Lost to Found

Lost to Found

So many times when we lose or even just misplace things, it is because we set something in a place that was convenient in the moment. And a lot of times we end up repeating that behavior over again for the same objects. This results in assorted piles of miscellaneous things, lost items, and also prevents certain items from ever getting a permanent home–floating around in homeless purgatory for eternity.

Often the lost zones for this offense are in entryways, on kitchen counters, or in junk drawers, if we are lucky! The key to becoming unlost first is to have established AND convenient homes for these hot little items, and second, to practice consistently hitting those homes instead of the lost zone. The reward: no lost time, no thwarted frustration.

We all know that keys and phones are major lost-and-found items. We like having hooks by the entryway door to hang our keys and the phone resting on its charging station. Convenient access is key.

How many times have you found yourself thinking, “but, I layed it down right here?” Laying things down almost always results in lost stuff. Here is our Lost List and suggested simple homes for an unlost existence:

  1. Sunglasses: It might be a little unconventional, but I like to make a home for my sunglasses in my car. The car is where I need them most readily. But also, the car is rarely that far away from where I am. If this is not a practical home for you, then a designated spot near the entryway will help keep them handy as you make your way outside.
  2. Jewelry/Watches: We sometimes remove jewelry in the bathroom, in the kitchen when we are cooking, or when we are relaxing in our favorite chair. In addition to jewelry boxes, we like jewelry trays that sit at these spaces and assist us in setting down our valuables in a mindful way.
  3. Thumb drives and SD Storage Cards: These items are extra slippery it seems! We suggest only one home for these at a desk or drawer in an office area. I like to put them in a pen-holder cup inside the drawer.
  4. Phone Chargers: I find that if we have a car charger and a home charger, the need to move chargers around decreases. Have  a charging station in your home that never moves and one available at your desk/office area to cover your mobile lives.
  5. Stuff from your pockets: In the laundry room and/or in the bedroom a clear glass jar where we can immediately empty our pockets creates a place for us to see what we have been carrying around with all day.
  6. The remote: A designated basket on the coffee table or end table will ensure that we all know where the remote should land when the tv is turned off.
  7. Notes we leave ourselves: I suggest not writing them on paper that can be lost. Keep notes to yourself in your phone or on your favorite app and they will be with you as long as your phone or mobile device is with you.
  8. Gift cards/discount cards/membership cards: An app like Mobile Pocket will allow you to digitally store and present membership cards. But for discount and money cards, a business card file is a good place to store these if they won’t fit well in your own wallet.
  9. Lost Socks: Keep clips or a basket in your laundry room for those mismatched socks that are hard to find. That way the whole family can search for the lost pairings.

And to ensure that we don’t make ourselves late looking for keys, book bags, wallets, and purses, we love Tile for finding that which has eluded us: https://www.thetileapp.com/

For more organization ideas, check us out at http://www.getorganizedcolumbus.com

Build-A-Better Garage

Build-A-Better Garage

Is your car perched outside most of the time? Do the kids’ bikes take all the covered parking? Are boxes of stuff starting to pile up in your garage? Well, you are not alone. Studies show that 75% of homes use the garage for storage space (courtesy of Life at Home in the 21st Centrury). Furthermore, a full garage is usually the precursor for renting offsite storage–a potentially costly choice.

Because of changes in temperature, your garage is not the best place for your goods–especially papers, clothes, electronics, etc. But there is a way to keep tools, lawn gear, sporting equipment, and kids toys from commanding precious floor space.

We believe one of the best items to incorporate into the garage for improved storage is the ceiling-mounted storage shelf! This sturdy storage option is a sleek way to get items off the floor without changing the configuration of the garage floor plan.
garage shelf, garage storage, custom garage system

Overhead shelves are great for things that can be stored away and used occasionally. But for tools and lawn care items that we want to keep on hand, we like the versatility of slat wall with hooks for hanging almost anything. Just one wall with a strip of slat wall can hold a variety of items. But you will really be amazed how much can be held when running slat wall the full length of the upper part of one wall.
Custom Garage Storage

Specialized hooks such as these allow for the storage of anything from long-handled tools to sport balls and cleaning solutions.
Custom Garage Storage Systems Custom Garage Storage with Slat Wall

And don’t forget the hook for paper towels! We do a lot of things that get hands dirty in the garage!

Another ceiling-mounted storage solution for the garage is the pulley system that can hold anything from bikes, to go carts to kayaks. They hold up to 150 pounds and are relatively easy to install into ceiling studs.
Garage Storage and Organization

Now that you’ve saved so much floor space, we can start to think about shelving. For the garage, we suggest using shelves with the height to support tubs–about 15 inches in height. Tubs will help keep the elements out like dust and debris.

Do you have a considerable amount of recycling housed in the garage? For those of us who challenge the limits of our one designated receptacle, built-in DIY recycling bays may also be worth the floor space.

These tips will not only improve your storage potential but they will help improve your garage and home value. And we think that is a better investment than offsite storage!

For more garage ideas, visit our page at: http://www.columbusclosets.com/index.php/garage-storage/

Build-A-Better Laundry Room

Build-A-Better Laundry Room

Our laundry rooms have a lot of work to do, and so often they are built as bare rooms with limited storage features. We usually see wire shelving above the washer and dryer or perhaps cabinetry or a mixture of both.

In this space, we need to be able to store dirty laundry, fold clean clothes, have space for laundry baskets, hold laundry cleaning supplies and other household cleaning items. We may iron here. We may also allow wet clothing to hang dry. It is also nice if you can keep household staples like lightbulbs and batteries here. There is a lot to do–and we need a creative plan to make it all happen comfortably and efficiently.

For especially small spaces we like to consider the possibility of open front cabinetry without doors–either high on the wall or low with a countertop. This is because the swing space for doors require a lot of open area that we may not have. In addition, from the upper cabinetry a hang rod is an important feature for clothes drying or clothes prepping.

Whenever possible we try to include a set of a least 3 shelves deep enough to hold laundry baskets ready to receive clean clothes. This could be in its own shelving bay or in the above mentioned areas. For the dirty clothes, we look for options that keep the clothing off the floor. Pull out wire laundry bins that are part of the cabinetry for lights, darks, delicates are most useful. We have also used laundry bags that hang from thimble hooks on the wall to separate and hold dirty laundry.
Laundry room in a small closet by Birdie Brennan Custom Closets & Organizers

A feature that is often overlooked for the laundry room is the convenient and versatile slat wall with hooks and bins for holding anything from long-handled cleaning tools to laundry pods and loose change. You need only a small rectangle of space on the wall to get the benefits that slatwall offers. It can even be placed strategically behind the door and out of sight.
Slatwall storage Storage Bin on wall

A great feature to consider if you iron, is the built-in ironing board. Again, relieving floor space to perform this chore and reducing the need to set up the apparatus can be a real saver of time and space.
Folding ironing board for custom closets

And here are a couple of fun things we like to include in the laundry room: a beautiful jar atop of the washing machine for collecting loose items in pockets, and we love any organizational tool that helps match socks which have become unpaired. We think a sign like this keeps this task fun!
Sorting Socks

We have a lot to do in the laundry room, so we need a space that WORKS!! Can you imagine how your laundry room can do more? For more ideas, visit us at http://www.columbusclosets.com/index.php/laundry-room-storage/

Building a Better Pantry

Building a Better Pantry

Whether you have a small reach-in pantry or a spacious walk-in, there are some universal elements that help separate a so-so storage area from a fully functional space.

Let’s start with shelf height. Varying the shelf height can make a world of difference for increasing storage efficiency. We need to be able to store tall items like paper towels, large boxes of cereal, and corded electrical appliances. But we want to avoid wasted space for the small items like canned goods, juice boxes and pet treats, etc. We recommend varying shelf height from 10 inches to 18 inches tall to maximize space.

One of the features that can be worth the splurge, especially for reach-in pantries, is the glide out shelf. Making the back part of the shelf accessible is beyond convenient; it makes items discoverable. Glide outs allow you see what is lingering in the back rows and gives you quicker access. Let’s face it, bending over and looking into dark spaces means you are not going to easily find what you are looking for. If glide outs aren’t an option, then under-the-shelf lighting can help improve the search for items in dark places.

Also in the top three recommendations are vertical shelves that can store oversized platters, baking sheets, cutting boards, and so much more. These kitchen tools are difficult to store in our conventional kitchen spaces, so I like to include tall shelving with vertical dividers in the pantry whenever possible.

To save space, I recommend taking items out of the store boxes and transferring them to specialty containers that fit your shelving. This is especially true for dry goods like pasta, flour, snack foods and health bars, cookies and candies. We like Binz brand containers and OXO air tight storage. The containers will hold more than the boxes they are sold in and will save you space. Have fun with your storage products! Containers and baskets help define the look of your pantry. Another favorite space saver includes food stairs for canned goods and spin trays for condiments, oils and vinegars.
Pantry Storage Pantry Storage Pantry Storage Pantry Storage

Do you need dry shelving for root vegetables? Do you have soda or bottled water? Are you a collector of shopping bags? Will wine and spirits go in this area? Will you hang long-handled cleaning gear here? Specialty built-ins are available for these items and many others. Being prepared with an inventory list will help determine which features will save you the most space and have the most impact on your daily life.

Big or small, the right features can make a huge impact on how well your pantry functions! Can you envision the perfect pantry? We have more ideas for you on our page at http://www.columbusclosets.com/index.php/pantry-storage/