Five Low Key Things to Do This Memorial Day

 

The unofficial beginning of summer is around the corner and it’s one of the best times to be in New York City, mostly because like many other holidays, it’s quiet. For those of us who inhabit this great city on regular days with millions of others, it’s nice to have a good portion of them out of town. So what to do if you’re staying around? Here are a few ideas:
 

Eat at Smogasburg

It’s a flea market for food and it’s so freaking good—a gastronomer’s heaven of sorts. Think ramen burgers, tacos, decadent doughnuts, and Japanese water cake (yeah that’s a thing and all the rage). Head on over to either the Williamsburg or Prospect Park location (depending on which weekend day you plan your visit) and enjoy tasting different foods under hopefully rays of sun.
 

Have a Picnic

Life can be a picnic, at least for a few hours. Lucky for us, our city has a lot of green space—from Central Park to Transmitter Park to many more. Pack yourself a basket or a tote bag and read a book, snack a little and take a nap.
 

Have a Drink    

Pick a rooftop or a sidewalk bar, sip on something you enjoy and people watch, or not. It’s your day.
 

See a Flick

Enjoy the semi-empty theatres and catch a flick in the evening—you know you’ve been meaning to see a few new movies lately and just haven’t been able to take the time off.
 

Walk a Bridge

Be it the Brooklyn, George Washington or Manhattan bridge—you know you’ve been meaning to, so get up and do the touristy thing and you’ll see why millions come from all over the world to cross our city’s surrounding waters.  

File Backup and Storage

 

We often focus on storage in New York for physical items but given today’s reliance on technology it’s important to know how to back up and store data as well. This is especially important as computers can crash and are vulnerable to Ransomeware—where hackers will lock your data and demand a ransom in order to release your files back to you.  No matter the reasons, we encourage everyone to store their electronic data periodically in more than one place and here are some ways to do so:
 

External Hard Drive

With external drives, you can either manually back up data or use the computer’s automatic processes for doing so—for Mac computers, you can set Time Machine to do this, for PC’s you can use Windows Backup.
 

Online    

There are many different online services which allow you to store your data on their servers. The one you choose depends on the level of comfort you have with their security (remember the iCloud breach in 2014?), cost and options. Some notable services are Google Drive, Apple’s iCloud or Carbonite.  Similar to an external drive, you can automate the backup process.
 

Flash Drive

These nifty, thumb sized storage drives have come a long way. Nowadays you can get them with up to a Terabyte capacity.  But for most folks a 256 Megabyte will be enough to store thousands of files and photos. They can be good backups to your backups. Because, it’s really important to save your most important data in multiple places.
 

Computer

If you have multiple computers in a home, you can always save copies of your most important files on different machines. This way, if one fails, the other can serve as a backup.  

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Storage Auctions: How they work and should you go to one?

 

You might have seen it on television—when storage owners don’t pay their dues or skip town and their unit contents are put up for sale. But did you know that storage auctions can be found throughout the country? Here’s a guide to those of you interested in learning more:
 

How to find a New York Storage auction?

Storage auctions can be found in local newspapers. If you know of a storage facility near you, you can call them and ask when their next auction will be. Sites like http://www.storagetreasures.com will allow you to punch in your zip code and bid on units from the comfort of your home.


Are they worth it?

This is a tough question to answer. You can generally take a peak at the entrance of the unit to get an indication of what might be inside the unit. But there’s no way to really know if there’s anything valuable that will make it worth your bid. Here’s the thing though, there’s likely something of value in each unit—because why else store it?
 

What to take to the bidding?

Take cash and a credit card for if you decide to make a bid and a flashlight to peak inside the unit.


What if the items are not in good shape?

Good or bad, priceless or worthless, the contents of the storage are sold in an as is condition and are yours if you win the auction. Know that going in and you won’t be disappointed.
 

How long before the unit needs to be cleared?

Once you win a bid, you’ll usually have a full business day to clear out the storage unit. Check with the facility beforehand to ensure you leave yourself enough time to do this. |
 

What to do with the items?

Once you take stock of the items, make a list and write down the description and the condition of each one. Then decide if and where you might be selling each piece. You can utilize online sites, such as ebay, to sell your goods or find local NY stores that take will sell them for you.

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Four Useful Kitchen Items that Won’t Take Up Too Much Space

 

If you’re the kind of person who likes whipping up meals in the kitchen, you’ve at some point spent a bit of time staring at the windows of Sur La Table, Williams Sonoma and the likes. In your fantasy, you have a large kitchen with lots of gadgets and goodies for preparing gourmet meals. In reality, you live in a small New York City apartment and have a kitchenette. So you need to be careful how you use cabinet and counter space and to that end must be diligent about the tools and utensils you’ll bring in. Here are four kitchen items that don’t take much room and ones you’ll definitely get a lot of use out of:
 

Immersion Blender

Out with the traditional space takers and in with the immersion blenders. These handy sticks, which can be stored in a drawer, perform the functions of a regular blender. Get different attachments for them and you can even whip up smoothies with these babies.


French Press

If you live in the city, you don’t have room for a big coffee maker on your counter. Give that monster to a friend in the suburbs blessed with a large kitchen and get yourself a French Press sized suitable to your household—you can get one small enough to make just one cup of Joe.


Manual Can Opener

Most folks don’t really need a big fancy can opener. A hand held manual opener can be stored away in a drawer and will open cans just as well any sophisticated tool.


Citrus Reamer

This little utensil is one that is super handy but takes up little storage space. Use it to juice limes, lemons and other small citrus fruit—though we’ve even used it to juice a grapefruit or two.

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Spice Storage Solutions, A Roundup

 

Spices are a necessary arsenal in every cook’s workspace but a space consuming one in a New York City kitchen, or kitchenette (as the case may be for many). But fear not cooks: We have some ideas for your seasonings and food embellishments and some of them are quite attractive. Here are five of our favorites:
 

Dean & Deluca Spice Tube Racks
It’s like you’re a mad scientist cook—these test tube vials are held in place by a stainless steel wire rack. They take up little counter space, are attractive and come with an especially designed spoon. At $105, it’s definitely a splurge but if a small footprint and a conversation piece is a priority, you won’t be disappointed.
 

Everything Spice Kit
This set from by Gneiss Spice includes 24 magnetic hexagonal jars of organic spices, that together look like a beehive. Order a separate metal wall place if you plan on storing the jars on a wall or backsplash. Otherwise stick ‘em to the fridge and you’re good to go.
 

Bamboo In-Drawer Spice Rack
Putting spices in a drawer is an easy way to free up some space in the cabinets and have them be out of sight. This drawer rack from Williams-Sonoma will help you do just that by holding 12 jars and at $14.95 you have little to lose and all the space to gain.
 

BEKVÄM
The simple Ikea birch rack can get your spices off the counter and onto a wall. Stain or paint it any color you like. Use one or multiples depending how many jars you have and enjoy paying $3.99 for each unit!
 

Soho 12-Piece Stainless Steel Container and Small Board Set
Here’s another magnetic style spice set. Each airtight stainless steel finished container keeps up to three ounces of your favorite fresh. And the metal board that comes with could be installed on a convenient wall for easy reach.

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Four School Tools For Organization and Storage

If you have a place of your own, chances are your school days are long over, but the tools you used to store and organize your belongings could still be a part of your life. They are especially useful if your address has a New York City zip code and you’re dealing with tight spaces. Even if not in a small dwelling, these products will still deliver. Here are four items to bring back into your life and apartment to better manage your belongings:

Attractive Bike Storage Solutions

Many New Yorkers love using bikes to get around the city. What they don’t love is storing these modes of transport in their apartments. Bicycles often end up in living rooms, entryways and bedrooms, taking up precious floor space and looking unsightly. But there are solutions to storing these vehicles in the apartment and some of them even look pretty nice. Take a look at these attractive options we’ve assembled for you:

Five Easy Steps to Creating an Entryway

Many New Yorkers love using bikes to get around the city. What they don’t love is storing these modes of transport in their apartments. Bicycles often end up in living rooms, entryways and bedrooms, taking up precious floor space and looking unsightly. But there are solutions to storing these vehicles in the apartment and some of them even look pretty nice. Take a look at these attractive options we’ve assembled for you:

Tips for a More Organized Closet

Many New Yorkers love using bikes to get around the city. What they don’t love is storing these modes of transport in their apartments. Bicycles often end up in living rooms, entryways and bedrooms, taking up precious floor space and looking unsightly. But there are solutions to storing these vehicles in the apartment and some of them even look pretty nice. Take a look at these attractive options we’ve assembled for you:

Space-saving Kitchen Items

When your kitchen is as small as many of those in New York City apartments, you’re always shying away from purchasing anything that could take up precious space and often end up lacking some necessary tools and kitchenware. Luckily, designers have thought of the storage starved urban souls, such as us, and have come up with functional products that collapse and fold. Here are several we have our eye on:

Record Holders, A Roundup

Vinyl is all the rage again—isn’t it funny how vintage stuff keeps coming back?—and everyone and their roommates seem to have record players, at least here in New York. The problem is unlike those lovely mp3s, which just take up virtual space, records take up quite a bit of room. So how do you find proper storage to fit them into your small apartment while enjoying their wonderfully warm sound? Get yourself a nice holder—here are some options:

Apartment Home Offices

Vinyl is all the rage again—isn’t it funny how vintage stuff keeps coming back?—and everyone and their roommates seem to have record players, at least here in New York. The problem is unlike those lovely mp3s, which just take up virtual space, records take up quite a bit of room. So how do you find proper storage to fit them into your small apartment while enjoying their wonderfully warm sound? Get yourself a nice holder—here are some options:

No Closets? No Problem

In cities such as New York, apartments aren’t always typical. That’s because they were often factories, homes or offices cut into several homes. The result, while quirky and at times beautiful, isn’t always practical and sometimes the inhabitants of the home miss out on useful features such as closets. But there’s no reason you have to miss out on a place to store your clothes. Here are some solutions for people without closets:

Squeeze Some Extra Storage Out of the Bedroom

In New York City, bedrooms are often our only other room, as many apartments seem to have an open floor plan with a living room, dining room kitchenette combo. So those of us living in this great city have to make the room function as more than a place to sleep—but one to potentially use as an office or for keeping items that won’t otherwise fit elsewhere. Here are four ways to squeeze a little bit of extra storage out of the bedroom:

Storage Solutions: Credenzas

Photo via CB2

Photo via CB2

Whether you use them in entryways, dining rooms or in living rooms, credenzas are a great way to store and hide some of your knickknacks, media components and even things such as dishes and vases. Furthermore, the surfaces of these handsome pieces of furniture are perfect for decorative items—such as coffee table books, sculptural items, frames and even a small plant or some flowers. There are dizzying options of credenzas in the market but here are five that we think are handsome and appropriate for a New Yorker’s dwellings:

 

Cache Media Cabinet

From The Source’s Cache is an all teak media cabinet that comes in a variety of legs. Head to their store in Greenpoint, Brooklyn or their Chelsea location to see the piece in other wood and leg combinations and while there, be amazed at all the beautiful furniture these guys make. 

 

Suspend media console

This marble, wood and metal unit from CB2 mixes cold and warmth in material and color making it easy to fit into many different homes. With a height of 29 inches, it’s a bit taller than your average credenza but it’s a look that works well for different rooms and at $899, it’s not going to break the bank but will look as though it did.

 

Lap Long and Low

Despite its barely there aesthetic and dimensions, the Lap Long and Low from Blu Dot has a lot of personality. It comes in four color and leg combinations and is sure to please not just those after a modern look but also those with varied tastes.

 

urbn 2.0 Entertainment Cabinet

This all-wood cabinet available at ABC Home and Carpet is reminiscent of those architects and engineers used to store blueprints. It’s got a rustic look, which will work well for those seeking that classic look. With six drawers and three open slots for electronics, it’ll be easy to keep the media area tidy.

 

RAMSÄTRA

Those looking for a simple, clean look (and a nice budget option) can turn to this white Ikea number. At $239, you can’t go wrong with this or many other options at the Swedish furniture retailer. 

Mail Organization and Storage

This photo courtesy of Brittany Lynne Photography and is part of the "365 Ways to Live Cheap Revisited" project.

This photo courtesy of Brittany Lynne Photography and is part of the "365 Ways to Live Cheap Revisited" project.

We don’t know about you but we get a ton of mail each day—most of which is junk—and it often takes us a week or two to sort, organize and store the never-ending incoming flood of paper. Hence, the mail just piles up into a messy installation on a counter or table, turning our otherwise tidy places into a mess. Luckily, there are ways to contain the disarray. Here are some products we like that do just that:

 

Wire Baskets

These wire baskets from Crate and Barrel can be used to put away the mail until you can get to it. Use one to store all incoming mail or multiples to catalogue and organize as you see fit.

 

Vintage Metal Stacking Bins

These industrial-style bins from Restoration Hardware baby & child—available in galvanized or white—can be stacked to easily sort incoming, outgoing and junk mail.

 

Vintage Entryway Organizer

The mango wood organizer from Ballard Designs is suitable for larger households or those who are looking to stay super tidy. With two drawers and eight cubbies, menus, mail, keys and pens each household member and item get their own dedicated spot.

 

2D3D Letter Holder

Those looking for a more modern look, can go for this letter holder from Blu Dot, which has a simple silhouette and is available in Fire Engine Red, Gun Metal and White.

 

Mudroom Message Center

This Martha Stewart Living organizer, which comes in white, sequoia or black and has a chalkboard, a corkboard, mail tray, small hooks for keys and larger ones for purses and whatever else one wants to hang.

 

Vintage

There are many vintage, repurposed and handmade mail holders. Browse flea markets and antique shops or find them online at places like Etsy. You’re likely to find something uber cute and unique.