Storage Ideas for Small Bathrooms

Photo by Wicker Paradise

Bathrooms are typically the smallest of rooms in a home. In a New York City apartment, however, they also lack the type of storage—such as closets, built-in hampers, various towel racks—found in suburban homes.  But there are ways to increase storage space in bathrooms so you can fit all your grooming items and even more. Here are some ideas:


Shelf between sink and mirror

That space between your sink and mirror is a great place to mount a small shelf to store things you use everyday.  You can also squeeze in a decorative item, like a candle or a small vase of flowers.


Behind the door

Mount hooks and towel racks behind the bathroom door. It’s an otherwise unused, and nicely hidden space.


On the toilet

Baskets and small boxes can easily fit on the toilet and house things, like hairbrushes and clips and makeup that might look messy on the counter or a shelf.  


Above the door

We love shelves above doors, not just in bathrooms but in any room. These shelves are great for items that you might not need everyday as they tend to require a step stool to reach—think extra shampoo bottles, toilet papers and such.


Sink area

Install magnetic strips around the sink area to hold scissors, tweezers, bobby pins and anything else that’s metal.



Use extra wall space to hang baskets directly on the wall. You can use the baskets to store extra towels, toilet paper, and such. Not only will the baskets store a whole lot but they also will make your bathroom look cozy. 


Under the sink

We all utilize the cabinet under our sinks; we just don’t always utilize it efficiently. Instead of just placing a bunch of hairspray and a hair dryer in the cabinet, organize it with drawers and or shelves. Don’t forget you can mount hooks and other such things to the inside of the cabinet door also.


The floor

Don’t forget the bathroom floor can house a magazine rack, a toilet paper holder or even a basket to hold towels and such.


Shower area

Your shower area is a premium space to put up shelves and hooks to hold all your bathing items—shampoos, conditioners, razors, puffs and such. 

Beds with Storage: Our List of Favorites

Matera Bed with Storage designed by Sean Yoo.

Matera Bed with Storage designed by Sean Yoo.


Typically wasted, under the bed is a space where, we, urbanites with small apartments, should be utilizing. But many of us shy away from purchasing beds with underneath storage because frankly many of them are not lookers. However, there are plenty of beds that are functional and will look good in your New York City pad. Here are five of our favorites:


Matera Bed with Storage

Starting at $4,485 for a queen sized frame, this DWR beauty is not inexpensive, but it shows. Constructed with either oak or walnut, the bed features six generous drawers and is made with clean lines and beveled legs.  The good news is, the retailer often runs sales where you could get approximately 20 percent off the full price, so if you love it, it might be worth the wait.


Hudson Bed with Storage Drawers

The four-drawer Hudson bed from Room and Board comes in five types of wood and or finishes catering to just about any taste. You can even pick your drawer hardware, making this option a pretty customizable one. At $2,499, it’s a pretty good bet for a nice looking bed.


MANDAL Bed Frame          

The MANDAL is one of several budget options available at Ikea. Retailing at just $399 this bed frame sports four large white drawers to compliment its solid birch body.  At that price, one could spring for matching furniture and accessories.


Raleigh Upholstered Camelback Headboard and Storage Bed

This four-drawer Pottery Barn option has a more traditional feel but still keeps the design simple, making this bed a nice option for apartment living as well as for use in houses.  Together, a queen headboard and frame run about $2,948.


Modu-licious Storage bed

If we had one word to describe this blu-dot bed, it’d be fun! That’s because you can tailor this bed to your liking by picking one of three bedframe colors and then individually choosing colors for the six powder-coated steel drawers. Keep it simple and elegant or go crazy and make it fun. Either way, you can’t go wrong. Right now, the bed is on sale for $1,839.20.

What to Know Before Renting a Storage Unit: A Guide


At some point in our New York City lives, most of us will consider renting a storage space—be it for a long trip during which time we might give up our apartment or as an extra closet or for a myriad of other reasons. If you’re thinking about renting one, below are some factors to consider:


The items you plan to store will determine both the kind and size of storage you’ll need. Write down a list of what you’re planning to store and estimate how much space you’ll require. This list will help you determine if the unit should be climate controlled and the size required to fit your goods. Remember it’s always good to include a safety factor, meaning add an extra 10 or so percent to the space you think you’ll need to ensure everything will fit.


Figure out your monthly budget for storage and find a unit that fits within your finances. Remember, storage unit prices are dependent on many factors including whether they are indoor or outdoor, if they have climate control and their size.


Check to see if the storage company offers insurance for your goods. If not, ask your homeowner’s insurance company to give you a quote to cover the goods you store in that space.


Store your valuables with a reputable storage company. If your goods are important enough to rent storage for, it’s worth for you to do a bit of research before committing them to a new home.


Find out each company’s policy for accessing your unit. If you plan on being in and out of the unit frequently, you should find something that’s accessible to you round the clock.


Read the terms of the storage contract carefully including the fine print. Find out what you need to do if you have to cancel your contract and look for any hidden fees and clauses.


Find out if the company has surveillance and what their security system consists of. 

Steps to Stay Clutter-free: A Guide

We all hate clutter and disorder is especially apparent in our small New York City homes. But fear not, clutter monsters, it’s easy to keep your places tidy and we promise it will take very little effort. Organize once and just keep it going with daily practices. Here’s are some habits to keep the mess under wraps:


Make the Bed

Seems simple enough, right? That’s because it is, those five minutes you spend in the morning making your bed will make your bedroom—which could also either be part of your living room if you live in a studio, or visible from another part of the apartment—look neat and sets the tone for the rest of your home.


Put it Back

Whatever you use–be it kitchen utensils or a hair brush—put it back in its place when you’re done instead of throwing it on the first free surface you find. It might take you an extra 10 seconds to do this, but it’s way better than spending three hours of your weekend putting away all those random things you laid around the house throughout the week.


Wash the Dishes

We’re all old enough not to have dishes in the sink for days on end and most of us don’t. But let’s try to clean those suckers within minutes of being done with them. First off, who wants to have that hanging over their head all night while watching prime time television and secondly it’s messy looking.


New Items

When you purchase new items, don’t leave the shopping bag or the new Amazon box lying around. Instead, find a place in your home for your new acquisitions as soon as possible. If you don’t know where to put it, get rid of something that you no longer have use for or make room by putting away in storage some of your less-used items.


Trash It

If you need to get rid of something, then get rid of it! Because how often have you let those magazines pile up before you take them to the recycling room or had a mound of clothes in the bedroom corner to take to a donation center? Well, hanging on to these things only makes your home look cluttered so why not do it now?


Close It

Close cabinet doors, closet doors, drawers and anything else that stores goods. Having doors closed creates a homogenous look throughout your home and also protects your eyes from the mess they might contain.

Fall into Autumn with these Warm Drinks


It’s getting brisk out there and many of us want nothing more than to get home in the evenings and snuggle with a throw on the sofa sipping on a hot cup of something. Here are five of our favorite and easy to make fall drinks:

Warm Spiced Cider

In a pot, heat apple cider mixed with some orange peels, cinnamon stick, a pinch of nutmeg and allspice. Adjust the ingredient proportions to your taste. Simmer for 15 minutes. Filter out the orange peel and cinnamon sticks and serve.

Ginger Tea

In a pot, heat some water, fresh grated ginger and a dash of sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes and save any extras in the fridge. Not only will it warm your insides but this anti-inflammatory immune booster also helps ward off or shorten colds.

Fall Lemonade

This recipe proves that lemonade is not just a summer drink. Boil some water, squeeze a whole lemon in and mix with sugar. Drop in a cinnamon stick if you wish and we guarantee you’ll love this cold-weather version of hot-weather favorite.

Hot Cranberry Cider

In a pot, heat apple cider, cranberry juice, brown sugar, sliced lemons, a cinnamon stick and some whole allspice. Simmer for 15 minutes. Filter out the lemons and cinnamon and serve.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

If you’ve never paired chili and chocolate together, you are in for a treat and a half. In a saucepan heat milk, then bring to a low simmer and whisk in cacao powder, sugar or honey, cinnamon, a few drops of vanilla and a pinch of chili. Top with whipped cream, if desired, sit by the window and watch the autumn leaves slowly make their way onto the concrete.

Fall Storage Switcheroo


Fall is in full swing and once again it’s time to head to your storage unit and do the old switcheroo between your summer and cold weather items. Here’s a guide:

Be it for the adults or the kids in the house you can put away the summer toys. This includes floaters, water slides, water guns, surfboards and the likes. Instead, bring home toys that you can use this winter like skis, snowboards, snow shoes and sleds.

Beach Items
It’s safe to say that all your beach items can go into storage. This means, towels, chairs, umbrellas, coolers and all that you need for a day on the sand. What can you bring out instead? Well, nothing replaces the beach. So you’ll only be bringing a bit of sadness home from storage with you.  

Bye bye tank tops, bathing suits, shorts and cute summer dresses—see you in a couple of seasons—and hello sweaters, hats, gloves, puffy coats and scarfs. No, no we’re fine. Not gloomy at all.

If you’re lucky to have a patio or some kind of outdoor space, you can probably start putting away your outdoor furniture. Unless you’re one to enjoy the crispness of fall, in which case you can keep these items till the first frost hits.

Usually, by the end of October, us Northeast folks have to start getting rid of our annual plants. Then it’s time to store the planters indoors so they won’t be exposed to the winter elements. And while you’re at the storage unit, bring home the shovel, ice pick and snow blower. The white stuff is coming! 

Creating Extra Kitchen Storage


New York City kitchens are often small. In fact, many are called kitchenettes to disclose their diminutive nature. The catch is that as the heart of a home, the kitchen needs to house many essentials. Even a lean kitchen contains numerous gadgets and cooking utensils making it imperative to make these small spaces work for its inhabitants.  So we’ve come up with some storage tricks to help make the most of your tiny urban kitchens:

These hardware items are a space maker’s best friend. Hang pots, pans, strainers, oven mitts and even mugs from hooks. Not only will it make it easy to easily grab items in a hurry but utilizing these metal magic workers also opens up some space in the drawers and cupboards.

Magnetic Strips
Like hooks, magnetic strips can take items from the cupboards to the walls. These nifty bars can be used to store knives, scissors, and other metal objects. Specialty ones made to hold spices are also available.

Open Shelves
Shelves are always a favorite solution for creating more space. They don’t take any valuable footprint but even one shelf can hold numerous items. Consider using a shelf or two for holding cookbooks, bowls and other visually interesting items.

Floor Space  
Use a magazine rack or basket to hold your cutting boards and other flat but large items.

Go High
If available, use the space above cabinets and on top of the refrigerator to store items you don’t regularly use. You can use containers and baskets that compliment your cabinets to keep smaller items hidden and to create a cohesive look that goes with the rest of the kitchen. For example, for white modern cabinets you might want to consider simple white containers, which on a first glance appear as though they are part of the intended kitchen design.

Divide and Conquer
Create more space in your cabinets by dividing them horizontally or vertically. Sturdy dividers are available in different materials, heights and widths to allow you to take what’s essentially a box inside your cabinet and customize it to your needs, giving you more room for dishes, pots and pans and even cans of food.

Fall Foliage Day Trip: Storm King Arts Center


Fall foliage is upon us and within an hour’s drive you can spot leaves just starting to turn lovely hues of red, yellow and brown. There are many close-by spots you can visit to bask in the beauty of this kaleidoscopic nature show and step on withering leaves for your own amusement but we’re going to recommend one place in particular, mainly because you’ve been saying you want to check it out since the day you moved to New York. Yes, fellow city dweller, this is the year you are going to Storm King Arts Center and this is the year you, too, will finally post a photo of your reflection in that mirror fence on instagram like all your friends who’ve had a jolly old time rolling on the hills of the 500-acre park while you re-watched the first season of Orange is the New Black. It’s time to get off the sofa, my friend.

Sitting in the town of New Windsor, New York in the Lower Hudson Valley, Storm King features more than 100 sculptures created by some of the most famous names in art, such as Louise Bourgeois, Richard Serra and well some 98 other folks. The sculptures dotting this mammoth piece of land tend to be ginormous, colorful and impressive.

But if art is not your thing, just enjoy the sweeping backdrops of hills, woods, field of wheat and your own reflection in the creek. Or just observe the changing color of the trees—according to the New York fall foliage report, the peak foliage time for the region is the last two weeks in October. You can walk this outdoor museum or if it’s too intimidating to cover such ground, rent bicycles or take a tram. Then have some eatings or find a quiet spot to take a nap on the grass.

You can reach Storm King by driving, taking Metro North and then a taxi or taking a Coach USA bus from Port Authority direct to the center. The bus will run you $46 but includes transportation to and from, admissions and a tour. For $55, you can add on an option to visit Woodbury Commons on your way back—you know for art, foliage and a new purse!

Home Furnishing Outlets: A Guide


We love home decorating and hence shopping for furniture and accessories for our new place. What we don’t love is paying full price—especially when we have to roll out so much dough for some many other things and activities in New York. Luckily several of our favorite home stores have outlets in and near our great city and we’ve rounded them up so you, also, can spend your weekend choosing the right bed or desk chair for your apartment:

Design Within Reach
Due to this retailer’s higher price point, the joke always seems to be that Design Within Reach is anything but within reach (even though they are named as such for providing their customers access to modern designers), at least for many folks. The lovely clean lines and quality of this store, however, has many of us salivating over their catalogues and by their store windows.  Fear not, these designs are now more within reach with the retailer’s two accessible outlets—one in Secaucus, New Jersey and another one right here in Brooklyn.

Crate and Barrel Outlet
With an hour’s worth of driving, we realize this outlet’s Cranbury, New Jersey location is not exactly a hop, skip and a jump, but it’s definitely worth a visit as they stock items from both Crate and Barrel and their apartment-friendly sister retailer, CB2. If you’re looking for a specific item, it’s worth making a call and having them hold it before you rent that Zipcar.

BoConcept Outlet
Head on over to Queens Crossing Mall in Flushing, to take advantage of marked down options from this Danish contemporary designer retailer. You’ll find excess items, floor samples and furniture and accessories designed just for the outlet. We haven’t been here ourselves but are told you can get up to 70 percent off regular, retail prices.

ABC Carpet and Home Outlet
We’ve all spent an hour or six at the multi-floored ABC Home and Carpet building in Union Square. It seems that no matter your style, there’s something in that store to please just about anyone. The problem is that most of us aren’t able to shell out the number of Benjamins required to bring anything home. In comes ABC Outlet, a Bronx outpost of the retailer, a somewhat easy drive from most city locations. Expect to find bargains on your favorite sofa, lamps, linens and much more here.  And if you get on their mailing list, you’ll know about their sales, when items are marked down even further.

Restoration Hardware Outlet
Nestled in a multi-level shopping center in Queens, this outlet boasts a variety of furniture, hardware, lighting, accessories and more. It’s a good place to pick up a sofa or even a small gift. And it seems they have storewide sales around holidays such as Memorial Day, Labor Day and such. Happy shopping, folks!

Keeping Pet Items Tidy


Furry friends are the best: They are wonderful companions, super cute and love you unconditionally, well at least dogs do. The trouble with cats and dogs is they come with a lot of baggage and we’re talking literal, not emotional, ones. And in our tiny city apartments, their food, toys, beds and nick knacks take up precious real estate. To keep your pet items organized, we’ve rounded up some ideas:

Hide the Litter Box

The biggest complaint of most cat owners has to be dealing with the litter box. What if you could disguise the kitty potty inside a piece of furniture you can actually use? Take any sturdy basket, side table or small cabinet large enough to fit the cat box and remove a wall for your pet to access. You can use the surface while kitty uses the interior. It’s a win-win. And, if you’re not comfortable making a litter box concealer yourself, look for one at pet stores or online.


Murphy Bed

Now you see the dog bed, now you don’t. Believe it or not, you can find small cabinets that stow pet sleeping pads. Search the Internet for one that suits your home style, budget and fits your pet. If you’re the handy type, you can even build one. These pet murphy beds conceal yet another pet eyesore.

Food Cabinets

No, we don’t mean the kind you put your pasta and quinoa in. We’re talking a cabinet dedicated to your pet’s food, accessories and bowls. The compartments inside will have a large dedicated space to store food, hooks on the outside for collars and such and a drawer that pulls out revealing feeding bowls. It’s kind of an ingenious feeding station.

Door Hooks

Place hooks behind closet doors to hang collars, tags, and pet clothes. Keeping these things out of sight helps your home look put together.



A cute basket is a perfect place to store your pet’s toys. Your furry one can still access their beloved stuffed animal and you can easily tidy up when you don’t want to see the five things he or she has spread in the room. And if you want, you can personalize the basket with your pet’s name. Oh Internet. Is there anything you’re not capable of?

Day Trip: Grounds for Sculpture, a New Jersey Oasis

Seward Johnson, Were You Invited, 2001 Photo by Paul VanDerWerf

Seward Johnson, Were You Invited, 2001
Photo by Paul VanDerWerf


Summer is coming to a close and high on our list of inspiring and slightly secret—at least to many New Yorkers—places to visit, is a 42-acre sculpture garden in Hamilton, New Jersey.  Grounds for Sculpture combines carefully planned gardens with an ever-changing collection of some 260 contemporary outdoor sculptures by both emerging and established artists. The non-profit also boasts six indoor galleries that feature alternating exhibits. 

As you walk the meticulously kept grounds, you’ll notice the park’s founder and artist J. Seward Johnson’s work rooted throughout: Impressionist paintings are presented in life-sized, three-dimensional displays that combine natural surroundings and elements with man-made objects.  You can walk on a Japanese style footbridge, overlooking a small water lily pond; immersing yourself into a scenary much like the one Claude Monet had created for himself at Giverny. Viewers can also mingle with the diner’s of Renoir’s famed Were You Invited painting presented as a full-scale tableau, a rare departure from the world of museums where art is to be looked at and not touched. At Grounds for Sculpture, it’s encouraged to immerse oneself into the art and experience it intimately.

Explore a bit more and discover abstract works in steel and stone, among other materials, peppered throughout the gardens or view special exhibits housed in the galleries—ranging from sculptures made of recycled Kraft paper to seductive metal pieces.

And when you tire of sculptures, unleash your inner child and perhaps uncover a secret door in the shrubbery that’ll lead to a little private enclave complete with a hammock and pillow waiting for you. Take a book and maybe a nap if you will.  Then walk around some more and we promise you’ll keep discovering, because that’s the purpose of the park, to stumble upon art, to find a muse or to simply enjoy the surroundings. Finally, the grounds offers four dining options but it’s Rat’s Restaurant on everyone’s radar. The eatery features country French cuisine in a whimsical setting but then again we think the entire park’s setting is rather whimsical.

Stay fashionable my Friends: A Keep or Toss Guide


New York Fashion Week is around the corner and in its honor we want to help you stay fashionable. How? You ask. Well, for starters it’s time to go through your closet or storage space to see what you should keep and what you should toss. Not only will you, hopefully, gain some extra space, you will also stop wearing that shirt you and your college roommate tie-dyed in a bucket. Here are some pointers to help you decide if you should hold on to or get rid of each item:


Have you worn this item in the last year? Two years? Three? No? Seriously? We won’t even say anything. You know the drill.


We’re all hoping to get back into that size zero dress we wore when we were 20. But if it’s been a decade and your body just doesn’t want to go there, why fight it? Enjoy your beautiful self and your size and stop cluttering your closet with something that’ll make you wish you were different. Make room for a new dress you can enjoy.


If you’re the type to buy classic clothes, you can likely keep them for longer than those folks who are more in tuned to trends. If you aren’t, you’ll have to toss clothes much faster than your timeless clothes purchasing counterparts. Sorry, but those super low boot cut jeans have to go.


If a piece you love is super high quality but has gone out of style, fear not. This is one place where you might opt to keep it. If the trend comes back, it’s worth altering the clothing to give it a more current vibe.

Buy again?

Is the article of clothing something you would buy now if you saw it in a store? If your answer is yes, you know that peasant shirt from your Haight-Ashbury days is a keeper.

Damaged or Aged

We know you love that sweater and so you’ve been holding on to it and wearing it—even though we really wanted to tell you not to—despite the ginormous rip on the back. But everything has its time and sadly no one can put your beloved cashmere together anymore. So it’s time to bid farewell to it. You’ll miss it for maybe an hour or even a couple of days but we’re all getting older and our memories worse, which in this case is good news because you’ll soon forget about the sweater.

Favorite New York City Ice Cream Spots


Summertime is ice cream time. What other treat is cold and sweet and instantly transports us back to childhood? Yeah, nothing else comes to mind. Luckily, New York is dotted with shops serving our favorite dairy delicacy.  Yes, we call it a delicacy because, frankly with all the things these gourmet shops and parlors are doing, the frozen treat has become just that. So where should you go to get the best, creamiest and most original flavors? Here’s the scoop on five of our favorite spots to give yourself the ultimate brain freeze:


Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

You’ve likely seen their buttery trucks rolling around the city spreading scoops of joy to New Yorkers. These guys use just a handful of ingredients to make their dairy (and vegan-friendly, non-dairy) delights in small batches out of their Greenpoint, Brooklyn headquarters. If you haven’t had their ice cream, don’t walk, run—cause you’ll want to start a cardio regimen after this as we're pretty sure you’ll be addicted.


Ample Hills Creamery

You gotta love an ice cream brand whose name comes from a Walt Whitman poem, right? In 2008, the two-person team behind the treat started a parlor in Brooklyn Heights hoping to build a community through ice cream. That seemed to have worked because now, Ample Hills has a couple more locations. The brand offers staple flavors plus some nutty combinations like their potato chip, pretzels, ritz crackers and mini m&m ice cream. 


Big Gay Ice Cream

This is for all the softies out there! Big Gay serves old-school soft serve with a twist—think vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, sea salt and chocolate chip (that’s salty pimp to all of you ordering). To try what is considered by USA Today as one of the best ice cream parlors in the world, visit their East or West Village location.


Odd Fellows Ice Cream Co.

These guys are creative—black pepper strawberry, saffron passion fruit and cream cheese and carrot cake are just some of the flavors they’ve offered. Using locally sourced, hormone-free and on location pasteurized dairy, Odd Fellows offers rotating conventional and unconventional ice cream and sorbet flavors. What’s more is that for every ice cream sold, they’ll donate 5 cents to the Food Bank of New York City. So grab your wallet and head on over to their Williamsburg, Brooklyn location or their East Village outpost.


il laboratorio del gelato

This little gem in the lower east side is a laboratory, of, ready for this, gelato. Everything is handmade on location from local and in season goodness and the alternating flavors are out of this world. Think tarragon, lavender honey, toasted white sesame and beet. Also, the guy who started this place knows gelato—he was the founder of Ciao Bella. Are you convinced yet? Go, go go! Now. Seriously.

Five reasons to rent a storage unit


Storage units are more than just for storing your furniture when downsizing or temporarily giving up your apartment to explore South America—lucky you! They’re also a great option for those of us needing temporary extra room while staying put or moving to another, maybe even larger space. Perhaps you haven’t thought of renting one because you didn’t think you needed it, but maybe you do! Here are five occasions for which you might want to consider renting storage:


Getting married

Newlyweds are often showered with gifts for their new life—and it’s a beautiful thing—perhaps with more than they can use right away.  In the excitement of registering, many couples don’t think about where they’ll fit that waffle maker, 60-piece china set, and three extra duvets. Storing these goods until you move to a larger home, or intermittingly switching them out with other items in the house until you do, is a great way to enjoy and not end up agitated at the items that are intended to bring you pleasure.


Baby goods

You already had your first bundle of joy but won’t be ready for the next one for a couple more years. Why work so hard at fitting all the furniture and toys your baby has outgrown? Pack these items and store them until your ready to expand your family.


Pre-move space

Even if you’re moving to a bigger space, storage units are good places to slowly move larger or less used items in preparation of a full move. Having fewer items to transport on moving day helps make the occasion a less stressful experience.  Over time, as schedule and energy allows, you can move desired items from storage to your new home.



You finally have the money to build yourself a proper home office or redo those 70s Formica kitchen cabinets. There’s no need to torture yourself, and others in the house, by having all the stuff housed in those spaces in the living room for weeks or months. Stow it all away so you don’t trip over, or damage the items during the renovation process.


Inventory storage

Many folks run small businesses out of their home or home offices and at times will need to store supplies and such for short or long periods of time. Using a storage unit is not just convenient but could potentially be considered a tax-deductible expense.

Documents: What to keep and for how long?


Paper is the bane of a neat home’s existence. Each day when the mail comes, the pile of documents on that counter keeps getting larger and larger. What to throw away? What to keep—and for how long? Before you pull out the recycle bin and rid yourself of something you might later need, go through our quick handy paperwork guide:



Experts recommend keeping your taxes for seven years. The IRS has six years to come after you if they think you underreported your earnings by 25 percent or more.  But don’t forget you could be audited anytime if they suspect fraud, a reason to maybe keep taxes longer.


Bank Statements

Seriously? You’re still getting paper statements? Hello, 21st century. Also trees! Anyway, if you’re of the Luddite variety, then keep these for about a year and if you don’t need them anymore, it’s safe to toss.


Credit Card Statements

These could be shredded after 45 days—once you’ve checked the statements to ensure everything checks out and there’s nothing suspicious. If a statement is related to a tax expense or deduction, then, like taxes, it’s a keeper for seven years.


Paycheck Stubs

You should be good to toss pay stubs after a year. Just make sure all looks right once you’ve crosschecked the figures with your W-2.



These wage statements are your best proof of earnings over the years. Keep these until you begin collecting social security.


Retirement Plan Statements

Hold onto these until you retire. Plain and simple.



Unless these relate to taxes (in which case, can we say it all together? Keep for seven years), you can get rid of item receipts once the window for returns is up. Most stores take items back for 30 to 45 days. Very few offer longer or unlimited return policies (hello LL bean and Costco). So read the retailer’s refund guidelines and decide if it’s worth keeping the receipt longer than a month.




Hanging Art, A Guide


Nothing says “just moved in” more than empty walls. If you’re still storing your artwork and pictures on the floor or under the bed, it’s time to hang them on your walls and give your space a little personality. We are well aware, however, that there’s an element of stress when deciding where each piece should go and how to hang it properly. Do you group frames together? Should you center? How high should the frames go?  How do you secure the pieces so they don’t come crashing down to their demise? Fear not, we have some tips that’ll make even the most novice of art displayers look like pros:


Arrange on the floor

If you’re putting up more than one piece, arrange them on the floor to see what combination works. You can stack, stagger or cluster frames in a set.  Go with your gut and what you like. You’re the one who will be looking at it most of the time anyway.


Hold it up

Ask a friend to hold pieces up so you see what they look like once on the wall. This is especially helpful because sometimes the idea of a look is pleasing in our heads but not so once realized. It also allows you to see how pieces work with the rest of the décor in the vicinity.  If you’re happy with the placement, mark it with a pencil so you know where your nails go.



Decorating experts recommend hanging single pieces 58 to 60 inches off the floor. This places the artwork at eye level for easy viewing.  Find the vertical center of the piece and measure up from the floor.

If you are hanging several pieces together, treat them like one piece—find the center of the entire collection and place the group at the recommended height for hanging.


Give ‘em  (the same) space

When hanging several frames on one wall, give an inch and a half to two inches between the pieces. Make sure you provide the same space between all the frames. This ensures a harmonious look.


Dress rehearsal

Try the pieces out before you put them up. Trace each frame on cardboard or craft paper and tape the mockups to the wall to ensure you like the look and scale of everything before you begin making holes.



Determine the weight of your pieces and use picture hangers specified to handle that much mass. For a more secure system, use two hangers. Bonus: This helps keep your frames level so when that city bus goes by and the walls shake, the pictures don’t become crooked.  Use a level to guarantee you’re putting the hangers in a straight line.


Mix ‘n match

While it’s a visually clean look to have all the frames be the same size and style, it’s also interesting to place next to each other pieces that look different. This could mean frames of different materials, colors and sizes or other art such as decorative plates, mirrors, or wall sculptures.


Have fun

Much like fashion, decorating is about having fun. These rules take some of the guesswork out of hanging artwork but by no means should they dictate your style. If you prefer, think outside the (guide)lines and hang your pictures in a way that makes you smile each time you look around in your new home. 

Organize It! Books to help bring order into your home


For some people, being organized is second nature—their closets look like retail display tables and their sock drawers are arranged by texture and color. It’s as if they are always ready for a home magazine photo shoot! For many of us, however, getting and staying organized is, well, a challenge to say the least. Fear not mess monsters! You, too, can get a little of that orderliness into your lives and homes. Experts say the trick is as easy as 1-2-3: De-clutter, tidy up and store. But since those experts aren’t coming to your home anytime soon, here are some books that will help you achieve that “I can find anything I want in a second” look:


The Organized Life: Secrets of an Expert Organizer

From clutter to paper organization to writing a grocery list, this book will help organize many aspects of your home and life. The tips, ideas and pictures will inspire you. Put this book by your bedside table and read a few pages each night to get and stay motivated.


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

You’ve probably seen this title at a bookstore table or in someone’s hand, as it’s all the rage lately. In this New York Times best seller, the author, Marie Kondo, uses the innovative KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing. Her process helps one determine their relationships with the objects in their home. She’ll have you find out if what you own spark joy in your life. If not, Kondo advises getting rid of it. In the end, readers rave about her system, swear by the book and speak of a utopia unbeknownst to hoarders and the disorganized. No wonder she’s sold more than two million copies of the book!


Unclutter Your Life in One Week

As its title suggests, this book will help you unclutter in just seven days. Organization expert and Editor-in-Chief of, Erin Rooney Doland, understands there is no one solution that works for everyone. For that reason, she offers several suggestions to undertake each area of your home. She also helps you figure out how to keep everything organized once you declutter. ‘Cause how many times have you organized an area just to have it be a mess again in a few days?


Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure

Fans of the popular Apartment Therapy blog will need no introduction to this book. Like the website, this volume tackles not just decluttering and organizational issues but also offers decorating and styling strategies. Bonus: the focus is on smallish spaces, which is good for us city dwellers. 

Double Duty Furniture


New York City living means always coming up with clever solutions for storage or locating pieces that perform more than one function. Fortunately, furniture makers are aware of small space constraints and have come up with items that serve more than their intended purpose. Here are five pieces of furniture to consider, capable of performing double duty: 


Side Table

Look for side tables that have more than just legs but sport shelves, drawers, magazine racks or all three. Fill the shelves with coffee table books and decorative items and put away your remote controls and that extra set of reading glasses in the drawers.



Beds are for more than just sleeping on: Storage beds allow you to easily lift the mattress and support beams and stow goods underneath.  There are many lift and store bed options on the market including the reasonably priced IKEA MALM

Beds with drawers are another way to use this large furniture piece for storage. The drawers work well for packing away sweaters, linens, towels and all other things that don’t fit in your dresser.

Trundle beds work really well for small rooms, allowing you to store an extra mattress that can easily be pulled out for those times when your friend or family member comes into town and spends the night.



Ottomans are an underappreciated furniture item. Yet, to us New Yorkers, they are one of the most important pieces for a small space. Why, you ask? Well, largely because these guys are very versatile and could be used as anything from a footrest, to a table, seating, storage and even a bed.


Media cabinet

Instead of taking up valuable footprint with a TV stand that holds just the tube, opt for a credenza or media cabinet that can serve storage duties. It’s the modern day china cabinet, if you will. Put away books, platters, vases, CDs, and just about anything you can fit in there.  You’d be surprised how much these cabinets can hold.


Trunk as coffee table

Trunks are perfect for apartment living, providing both storage and a surface to serve all your coffee table needs. The variety of storage trunk styles on the market ensures that you can find one that matches any décor from contemporary to rustic

City Grilling


Among the images that come to mind when we think of our nation’s birthday celebrations are barbecues. Alas, for many of us living in New York City, grilling is something we believe is only possible if you live in the suburbs or have a yard. Fortunately, there are options for us apartment-bound, city folk. From portable to electric grills, there are devices to put some sear and smoke on that meat for the Fourth of July weekend. Here’s a guide:


Fold it

Carry the Ascot Portable Charcoal Grill from Brookstone to the park for a gathering with friends and family and later fold it flat for easy storage when not needed. At $54, this baby won’t break the bank.


Hang it on the railing

This little grill is ingenious—albeit slightly worrisome! Like a flower box that hangs onto a balcony railing, this hot item can be hooked onto a railing or wall.  When not in use, you can use the BBQ Bruce Handrail Grill as a flowerpot.  Now that’s a double duty gadget.


Go electric

In New York City “it’s illegal to store a standard backyard propane barbecue on a balcony, roof deck, roof, rear yard or courtyard.” One option is to use electrical grills. This nifty Weber grill is small and could be used with a rolling cart to raise it off the floor, making it more comfortable for the cook. 


Charcoal it up

If you ask us, charcoal grilled meat is the best out there and according to New York City fire codes, cooking on a charcoal grill is allowed on terraces or rooftops as long as there’s a 10-foot clearance between the building and grill and you have access to a water source or a fire extinguisher. The STŌK™ Drum Charcoal Grill is not only small but with its handsome orange cover also cute as a button.


Get Infrared

Infrared is the microwave of the grilling world. These cooking devices heat up faster than conventional grills and produce higher temperatures, in turn cooking your meat faster than other outdoor cooking methods.  At $400, the 20-lb Solaire Gas Grills Go Anywhere 304 Grade Stainless Steel Portable Infrared Propane Gas Grill is by no means considered cheap but a pretty good deal as far as infrareds go. 

Get Fresh with New York City’s Greenmarkets


New York City boasts more than 50 greenmarkets locations within its five boroughs. And now that the weather is finally allowing for things to grow, these urban farmer’s stands are bustling again. If you like eating local and in season and adore the fresh taste of just picked fruit or vegetables, head on over to the market this weekend. Here’s how to find one nearby and what to buy once you get there:


Locate the nearest market

Greenmarkets dot neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island. If you’re lucky the market sets up in your area and you can likely walk to it. If not, don’t worry, as there’ll be one a short subway ride away. Use Grow NYC’s website to locate the closest greenmarket and find out the hours and days they set up.  And if you live across the river, fear not, New Jersey has its own community of farmer’s markets. Locate one near you and get jersey fresh!


Early bird gets the farm goods

Supermarkets often have a storeroom that holds an abundance of supplies to replenish when the shelves are empty. Greenmarkets on the other hand have a limited supply of items they bring in with them from the farm. For that reason, as the day unfolds, popular staples like eggs often run out. The earlier you get to the market, the better choices you’ll have. 


What to buy

With the exception of potatoes and apples, which are likely leftovers from last year’s harvest, most of the items being sold at greenmarkets are fresh and just picked.  Right now, you’ll especially find fantastic asparagus, arugula, spring onions and garlic, nettle, parsley, radishes, rhubarb and strawberries to name a few items. When in doubt, ask the seller if the item is fresh or particularly good—their recommendations rarely disappoint.



If you buy for a few days or a week, the fruit and veggies should keep with no issues. As a general rule, however, for best taste, don’t refrigerate tomatoes, peaches and apricots and store all your vegetables and herbs in the fridge crisper. Remember to take cucumbers and squash out of plastic bags and not to wash herbs until you’re about to use them.


Bon appétit

There’s nothing better than fresh, unprocessed food that‘s been grown nearby. Enjoy this time of abundance and peruse the Internet for recipes of herbs and veggies that you’ve never used before. Remember variety is the spice of life and a healthy diet. And if you’re feeling especially inclined, maybe buy some potted herbs at the market and grow something of your own.