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.

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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.

So what’s in a name?

Boots …such an unattractive and broad name for the part of our wardrobe that can either protect us in a monsoon or make us the sexiest gal at the party. Ankle or knee high, rubber, leather, vinyl, suede…(be still my heart)… riding, walking, sailing, gardening, construction, military…all still called boots but by any other name would conjure a better image.

So when we offer our Boot Shaper for storing said boots, you must consider that most of those boots don’t need (or could care less about) shaping. However, for those that flop on the floor like an exhausted mother at the end of her day and begging for a hand up, we have a solution making your closet neater and your boots more desirable than ever.

Watch your boots stand like soldiers awaiting orders, prepared for emergencies, locked and loaded for your next foray out. A simple squeeze of the shaper releases it from it’s captor, the boot. Included is a hanger which now ranks the best of your fine boots worthy of affiliating with your coats and jackets rather than being relegated to the floor with their lesser counterparts – the mukluks and galoshes which simply get kicked aroundBoot Shaper. And while fashion trends have convinced us that all boots are created equal and can be worn in any setting, we’re still squeamish about showing up at Sunday dinner with Saturday’s mud underfoot. All boots may be road worthy but some simply cry out for attention more than others. Far be it from us to ignore their pleas.

So What About Clutter?

I’d like to say a few words about clutter. I worked in my kitchen today and looked for a small tool, not often used, called a bean slicer. My mother tucked it into my Christmas stocking some 25 years ago and there is nothing else like it. It does one job and one job only- slices beans into french cut. It’s invaluable for those gardeners who inadvertently allow their harvest to over-mature yielding big, heavy, woody beans. The result is tender, succulent green beans that you might have otherwise considered tossing out.

Professional organizers will tell you that you should throw out anything you haven’t used in a year. If that were true, my little bean slicer would be long gone. The fact is, I don’t grow green beans every year but when I do, I’m one of those people who gets busy and all of a sudden my green beans look like something from Jurassic Park. I would be lost without my slicer.

I’m a little tired of this new “minimalist” attitude where we are made to feel guilty if we keep things on hand that we don’t use routinely. Now, it’s true that women with 100 pairs of shoes only wear about 20 of them on a regular basis. It’s also true that we get sentimental about things and find it hard to let them go. But part of my job as a manufacturer of storage systems is to help you find the space to keep the things that you do use, even if infrequently. I don’t want you to have to rid yourself of everything that you ever bought, loved or valued just because you didn’t use it in the last 365 days. Tomorrow, you’ll be looking for it and I’m sure I can find the space and make a perfect spot for it so when you need it, you can find it.

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Back to School Organizers (for Theoretically Organized College Students)

As your superstars head off to the dormitories, we’d feel left out not to chime in ourselves with some Back to School 2¢.  So here below, we’ve got 5 products, some obvious, some not so obvious, that may give you the momentary hope that your freshmen will weather the wrinkled rigors and survive their year the orderly bedside caddyabandon that only an underclassman can ever pull off.

6 POCKET POLYESTER BEDSIDE STORAGE CADDY

Bedside storage space is practically nonexistent in those cramped little dormitories.  I mean, there isn’t exactly room for an nightstand with drawers and shelves – it’s usually elbow to elbow desks, laptops and smelly shoes.  So tuck a little serenity between the sheets so that your student can relax and study up on a wee bit of Cosmo before getting a good night’s rest!

HMP-03542-2_2BRIGHT LAUNDRY TOTE

Unless your “young adult” is an established laundry A-lister, chances are, you’re concerned about failing grades due to the noxious gases those clothes will be emitting by week 5 of classes.  We recommend not skimping in any way on products that might encourage your teen to spend a few timely minutes in the washroom.  Lightweight, durable, easy to carry and brightly colored, this tote will be an in-their face reminder that dirty duds and necessary suds await.

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Do you remember where your wet towels dried in your dormitory days?  Properly sopping wet on your bed.  Most rooms don’t exactly come with generous portions of towel racks.  And if your student has long locks and extra towel needs?  Well.  We can pretty much guarantee that the space they may have been given is fairly insufficient.  Attaching to the top and bottom hinges of most standard doors, this hanging system offers 4 bars that transform unused space into 6′ of functional storage paradise. A perfect piece to travel with them year after year.  And then into their first apartment.  Maybe even their first home, years down the road.

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ROLLING OFFICE CART

Standard issue college desks are… how can we say this nicely?? Not always ideal on usable storage space.  Especially as new dormitories move towards slimline, utilitarian units, you may be at a loss to help your nervous student find a place for pencils AND paperclips.  Help them maximize on limited space, keep track of important accessories, and start learning the importance of filing, all in one rolling swoop.

BRD-01350_500pxOVER THE DOOR IRONING BOARD

Even we admit to some disbelief here.

However.

On the off-chance they decide to look 100% presentable for that presentation? We think the chances of them deciding to go the extra mile may well be determined by how easy that ironing board is to access.  And hanging right there on the back of the door, access is undeniably easy.

So go forth our young Jedi’s.  May the Force of Organization be with you.

The Laundry Bag gets a Magnetic Facelift

81Zi3y7qu6L._SL1500_Here at Creative Storage & MoreStorage.com, we consider it our solemn duty to keep you informed on what “pops up” on the cool meter, especially if they’re functional organization accessories.  Especially as we know that now, in the fantastic 21st century, it’s easier than ever to give your home a wee facelift here and there when it’s looking a bit tired or creased.

So, enter the Bright Portable Laundry Bag!  We are absolutely delighted by the bright colors, the complete attention to functional detail… this bag has it all.  The large, comfortable round handles are lined with magnets and snap closed to form a wide opening for soiled clothes until, when full on laundry day, they pop back up to make dragging those linens down to meet their suds-maker a breeze.

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And seriously, check out these bright colors!! Whose laundry couldn’t use a little color pick-me-up?  Lipstick Red, Caribbean Blue, Pansy Purple… laundry feels less like a chore already!

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Summer is in full swing and the last thing you want to do is struggle along in a dark, dim hole beneath your house when it’s gorgeous outside.  So bring that sunshine right inside with this seriously cool laundry bag.

Think Ahead

Life is about stages, isn’t it. This is not a question. It’s a statement. At each stage our interests are piqued and driven by events around us. What was a focus at 25 is likely not a focus at 50. Sometimes we give something up to make room for more pressing issues and then come back to it years later. Sometimes we never come back to it at all. Maybe it was a trend or perhaps we just lost interest. For me, sewing is a good example. At one point, I sewed clothing and pajamas for my children because I found nothing warm and cozy about flame retardant fabrics regardless of what the ads said. My head is in a different place now. I rarely sew anything of consequence. I’m more of a mender. The machine is there, just not up front and center.

This is why adding flexibility to your storage system is so important. It’s also an example of why a good designer can add value to your design process. Their exposure to the various stages of life through their own customer base is invaluable. They can envision how the space may be used years later and guide you to making choices that will add longevity to it’s value.

I will never sew as I did. My children are gone and I don’t have the time at home anymore but my sewing area still functions for gift-wrapping and craft projects that engage me so much more now. I’m glad I didn’t build a sewing center that was so dedicated to the one hobby that it limited my use later. May the projects begin!

Closets are Like Broccoli

January can be an exciting month: you’re motivated to start projects, learn something new, change something about yourself.  For some reason, the New Year brings us new motivation.  That initial excitement can wane somewhat when we find ourselves ¾ of the way through our shoe collection and out of storage space with not a millimeter of options left.  Or when you thought Rosetta Stone was just $400 to learn French… and it turns out to be just level one… and there are three levels after.  New Year’s is like a sugar rush and reality is just waiting in the wings to swoop in a crush us.  By the end of January, most of us will already have given up on our New Years Resolutions.

I know that isn’t nearly as apocalyptic as say, world hunger.  But wouldn’t it be amazing if we could throttle that energy we spring into the new year with and at least make it to March???

So, I was reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and he points out that “the principle of organization is built into nature…”  And he is so right.  This is something I already knew but Pressfield’s reminder in the context of creativity was powerful and inspirational.  We’re trying to organize our world the same way heirloom broccoli grows:

There is a geometry to art and life which we can feel in our bones and whether we realize it or not, we want our homes to reflect that same sense of peace and order.

AND WE SHOULD.

There is a certain sense of accomplishment that comes with organizing your desk, your calendar, your life.  It’s not so much that you miraculously become more efficient.  You do.  But to go deeper than that, it’s your bones sighing in relief that you know exactly where your keys are.  When you need to write something down, you didn’t have to tear through papers to find a pen.  Your scarf pulled off of its hanger without a single extra crease or crinkle.  Getting dressed was a JOY this morning.  And all these little joys make it easier to smile, easier to relax, easier to accomplish your mission, whatever that may be.  Miracle?  Maybe.  Or maybe not.  Hard work?  Most certainly.

Organizing your closet is really no different from painting a picture, taking a photograph, creating a sculpture, writing a book… let’s use the book.  We can draw PERFECT parallel’s there.  No one sites down to write a book in a single sitting.  It’s a habit.  A writer sits down at their typewriter every day for hours so that they’re ready when the perfect words are flowing.  They walk around editing in their head.  Getting your closet, desk, craft area organized is just the same.  It’s a habit that we form which we follow every day.  And we never tackle the whole thing at once – just like a writer could never write a novel all in one sitting.  We will start with shoes, move on to purses, then blouses, pants, scarves, belts etc.  This is normal, this is okay.  

Just because you get a brand new closet doesn’t mean it will be perfectly organized overnight.  But you will find your rhythm, your geometry with just a little bit of time and a wee bit o’ habit.

Organization is an art form.  Approach it like the creative endeavor that it is and give it the time and patience it requires and you are sure to be rewarded with beautiful broccoli  growing in your closet garden.