Month : May 2017


The Perfect Pantry: How To Organize A Pantry

Is your pantry hungry for a makeover? The first step is to remove all of the items inside — set a staging area on a dining room table. Discard out-of-date items and donate non-perishable items that you won’t realistically use to a local food bank. Then, follow these pointers to put together your perfectly organized pantry!

Shelf Liners

Line all of your pantry shelves with a heavy-duty liner that will make clean-up of any spills much easier!

Shelf Organizers

You’ll find that you’ll save yourself a great deal of time (and even money) if everything is easily accessible. You don’t have to spend hours searching for that box of cornstarch you know you had somewhere and you won’t have to go out to buy a new box. A good idea is to group like items together in small bins and label the contents. Or, choose bins that you can see through for quick identification.

Canned goods can quickly get “lost” on deep pantry shelves. Stacking cans one in front of the other is just not practical! You will forget what you’ve got stored in the back because you can’t see it. Choose a tiered shelf organizer that provides you with a full view of your canned goods.


Transfer pantry staples such as sugar, flour and rice into see-through canisters. Doing so will not only help preserve the freshness of these items, it will be easier to see when you’re running low on an item. Many canisters are stackable, so you can utilize all of the space between pantry shelves!

Floor Storage

The floor is a good place to store larger items such as bulk food storage containers or baskets of often-used items such as onions and potatoes. Utilize the full space between the floor and your lowest shelf by choosing stacking bins or baskets.

Door Storage

If you have a door in your pantry or kitchen area, don’t neglect that often wasted space. Our elfa Door & Wall Rack is designed to fit onto the back of a door. The system’s flexible baskets provide you with extra storage space for canned goods and other dry foods, cleaning supplies and even bottles of soda! The rack will ease the overcrowding in your cabinets and make it possible to have everything at your fingertips.


Bathroom Space Saving Ideas

Organize the existing space

Start with the basics by taking advantage of the space that already exists. All bathrooms have common areas that can be expanded with simple organization products.

  • Behind doors and walls: Make use of the bathroom’s vertical space by installing overdoor racks and wall grids to hang extra towels or washcloths, jewelry, hair accessories or bathrobes. This will avoid countertop clutter.
  • Cabinets and drawers: For bathrooms with limited shelves or cabinet space, install a wall-mounted rack, or use a rolling cart or trays or baskets to hold personal toiletries. Using their own shower totes or organizers, family members can store their toiletries in their bedrooms and carry them to the bathroom when needed. Use drawer organizers, and assign one to each family member for storing personal toiletries and accessories.
  • Floor: Place laundry bags or clothes hampers in or near the bathroom so family members will put away dirty clothes instead of leaving them on the floor. Try pre-sorting whites and colors into color-coded laundry hampers to save time in the laundry room.

Add new space — without construction

Other organization products can create new storage areas within the bathroom. For example, the use of a shower caddy helps organize bathroom toiletries. Maximize unused space under the sink by adding sliding shelves or drawers that provide extra vertical storage space.

If space permits, look for a freestanding storage unit to hold towels and toiletries. And don’t forget the space over the toilet! Add wall-mounted shelves to instantly create more space.

Add time-savers

Save time in the bathroom by placing a fogless mirror in the shower so that men can shave while showering. Add a shower clock as a reminder to family members to limit the length of their showers.

Remember the kids

For families with younger children, bathtub caddies are great for holding and draining bath toys and toiletries. These caddies will save valuable cabinet space that is commonly used for storing bath items. Get a step stool for younger children so that they can reach the sink to wash and dry their hands or brush their teeth without assistance. Parents can concentrate on getting themselves ready, rather than on their children.


How To Organize Your Medicine Cabinet

If you’ve ever rummaged through your bathroom medicine cabinet searching for relief from an aching head or a runny nose, only to find expired bottles of cough syrup and half-empty prescription bottles — you know how important it is to keep that space organized! Here’s how:


The best cure for a disorganized medicine cabinet is prevention. To avoid being caught unprepared for the flu or minor injuries, clean out and organize your medicine cabinet at least once a year, discarding all old or unused prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, ointments and medicated creams. If there’s no expiration date, take a look at the condition of the container. If it looks old or damaged, discard it. For new prescriptions or over-the-counter medications without expiration dates, mark the date of purchase on the containers and throw them out after a year.


For medicine cabinets that are in need of an organization treatment, start by examining contents thoroughly, taking note of the package sizes and types of health care products, as well as other items stored on cabinet shelves. Determine if there are personal toiletries — such as shampoo, shaving cream, make-up and toothpaste — that might be stored better elsewhere in the bathroom. These items can be stored in baskets under the sink, in a drawer or on a shelf to free up valuable space in the medicine cabinet. If cabinet space is limited, add wall-mounted shelving to store toiletries.


Once the medicine cabinet’s contents have been pared down to health-care and first-aid essentials, make a list of products needed to stock the medicine cabinet, as well as the size and type of containers needed to keep first-aid supplies and medicine bottles organized. Since most medicine cabinets are only 3- to 4-inches deep, look for narrow organizer trays to fit this limited space. Choose acrylic organizer trays and containers to keep medicine bottle labels and other supplies in view. Most medicine cabinets also have limited space between shelves, making it difficult to store large bottles of antiseptics and other medicine. To alleviate this problem, keep limited amounts of these items in refillable smaller leak proof bottles with the contents identified using erasable labels.


To keep medicine cabinets organized, hang an erasable marker board on the inside of the door with a message reminding all household members to throw away empty medicine bottles and packaging. The marker board also can be used to keep a shopping list of items in need of replenishment, as well as reminders to take medication. For medicines taken on a regular basis, consider consolidating them in a pill organizer. This will free up space by reducing the number of bottles stored in the cabinet. Each section of the pill organizer can be identified using erasable labels.


How To Get a Suction Cup To Stay

Suction cups adhere best to smooth, non-porous surfaces such as tile, glass, fiberglass or metal. To ensure a firm bond, surfaces should be totally free of dirt and soap film before attaching the suction cup. Follow these steps for best results:

1. Scrub the surface with a household cleaner, rinse and dry thoroughly.

2. Clean the surface with rubbing alcohol and dry thoroughly.

3. Rinse the inside of the suction cup under warm water then shake off the excess water.

4. Press the suction cup firmly in place, making sure there are no air bubbles between the cup and the mounting surface. Depending on the use, you may need to attach the suction cup to the shelf or hook you’re using before mounting.

5. Allow the suction cup to set for 24 hours before adding any weight.



Nine Green Mistakes You Are Probably Making

Recycling is one of the easiest and most important things you can do to protect the environment and reduce your carbon footprint. Doing it right is just as important as doing it at all, and these nine mistakes have a huge impact – from reducing what gets recycled to unnecessarily adding to landfills.

1. Putting light bulbs in curbside recycling. Yes, we know they’re made of glass, but there’s a lot more to them. They’re made of a different type of glass, and also have metal parts – and fluorescent bulbs contain mercury and compounds that require special handling. The good news is that you can recycle most types of light bulbs at places like Home Depot or Lowes, or through other channels. Here’s how.

2. Using disposable plastic water bottles. Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year, according to a report by Brita, and only 38 percent get recycled. If you must use disposables, be sure to recycle the bottles. Better yet, carry a reusable bottle with you.

3. Throwing out the whole pizza box. By now, you probably know you can’t recycle cardboard that’s stained with grease or other food. But you might not be aware that you can salvage the unstained top of a pizza box and recycle it. Emphasis on unstained. Even one pizza box can contaminate an entire batch of recycled paper, making it unusable.

4. Not thinking beyond the grocery store. You may take reusable bags with you to the grocery store – and you’ve probably gotten past forgetting them in the car (it took a while for us, too). But you may not have thought about taking your own reusable bags to other retailers. Many offer their own beautiful reusable bags. Give it a try. And if you forget and have to use plastic, don’t forget to recycle them too.

5. Throwing away plastic bottle caps – or not throwing away plastic bottle caps. We know, that one’s confusing. Technology has advanced, and many community recycling programs are now able to recycle plastic bottle caps, as long as they’re attached to their original containers. Still, many communities aren’t there yet, so check with your local recycling provider to be sure you’re doing it right. Find your recycling provider here.

6. Putting shredded paper in recycling. Again, confusing. Because it’s paper, right? But shredded paper is too small for most sorting machines – it falls through cracks onto the floor, and sometimes even gets mixed in with glass, ruining the glass so it can’t be recycled. Still, a few are able to accept shredded paper under certain conditions, so it’s worth checking with your local provider.

7. Removing labels from bottles and cans. In most cases, this isn’t necessary, but you should check with your local recycling provider. If you’re removing them when you don’t have to, you’re likely wasting water. And that’s another big mistake.

8. Wasting water. Like we just said. From leaving the water on while you’re brushing your teeth, to washing your car at home, to the way you run the dishwasher, you may be wasting water in ways you don’t realize. Check out some smart ways you can save water – and learn more about why it matters.

9. Not reusing or repurposing items. From paper to glass jars to plastic bags, there are so many creative ways to repurpose items you might otherwise throw away.

In many communities, there are additional ways to recycle items beyond the curbside recycling bin. Earth911 offers a free online search engine that offers recycling solutions for everything from batteries to water faucets. So learn more about recycling in your community, and make our world a little greener.


Top 10 Ways to Save Energy at Home and at Work

There are so many different ways to conserve energy, both at home and at work – it’s unlikely that anyone knows them all. We’ve put together a list of easy things you can do in your everyday life to reduce your energy consumption. Even if you adopt just one or two of these easy ideas, over time, it can add up to a big, positive impact for our planet.

1. Dress for the Weather – Inside and Out. You might have heard it a thousand times when you were growing up: “Put on a sweater!” It turns out to be good advice. If you’re walking around your home and feeling a little chilly, put on a sweater instead of turning up the heat. Do the opposite during the summer to help keep your cool, and you’ll save money by reducing your energy bill, too.

2. Power Down. Already turning off office lights at the end of the day? Terrific. Now go one step further and unplug chargers and other devices that won’t be used overnight. They’re still drawing energy, even when they’re not actively charging a device. (This one’s true both at home and at work.)

3. Close Your Curtains – or Open Them Wide. Depending on the season, whether your curtains, shades or shutters are open or closed can have a significant impact on your home’s energy use. In winter, open them up on the sunnier sides of your home to allow radiant heat. In summer, close them up during the day – a darker room will stay cooler, and reduce your energy impact. Worried about your houseplants? Give them a vacation outdoors for the season!

4. Eat Locally-Grown Foods. You already know about the health benefits of sourcing food locally, but you might not know it saves energy, as well. Locally-grown food travels shorter distances, which means less energy used in transportation. Talk about a win-win.

5. Shut That (Fridge) Door. Instead of standing in front of an open refrigerator door, gazing at your options and making your fridge work harder generating cold air, plan ahead before you open the door. Then get in and get out quickly. Bonus: planning ahead may help you make better choices, and could even help you lose weight.

6. Replace Light Bulbs. Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient ones such as LEDs. Not only are they more energy-efficient, but they can last as long as 20 years. Think of all the dead bulbs you’ll be keeping out of our landfills (not to mention all the money you’ll save).

7. Keep Air Vents Clear. Blocked vents mean up to 25 percent more energy is required to circulate air in a workspace, according to Energy Star. Keep paper, files and office supplies away from vents and enjoy a more comfortable – as well as greener – environment.

8. Wash Laundry in Cold Water. Your clothes get just as clean and may even last longer if you wash them in cold water – a method that uses substantially less energy and can save you $60 per year or more, according to Consumer Reports. Plus, many laundry detergents are formulated specifically for cold water use – and some stains (particularly protein-based stains like sweat or blood) should only be washed in cold water anyway.

9. Get an Energy Audit. Many utility companies offer free energy audits that can identify energy losses around your home, and offer suggestions on how to mitigate them – like sealing leaky ductwork.

10. Top It Off. Only run your dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load. You’ll save water, detergent, money and time (doing one big load instead of several small ones means less time stacking, fluffing, folding and putting away – more time for you!)


What the Heck is Partial Packing?

Partial packing is the most cost-effective packing-of-furniture solution out there. Its aim is to make a customer’s relocation as smooth a transition as possible. Partial packing service covers all basic household furniture. It includes moving pads and blankets, industrial sized bubble wrap, durable shrink wrap, and specialized packing tape.

Moving pads and blankets are the most regularly used protector for furniture during the transportation phase. The most common furniture item that is packaged with a moving pad is wooden furniture. China cabinets, dining tables, office desks, and anything of the like will be securely packaged in blankets. Aside from what was just mentioned, items that are irregularly shaped will be covered as well. An irregularly shaped item can be as common as an office chair, to a disassembled bed frame, or even a BBQ. The moving pad is the most versatile tool a packer has.

Bubble wrap is used on any and all fragile items. When it comes to packing glass/fragile items extra protection has to be accounted for. This is why a mover can’t use generic wrapping, rather the industrial standard of bubble wrap. This type of wrap will protect anything from a TV, to the glass top on your coffee table. All mirrors that are part of your moving list will also have a layer of this security wrap. Fragile items that are packed with bubble wrap give those moving the reassurance that their most delicate belongings will remain undamaged.

Upholstered furniture requires special protection from the elements. The shrink wrap movers use will keep your most cherished upholstered furniture clean and safe during transportation. Common items that are wrapped in shrink wrap include sofas, mattresses, and floor lamps. Dust, rain, and dirt stand no chance against multi-layering of shrink wrap on your belongings.

The most important tool a packer has is tape. Tape is used on almost every single item. Special tear-resistant tape helps movers secure their specialized materials to all of your furniture. When it comes to using tape, movers aren’t sparing.


Best 5 Ways to Pack Dishes During a Move

It does not matter if you bought your dishes on clearance or received them as a wedding gift, the last thing you want is to unpack and find one broken. If you are single and never cook for anyone, maybe this is not a big deal, but if you have a family or do a lot of entertaining, one missing dish typically translates to needing a new set. You do not necessarily need to wrap each dish carefully in bubble wrap, but you can learn how to pack dishes or china so they arrive at your destination undamaged with these clever tips.

Stack Vertically

When packing dishes for moving, most people wrap each plate and stack them in the box horizontally. After all, this is how they sit piled in your cupboard, so it only seems right to transport them in the same manner. Well, what you might not realize is that every single bump in the road will have the plates bouncing. Even if they are wrapped in paper, all that constant moving around makes them quite vulnerable. The best way of packing them is wrapping each plate, and then stack them vertically in a box. Make sure you fill excess space with socks, towels, or other soft material to keep them secure.

Paint Buckets

Those orange paint buckets (or something similar) you find at Home Depot can be perfect for packing plates. Wrap each one and stack them on top of one another in the bucket. Sure, they are horizontal, but if you are going to pack them horizontally, using a bucket is a great idea. It is sturdy, secure, and will not allow plates to bounce around much. Plus, there is no risk of the bottom breaking open either.

Restaurant Racks

If you have a favorite restaurant or café you eat at enough to know the entire staff and owner on first name basis, maybe they will let you borrow dish racks early one morning. Obviously, this only works for a local move because you have to return them, but it is a great way to get them across town safely. These are heavy duty, hard plastic, dish and glass racks used in the dishwasher and they are a great alternative to cardboard boxes. Load, transport, unload, and return the racks.

Styrofoam Plates

With so much concern over the environment, you probably hate the thought of using Styrofoam plates. However, if you are like most others, you have a pack in the back of your cupboard you have yet to throw away. You might as well put them to use. Place one between each plate. This can always be combined with the orange bucket.

Clothes and Towels

If you’re wondering how to pack glasses and cut down on wasteful wrapping material, this tip is for you. Instead of using newspaper (which doesn’t provide enough protection anyway) or bubble wrap (which is wasteful and expensive), why not use your towels, tees and rags as packing material? Simply wrap each dish in a towel or tee, and stuff the moving boxes with rags to secure the dishes in place. When it comes to packing wine glasses and stemware, use your socks to wrap each one individually. Do be very careful when you remove them from the socks; this is when you are most likely to break a stem.

And one last thing: take your time when packing your kitchen before moving. A little extra attention can save a lot of money and woe. You can toss all your clothes in a suitcase and all your toiletries in a bag but moving kitchen items is a different story. Pack with care and label all your kitchen boxes clearly, noting their fragile contents.


Peak Moving Season Is Here

Here are some tips if you are moving this summer

-Try to move during the week. Fridays and Saturdays are in high demand.

-Avoid the last week of the month and the first of the new month.

-Be sure to give an accurate list of items. Estimates are based on how much you are moving. A more in depth of a list gives you a more accurate moving estimate.

-Let your move specialist know of any obstacles the movers might face. For example: Narrow Staircases, Extremely Heavy Pieces of Furniture or Winding Staircases. These obstacles could potentially add more time to your move.