Happy New Year!

You would think that  being in the storage and organization business my home would have a masterful array of tidy drawers and spiffed up closets with a side of storage savvy garage cabinets.  It does. However, it also takes some effort to keep from collecting too much and overwhelming those same spaces with tidbits of nonsense that we drag in the house and don’t get around to using or throwing out. There is also that added burden of living with others who may not be like-minded (ahem, husband) about what we keep (or buy for that matter- really, the jumbo case of baked beans?).

If you didn’t get around to making a New Year’s resolution I have a suggestion. One drawer, one closet, one shelf at a time. Don’t try to eat the whole cake when one piece can be very satisfying. Nothing feels as good as order in your home.

Chef’s Center

Fall is such a spectacular season which for many of us, culminates in that culinary holiday of all holidays, Thanksgiving!  Oh, how delicious it is!  All the things we love most about September, October and November: the warm colors, the crisp smells, perfect sunny days blended with moody, inspirational hours in front of the fire with hot chocolate and a book on our e-reader… every moment of existence has the potential to be extraordinary and filled with wonder as leaves drift to the ground and dance across the sidewalk, swirling around your bicycle tires!

Too much?

I can’t help myself! All the gardening, harvesting, canning and stashing culminates on the week of Thanksgiving — recipes are strewn about my counters, smudged with egg and dusted with spices; pies begin to fill my cooling racks; every measuring cup sports remnants of flour or sugar — it’s just so magnificent that I can’t help but burst forth with eloquence!

(I live in a house full of men and they’re all very annoyed by it at this point so I’m afraid I’m taking it out on all of you, now!)

And in  less than a month, we’ll do it all over again when we get together to feast at Christmas.

I don’t know about you, but I actually tried quite a few recipes that I had found on Pinterest last week.  And when trying a new recipe, I go back to read that recipe over, and over, and over again. Easier said than done I found, when the recipe was on a tablet and I was covered in many miscellaneous baking ingredients!

Between now and Christmas, I will hopefully acquire one of these which would have protected my kindle from my disastrous counter, (I’m a horribly messy cook!) but without taking up any more counter space than my kindle already did! And it would have made referencing the recipe much, much easier! Chef's Center


The pull out chart of weights and measures would have been really handy too — I referenced the Google Machine more than once last Thursday!! — and it would be unthinkable for me to add something to my kitchen gadget toolbox that didn’t store so easily, as this stand most definitely does!


How about you?  What will you do differently come Christmas Feasting? Or what was your favorite recipe? In another month, I’ll need a new collection of things to try!  Come find me on Pinterest to see what I tackled in my kitchen! https://www.pinterest.com/mcelf/


The Kindness of Cooking

It’s an amazing time of year for family. Joyful. One way to share that with our families is through our cooking. Good food is an expression of our creativity and in a way delivers comfort to those close to us. It’s a kindness that we offer all year. However, at the holidays, it has special meaning. It ties all of us together at the most basic level and for the most important reasons. It’s a point of remembrance- your grandmother’s cookies or your aunt’s cranberry relish. We honor our past and pass those memories on to our future- our children and grandchildren. At this very busy time of year, we wish you time to cook and all the joy that serving your treasured family recipes can possibly bring.

Let the Sun Shed some Light!

Sunlight has the power to 100% deodorize and fight the nastiest stains your laundry room can conjure.

Everything is better when it’s sun-dried! Despite the booming chemical industry, the sunlight is still the #1 best odor and stain fighting tool in our laundry room.

Do you have a stain that just won’t come out? Like, perhaps, something wet snuck into the middle of your laundry pile and *gasp!* some mold grew? Nasty black mold? It may take a few days, but sunlight will do it.

Cloth Diapering Mommas have tested the power of the sun

Test Diapers

For instance, what could possibly get smellier or more stained than a cloth diaper? We have spoken with cloth diapering momma’s who have tested and fully approve of the sun’s powers. If the remnants of explosive baby bums can be freshened via sun-power, then I’m willing to guarantee they can take whatever else you can throw at them!

The best part of many of the models we offer is that even if your neighborhood has outlawed the use of clotheslines (we know, ridiculous rules!!) you can choose among many a folding, collapsing or tripod models which set up quickly on your back deck and can then be safely stowed before the nosy police arrive with their smelly indoor knickers in a knot.

The Gullwing Dryer: http://morestorage.com/gullwing-air-dryer-p-1407.html

The Gullwing Dryer: http://morestorage.com/gullwing-air-dryer-p-1407.html

If you don’t live in a climate that’s sunny and warm all year round, squeeze those last deodorizing drops out of the sun this fall with any of our favorite clotheslines or dryers – just GET THOSE LINENS OUTSIDE for a blast of fresh air!

Do you use the sunshine to bring the ultimate in freshness to your favorite garments?  What do you look for in your ideal drying racks and clotheslines?

Small Space Living Attitude

I just read an interesting quote from architect Mark Schratz when talking about his 980 sqft home “It’s not minimal living; this is just small-scale living” he said. I think he hit the nail on the head. I hear that phrase a lot “I’m a minimalist”. Mark’s take is that minimalist living is not just pared down but also stripped bare while small scale living seeks out rich textures and high quality materials used in small spaces. Big difference.

In a recent article about his design philosophy, he speaks of his mechanical spaces functioning like a Swiss army knife- everything intertwined and dual purposed. I love this way of thinking and it speaks to my own sense of design. As you seek to organize your life and remove clutter, remember that living efficiently doesn’t have to mean living without warmth and character in the home. I have found that the smaller and more functional something is, the more likely it will be expensive as it often is multi-tasking. For example, I once saw a wall separating a kitchen and bath made from opaque tempered glass. This was not an inexpensive solution (and not the image I am posting as an example) but one that saved inches of floor space while flooding the bath with natural light from the already bright kitchen. It was genius. What will they think of next as the world embraces smaller and smaller living spaces as the norm again?



Neatfold...can you say it’s a gift from heaven? Seriously….Ok, maybe a little exaggerating but this simple bracket does make folding sheets neat, easy and fast. Martha Stewart once wrote a whole article about folding fitted sheets. I kid you not. Obviously America has a real problem here. If she had the Neatfold she wouldn’t have had to do that. Honestly, a cabinet with crisp linens all lined up in tidy stacks is a joy to behold. Visually, it creates a sense of organization immediately. It won’t sort them into twin, full size, queen or king. Nor will it separate towels from bath mats. After all, you have to do SOMETHING to make this your dream closet. Add a few baskets for managing small toiletries and medical supplies and your new closet will become a fabulous asset rather than a daily nightmare.

The perfect laundry accessory



A Word About Quality

If I told you that this cutting board is 36 years old would you believe me? I bought it when living in Germany. It was the right size, made of the right wood and the price…not the cheapest but also, not the most expensive. It’s going to last me another 36 years I think as it still looks and performs pretty much like new. I have history with this little board. It sat beneath the chopped Thanksgiving mushrooms in 1978, an apple for my 4 year old in 1981 and under chicken for soup when my favorite aunt died in 1996. I use it nearly every single day and there is no replacement for the simple pleasure of slipping it beneath the blade of my knife.

0202142108a cutting board 2

I have long preferred to buy something once and buy it well. I’m convinced that this has saved me a LOT of money over the years. Am I occasionally tempted by cheap price? Sure. I have learned to look a little deeper into my purchases though. Some expensive things are just about the label. Some cheap things are simply made to be disposable and that’s ok if you’re buying paper plates and napkins. There are no hard and fast rules. What I do know is this- don’t let your eye drop to the bottom line price and let that be your driving decision to buy. Most importantly, will it give you lasting pleasure because it was made well? Consider the service provided. Look at the durability of the materials. And lastly, ask yourself how long you expect the purchase to last you. One year? 5 years? Twenty years?  Make your purchase accordingly and don’t expect to pay paper plate price for something you want to last like stainless steel.

An inch matters

There’s nothing better than having something fit perfectly when you are trying to maximize space. Whether it’s for a base cabinet rollout or a whole wall unit, measuring exactly is important. So, how is it that often things come back because they didn’t fit?

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You can’t use a wiggly piece of string or stretchy fabric tape when measuring for cabinet things. You need a real tape measure. Look up, down and all around…watching for pipes at the back of the sink cabinet or vents on a wall or how about that pesky window sill that protrudes 1-1/2″ past the window frame. All of sudden..oops! That wall unit doesn’t make it. Watch for wall switches, outlets and ceiling lights. In a cabinet, allow for door hinges and the sink drain. To make your life infinitely easier and keep peace in the house, choose cabinet inserts that screw to the base of the cabinet so you don’t have to shim them out to avoid the cabinet frame.

We know our contractor friends would NEVER intentionally make an a wall crooked. Nevertheless, walls are seldom square so measure above your head and 14″ from the floor as well as in the middle if you are placing something between two walls. Measure out from the wall about 16″ as well to be sure the opening doesn’t toe in or out.

Don’t think I haven’t made these mistakes because, sadly and regrettably, I have. I want to spare you the pain and prepare you for the eventuality that if you are cursory in your measurements in the beginning, you’ll pay the piper at the end.

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Paper Squeeze

We love Saturdays in the store. People come in with napkin drawings seeking solutions for tough spaces. Some break out their cellphone photos in hopes that we can wave a magic wand and make it all disappear. Others come with scaled drawings on graph paper and detailed explanations of how their dream space should perform. Many have nearly lost hope that there’s a solution that will ease their storage pain.

Someone stopped by yesterday asking how we could maximize their home office closet that is filled with paper supplies, DVDs and manuals etc. Can we add drawers or pullout trays? That works if you have a wide door opening but not so much for a closet that is 40″ wide with a 30″ door where the drawers will either smack the door frame or cut off access to the corners.

The best solution sounds awfully simple but it’s the most effective. Your savior will be adjustable shelves…and plenty of them. Yep..not too deep, not too high, just right.. adjustable shelves. Most closets will have 4-5 shelves in them but we’re thinking more like 8 spaced anywhere from 6″-12″ apart. Use a center support on anything more than 27″ wide to avoid bowing. Add bins for small products like boxes of staples or paperclips. Avoid stacking too high – it’s a pain to pullout the bottom item. Use the extra shelves to separate the stacks. With this kind of flexibility, you can flip things around like a giant game of Tetris until everything slips into a spot giving you…. home office nirvana.