Entries from June 2012 ↓

Get Your Books Under Control

Getting my home neat and organized can be quite a challenge sometimes. My wife is a professor of literature at the local university, which is a livelihood that requires owning a huge collection of books. For those that do not know, a large collection of books ends up taking a lot of space in the home. If they are not organized well, they can make an otherwise tidy space look extremely cluttered.  Therefore I knew that the wife and I would need to invest in a couple of very reliable, very sturdy bookcases to store all of the literature we have collected over the years.

Acadian Collection 9 Cube Storage Shelf

Acadian Collection 9 Cube Storage Shelf

Books are extremely heavy, so a flimsy bookcase made from particle board just will not do the trick. The best bookcase we were able to find is the Acadian Collection 9 Cube Storage Shelf. This shelf is made from solid pine wood and has a “cube” style storage system, which adds support to every shelf. The shelves do not sag under the heavy weight of the hardcover books.

After we filled that cube storage shelf up, we discovered that we had a need for another bookcase. This time we looked for something a little more traditionally designed. The Hampton Bookcase 36 x 36fit that need to a “T”. This bookcase has three adjustable shelves, which provide plenty of room for us to store the rest of the books. Then we were able to arrange the shelves in a way that provides us with excellent storage for our vinyl records on the bottom shelf, and CDs on the top shelf. Another excellent feature about this bookcase is that it is made in the United States!

Hampton Bookcase 36 x 36

Hampton Bookcase 36 x 36

Both of these bookcases are great compliments to our living room, providing excellent storage for books, music and more. As an added bonus these shelves have attractive style, so they add a touch of décor to the home.

Finding Your Ideal Multi Media Storage Solution

When it comes to multimedia storage, there are basically three ways to go.  There are open media shelves (like bookcases), media cabinets with doors and modular solutions like a DVD and Video storage box-bamboo.  If you are like me (a movie buff and audiophile) then you have a huge task when it comes to figuring out a storage solution for your DVD’s and CD’s.  If you are not like me, chances are you still need something to hold them.  Even TV stands with built in media storage tend to not have enough storage space for the average collector.  And then, what about the CD’s?  I recommend just going with something that will store both.  This eliminates the necessity for two different racks, thus simplifying your home and making it fell less cluttery.

Apothecary Media Cabinet - Holds 456 CD Cases

Apothecary Media Cabinet – Holds 456 CD Cases

If you want to go with a shelf that stores your media collection, then I would recommend getting one that has an attractive finish and looks like a bookcase.  It will blend in with your other furniture pieces and look cohesive in the living room, rather than standing our like an eyesore.  And if space is limited, then get something like a bookcase media tower which is tall and narrow, using vertical space against the wall.  This particular one holds 754 cases; even if that is more than you have, you can utilize the remaining space on the shelves for decorative items.  I like to break up the rows of music and DVD cases with little knick knacks.  The bookcase media tower – tall single has a similar effect and almost as much storage capacity, but its shorter profile offers a ledge to display photos, candles and other home accents.
For media cabinets which offer concealed storage, there are a couple of different looks.  The cabinet style with doors like the locking multimedia storage cabinet and apothecary style like the media cabinet – 456 walnut.  Apothecaries are neat because they have drawers rather than shelves and they have an “old world” look.  But no matter what your style is, make sure your multimedia solution is perfectly suited to your needs!

Making the Most Out of Kitchen Shelves

China Storage/ set 6 - Crimson Quilted Canvas

China Storage/ set 6 - Crimson Quilted Canvas

When there are extra shelves in the pantry or even in the cabinets, I’m often asked, what should I do with that space?  If you already have all of your dishes, pots, pans and food staples organized, the next step is to make sure you are properly storing your “nice dishes” to keep them safe.  An easy way to do this is with specially designed china storage bags.  There are a variety of them on the market.  Here are my tips for storing fine dinnerware the right way.
Cups and Mugs – It is imperative that cups and mugs are properly divided by cardboard or another substantial material, as with the China Cup Storage Chest – Deluxe Quilted Microfiber.  This one has a soft body which is fine, as long as the sides are protected and each mug has its own space.  There are also hard case versions, like the Coffee Cup Storage Chest.
Plates – For plates, it is not as crucial to have them divided side by side.  Since the weight of the plates will keep them from bouncing into one another, all you need is something in between each plate to reduce the risk of cracking.  This China Dinnerware Storage – Deluxe Quilted Microfiber is perfect for that and it has a variety of sizes.
Champagne and Wine Glasses – Just as with mugs, each piece of stemware needs its own compartment since they will be standing up right, as with the Stemware Storage Chest – Light Gray – Deluxe Quilted Microfiber set.  For a version that is easier to clean, this Stemware Chest – Set of 2 is made of vinyl which can be wiped very easily clean.
Sets – Even easier is to look for an all in one china storage set, like this China Storage – Padded Cotton 6 Piece Set which has everything you need.  If you are storing your dishes on shelves behind glass doors where they will be seen, there are great, new stylish sets like the Dinnerware Storage 8 pc Set in Chocolate Brown Micro Fiber which has an elegant appearance.
Bonus Tip: For Christmas dishes, look for a set colored red, like the China Storage/ set 6 – Crimson Quilted Canvas so that you can easily spot them when you are ready to set up for the holidays!

The Best Storage For Your CDs

Any music lover needs just the right storage for their serious CD collection and electronics. A rack that puts each CD on display with a convenient, but stylish design is a must have for the living room. A spinning design is the easiest way to make each CD accessible in a large collection. Storing media center equipment is another must have for any movie or music lover.

612 Revolving CD Rack

612 Revolving CD Rack

Holding over 300 CDs the CD Rack – Spinner 336 is a great choice for storing music. With a wood finish this rack has a casual look, making it perfect for living room décor. This spinner can also be used to store up to 160 DVDs or 80 VHS, making this organizer a must have for any media center. Simply place it next to your TV or audio system.

For even more storage try the 612 Revolving CD Rack. Holding almost twice the CDs, this rack makes your entire collection easy to access. Individual compartments make it easy to sort and organize CDs. Coming in a variety of finishes, this rack can be coordinated with existing living room furniture.

When it comes to storing audio equipment look for storage that suits your needs and décor. Use your audio equipment on a daily basis? Consider using easy to access, open shelving that makes controlling equipment with a remote a breeze. Don’t want to have your entire media center on display? Consider media centers with concealed storage like cabinets that can be left open when in use and closed to cover everything up when not being used.

Having the right storage makes it that much easier to enjoy your media center and create an enjoyable space to relax. Keeping everything in it’s place, you can always find the CD or DVD you’re looking for.

Setting Up a Home Office

Whether you are a recent graduate from high school or college, or simply need an update to your home office situation, I’ve got great tips for setting up your first home office.  For every budget, there is something you can do to get you on your way toward the home office of your dreams!
Getting Started:  First, decide which area of the home you will be using as your home office.   Maybe it’s a corner of the living room, or maybe you are lucky enough to have a separate room that is designated for office use only.  Whatever the space, measure and draw it out on paper to start the organizing process.

Arts & Crafts Compact Computer Cabinet, Ebony

Arts & Crafts Compact Computer Cabinet, Ebony

Next, you want to decide on furniture.  Do you need to purchase new furniture or will you be able to reuse what you already have.  One of my tips that I always give clients is that if you are using a room as an office that has a closet in it, you can go with a very minimalist desk, just a writing surface even.  If, however, there is no closet storage space in your office, you will want to purchase a desk that has file drawers and supply drawers built in.  This reduces the need for extra filing cabinets and other cluttered items that tend to weigh down your office design.  The Arts & Crafts Compact Computer Cabinet in Ebony is a great mid-sized home office desk that packs a punch in terms of storage.  It includes a file drawer, keyboard tray, everything you need to stay organized in the home office.  And, best of all, it has two doors that completely enclose the mess for a clutter-free look.
And finally, don’t forget about design. Since you are talking about your home office, you can liven up the place with colorful walls, crown molding, area rugs, whatever makes you feel like you have a nice, peaceful, upbeat place to work!

Universal Mobile Flat Panel TV Display Stand Makes Having One TV Easy

I am going to share with you some tips on how to make the most of limited space in a studio apartment (a living situation to which I am very accustom).  Specifically I will share my experience with finding a TV stand that would accommodate multiple needs, hold an LCD television set, and take up as little space as possible.  My studio has a pretty good layout – it is sort of an L shape – but it’s still pretty small, being in a city.  I wasn’t able to have a separate sleeping and living room area, but I was able to section of the spaces for work, sleep, and exercise.

Universal Mobile Flat Panel TV Display Stand

Universal Mobile Flat Panel TV Display Stand

The TV could only be placed in a spot where it faces the bed, but I needed to be able to turn the TV to face my treadmill in the other corner of the room.  At first I considered getting a wall mount for my TV, but there were a couple problems with that.  First, the placement of a wall heater hindered me from being able to mount to a stud, and second, there would still have to be something underneath to hold my DVD player and audio system.
My solution to every single one of these challenges was in the Universal Mobile Flat Panel TV Display Stand.  The number one thing that attracted me to this TV mount stand is that it’s on casters, so I can easily swivel it to face either the bed or treadmill.  On the shelves below, I was not only able to set my DVD player but several movies as well.  And not only does the flat panel TV cart have a pretty small footprint, but it has an overall light and airy look, which is important in small spaces.  Lastly, I like that it has a sort of modern / industrial / utilitarian look.  My TV isn’t actually all that big, but the TV stand with mount can hold television sets up to 60 inches.