Monday, April 11, 2011

Clutter Crises You Can Avoid

Where To Start

A place for everything and every in its place, or so goes the old saying. The problem is that you probably have too many things and not enough closets or cabinets to put them in.
The solution? Furniture with built-in storage to help keep things tidy in every room in the house. These tips will get you started.Furniture with built-in storage

Space for Me

Clutter Crisis #1: All I want is a little place just for me!
Forget about a room of one’s own -- most women would settle for a piece of furniture where they can sit, put on makeup, or write a note with personal items close at hand. Use small trays and boxes to organize space inside. Add more storage with a rolling file cabinet that’s small enough to slide underneath.
Store more: Look for an armoire with a built-in desk that slides out or pulls down for extra storage. To maximize stowing capacity, couple the vanity with a storage ottoman.  Vanity in the bedroom

Living Room

Clutter Crisis #2: My living room is a dumping ground.
Books, toys, remote controls -- the biggest mess is almost certainly found in whichever room gets the most traffic. To control the chaos, select tables, consoles, and cabinets with plenty of shelves and drawers.
Store more: Furniture meant for other rooms of the house can often blend seamlessly into a living room. Try a chest of drawers, for instance, and let each family member lay claim to a drawer.  Living room storage furniture


Clutter Crisis #3: There’s no more room in the kitchen.
Pots, pans, dishes, bowls, utensils, plus the many small appliances that seem to multiply -- it’s no wonder that storage in the kitchen is at a premium. Survey the premises and find a way to use every square inch.
Store more: Try installing a peg board on the back of a kitchen door. And if your kitchen is short on built-in cabinets, an armoire might solve your storage problems.  Organized kitchen


Clutter Crisis #4: Piles of clothing have made our bedroom chaotic instead of comforting.
The bedroom offers many opportunities for storage, which is lucky, since there are so many things we need to house there. Find room for clothes, and then make sure you have space for jewelry and mementos, plus whatever you like to have on hand next to the bed.
Store more: A headboard with built-in shelves is convenient, particularly if you don’t have room for a pair of nightstands. And remember, nightstands with drawers or cabinet space take up the same area as those that simply have legs. Headboard storage


Clutter Crisis #5: I can barely get in (or out) the door.
The trick is to find a neat and organized way to keep necessities (backpacks, purses) in the entryway to speed up the morning exodus.
Store more: Provide an easily accessible place for outerwear. A row of pegs is one remedy, or try an old-fashioned coat stand.  Well organized entry way

Cost-Free Cleaning Tools and Tricks

The Value of Vinegar

Use this pantry product to wash windows, sanitize cutting boards, and clean toilets.
-Fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and vinegar, and a splash of lemon juice to create a quick window washing solution.
-Use a few splashes of full-strength vinegar to sanitize wooden cutting boards.
-One cup of white vinegar with a few sprinkles of baking soda makes for an eco-friendly and totally cheap toilet bowl cleaner. Different types of Vinegar

Baking Soda Basics

There are a myriad of uses for this magical product—from keeping the foods in your fridge fresh, to helping chocolate chip cookies rise.
-Use baking soda as a gentle scouring agent to scrub sinks, bathtubs, and tile.
-Just as it absorbs odors from food in the refrigerator, baking soda deodorizes garbage cans, litter boxes, and diaper pails. Arm and Hammer Baking Soda

Salt Sense

Use simple table salt—super cheap and widely available—to clean all sorts of surfaces in your home.
-Create a paste using salt and lemon juice to remove rust spots from clothing.
-Sprinkle salt onto half of a lemon (with the juice already squeezed out), to shine up tarnished brass and pewter. Rinse thoroughly, otherwise your precious metals could turn green.  Spilled Salt Shaker

For the Love of Lemons

This sweet citrus fruit adds subtle flavor to meals, is a great cleaning agent, and leaves a fresh scent in its path.
-Rub half of a lemon over a wooden cutting board to remove odors.
-Toss lemon peels and a few ice cubes down the garbage disposal to deodorize and sharpen its blades. Lemons 

Trusted and Traditional

Traditional Corn Broom
Use this sturdy-bristled broom when sweeping up your porch or deck. Traditional Corn Broom

Tough and Tender

Push Broom
The oversized head with stiff inner fibers and soft outer fibers makes easy work of sweeping leaves, pine needles, and dirt off of sidewalks, driveways, or patio floors.  push broom

Inside Angles

Angled Broom
An angled broom with soft, synthetic bristles picks up more than traditional corn brooms, and its angled design gets into tight corners inside the house. Angled Broom

Degrease the Disposal

Greasy garbage disposal? “Turn on the hot water and then the disposal,” says Mary Thompson, president of the Mr. Rooter plumbing company. Squeeze a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid into the disposal and run it for 15 to 30 seconds with the hot water still flowing. Turn off the disposal, and leave the hot water on until all of the soap suds are gone. Degrease your garbage disposal.

Save Your Sponges

-Clean and disinfect sponges in the dishwasher by placing them in the utensil compartment.
-Launder sponges in hot water with the rest of your clothes, and then toss them in the dryer.
-Place DAMP sponges in the microwave on high for one minute. A dry sponge will catch on fire.
-Soak sponges in a solution of a cup of chlorine bleach and a gallon of water. Then rinse.
-When sponges start to fall apart or they develop a strong odor, it’s time to throw them out. A stack of sponges

Dining Area Pictures

  piazza is a must-have room in a Charleston home, and a deep-set space like this one allows indoor furnishings to appear outdoors. Seating arrangement is the focal point of this space as it allows everyone to gather comfortably. Potted plants and flowers help bridge the indoor areas with the outdoor ones.    Create a space you'll love coming home to every day. Combine refreshing colors, walls of windows, and easy-does-it decor.   Here, light and airy pale blue walls, along with white tray ceilings and trim, provide a sky-inspired backdrop for the natural wood furnishings and creamy touch of color. Interior designer Darryl Carter's style exemplifies his passion for blending old with new and his ability to integrate period pieces from all around the globe.    Smoky Mountain Retreat.This mountain home sports light fixtures that echo the great outdoors.   The casual elegance of this library-turned-dining room easily lends itself to both relaxed and formal affairs. The decor of the room is accented by exposed ceiling beams and a stuccoed fireplace surround. Four hand-painted tiles were inset into the stucco for a great effect.    This dining room may be small in size, but it abounds in style. The homeowner created a refined room that forms the centerpiece of this St. Louis home. For this space she worked in shades such as putty, eggshell, cream, and ecru. The result is luminous and airy. The key is to stay within a limited color spectrum so the neutrals don't jar one another. An Irish wake table provides a darker contrast and fits perfectly in a square space.    Featuring the same brick paver flooring as the front hall, this dining room shimmers with gold-and-green wallpaper. As a complement, the ceiling is hand-painted with an iridescent faux finish glaze. Marking the room's center, a circular trim creates an eye-catching detail from which a wrought iron chandelier is suspended. A circular, scalloped-edge glass tabletop rests on a stone-and-iron base. Slipper chairs upholstered in alternating patterned chenille fabric surround this magnificent table. Draperies made from moss green silk are edged with a bullion fringe.   Striving for an eclectic look, designer Susan Noble Jones knew slipcovers would be the perfect solution to update these chairs. Usually a slipcover fits over the entire chair, but Susan created a two-piece design. The tops of the chair backs are wrapped in a sheer silk fabric. For the finishing touch, the edge is banded in a red-and-metallic gold braid. The seats are dressed in a tailored lattice-design velvet skirt that coordinates with the braided trim.     The furniture in this breakfast room shows off the homeowner's fondness for the Country French style. The tone-on-tone yellow plaid wallpaper contributes to the area's warmth. It's topped with a border featuring a series of plates with a floral motif. The space also features a rustic pine hutch for display and storage. The homeowner selected a durable, inexpensive sea grass rug that also works with her design statement.   dining room with yellow drapes With a neutral foundation of creamy walls and a sea grass rug, mustard yellow-and-red toile draperies offer a punch of color in this dining room. But it's the creative iron rods that add spice to the windows. Working with a local ironsmith, this homeowner designed the finials to resemble bunches of wheat. A symbol of prosperity, wheat is often found in Country French design. Simple panels take on a fresh look with a band of coordinating red checked fabric running the length of the draperies dining room with brick walls Combining different design elements can be a challenge. The space shown here works well for several reasons. The room's good bones--exposed brick, French doors, and glass walls--are allowed to shine. The furnishings and decorative accents highlight rather than dominate  kitchen with green countertops and chairs at the bar In this kitchen, a vaulted ceiling in the adjoining family room levels out and is highlighted by three pendant fixtures. The island's curved granite countertop is raised to a height of 42 inches, keeping the sink and food prep areas out of sight. The long surface is ideal for buffet-style serving; barstools facilitate informal meals.   group of blue-and-white vases adds impact One philosophy of arranging accessories is that like things should be displayed together. "Repetition creates strength in a room," explains Baton Rouge designer Patrick Tandy. This is evident in the dining room of these homeowners, where he has adapted their collections as decorative accessories.   chandelier hanging above a round dining room table  Reproduction wall sconces complement a pewter-and-gold-finished wrought iron chandelier in this dining room.  Serving as a bonus in the entertainment room in this Senoia, Georgia home, an adjacent bar comes equipped with an undercounter fridge, ice-maker, and wine chiller. Serving as a bonus in the entertainment room in this Senoia, Georgia home, an adjacent bar comes equipped with an undercounter fridge, ice-maker, and wine chiller. It also serves as a handy coffee station and kitchenette for overnight company.  Reclaimed heart-pine pocket doors can be closed to give either the dining room or the kitchen privacy. Soft greens and browns give this entertaining spot in Senoia, Georgia a cozy atmosphere, while traditional furnishings and fabrics still feel refined. Reclaimed heart-pine pocket doors can be closed to give either the dining room or the kitchen privacy.  An unexpected mix of colors, patterns, and textures makes this North Carolina dining room a luxurious yet playful space. An unexpected mix of colors, patterns, and textures makes this North Carolina dining room a luxurious yet playful space. Ornate gold-and-orange toile wallpaper is balanced with a graphic, green trellis pattern, and vibrant art and dramatic silk drapes -- all in equally bold shades -- reflect the mixed, not matched, sensibility of the homeowner.  Quatrefoil Designs Breakfast Room In this sunny breakfast room, the leather upholstered banquette resembles a church pew. A quatrefoil design is carved into the base of the table to reflect Gothic-style architecture found in so many Episcopal churches.  Cottage Dining Room  Large timbers and rustic yet elegant furniture bring nature inside. Burnt reds and oranges evoke traditional mountain style. pale green dining room The lush marshes of Georgia's coast were a natural inspiration for this Sea Island home. For the dining room, the homeowner, along with interior designer Lori Cook, selected a pale green wall color with a golden undertone to complement the adjoining straw-colored foyer and living room; this creates a calming effect. This room is a good example of how to use one color throughout. What keeps it from feeling repetitive is that the shade varies in intensity. The pale green walls create a great backdrop for the stronger colors in the fabrics and accessories. A simple, neutral design makes this dining room versatile enough for a fancy table setting, but laid-back enough for everyday use. A simple, neutral design makes this dining room versatile enough for a fancy table setting, but laid-back enough for everyday use.  yellow dining room Designer Jane Schwab and this homeowner started with a beautiful striped silk fabric that was ideal for the window treatment. From there, other elements fell into place, including the decorative French screen that stretches across the main wall. A round dining table works well in the space. Jane repurposed the homeowners' existing dining chairs, bringing in new fabrics--a blue lampas print for the Chippendale-style chairs and a bright yellow linen for the slipper chairs dining room with 2 tables Faced with the challenge of a big room, many would have turned to the more traditional long, linear table, but this homeowner elected to place two tables, each seating six, in the space. The two identical tables consist of stone-and-wrought iron bases topped with glass, which complement the heavy woods present in the room's remaining furnishings. An eggshell-hued ceiling and crown molding trim help soften the room's look, as does the striking gold-framed circular mirror leaning on the mantel.  a lamp made from teacups and saucers  Stack three teacups and saucers together for a fun accent in a kitchen or breakfast room. Vary the colors of the cups to coordinate with your home's décor, or use the same pattern for a monochromatic look. Gold dining room with gold-and-cream wallpaper, a built-in china cabinet, gold drapes, a geometric print area rug, and gold chandelier In this Charlotte, North Carolina, dining room, a gold, traditional botanical wallpaper contrasts with a modern rug. Drapes blend perfectly with the warm wallpaper. Salado View Idea House Ideal for entertaining or formal meals, this dining room combines Texan drama with elegant appointments. Grounded by pine flooring, the room soars to 14 feet tall. Notable among the furnishings is a handsome, hand-hewn mesquite dining table. Six high-back, hand-crafted chairs surround it. One wall is painted a rich green and acts as a welcoming backdrop for the rustic credenza. Large pottery vases rest on wooden stands in front of the Mission-style candelabras. dining room with green wallpaper The key to working around a large print, such as that found in this wallpaper, is to add other elements that don't compete with each other. You can accomplish this by selecting items with a similar color palette. The rug repeats the golden hue from the wallpaper and combines a geometric pattern with a softer leaf design that pairs well with the design on the walls. This Covington, Louisiana dining room's dramatic five-piece installation of golden glass pendants was created by a local lighting designer, who specializes in one-of-a-kind glass lamps and fixtures.  This Covington, Louisiana dining room's dramatic five-piece installation of golden glass pendants was created by a local lighting designer, who specializes in one-of-a-kind glass lamps and fixtures. The marble-topped trestle table is surrounded with a set of antique caned-back chairs and a pair of upholstered armchairs for a creative mix of old and new.

10 Ways to Organize the Laundry Room

Work With the Space You're Given

Whether your washer and dryer are tucked away in a tiny nook or are settled in a spacious basement, utilize every square inch of the area. With limited shelving, keep your workspace as simplistic as possible to avoid clutter. A built-in shelf over the washer and dryer allows a convenient storage surface without blocking the windows. In a smaller space, such as the one pictured here, be sure that the room is well lit with task lighting or accent lighting. Organization Above the Washer and Dryer

Hide the Necessary Supplies

Conceal unsightly laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, and any other products that look like messy clutter in fronted cabinets. A hanging rod was added here to keep drying clothes neat. Baskets create additional storage to keep what’s left out sorted and contained. Treat the laundry room as you would any other space by adding cheerful curtains.  Hide Detergent and Cleaning Supplies in Your Laundry Room 

Use a Serene Color Palette

A serene color palette creates a sense of organization in your laundry room. Here, the cabinets and table legs are painted a soothing moss green while a light-colored stone countertop completes the overall calming effect and provides a durable surface for folding. Use a Serene Color Palette for Organization 

Designate Spaces

This well-organized multipurpose laundry room designates separate areas for gift wrapping, odds and ends storage, and laundry. The canvas cubes all in the same shade of blue keep the room looking spick-and-span. Designate Spaces for Organization 

Camouflage the Room

This laundry room is merely an extension of a bathroom. Double-louvered doors keep the washer and dryer neatly tucked away in a separate tiny room when they are not in use. Keeping the bathroom and laundry spaces the same color creates cohesiveness and allows them to function as one room.   Hide the Laundry Room 

Utilize Kitchen Cabinet Space

Disguised behind what looks like a kitchen pantry, this compact washer and dryer fits snugly into a nook in the kitchen. Cabinets above the washer and dryer can be used to organize detergent, dryer sheets, and other laundry essentials.   Hide the Laundry Room in Kitchen Cabinets 

Add a Storage Island

To keep large and unattractive laundry baskets off the floor, this homeowner custom-designed shelving inside the island in the laundry room. The functional baskets are used to separate laundry loads. The storage island also doubles as a folding area for clothes coming right out of the dryer.   Add a Storage and Organizing Island

Create an Ironing Station

Keep all of your ironing supplies convenient and in one place. Many big box stores carry stow-away ironing board systems that can be easily hidden behind a cabinet door or over-the-door iron and board hangers that are designed to hold any style of ironing board. Look for units that have a shelf to store spray starch and other supplies. Create an Ironing Station

Decorate Your Space

If you have the luxury of having a spacious laundry room, use it as a place to show off favorite items. This room’s combination of closed cabinets and open shelving gives the homeowner plenty of storage and display options. Recessed lighting within the shelves further highlights the display.  Decorate with Organization and Display Options  From Southern Living Magazine