Your home. Organized.™ Your move. Easier.™
Serving the entire San Francisco Bay Area | Gayle Grace, 510-654-7983

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Accessory pantry redo...

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of working in a newly remodeled kitchen to organize all the cabinets.  Generally, the long deep set of cabinets in a kitchen are used as a "pantry" for food storage, but this pantry was used to house stemware, vases, decorating accessories and a bunch of other things that really didn't belong there.

Often, cabinets become "junk" areas just because we have something to put away, we don't know where it should go, so we open the first accessible cabinet and just shove the items in.

This cabinet was housing candles, which had melted onto the shelving over time, and breakables, which were doing just that - getting broken...

We took the cabinet apart, separated the items, purged what was no longer needed or usable.  We then containerized the small items and put the pantry back together again...

Now everything is safe, accessible, and organized.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Storing books and papers

If you are storing books and papers in a garage, don't do this. These books are ruined due to weather exposure and pests.  Books, like plants, need to be tended to regularly, not just left to fend for themselves.

If you must keep papers or books in a garage, then you should keep them in containers that do not expose them to elements.  I always choose clear containers so that items are easily visible and I add silicate packs or a box of baking soda to absorb moisture.

Truly valuable books and papers must be stored in acid free archival boxes.

The Library of Congress has great information on the proper storage of books and papers at

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Junky junk drawers

Many of us have at least one drawer in the house, usually in the kitchen, that we call the "junk drawer". Unfortunately, that's exactly what it usually contains! Keeping a drawer like this defeats even the original purpose of a junk drawer - to house miscellaneous items, that are needed from time to time, not keeping a mishmash of stuff that you will never need again.

Do you recognize these drawers?  If you do, you've got some work to do - sort, purge, add dividers to the drawers and keep only those things that will actually be useful.

And here's a an organized "junk drawer"...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The book dilemna

A minimalist approach to books - from  ZenHabits:

Yes, books. I know for many of us, getting rid of possessions is an attractive prospect ... but not books! Books are sacred.


Well, maybe. I love books as much as anyone. I love them in a physical way, with certain pleasure-inducing parts of my brain being activated by the smell, feel, look of books, new and used. I love browsing through bookstores for hours, discovering new worlds at every turn. I love cuddling up with them in the morning, or right before bed, escaping from reality for a little while. I love talking about books, reading about them, surrounding myself with them.

But I'm learning to let go of the need to possess them for any substantial length of time. This has been a slow process. At first, I'd cull my fairly large collection of books by taking 10 or 20 here and there, and donating them or selling them to used bookstores. Then I got more aggressive and got rid of a lot, limiting myself to one (long) bookshelf. (Admittedly, the bookshelf extended itself as I stacked books below the shelf and then double stacked books, but it was progress, for me.)

Recently, I've decided to go even further. I'm rounding up all the books I've been keeping "just in case" -- in case I want to read them again, or refer to them, or if I decide to get back into triathlons or marathons or whatever I used to be obsessed with. I'm planning to have a reader give-away of many of these books soon.

My new rule is pretty minimalist: If I don't plan on reading the book in the next 6 months, it's out. And I'm going to be realistic about how much I'll actually read -- one every two weeks at most.

If we learn to let go of this need to hold onto books, here's a better approach, a more minimalist and saner way to live with books:

Massively purge yourself of your books. It'll be difficult at first, but trust me: it's also massively liberating.

Check books out from the library. My library isn't great (here on Guam) but when I move to S.F. this summer, I plan to make the S.F. public library my biggest bookshelf ever.

When you're done with a book you own, let it go. Give it to a friend to enjoy. Donate it to charity. Sell it to a used bookstore so you can read another book.

Start a book-sharing group with your friends. Swap books you really enjoyed. You'll save money and shelf space.

Only keep on your shelf the books you're going to read in the next 6 months. No more.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Green dry cleaning

Dry cleaning clothes is still a tricky business when it comes to being green. The bad stuff is known as PERC or perchloroethylene. It's what you smell when you take your clothes out of the plastic and it's bad for you and the environment.

The best recommendations I can find are to use cleaners who use either the "wet dry clean" method or Liquid CO2. And yes, it will probably cost a bit more.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Corner cabinets

Q:  We just bought a new house and while I was thrilled with all the cabinets in the kitchen, I am now stuck on the best use of our corner cabinet with a turn table.  What should I put in there?

A:  Corner cabinets can be challenging.  I can tell you that you don't want to house food or small loose items and definitely not glassware on something that spins.   I've been successful when I use the turn table type cabinet for small appliances and their accessories.  Sometimes pots and pans can housed there as well.    See my photos below...

Related Posts with Thumbnails