Home Organization Tip: Clean Out Kitchen and Bathroom Cabinets, too

Clean out your kitchen and bathroom cabinets with same logic you apply to wardrobe closets.We’ve spent an awful lot of time on this blog discussing spring cleaning and the importance of keeping wardrobe closets neat, but we admit we’ve missed two very important cabinet sets that will undoubtedly require some cleaning this spring: the kitchen and bathroom cabinets.

Hopefully, you’ve been mindful of what’s been going in and coming out of your kitchen cabinets so you haven’t got too many expired or rotten food items.  If you do, well, throw it out and consider it a lesson.  If you didn’t eat it once, you probably won’t eat it again.  Use the cleaning experience to inform your meal plans and grocery lists.

Likewise, if you find that you’ve got an assortment of pots, pans, trays, cups and other kitchen items that you don’t need, either get rid of them or store them in a place where they’ll be out of the way to make room for the appliances you do use often.

Take the same approach to your bathroom cabinets.  Throw out anything expired or useless, and use the experience to inform your future buying habits.  Also, rearrange the items in your cabinet to reflect what you use/need the most.  Keep the useful items in a quick, easy storage location while relegating your lesser used items to less immediately accessible areas.

How do you like to keep your kitchen/bathroom cabinets organized?  Do you have any special tips or tricks?

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Titanic: Fashion of the Early 1900′s

Examples of Edwardian FashionTomorrow marks the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic and April 14 will mark the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking.  However, let’s not use the time to focus on tragedy and instead look back to the extravagant fashion styles of the time period.

The dress styles of the ship’s passengers varied wildly depending upon the class of lodging.  While passengers staying in second and third class lodging dressed modestly, the wealthy first-class passengers dressed in the highest fashions of the time.  Passengers such as J.P. Morgan, Benjamin Guggenheim, and Macy’s Dept. Store owner Isidor Straus were men of luxury and elegance, dressing themselves and their wives in naught but the finest designs of the Edwardian era.

First-class men generally wore suits/tuxedos with polished shoes and top hats while the women wore elegant gowns.  These Edwardian era dresses were elaborate and highly ornamental.  They weren’t very practical, but the lavish style hints at an age of industrial prosperity for pre-WWI America and Europe.

Lady Duff GordonOne passenger on the RMS Titanic was actually a woman of great note in the fashion world, Lucile Duff-Gordon, a prominent English Fashion Designer.  Her design business had branches in NYC, Paris, London and Chicago, and it’s likely that several of the women onboard the RMS Titanic were actually wearing clothing based on her designs.

Duff-Gordon survived the ship’s sinking and even tempted fate again three years later, when she purchased passage onboard the American luxury liner The Lusitania, which was torpedoed by German submarines and launched America into the First World War.  Duff-Gordon fell ill though and cancelled her trip.

For more pictures and information regarding Edwardian Era fashion and the RMS Titanic check out this slideshow from the Huffington Post.

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Don’t Hunt For Clothes In Your Closet – Get Organized

A well-organized closet is your friend in the morningMorning is a hectic time for everyone.  Getting up, ready and dressed with a time-limit is one of the greatest challenges everyone has to face each day.  Make the challenge a little easier with a well-organized closet.

Categories are your friend.  Categorize as much as you can and do it often in your closet.  Match dress clothes, casual clothes, colors, etc. so you know exactly where to look for each occasion.

Rotate seasonal clothes to a readily available space.  If it’s the middle of July, there’s no reason to have five sweaters in the most accessible spot in your closet.  Shift your wardrobe organization based on the season and what you’ll be wearing.  This is especially important with shoes.

Drawers are an organizational essential.  They are perfect for socks, undergarments and folded items such as shirts and sweaters.  Don’t underestimate the power of a good set of drawers.

Keep a mirror nearby.   Or even inside the closet (Contempo Closet offers optional interior mirrors on the inside of the door as an invaluable accessory).

Don’t forget about the accessories!  Be it a shelf or a shoebox, be sure to keep your accessories organized somehow.  That time you spend fumbling through ties or jewelry in the morning is time well-wasted.

The average American wastes valuable minutes every morning rummaging through an unorganized closet.  Keep what you need up front and get organized to make the morning move a little smoother.

Pictured Above: The Alpha 355 Hanging Wardrobe Closet

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Some Things Stay Sacred: Easter and Spring Wardrobe

Easter Sunday means it's time to pull out the Spring WardrobeIn terms of shopping, ads and commerce, Easter isn’t really a big deal.  Unlike Christmas, Easter has remained relatively unscathed by Madison Ave.  No one really makes a big deal out of Easter sales, and the only thing anyone really markets for the holiday is candy (but what holiday doesn’t market candy?).

Thanks to this lack of commercial appeal, it’s remained somewhat sacrosanct as a religious holiday, but that doesn’t mean it’s not without benefits everyone can share, regardless of religion.

Easter is often lauded as the true beginning of the spring fashion season, and because of this, many choose the day to show off their best new clothing.  Perhaps that’s why Easter Sunday still has an air of propriety to it, one that demands a prim and proper wardrobe.

Even young children, who usually get a free pass from the wardrobe scouts, are obliged to get into their Sunday best.  Young boys in navy blue blazers and girls in frilly dresses crowd restaurants and dinner tables on Easter Sunday.  It’s an old-fashioned approach to clothing that doesn’t often show up in day-to-day life, but once a year it’s certainly a welcome change.

Anyway, even if you don’t celebrate Easter, there’s no reason to avoid the day’s secular role as a marker of the true beginning of spring fashion season.  So get out your Sunday best this weekend, debut some new clothes and show the world what your new wardrobe can do this April.

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Deodorize a Closet

If you look like this every time you reach in the closet, it may time for a quick cleaningClosets can get smelly for many reasons, including dirty clothes, shoes, pests, mold and more.  While you may do a sizable amount of work to prevent these malodorous invasions, if it happens, you have to address it.  So, keeping this in mind, let’s discuss the different possible causes and solutions for closet odors.

General Stuffiness – if you leave a lot of the clothes or items in your closet unattended for an extended period of time, don’t be surprised if it starts to smell a bit stuffy.  Thankfully this is a fairly simple fix.  Just a quick clean and some general reorganizing should do the trick, though you can use scented air fresheners to get the closet smelling fresh again.

Smoke – If you or someone you share the closet with smokes, it’s going to get stuck in your clothes and your closet.  Get rid of that smell by airing everything out and then use a white vinegar solution to wipe down the shelves, walls and floors of your closet.

Pests – First and most obvious step – get rid of your pest problem.  To take care of the smell, just wipe down the closet with a strong scented cleaner like Pine Sol.  Do this regularly to keep pests away (they hate the smell).

Mold – If you find evidence of mold in your closet, you’ll have to use a mixture of hot water and bleach.  Spray the mixture (2 caps of bleach + hot water) directly on stains then let it sit.  They should disappear momentarily, along with the odor.

If you find mold or mildew in your closet, that may be evidence of a leaky pipe in your walls, since both these types of fungi are typically caused by unchecked moisture.  Check your walls for leaks and have a plumber address the problem if you find anything.

We’ve only covered a few good ways to air out a smelly closet.  Do you know of any more?

Photo Credit: Jeroen van Oostrom

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Organized State of Mind

Organized state of mindWhile reading through Dwell Magazine’s article A Rational Approach, one particular idea stuck in our head: clutter is a state of mind.

Our wardrobe closets are great at what they do: organizing and storing.  But in the end, they are only tools, instruments to help silence a worried mind.  And they have limits because in the end, an actual person has to do the physical organizing.  Our closets can’t pick up a mess for you (yet).

This indicates, at least to us, that great organization is not just a simple matter of closets and accessories, but commitment and dedication to the de-cluttering process.  You can’t just add a new closet or wardrobe and expect your home to stay clean.  If you want an organized home, you need to commit to an organized home.

In both your design and your lifestyle, let organization remain tantamount.  Develop good habits and keep them.  We can provide the instruments, but we can’t play the song for you.  That’s a step you have to take.

Photo Credit: Rita H. Cobbs

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Wicker Baskets: It’s the Little Things That Count

Wicker baskets are an inexpensive, efficient solution to your storage necessities.Last Thursday, we discussed all the valuable accessories Contempo Closet offers to help you stay organized, but we forgot to mention one very valuable item to add to your storage toolkit: wicker baskets.

Wicker baskets are small, simple pieces that add a touch of class to your closet while still performing a necessary storage function.  You can keep a wide variety of items in them, but we would recommend fabric accessories or small clothing items such as scarves, socks, or mittens.   You could also use them in the kitchen to hold cookbooks or keep a small collection of magazines next to the bed.

They’re a neat little decorative accent that can fit well in pretty much any space and any room.  Overall, wicker baskets are an inexpensive, efficient way to handle storage with an accent.  How do you use them in your home?

View our selection of Wicker Baskets here.

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How Spring Cleaning Can Boost Your Home’s Resale Value

Clean up the house and keep it's resale value high!Need a little extra motivation to get into spring cleaning this year?  Here’s something: your spring cleaning efforts might affect the resale value of your home.  Now do I have your attention?

Amy Elms of 360 Mortgage Group writes, “spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity for de-cluttering and disinfecting your house, but if your home is currently on the market, spring cleaning is also the perfect chance to spruce up your home in order to increase its resale value.”

Amy recommends the following:

Clean floors

If you’ve got particularly shabby or stained floors, do yourself a favor and call a professional.  Otherwise a good scrub and vacuum will do the trick.  According to Lending Tree, new floors “can increase a home’s value as much as ten percent,” so try to make yours shine.

Remove Odors

This should go without saying, but if you’ve got unappealing odors in your home, get rid of them.  No potential buyer wants a nasty smell waiting at the front door.

Organize the Closet

Who’d have thought? According to Elms, “an organized closet can contribute up to a 70% return on investment at resale.” That’s a lot of money and, in the grand scheme of things, not a whole lot of work.

Spring Cleaning isn’t our favorite activity either, but if it can make that much of a difference on a home’s resale value, it must have some importance.  Clean up the house and organize the closet to keep your home at a high value.

Photo Credit: Suat Eman

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Closet Accessories to Keep Your Home Organized

Clear out the clutter with closet accessories!Now a closet at its bare minimum is really nothing more than a four-sided hole in the wall where you can put things, right?  But we don’t just need a place to put things anymore now, do we?  We need organization!  We need storage options!  We need accessories!

When you get dressed in the morning, you don’t just throw on a shirt and pants and say, “ok I’m set.”   You have to put on a belt, jewelry, glasses, maybe a tie, grab your bag, your phone, and a variety of other accessories.

What makes your closet any different?

At Contempo Closet, we’re pleased to offer a wide range of storage accessories to give you the organization and storage solution you need.   Choose from tie racks, belt racks, pneumatic pull down hangrods, extra shelves and more on our accessories page.

You don’t need a hole in the wall.  You need a place to organize your life.  And Contempo Clost will help you find it!

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What’s in Your Closet?

The Luxor 455 is the perfect place for a TVAlthough, it’s often assumed that Contempo Closets are built for clothes, there happen to be a wide variety of things you could store in our freestanding wardrobes that you don’t have to wear.

For example, one of our preeminent designs, the Alpha 455, would perfectly house a television.  While we normally leave TV display to our sister brand, Contempo Wall, the 455 would be an intriguing solution for anyone looking for a less obvious TV display that has the added benefit of two doors for easy concealment.  Don’t forget, our closets all feature a wide array of custom design options, which means you could create as many shelves or separate compartments as you’d like.  Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Contempo Closet’s wardrobe units make great display cabinets!  Do you have a startling collection of china, precious antiques, or Star Wars collectibles that you love showing off for your guests, but might want locked away safely in the presence of pets or overactive children?  A Contempo wardrobe is the perfect solution.  Open the doors and place your valued collection in plain sight for your guests then close it up later to minimize any risk of damage.

But the opportunities don’t end there of course.  With custom designs and accessories, a Contempo Closet could hold pretty much anything you may want.  What’s in your Contempo Closet?

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