Favorite Bookcases

Photo via West Elm

Photo via West Elm

 

Books, we love them but we hate storing them, especially in small apartments. In come freestanding bookcases, easily moveable, practical and often beautiful decorative pieces of furniture for the home. Here are several that we love and think work well for storing your favorite titles:


v bookcase-room divider

We literally stopped driving the first time we saw this number in CB2’s in the window. The solid teak v bookcase with its angular shelves is quite the beauty. Although it’s marketed as a room divider, you can easily put it against a wall. Either way, you won’t be disappointed and your guests are sure to ask you where it came from.


Sapien Bookcase

This all-metal DWR bookcase comes in two sizes and colors and can accommodate 50 to 70 books depending on the height option. The books sit horizontally and once fully loaded look as though they’re resting on top of each other. What’s great about these guys is that they have a very small footprint, which makes them easy to move and fit in in different corners of a home and perfect for New York apartments.


Stairway white 96" wall mounted bookcase

Here’s another bookcase from CB2 that makes our list. One reason we love the Stairway is its height. At 96 inches, it maximizes vertical space while making a ceiling appear taller by drawing the eyes upwards. Use this wall-mounted bookcase to display books and other decorative items.

 

Dutch Industrial Shelving

This industrial looking shelving unit from Restoration Hardware comes in two sizes and sports a distressed, industrial look. Starting at nearly $1,000, these units are not cheap, but their real counterparts can go for a lot more at antique shops.

 

Mid-Century Bookcases

For those seeking a Mid-Century look, this acorn-finished West Elm piece with drawers is a handsome option. Thanks to its small profile and footprint, it’s easily moveable around the apartment and at $698 it’s likely to cost you a lot less than an original 50s or 60s piece.

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. 

Toy Stories: A New Yorker’s Guide to Storing Playthings

Phot by homestilo via flickr

Phot by homestilo via flickr

 

Toys are the bane of a neat parent’s existence but they are an inevitable reality of  having bundles of joy. So what’s a parent who wants to provide his or her kids with all the world has to offer but can’t take the clutter of all those puzzles, books, stuffed animals, games and likes to do? Find practical storage solutions. Here are some ideas on how to store toys and keep ‘em neat in your New York apartment:

 

Underbed Bins and Drawers

The thing about toys is, if you can contain them in a box or a basket or bin they will automatically go from many little items to one larger and neater looking item. Bins and drawers for under the bed are a great way to keep toys out of site.

 

Wall Bookshelf

Be it a store-bought shelving unit or a built-in, these pieces of furniture utilize vertical space, otherwise unused. Either display toys or use bins, drawers and doors to hide them on the shelves. Either way you’ll be squeezing out more space to store the toys. Just be sure to securely fasten the shelves to the wall to avoid accidents.

 

Closets

Customize one closet in the house—by building shelves and drawers and hanging shoe and sweater organizers—and designate it for your kids’ toys. In the small spaces of New York apartments, sacrificing a closet seems like a big loss but think of all the toys you won’t see on the floor, the sofa and the beds.

 

Behind the Door

Over the door organizers and hooks are a great way to use an otherwise wasted space. Use a shoe organizer to store plush toys, craft supplies and even Lego pieces.

 

Wall Hooks

Hang totes, buckets and other containers holding toys and such on hooks fastened to the walls. You can also hang things like jump ropes, hula hoops , water guns, badminton paddles and similar items from hooks.    

 

Magnetic Strips

These handy items can be mounted on walls, doors and even furniture. Use them to hold toy cars, craft scissors, rulers and any other small metal item. 

Storage Units Considerations for Online Shop owners

 

If you make a living selling merchandise online—be it on ebay, Etsy, Amazon or your own e-commerce site—a storage unit could be your solution to housing inventory in the space-starved confines of New York City. 

 

Many folks run businesses out of their apartments, either making things or purchasing items for resale. At first those few hundred square foot apartments seem enough for the few things one might need to store but as the business grows, so does the demand for merchandise and space. Many online sellers don’t make enough to justify renting commercial space, so an ideal solution could be utilizing storage units. For monthly fees that could be as low as $100 (potentially a tax deductible expense), a retailer could regularly shuffle merchandise back and forth to the unit as necessary.  Here are some considerations for those considering a storage unit:

 

Space

How much space do you need? This shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out—once you box up the merchandise and figure out how many containers you have and how high you can stack them, you can calculate the necessary space needed to fit your needs.

 

Budget

Figure out how much space you can afford and how much it makes sense for you to spend on storage on a monthly basis.

 

Accessibility

Consider how often you will need to visit the space and during what hours. Make sure that the facility is convenient for you and that the specific unit is accessible to suit your needs.

 

Duration

Some storage companies run on long-term contracts. It’s important to know the duration for which you will need the space. If you only require seasonal storage, it doesn’t make any sense to rent something year round.

 

Security

If you plan on storing valuable merchandise it’s important to ensure your goods are in a safe place. Find out if there have been break-ins or issues with security at the facility before committing. 

Five Coffee Tables with Storage

Photo source: potterybarn.com

Photo source: potterybarn.com

 

Coffee tables are a necessity of most living rooms—they anchor the space and make the room look polished. They’re also extremely useful, we use them to put our books, phones, drinks, and sometimes feet on—shhhhh, don’t tell anyone. But we can take their usefulness even further by finding ones that function as storage furniture as well. This will allow New Yorkers perpetually seeking more space find yet another way to get more out of a piece of furniture. Here are five coffee tables we think do a great job at playing double duty:

 

Rebecca Trunk

At a reasonable $699, this hardwood trunk with its colorful patina—which works fabulously as a table—is a beauty. The metal edge banding and details make this piece look reclaimed or even an original snagged at a flea market. The inside offers generous space for storing anything from throws and sweaters to books, magazines and more.

 

The Printmaker’s Coffee table     

This architectural beauty from Restoration Hardware comes in three finishes and several sizes and for anyone who’s ever worked in or visited an engineer or architect’s office is reminiscent of blueprints and maps. Store remotes, magazines and artwork in the four drawers of this piece, which starts at $1,095.

 

Chiva Functional Coffee Table

For the more modern home, BoConcept’s Chiva, which starts at $1,159 and comes in several finishes sports three separate compartments which when opened could also function as table tops that could function as dining surfaced.

 

LIATORP

With a shelf and storage space underneath the glass tabletop, this Ikea number’s $279 price tag is anything but steep. The table comes in grey or white and is an easy solution to store magazines and remotes and even decorative items which could transform the top into a display case.

 

Industrial Storage Coffee Table

This solid mango wood rustic table with steel legs from West Elm is a steal at either $599 or $699, depending on the finish. Its pop-up door reveals enough storage for books, toys, magazines and nick knacks and can also be used as a taller tabletop where one could pull up a chair to and work at. 

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.

 

Walls

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:


Items

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.


Price

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.


Insurance

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.


Company

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.


Access

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.


Terms

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.


Security

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:

Toys
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.  

Clothes
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.

Furniture
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.

 Planters
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:

Hooks
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

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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!