A Pantry Makeover Made Easy

We absolutely love to organize pantry spaces, and we’re thrilled to have teamed up with the Container Store to share our top five pantry organization tips + favorite containers!  Here’s to keeping your pantry well-organized and Practically Perfect this holiday season!

Photo by Practically Perfect

TIP # 1 – CONTAIN, CONTAIN, CONTAIN

This might seem fairly obvious, but we’ve encountered many a pantry that simply needed a few extra jars and baskets to go from disorganized to dapper.  The more items you can decant into containers, the more contained your pantry will be… and the fresher your products will stay!  So say “goodbye” to excess packaging!

We’re big fans of clear jars and containers for dried goods — and matching ones look especially lovely — but be sure to utilize any products that you already have in your home before you run out to spend money on anything new.  Add a printed or handwritten label to a repurposed jar or bin can give it a whole new purpose… see what we did there?

We almost always add a spin tray/lazy susan (or more than one) to any Practically Perfect pantry.  Storing condiments and other smaller items in a way that makes them both visible and accessible ensures that they’ll actually be used before they expire.  

Photo by Practically Perfect

And speaking of repurposing containers, any extras from your pantry overhaul can be used in practically any area of your home.  There were two beautiful anchor hocking jars that didn’t fit perfectly into this client’s pantry, but they were just what her laundry room was missing!  Baking soda and dryer balls = contained!

Photo by Practically Perfect

TIP # 2 – CREATE PANTRY ZONES

Keeping like items together in designated areas means your pantry will be as functional as it is beautiful.

Perhaps this means that you’ll have a breakfast shelf, a canned goods corner, a sweets section… create the areas that are specific to your own needs.  

It’s also helpful to do a full shopping trip before you organize, so that you’re sure to have space for all of the staples.  

Photo by Practically Perfect

TIP # 3 – USE WHAT YOU HAVE

We’ve all found mystery items — sometimes expired ones — in the back of our cabinets that we fully intended to use for an exotic recipe but never did.  We’re looking at you, lemon curd…

Be realistic about whether or not you’ll actually use that (insert literally any pantry item here) and consider gifting it or passing it along to friends or family who will.  Take a weekly inventory of what’s in your pantry, and plan your meals around what you have already purchased before it expires.  Commit to only buying what your family will truly eat.

TIP # 4 – LEAVE ROOM FOR GROWTH

We always advise leaving a little room for growth when you layout the organization of a pantry space.  It’s totally tempting to fill up every free inch of pantry space, but the end result can be an overstuffed pantry which may impact the visibility and accessibility of your staple items.  

Leaving some space (i.e. an extra basket for snacks) helps tremendously with the organizational maintenance of any pantry over time, as different treats and ingredients tend to enter our homes and pantries throughout the seasons.

TIP # 5 – COMMIT TO CLEANING

Start with a clean slate!  When we organize a pantry, we start by pulling everything out and wiping down all of the surfaces.  It’s important to look through all of the contents of your pantry to ensure that you discard expired foods and donate anything that’s still good but that you don’t plan to consume.  

And once your pantry is in order, make sure to check in on it periodically and give it a little tidying up.  Your pantry will thank you!

Photo by Practically Perfect

Below are all the organizational products that we used to organize this pantry, which were generously gifted to Practically Perfect from The Container Store for this project.  We genuinely love and use all of these items for our clients’ spaces, as well as in our own homes!

Prokeeper Coffee Container

Prokeeper Pasta Container

Prokeeper Cereal Dispenser

Prokeeper Baker’s Storage Set of 6

Tosca Basket With Wooden Handles

Bamboo Spin Tray

Anchor Hocking Glass Canister


Making Your Bathroom Work For You

Photo by Practically Perfect

This month we partnered with The Container Store, who sent us some awesome products, to show you how we organize and maintain a very often-used yet underappreciated space… the bathroom!

No matter the size or layout of your bathroom space, having it thoughtfully organized will inevitably shorten your morning and bedtime routines, give you an easier start and a more peaceful end to your days.  And who doesn’t want all of that? Check out our tips below!

REMOVE EXCESS PACKAGING

Removing items from their original packaging and decanting them into containers is one of the most simple ways to make your space more aesthetically pleasing.  And it’s practical, too! Decanting can often be a space-saving tool and is always an excellent way to see when you’re running low on your essentials.  Don’t let those cotton balls get squished behind everything else… put them on display and let them shine!

INSERT THE INSERTS

Drawer inserts are our absolute favorites, and we use them in every room of the house.  They allow us to maximize the space and keep items contained. Instead of letting every drawer become a catchall, use inserts to give every item a home.  Maintaining organized drawers will be so much easier!

Photo by Practically Perfect

USE VERTICAL SPACE

Whether it’s inside of cabinets, on countertops or under the sinks, many of us have space that’s being underutilized.  Use stacking drawers to store the odds and ends that are often left loose, and you’ll never go hunting for those nail clippers or bobby pins again!

KEEP ESSENTIALS ACCESSIBLE

Designate a drawer or an area of your cabinet for everyday essentials — maybe that includes your moisturizer and lip balm, your everyday makeup collection or your favorite hair accessories. Keep these items in a divided organizer or contained in drawer inserts in the most easily accessible spot in your bathroom so that all your necessities are where you need them, when you need them.  We want your morning routine to be flawless!

DON’T FORGET TO EDIT

We’ve all held on to that makeup sample or free hair product with the good intention of using it, only to find it under our sink two years later, still unopened.  And how many of us really use those hotel soaps that we brought back home? The key is to keep only the products that you use and love. Remove the products you don’t need or use and those that have expired.  And remember that you can donate the unexpired products to a local shelter!

MAKE IT PERSONAL

One of our personal favorite tips is keeping feminine products in a divided bin or spin tray in a space where it can be accessed immediately.  We suggest temporarily storing this setup near the toilet for certain periods (see what we did there?!) of the month, even if you tuck it away in another spot for the weeks in between.  And don’t forget — decanting your products makes it very easy to see when it’s time for you to stock up, so you’ll never be caught without just what you need!

Photo by Practically Perfect

DON’T BE AFRAID TO DISPLAY

No matter what it is, we know that people use what they see. If you have a beauty product or makeup collection that you use often or want to encourage yourself to use more, don’t be afraid to show it off! An acrylic palette organizer or set of drawers works wonderfully to display your products and ups the chances that you’ll use (or at least see!) everything that you have.

Photo by Practically Perfect

KEEP THE EMERGENCY SUPPLIES HANDY

Store medications and first aid supplies all together in one organizer so that everything is easy to grab in an emergency. Practically Perfect co-founders Joni and Kitt have separate caddies for children and adults in their own homes.  If you have little ones, perhaps that is the solution that would be most efficient in your household.

Photo by Practically Perfect

However you choose to update or recreate your bathroom space, we hope you find these tips to be practical and perfect!


After-School Afternoons Made Easy

Photo by Practically Perfect

This month, we’re partnering with a fantastic company, Iris, alongside one of our favorite fellow organizers, The Organized Mama, for a collaboration on some simple DIY solutions to help you prepare for the quickly-approaching back-to-school season.  For those of you who haven’t even wrapped your brains around starting school again, please do not worry: there is still a full month of summer vacation left. It’s our nature to plan ahead — so these tips are ready for you to consume at your leisure (while you sip a cool drink by the pool?!)

If your households are anything like ours, the period of time from after school until bedtime can feel hectic and chaotic (we’d really like to channel some of this summer sweetness all year long).  Naturally, we love any system that buys us a few extra minutes during an otherwise stressful part of our day — and helping our kids find more independence and responsibility is a huge bonus!

If your family’s schedule functions similarly to ours, if might look something like this:

  • Attend after-school lessons
  • Corral children into house, empty backpacks, empty lunch boxes
  • Feed grumpy children snacks (watch them transform into happier children)
  • Oversee homework
  • Break-up sibling argument
  • Redirect back to homework
  • Make dinner
  • Eating dinner together
  • Clean up dinner
  • Oversee bath (read: shouting to the kids from the kitchen while you do dishes)
  • Oversee bedtime (ask children 3 times each if they brushed well)
  • Snuggle your kiddos (maybe briefly close your eyes)
  • Wrap up the 4,982 things that can only be done when children are sleeping

In short, our afternoons and evenings can lean toward exhausting and slightly crazy-making.  However, we’ve found that the two following solutions have made our lives (and our kids’ lives) just a little bit easier during this part of the day.

The Snack Station

It can be an endeavor to create the a healthy, from-scratch, Pinterest-perfect snack that will make every child docile and agreeable, and let’s be real… who has time for that?

Nor do we always have the energy to negotiate and clarify that Nilla Wafers aren’t the best right before dinner, though we’ll concede they are delicious.

Our solution is a “Help Yourself” snack station – filled with parent-approved and ever-available for the hangry kiddo.

Photo by Practically Perfect

We highly recommend the Iris Stacking Storage Basket.  Not only does it look lovely in a pantry or on a countertop — but it’s a space-saving storage solution that allows for easy accessibility.  

Photo by Practically Perfect

For a distraction-free snack experience, (we parents completely know that opening the fridge and pantry can truly complicate the conversation of what healthy options are available that can be served quickly or on-the-run), we keep our “Help Yourself” stations in a designated space in our kitchens and only include packaged snacks that we approve of.  These snacks can be enjoyed at home, on-the-go and can be added into a lunchbox in a pinch! A few of our favorite are listed below…

*Please note that we also keep fresh produce within our kids’ reach in our kitchens at all times.  These are “anytime snacks” and can be enjoyed in lieu of or alongside a packaged snack. We like to call this “healthy snack merchandising.”

  • The Good Bean – the perfect balance of protein and crunch; a great chip alternative
  • Epic Meat Snacks – if you have an omnivorous family, we love these antibiotic-free bars and snacks that have no sugar, dairy or gluten
  • SeaSnax – a seaweed snack with only 3 ingredients (in the classic version) that is rich in minerals and sustainably harvested; another great chip/cracker alternative
  • Go Go Squeeze – on-the-go applesauce is a must, and this one takes the cake as it offers organic options and has no artificial flavors or preservatives
  • Packaged Nuts + Seeds (almonds, cashews and sunflower seeds are favorites around here) – available in snack-pack sizes at your local market… but feel free to make your own single-size servings using reusable containers of your choosing

Snack time… check!

The Homework Box

Are you ready to eliminate the daily digging through backpacks or sorting through your supply of art supplies?  

We endeavor to keep homework time as easy and streamlined as possible, and creating these boxes for our families has been a huge help.  A nod again to Iris, who has created a durable and stackable Modular Pencil Case – it’s one of our favorites!

Photo by Practically Perfect

So here’s the gist: each kid gets their own box, with all the homework supplies that they might need, from safety scissors and glue to pencil sharpeners and erasers, we put everything in each child’s container.  This eliminates the (legitimate) need for our kids to get up from their workstations and minimizes the possibility of sibling rivalry because one child “stole” another child’s highlighter. In addition to this simply being handy, we find our kiddos are so much more accountable for their work when they can set themselves up and manage their own supplies.

The boxes are labeled with each child’s name (we let our kids label and decorate their own boxes so that they would feel more ownership), and are stacked — because these particular boxes stack beautifully — in the designated homework spot for easy access.  We’re all about ease and practicality over here, if you haven’t noticed!

Photo by Practically Perfect

We use the exact same Modular Pencil Cases to create communal boxes filled with coloring supplies.  We find that markers, crayons and colored pencils are more easily shared — and we love the consistency of the storage boxes, as they are all being stacked together in one place.  

Homework… check!

It’s really this simple.  By creating two supply stations — one with healthy snack options and one with homework necessities — we have given our kids a bit more independence to empower them to stay on track during the school year.  If your family is also looking to streamline afternoons a bit more, grab your Iris items and go forth!

For even more inspiration on how to create that perfect DIY snack area, check out the How to Create a Snack Station For Kids post from our friend Jessica at The Organized Mama!

Photo by The Organized Mama


The Great Refrigerator Revamp

It’s the item that can often live forever on your to-do list, lurking around the corner, quietly humming to itself and waiting for your attention… the refrigerator.

One of our most-used appliances can often receive the least amount of love and attention.  We get it — it can feel overwhelming or simply be a low priority in your organizing and cleaning world.

But for those of you who are ready to give that baby some time and attention, (we promise it won’t take too long), we’re here for you!

EMPTY, EMPTY, EMPTY

That’s right, take it all out.  One by one, remove every item from your refrigerator.  It might feel like a hassle, but that wide open fridge is going to make it much easier to clean and help you decide what you actually want to put back in.

It can be helpful to keep a cooler nearby to place all of the highly perishables that you want to keep.  Check expiration dates as you remove items, and be sure to toss the food that’s well beyond its “best by.”  Nobody needs that ketchup bottle from 2014! (Remember you can empty the contents and recycle the jars and bottles).  

Toss the old leftovers.  If it’s been more than three days since you made it, it’s probably ready to meet the trusty garbage can or composting bin.

Take out all the removable drawers and shelves and give them a good soak or wipe down with warm, soapy water and a rag.  For the inevitable caked-on messes, mix several tablespoons of baking soda and warm water to create a paste and apply liberally.  Leave for 10 minutes and then give it a little elbow grease.

Wipe down the interior of the fridge with a damp cloth or sponge.  If you’re really feeling it, give those seals and handles some extra love too.  Once the surfaces are all clean and dry, replace the drawers and shelves.

Now stop and admire how beautiful and clean your fridge is, just for a moment.

FALL IN LOVE WITH CONTAINERS

A core principle of Practically Perfect’s organizing philosophy is that each item should have a place.  When it comes to the refrigerator, every compartment has a much needed companion. However, not all of us are blessed with a detail-oriented refrigerator.

If you don’t have very many drawers, or if you have items that tend to leak or drip, clear containers can be the perfect solution!  We have a deep and abiding love for these beauties.

And for a little visual inspiration, we love what Kristy Wicks has done with them to organize her fridge:

Photo by Kristy Wicks

They are the key to keeping your fruits, veggies and leftovers well-packaged and easily accessible, so there will be no more wondering what items are living (and spoiling) in the corners of your fridge.

You can stick a label on them or, if  you prefer the look of handwritten labels, whip out a marker that can write on acrylic surfaces.  We’re particularly fond of Chalk Ink Markers.

Speaking of keeping your food organized…

THE RULES OF FOOD, BECAUSE FOOD RULES

Packaged Meats

Store these on the bottom shelf where it’s nice and chilly — possibly in their own container.

Milk

Same place… bottom shelf!  We’re all accustomed to seeing that lovely gallon stuck neatly in the fridge door, but it turns out that’s not the ideal place!  The shelves inside the door are actually exposed to changing temperatures each time your fridge is open and closed. And if you have little ones in your homes like we do who love to stare into the fridge for hours on end yelling “there’s nothing to eat here” then this is especially important to ensuring that your milk stays frosty!

Eggs

Keep them in their container (or get yourself a snazzy clear one so you’ll never be caught unaware / eggless) on the middle shelf, for a consistent temperature.  That built in egg-holder in the door is tempting… but again with those pesky fluctuating temps!

Fruits and Veggies

Keep ‘em separate, in their own crisper drawers.  Take them out of the packaging and leave them unwashed until you’re ready to enjoy them, for a longer shelf life.  Tip: Tomatoes, stone fruit, and melons can be stored on the countertop, as cold temps will break them down quickly.

Dairy/Deli Meats

If your refrigerator has a drawer for this one, huzzah!  If not, whip out another container and stick this one neatly on a bottom shelf.  We love spin trays here – think yogurt, cream cheese, etc….

Leftovers

First and foremost — label label label!  Don’t lose a delicious and already cooked meal because you don’t remember when you made it.  These and other ready-to-go foods can be stored on that top shelf.

Butter

Finally, an item for the door!  That compartment will work nicely to keep your butter at a comfortable temp and consistency.

Condiments

Not like we need to say this one, but another win for the fridge door.  (Or top shelf, depending.) Be sure to wipe them down before you stick them back in the fridge!  Tip: Spin trays here too! Nothing gets lost in the back of the fridge!

Photo by I Heart Organizing

A LITTLE CELEBRATION

You did it!  That gleaming, well organized fridge is yours!  Your drawers are gunk-free and labeled, there’s no more condiment bottles from before the last election, and you actually know exactly what’s on every shelf.  We applaud you.


The Holiday Hustle

In our world, it’s never too early to start planning for the holidays! We are thrilled to share our latest collaboration with some of the most talented professional organizers we know. Check out the article below, written by Ashely from O.C.D., which features holiday storage and organizing tips and solutions from three fellow organizing experts and yours truly. Wishing you all a peaceful and memorable holiday season ahead!

~ J & K

Holiday Season is buying time; and when it comes to decorating for the holidays, we all tend to overbuy. What if we told you that you don’t have to anymore? Getting organized for the holidays means being organized. What would it be like to stay organized all throughout the holidays and even after they’ve ended?

The Holidays are a time for celebrating the season and family traditions. Stressing about being prepared simply should not be part of the season. “Knowing your holiday supply levels BEFORE the season begins is so important to truly be able to enjoy this time of year. No one wants to have to run out to the crowded shops to get another string of lights or additional napkins right before entertaining,” says Lili Pettit of Clutter Healing. Organizers often suggest using clear bins for organization to make seeing what is inside easier.

Holiday Storage Photo by Clutter Healing

As organizers, we often go into homes that have all the right tools but the lack the right systems. When you edit your items first, it allows you take inventory of what you have which helps with the purging and planning process.

Taking everything out and sorting into categories is the best way to SEE what you have. One way to track your items is by using Sortly. The Sortly app* stores lists of your items, creating visual folders for you to reference. On the app, you can create custom QR labels and label all of your boxes.

When you are ready to use the items in the boxes, all you have to do is scan the labels, and the app will tell you exactly what is in each box. You’ll never open every box again to search for that “one” item!

Being disorganized often equals not knowing where things are, which in turn equals buying more.

Overbuying for the holidays is the most common frustration people have. How many times have you gone to the store to buy holiday napkins only to later find that they were hiding in a box in the garage? Space and money are often wasted on things you don’t need, and it adds up.

Jamie Hord of Horderly Professional Organizing says, “no need to procrastinate and go buy duplicates of what you already have.” After taking inventory of what you have, you then can store things by grouping them together. For example, store your holiday wrap separate from your other gift wrap. This will allow you to not only know how much you have, but also what is needed for the following season.

Holiday Storage Photo by Practically Perfect

When you see everything you have by sorting it and taking inventory of it, you will realize how much you actually have. Once you have taken visual inventory, you will see how easy it is to get organized and jumpstart the organizing process.

The team behind Practically Perfect, Joni and Kitt, suggest editing your seasonal items as you pack them back up at the end of each season. “If there are any items that you didn’t use or love in the past season, it may be time to donate or recycle them. Any items that are damaged or broken should be fixed or eliminated. Taking inventory helps track items that need to be replaced for the following season and lets you know which items will be in ready-to-use condition.”

Photo by Clutter Healing

These tips can and will help get you ready for The Holidays. With the money and time you will save by getting organized and staying organized… go out and treat yourself. You’ve earned it!

*The Sortly app is only available on iOS (iPhone and iPad) in the Apple App Store, but you can also access it on the web. The company’s Android app will launch before the end of the year. Click here to download the app right now!


Bullet Journaling

I’m going to keep it really real today…

The idea for this article started at the end of May when I set out to do the Whole Life Challenge.  I was looking for more balance in my life and was hoping this could be the key.  I was listening to the Whole Life Challenge Podcast titled “Bullet Journaling for Creativity and Growth," featuring Kara Benz.  I will admit that I had no idea was bullet journaling was at the time. So if you are in the same boat that I was, I recommend you take a listen to this great podcast.  Kara has a wonderful energy, and her blog is pretty awesome.  If you’re interested in bullet journaling and taking it to the next level, you should definitely check out her site Bohoberry.com.   

I immediately thought, as a professional organizer, how did I not know about bullet journaling?  What I learned was that bullet journaling “lives at the intersection between mindfulness and productivity.”  It is essentially a planner that you create and can therefore customize to meet your own needs.  There are a few basics that you can utilize to get yourself started; but over time, you can decide what does and does not work for you until you have a system that is uniquely yours.  And most importantly - you are writing things down and getting them out of your brain.  This part is key and comes from David Allen and his book "Getting Things Done - the art of stress-free productivity,” which is an absolute must-read.  You know that water filter for the fridge that needs to be changed in three months, but you’re not quite sure where to write it down so that it won’t slip through the cracks?  Bingo!

I was all in.  I was going to start in June.  I researched the best supplies to buy.  I purchased them on Amazon.  You, too, can buy  them here and here.  I followed all the steps on how to get started that I learned from the Bullet Journal website -- I created my future log, I set up the month of June, I set up the week of June 1st, and then… life happened.  I didn’t use it at all. Didn’t even crack it open.  It sat untouched on my nightstand.  Awesome, right?

I’ll be honest. I wouldn’t be writing this article if I didn’t think that bullet journaling was the greatest thing since sliced bread, if I didn’t think it was the answer to solving all my scheduling nightmares. And let me tell you, keeping track of my personal schedule plus my work schedule, three kids' school schedules and after school schedules, my hubby’s schedule and our dog’s schedule (yes - she has a schedule!) is a nightmare.

Kara talked about her need to sit down every evening for 30 minutes to run through her day to figure out what she accomplished and what needs to carry over for the next day. She then can reflect on the day or the week to determine whether she has over-scheduled herself and make adjustments moving forward. In theory, I should be able to carve out that 30 minutes, but I’m still getting there. I have a new goal: I’m going to get this up and running for August. I have to be PRACTICAL here, not perfect. I’m going to kick back, enjoy my summer and get myself some “stress-free productivity,” just in time for the new school year to begin.

I'll keep you posted on my progress!

~ K


Family Fun For The 4th

2 (treats) + 2 (ingredients each) = 4 (th of July)

Summer is in full swing, which likely means you're gearing up to host or attend a 4th of July celebration very soon.  Hopefully your plans include getting outdoors and soaking up some sunshine.  If so, we've got a few cool and refreshing crowd-pleasing treats that couldn't be easier to make.  We love both of these holiday-themed goodies because they are incredibly easy to make.  Each treat only has two ingredients -- and they can be prepared and assembled in about two minutes each, as well.  They're kid and parent approved on all counts: the little ones can essentially assemble them on their own, they're undeniably delicious, and one of them is even nutritious!  We've prepped a shopping list here for you - so that's even one less step...  Need we convince you any further to make both of these right away?

Here's hoping that these help you to stay cool and add a little fun to your 4th of July celebration!

Sprinkled Sandwiches

Shopping List

ice cream sandwiches - we used Julie's Organic
red/white/blue sprinkles

 

Assembly

Spill some festive sprinkles onto a plate.

Unwrap ice cream sandwiches and dip each side into the sprinkles.

Tip: don't allow the ice cream sandwiches to sit outside the freezer very long, as they will become soft and will be more likely to break.

Place these colorful creations onto a platter and return them to the freezer until you're ready to enjoy them.

Star Wands

Shopping List

watermelon
blueberries
bamboo skewers
star-shaped cookie cutter

Assembly

Slice the watermelon into 1" thick pieces. *This step is for adults only, please!
Press the star cookie cutter into watermelon slices.

Tip: plan ahead before inserting the cutter so that you can get as many stars as possible from each slice.

Cut up extra watermelon "scraps" to enjoy immediately or refrigerate for later.

 

Title

After washing blueberries, slide them onto the bamboo skewers. Use your own creative eye to determine how many you'd like -- but be sure to leave some space on the bottom for holding the wands.

Tip: large blueberries work best!

As a finishing touch, attach one watermelon star to the top of each skewer - and enjoy!


Pack Like A Pro

Make A List

Always start packing by planning! Create a list so that you'll be sure not to forget the essentials. We recommend creating a travel packing checklist on your computer that can be recycled and edited for each trip that you plan for. If you're more of a pen & paper person, check out this classic Packing Checklist. Remember… there’s a reason you made a list, so be sure to check it (twice!)

Cube Your Clothes

Maximize luggage space and minimize the mess inside your bags by using packing cubes. Zippered cubes not only make packing easier - they can also be used to organize your clothes by category, or even by the occasion for which you plan to wear them. While you're traveling, you can also designate one cube for storing dirty clothes, making unpacking even easier.

Keep It Simple

Pack only what you need!  This goes for clothing, toiletries and electronics.  Lighten your load by taking only sample size toiletries, and pack clothing items that can be worn in various ways.  

Roll Away

Rolling - as opposed to folding - your clothing will not only save you space, but will also decrease the creases (see what we did there?!)  Be sure to utilize empty spaces - such as the insides of shoes and hats - to place tightly rolled items.  We love to squeeze pairs of socks into shoes and to stow undergarments inside of hats.

No More Knots

This super simple tip will save you hours of frustrating untangling! Keep your necklaces tangle and knot-free by slipping one end through a drinking straw then closing the clasp. For shorter necklaces, simply cut the straw to the size you need.

Go Digital

Scan all important travel documents and save them to Dropbox or Google Drive.  Having important documents available on your device will save you from shuffling through your bag for tickets and papers.  

Safe Travels!


Get Your Garage Geared Up For Summer

Garages often become a dumping ground for a variety of items, and summer is the perfect time to clear the piles that have accumulated all year long and make space for summer fun.  The weather is warm, so it's an ideal time to be out in the garage.  The days are longer, so you'll have more time to dive into your garage organizing project.  And, it's time to pull out all of the gear for those fun, seasonal activities such as camping, biking, beach trips, home maintenance and landscape projects, anyway!

As you plan your garage design, consider which items you use most often.  Consider hanging items that require regular and quick access on slatwalls.  Such items might include bikes & helmets, sports equipment, lawn chairs or ladders.  Items that are pulled down only once a year, such as holiday decor, or even less often -- such as memorabilia and tax archives -- can be stored in cabinets or on overhead racks.

Once your design has been installed, it’s time to layer in an organizing system…

Before you get started, set the mood!  We recommend opening the garage door to let in some fresh air, grabbing yourself a cold beverage, blasting some of your favorite music and then diving into the sorting process.  It’s helpful to make three piles — one for items that you’ll be keeping and storing in the garage, one for items that you’ll be donating and another for items that can be recycled or discarded.

Determine which items might require containers.  Clear bins help you see what you’re storing so that you’ll be more likely to find what you need quickly, use what you have and avoid over-buying items that you’ve misplaced or forgotten you own.  Check out our favorite selections for getting the garage organized.

Take the time to store items thoughtfully.  Untangle those holiday lights now, and you’ll thank yourself come December!  Consider storing archival items, such as photos or other memorabilia, in specialty bins that are weathertight for safe-keeping.

Labeling can be a great way to encourage organizational maintenance in garages.  For bins that will be stored in more out-of-sight areas, consider color-coding your bin lids and/or labels for quick access… red for Christmas, blue for Hanukkah, orange for Halloween.  When bins and cabinet shelves are labeled, everyone is held more accountable for placing items back where they belong — and then hopefully the piles won’t accumulate again by next summer.

Happy Garage Organizing!