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. 

 

Wine Storage, a Roundup

 

Wine: We like drinking it but not storing it, especially inside the very few cupboards of our New York City apartments. But wine racks can make storage easier and in the process add a bit of style and flair to our homes. There are many on the market to suit all tastes and budgets. Here are five that we like:

 

Cellar Wine Rack

Use this metal CB2 wine rack alone or in multiples to create a cellar built-in look. Stack them or hang them on the wall. Each one holds 12 bottles and at $49.95 each, it’s much more affordable than having building a cellar in your home.

 

Universal Expert Small Wine Rack

This little number from West Elm only stores four bottles but due to its diminutive size is easy to fit into the smallest of kitchens. Plus, it has storage for a corkscrew and wine glass charms.

 

Industry 12-Bottle Wine Rack

We love this $79 metal and wood industrial wine rack from Pottery Barn so much we want to run out right now and buy ourselves a few. Each one holds 12 bottles. You can use them horizontally and vertically and stack two.

 

Tack Storage Wine Rack

You’ll be hard pressed to find this handmade zinc, iron and wood wine rack from Anthropologie in many homes. It’s truly unique and suits those looking for an industrial or reclaimed look. Tack holds five bottles and retails for $98.

 

Wine-Stem Rack

This acacia wood farmhouse kitchen style wine rack from Crate and Barrel is a beauty. Not only does it hold half a dozen bottles but also holds glasses but also six glasses, freeing up precious space in your cupboard.  

Swap it Up

 

From time to time, we all get tired of our stuff—be it our clothes, dishes, or knickknacks around the house—but without infinite storage and budgets, we can’t always go out and buy new things. In comes the “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” idea. Throwing a swap party—where you can exchange items with friends—is an easy way to upgrade your closet and apartment without sacrificing space and spending a dime. Here are some guidelines to a kicking swap party:

 

Make a guest list

If your swap is for clothes only, make sure to invite different shaped and sized friends so everyone can have plenty of choices.  

 

Item condition

To avoid guests bringing pieces that are mismatched in terms of condition and worth, decide what kind of items are valuable enough for swapping and be clear about it when you send out your invites. For example, if you only want folks to bring in gently worn or lightly used items, make sure to state it.

 

Clean items

Ask your guests to wash and clean anything they want to swap prior to the party.

 

Draw up rules

Put a few rules in place so the party doesn’t turn into a mess. For example, each person can swap as many items as they bring. One way to ensure this is to give out a token redeemable for an item for each piece a person brings to party. Also come up with ideas on how you might resolve situations such as when two folks want the same item. Flip a coin? Arm wrestle? You can make up any rule you want, just as long as you’re clear about it with your guests beforehand.

 

Presentation

Have cleared tables or racks ready to place and hang clothes and other items in a presentable way. This way your guests can easily examine each piece.

 

Reflections are important  

Have a mirror or two handy so folks can see the clothes they try on.

 

Donate

Have a plan for donating anything that didn’t find a home in the swapping process. There are Goodwill and Salvation Army locations dotted throughout New York City. Other charities will also happily take your goods. 

Annual Purging Guide

Photo via flickr.com

Photo via flickr.com

It’s a new year and time to put the “out with the old, in with the new” saying to good use around the home—especially in those small New York apartments. Over the course of last (and perhaps previous) year(s), we’ve all accumulated furniture, knickknacks and clothes that we might not need or want—either now, or perhaps never. What better time to go through your things and either donate, store or get rid of items you hardly or never use. If you’re not sure how to start, ask yourself these questions to decide what to purge:

 

What my item’s condition?

If the condition of an item is beyond repair and you know you can’t restore it to its original glory or some kind of respectable glory, it’s time to rid yourself of it.

 

How much do I use the item?

If you haven’t used an item for a year, chances are you won’t for another year (or two, or three) so consider either donating or storing it.

 

Am I done with it?

Get rid of newspapers, periodicals and magazines that you’ve already read and will no longer use. If some are collector’s editions and you’d like to hold on to them, consider putting them away in a storage unit.

 

How much do I like the item?

If you don’t really like an item of clothing or object and are only holding on to it because you feel you should—either because of its quality or cost—then perhaps think about donating it to someone who will cherish it more than you. Don’t feel obligated to like something you don’t.

 

Is it even mine?

Sometimes we end up storing things that aren’t even ours, like that hat our friend left in our apartment last winter and decided she no longer wanted back. If you use it, that’s great. But if it’s just sitting in a closet in no man’s land, it’s time to find its next home.

Magazine Rack Roundup

Photo courtesy of ballarddesigns.com

Photo courtesy of ballarddesigns.com

We all love getting our favorite magazines in the mail. It’s fun to browse a whole new issue and read stories and fun facts about the things we are interested in. What none of us love is storing them—especially in our forever space-starved New York City apartments—until we have time to peruse the periodicals and hopefully toss. There are, however, many handsome magazine organizers that not only keep our weeklies and monthlies neat but also look handsome on their own. Here’s a roundup of our favorites:

 

Grid Magazine Storage

Use one or multiples of this wall mounted copper-finish wire grid basket from CB2 to get your magazines off the ground and tables. You can’t go wrong with this bad boy’s $29 price tag.

 

MW Magazine Rack

If minimalism is your style, DWR’s MW—named for being shaped like the two letters—is a pretty good bet. It’s light and durable and doesn’t feel like a hefty piece of furniture in a small place.

 

Moulins de Aries Trug

If you like the rustic look, this reclaimed wood and iron magazine and book storage beauty with two compartments from Ballard Design will be a handsome old-timey addition to your apartment.

 

Mag Table

This multifunctional magazine and side table duo has been around since 1999 and for good reason too—it’s a table with a magazine rack but set it up vertically and it’s a laptop stand. It’s made of birch plywood and comes in a variety of finishes.  The table can be purchased from different retailers and vendors including DWR and AllModern.

 

Galen Magazine Rack

A mix of rich leather and brass finish, this Crate and Barrel sling-style number reminds us of the magazine racks we used to see in offices. The $149 piece, however, is updated and has a warmth that the old style racks missed. 

Tips for Home Office Organization and Storage

Photo via flickr.com

Photo via flickr.com

 

Many of us living in New York City have home offices—though the term may be generously used here as for some that just means a corner of a room that sports a desk and a computer. But whether you have a nook or an entire room devoted to performing business tasks, staying organized is key. Here are some storage and organization solutions for home offices:

 

Cord Organizers

To name a few, there are computer power cords, monitor cords, mouse cords, cable cords and speaker cords. Keep them organized by using twisty ties, cord covers, and the myriad of other gadgets available to keep those pesky wires neat.

 

Baskets

Find baskets of different sizes to contain items that would otherwise be loosely sitting on your desk. Organize papers, mail, stationary and even books in these handy and accessible containers.

 

E Storage

Eliminate paper by scanning—or photographing—and storing documents on your computer, cloud or hard drive (don’t forget to back up all documents). Be sure to do this with documents for which a hard copy is not required. To further eliminate papers, opt for paperless statements, bills and such.

 

Shred

Go through papers periodically and shred anything you no longer need. This helps purge unnecessary paper and makes it easier to stay neat.

 

Drawers

Use the most of your drawers by compartmentalizing and organizing them. They will hold more items and it’ll be easier to find something when needed.

 

Shelves

A shelf or two above the desk will do wonders for clearing up workspace surfaces.  Use shelves to hold books, writing instruments, compact disks, picture frames and items like tape dispensers and staplers.

 

Magazine Holders

On the wall or on the floor, magazine holders will put in order newspapers and periodicals in a jiff, giving you more space and better organization in the office area.