to keep things organized, you allot a certain space to each piece of clothing and it stays there. This gives you the best idea of how much space you have and how many more clothes can you fit in your closet. Not that this will stop you from buying more clothes (because who can stop those stress-busting shopping sprees, right?) –instead it will be an incentive to add more clothes!

 

Easy to shift during seasons

 

A clean and organized closet will ensure that updating the wardrobe will be as enjoyable as the change in the weather. A clean, organized closet ensures that you know where, say, your winter clothes are. This way, you can simply flip the two sets of clothes to prioritize according to the season. For example, during winters, you can keep your jackets and other warm clothes in the front and simply store your other clothes where you stored the winter clothes before.

 

Storing dirty clothes becomes easier

 

Yes, technically, all dirty clothes should head straight to the washing machine. However, that may not always be the case. When closets are unkempt and unorganized, dirty and fresh clothes tend to mix and make the entire closet stink. Keeping a clean closet will make sure that you accord due space to clothes for laundry, whether in the closet itself or a separate bag dedicated to dirty clothes. Either way, clothes will not mix and you will have no hygiene issues.

 

 

Making a fine impression

 

This point may not be important to all, but it must be pointed out. A clean closet is a sign that you are a person who is on top of things. It shows that you like discipline and order. And most importantly, it conveys to other people that they must, under no circumstances, mess with your wardrobe.

Read also: How to Turn Your Closets Into Luxury Dressing Rooms

 

 

Enough about the importance of a clean closet. You get it, right? Now let us look at how to organize your closets in the best possible way:

 

 

Take Time Off

 

You do not want to reorganize your messed up closet in a hurry. It took it months for it to start looking like your clothes fell from the sky directly into your closet — so dedicate at least a few hours to get the mess sorted. You do not want to do this at the end of a long and/or tiring day.

 

You will want to wrap it up fast and that will never help in the long run. Simply put, this will need a few hours so it is best to either take a day off or do it over the weekend. You can even invite a friend whose opinion and fashion sense you value to help you get through the next stages of organizing your closet.

 

Throw Out Old Clothes

 

The reason why your closet space has shrunk is probably that you only buy but never throw out clothes. A funky pair of denim that may have been cool in 2010 still takes up space in your closet because, well, why not?

 

Most people never de-clutter because they think they might need a certain piece of clothing one day. Truth be told, they never will. It is time you let go of those emotional attachments. An easy way to do this is by focusing on what you need, to begin with. On a scale of 1-10, rate all the clothes you have to have, and clothes you definitely will never need again. Remember, this is the first stage. It is meant to give you an idea of how much you don’t need. If the thought of throwing clothes makes you sad, remember, you can always fill the vacated space with new clothes!

 

Here is a simple way to complete this process:

Keep: Start with the clothes you need. These will be essentials that you simply cannot do without. This list might vary from person to person, but you know best what you have to keep for your day-to-day life.

 

Sell: Branded clothes in good condition that simply do not appeal to your taste anymore. Sell them. The financial incentive will ensure that parting with clothes is less painful.

 

Donate: Clothes that might be old but are in good shape and will help someone in need. Warm clothes are excellent for donating as they last long and have no substitutes. Plus, it is always nice to know that your old clothes can make someone’s winter a little more bearable.

 

Dump: Clothes that you just can’t imagine wearing and are too ghastly/out of the ordinary to even consider selling or worse, donating. If you cannot even imagine someone else wearing them — throw them out.

 

If you are having a hard time deciding, ask yourself these questions:

 

Have you worn these clothes in the last year?

Do you think about wearing them?

Do you think they add something that is otherwise missing to your wardrobe?

 

If the answer to all the three is “Yes”, they deserve space. On the contrary, if you find that the answer to all three is “No”, then there is nothing to do but sell/donate/throw. If the answer to at least two is a Yes or a No, then leave them for now and focus on how to improve and increase your closet space in other ways.

 

Organize with organizers: Once you have done the toughest part, the rest is simply evaluating and improving your storage solutions. Yes, the closet has enough space, but most closets divide space unequally. There are only so many clothes you can hang and fold while the space inside remains fixed.

 

Read also: Closet Remodeling Ideas

 

Here are some smart tips to increase storage space within the closet or setting up new and innovative storage solutions:

 

 

  • Pegboards: Mount a pegboard inside the closet door. This will create a mini-dressing station inside your closet.

 

  • Smart shoes: You can buy slim shoe boxes to store your shoes compactly. A hanging canvas shelf, easily available in stores and online can offer a simple and straightforward solution to storing shoes inside the closet without them occupying extra space too.

 

  • Hang Things When You Can: Buy strong, metal hooks to keep your bags inside the closet. This will make sure they don’t lose shape and yet don’t take much space. Hang scarves, as well as one hanger, can easily hold more than one scarf at the same time.

 

  • Add more shelves: Most people do this, but it never hurts to remind people. If you have 12 or more inches between shelves, there is ample shape for another shelf. Customized shelves allow you to store the way you want — very unlike standard shelves wherein you store depending on how much space you have. For example, you can make shelves more than 12 inches away from each other if you wish to store boots but you can add more shelves at less distance if you only wish to store just clothes.

 

  • Prioritize the Position of Items in the Closet: Non-clothing items like mattresses, quilts, comforters which you may not use throughout the year should be stored in top shelves — away from regular clothes. Similarly, items you use most often should be kept within easy reach.

 

  • Install Drawer Organizers: Keep jewelry, socks, innerwear, and other small items in small drawers which you can make at home. Label them with bright stickers and markers to make sure you always know where to look for each.

 

  • Add Corner Shelves: This works especially well for non-wearable items like bags. Add shelves to the corners of your room where you can easily store bags, jewelry, belts, and scarves. They will not take much space in the room and will free valuable space inside the closet for your clothes.

 

  • Adda standalone shelf: Think of it as a way to show your best items! In case the closet in your house is not big enough, pick out the best items from your closet (your best bag, your best stiletto, your favorite belt, your best sunglasses) and put them on display on a separate shelf like they do in big showrooms. For more efficient storage, you can put these items on the top while using the bottom half for more purposeful items like towels.

 

 

16.08
2019
fairfax-closet-beyond-laptops

Fairfax Expands Pilot Program to Give Laptops to All High School Students

In Fairfax County, Virginia, all high school students will have their own laptops in class this school year.

Following a pilot program that has been in place at more than a dozen education institutions across the county since 2016, high school students will be the first to benefit from a state grant that will see nearly all of the county’s 188 thousand students get their personal laptops distributed to them by 2023.

Quality in Dell Laptops Given!

The multi-year initiative FCPSOn, which will cost $30 million in total, aims to transform both teaching and learning in Fairfax, Virginia’s largest school district.

As part of the initiative, the students are given a Dell Latitude 3300, a highly durable and energy-efficient device that, its producer says, promises “best-in-class durability and battery life.” According to Dell, it has survived 30-inch (76-cm) drop tests onto steel and features a sealed, spill-resistant keyboard that can withstand 12-ounce (354-ml) spills. The tech company is proud to promote its product with respect to its battery, which it says, can keep the device on for up to 14 hours.

With the program, students can take those laptops home and is responsible to bring them for in-class use. At the end of each school year, they return their devices to be picked up again following summer break. To take advantage of all that, each student is charged an annual technology support fee of $50.

Don’t Just Expect Higher Test Scores!

Proponents of the program say that when students have their own laptops — and can take them home — that easy access boosts learning. Internet access, in particular, is critical for Fairfax County high school students because many textbooks are available only online. Aside from accessing course documents, students are also believed to develop and benefit from advanced learning methods and engage each other more efficiently.

There are, however, critics as well. Some parents are concerned that their children might be exposed to more distractions while looking onto a screen of their own rather than at their instructors in class. Besides, research examining the effects of classroom laptop use on student achievement is mixed. In response to those criticisms, proponents say the program doesn’t just aim to boost students’ performance in standardized tests.

In an August 11 report by The Washington Post, Sloan Presidio, an assistant superintendent for Fairfax County Public Schools, said computers are crucial for kids as they develop skills such as critical thinking, collaboration and communication.

Without the program, some students could still have been able to bring own laptops to class or use what is available in school inventory but that would have always left many others under-equipped either because the school inventory is insufficient, not all students own a personal device, or have one that is technologically competitive.

To address all those identified problems, the program will be expanded to middle schools next school year of 2020-2021 and to elementary schools for grades 5-6 and 3-4 in 2021-2022 and 2022-2023, respectively.

28.05
2019

Virginia Moves Firmly on Path to Tech Transformation

As this year’s Valentine’s Day rather brought the engagement between Amazon and New York to its end, an ambitious strategy was in motion in full swings about 400 miles southeast, carrying both the technology giant and the Commonwealth of Virginia hand in hand to a more prosperous and assertive future in the evolving age of information.

On exactly Thursday, February 14, Amazon announced that, in the face of fierce backlash from lawmakers, unions and activists, it scrapped a plan to build an enormous headquarters in Long Island, New York. A mirroring $2.5 billion design for Arlington County, Virginia, however, remained intact and was to be further bolstered by cooperation from on the ground.

 

Focus on drawing in talent first 

As was the case in New York, proposed state and local subsidies received the lion’s share in media attention. Yet for Virginia, it was not only about making the investment environment appealing for a major business to draw in the mouth-watering tech capital. In fact, the state’s focus was rather on drawing and developing the talent first, in the belief that it would guarantee exponential pecuniary benefits soon after. Amazon’s inclusion suited its desired direction for the years to come just so well.

In clear representation of the state’s choice of future, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) previously announced a long-studied plan to build a $1.1 billion innovation campus in Potomac Yard, straddling parts of Arlington and Alexandria just outside the nation’s capital. Its planned location was also only a mile apart from that of Amazon’s new HQ, the National Landing.

“This opportunity Amazon initiated became a catalyst for us continuing with our plans and it worked beautifully,” says University President Tim Sands in a video message on the new campus website. Accordingly, the university and the state have each committed quarter billion dollars to the project.

The National Landing’s developer JBG Smith is proud not only because of what it will build itself but also the state’s broader strategy that it emboldens in the process. “I actually envision a day when the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus and the graduates it is producing and all of the other employers that fill in around it and Amazon will be just as impactful and important in this market.” its CEO Matt Kelly said at a February 27 event he took part in as a panel speaker to discuss Amazon’s impact on the commonwealth.

For Julia Ross, dean of engineering at the university, it was high time for her institution to step in to fix the massive tech talent shortage in the state. “We know we are not graduating enough students. We know we have to be responsive to the needs of business and industry,” she was quoted as saying in an April 25 report.

The innovation campus will have its first students next year but its construction will continue until 2025 by when the university plans to have added at least 2000 undergraduate and 500 graduate students in the fields of computer sciences and software engineering with particular emphasis on machine learning and artificial intelligence.

In the meantime, the institution will accommodate new students either at its main campus in Blacksburg, southwestern Virginia, or at a rented complex elsewhere to help the state achieve its goal of doubling the size of its tech-force population over the next two decades.