September 9th, 2013
Manage mail, reading materials, and school notices with containers dedicated to organizing your papers.
CREATE “IN” AND “OUT” BOXES in the location where you typically dump mail. For example, unused paint cans from a hardware store – painted and labeled with scrapbooking letters – can keep mail organized until you have time to sort it. However, weed out junk mail immediately, tossing it straight into the recycling bin – you’ll be amazed at the time, space, and energy saved by this simple task.
DIVIDE AND CONQUER paper piles by creating individual cubbies for each family member. Teach children to put all important papers into the cubbies when they come home from school, then make a habit to go through all the cubbies before you go to bed. Place any papers that need to go back to school into a folder that children can grab on the way out the door.
Dedicate a basket or shelf to items that don’t belong in your house – such as store returns, letters to mail, etc. Get into the habit of checking the area when you leave the house.
These simple tasks are sure to get you organized in no time!
August 16th, 2013
It can be easier to part with serviceable items that you no longer need or want if you know someone else can put them to good use. Check out these ways to donate, recycle, or sell your unwanted belongings.
Project Smile collects stuffed animals for emergency responders to give to frightened children in the aftermath of fires, accidents, or natural disasters. www.projectsmile.org
Soles4Souls provides shoes to people in need worldwide. Enter your zip code to find a collection site near you. www.soles4souls.com
Local daycare centers and group homes for troubled youth often appreciate gently used toys, books, magazines, games, and even older model computers.
Dispose My Meds lets you search by zip code for local pharmacies with take-back programs to help keep potentially harmful pharmaceutical waste and personal care chemicals out of the enviroment. www.disposemymeds.com
Recycle My Cell Phone accepts old cell phones by mail and recycles or refurbishes them to prevent toxic metals from getting into landfills. www.recyclemycellphone.org
Earth911.com helps you locate recycling centers near your home for batteries, electronics, and more. www.earth911.com
Replacements, Ltd buys china, crystal, and silver – from soup bowls to nut dishes in more than 360,000 tableware patterns. www.replacements.com
Media Exchange 123 buys CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and video games. Simply enter the UPC number of the item you’d like to sell to find out how much they will pay. www.mx123.com
Gazelle buys a wide array of electronic equipment such as Blu-ray players, camcorders, laptops, and e-readers. www.gazelle.com
August 5th, 2013
Organizing for Back – To – School
Even though many kids don’t go back to school until the first of September, many of us have kids going back to school in August.
Yes it’s definitely that time of the year again when the lazy days of summer can quickly turn into an overwhelmed chaotic nightmare if we aren’t prepared for back to school. And by prepared I mean organized.
Incorporating some simple organized solutions into your day can take you from stressed out to calm and controlled when it comes to getting the kids out the door and off to school each day.
Establish Evening and Morning Routines:
Nothing will set up your day better than when everyone knows exactly what is expected of them. Take some time before school starts to figure out what types of steps and regular routines are required to make sure everyone gets out the door on time with everything they need.
In preparation of the big day, go through all of your children’s clothes and create an inventory of what they have and what they’ll need. The night before school, put the clothes out that they will wear in the morning including socks and shoes.
The biggest contributing factor for staying on top of the school craziness is having a designated backpack station by the front door.
The kids know exactly where their backpacks need to go when they get home from school and the central location allows you the opportunity to check the backpacks each day to ensure notes are received and homework is done. Mornings are also a snap because backpacks can quickly be grabbed on the way out the door.
As for all the school papers, and boy there’s a lot of them! Set up a Command Central to keep important papers and calendars all in one place that everyone can check on a daily basis.
Before you know it the first day of school will be here and we’ll be back in the swing of things trying to keep up with it all. By implementing a few simple strategies as listed above you’ll be able to navigate through the school year like a pro.
June 5th, 2013
Keeping your child’s closet organized can be a challenge. Getting your kids to keep any area organized can be tough and to make things harder, their closet content is constantly changing. As adults we typically add new items to our closets slowly and other than seasonal changes, the closet structure usually stays the same. Children on the other hand are constantly moving in a whole new set of clothes as they grow and new toys as their interests change.
With these challenges in mind, here are some great tips to keeping their closets organized from birth to graduation.
White Signature Baskets wrapped in hot pink Hot Colors basket wraps.
Design the layout of your child’s closet to be flexible. For example, having a second closet rod positioned lower is wonderful for little kids. It allows them to reach their day to day clothes on their own and the top bar can still be used for dress clothes or out of season clothes. As they get older and taller, this second bar can be removed, if needed, to make room for other storage options.
Drawers Instead of Open Shelves A lot of people will tell you to install lots of open shelves in your child’s closet. The idea is that shelves are easier for kids to access and folding is quicker and easier than hanging. Perhaps your children are capable of this but my children’s idea of folding is no where near that perfect meaning those open shelves will look messy and disorganized!
Save yourself that battle and instead install pull out drawers or Sidelines baskets with basket wraps in your child’s closet. You will still enjoy the advantages of folded clothes and easy access and, when closed, the drawers will keep the closet looking clean and organized.
Up, Up and Away with Out of Season or Too Big Clothing Store out of season and too big clothing in bins on the top shelf of your child’s closet. Putting them in bins on the top shelf means they are within easy reach when its time to pull them out. However, make sure you are not storing huge bins on the top shelf. Opt for medium to smaller sized bins instead. They are easier to get down and fit better on the shelf. They are also less of a hazard. You never know what kids are going to get into and you wouldn’t want a huge bin being pulled down and falling on a child.
Under the Bed – Prime Realty If you feel like your child doesn’t have enough space in their closet, think about utilizing the space under their bed. Bins that are just the right height to slide under the bed can be used to store shoes, toys, socks. They are a perfect kid level storage spot.
April 30th, 2013
Four simple steps are all it takes to conquer clutter!
From kitchen counters to the coat closet, getting organized is easier than you think. Just follow this process: Empty, Sort, Shop, and Reassemble. It works for any space in the house, adapts to the busiest schedule, and is guaranteed to reduce stress.
Step 1: Empty
Whatever you are organizing, empty it completely to gain a full understanding of what you own. That doesn’t mean you have to empty your entire bedroom all at once. Tackle the closet first. Or if time is limited, just organize your shoes.
Step 2: Sort
Quick decision-making is the key to letting go of clutter. As you evalute each item, ask: Do I like this? Do I use it? Do I have a place to keep it? Then decide what you are going to keep, donate or sell.
Too many people shop for containers first, figuring it will make it easy for them to get organized. Instead, decide what you’re keeping, measure it, and determine where it’s going to be stored. Then you can go shopping for right sized pieces that you need.
Step 4: Reassemble
Store things where you use them. Any area at eye level you can easily reach is where things you use every day should go. Place items used weekly in slightly less convenient storage areas. Put rarely used items such as holiday decorations in the least accessible locations – ones that require you to get a step stool or bend to reach them.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a big organizing project. That’s why you have to take it one step at a time. Organzing for lasting results is a process. Take your time and you will reach your ultimate goal of a neat, organized room.
April 16th, 2013
Closets have a life of their own, as do their owners and as such require a unique set of skills to bring them to life. For most closet companies, it is the designer who introduces the potential customer to the initial point of physical contact to the product. Whether in the home or in the showroom, it is the designer who provides the initial introduction of the solution for your customer and a key factor in closing the deal. The designer needs to understand not only the product line and organizational advantages, but the psychology of the customer and the true nature of their need. They face a multitude of challenges. Here’s how to help your designers make the most of their valuable time with their customers.
One concrete expectation of closet designers is that they know their product line. But do they? If I have heard it once at trade shows, I have heard it a thousand times. Designers often do not know the complete product offering of the companies they represent. Business owners can help this situation by providing intervals for their designers to be briefed and updated. Designers can’t sell what they are not aware of. The responsibility for the information highway lies is in management, not design. If your designers know what is available to solve the customers’ problems, they will sell it. Provide them with the tools they need to be the educated and resourceful professional that you already know they are. This is Closets 101.
Designers also need to be a psychologist of sorts. Many times customers come to them already in a disorganized crisis! Some customers are excited to become organized, but there is certainly a fair share of those who are already in a funk. Often they are in the midst of construction overload, or simply buried in their own bulk. These types of customers need the designer’s help but don’t necessarily know what they need. The solution for these customers is not only structural in nature, but lies in the talent of the designer to get inside the customer’s head and steer through their confusion. The successful designer is able to think through the confusion or frustration and emerge enthusiastically and resourcefully with with a customer feeling focused and engaged. Dealing with the public is not always easy, and at times there is more value in emotionally supporting your designers than there is offering them other perks.
Another slice of the design pie is the final installation. It is often said that sales and accounting are on opposite sides of the table. This can also be true of designers and installers, but it doesn’t have to be. Include your designer in the technicalities of production. Even an hour a month discussing the latest edge banding technique or why your new point to point offers a superior outcome can help the designer. Keep it simple so designers can keep it smart. There are times when an extra dose of knowledge is the tipping point for the sale to a savvy customer.
Designers are one of several right hands business owners rely on daily. At the forefront of every thriving custom closet company are its empowered designers
By Kris Costa for ClosetsDaily.Com
March 11th, 2013
The Closet Expo in Edison, NJ had a very nice turn out this year, busy with attendees and vendors. It was nice to see friends, colleagues and a pleasure to meet with new clients.
Sidelines was proud to introduce the following products at our booth this year.
New & Improved Sliding Tie – Belt Racks!
STATIONARY RACKS with 6 non-slip arms which can be used for ties, belts, or scarves. Can be mounted quickly & easily with 2 screws to a wall or vertical partition. One push down on the rack enables the spring loaded mechanism to pop up & out at 45 degrees to the wall.
SLIDING RACKS with 3 separate sets of 6 hooks are pre-mounted to a beautiful housing unit and lie flat to the wall or vertical partition. Simple pull-out and then push down to allow each rack to pop-up & out. Same spring loaded feature as used with the stationary rack. This unit holds 18 belts, ties or scarves.
Our new and improved Telescopic Valet Rod is now spring loaded to automatically extend with one push.
We are proud to introduce the new Wardrobe Lift.
We’ll have more on these new products as they become available.
If you would like a packet with Sidelines brochures and information please contact us at 480-767-9091.
January 24th, 2013
ECO FRIENDLY LIVING
There is a saying, “It’s not easy being green.” However, thanks to modern day innovation and creativity, supporting and maintaining green living has never been simpler. Whether you wish to help the environment, improve your family home or just feel good about making a difference in the world, these easy-to-follow environmental tips and tricks can make your goal of living the green life a healthy reality.
10 ways to live greener
This may seem like a no-brainer but the unfortunate truth is that the average American produces about 4.4 pounds of garbage a day, or a total of 29 pounds per week and 1,600 pounds a year. This only takes into consideration the average household member and does not count industrial waste or commercial trash. Recycling is a big part of the solution to the garbage problem. Newspapers, aluminum containers, and certain plastics can be recycled to reuse in a different form, thus saving space in landfills.
2 Nurture your outdoor living space
Part of prettying up your outdoor living space can involve welcoming wildlife into your backyard. While you are busy arranging your stylish outdoor furniture, consider including a few attractive birdhouses and feeders to make your backyard an outdoor oasis for wildlife too.
3 Put your lights on timers
While it’s important to illuminate your home, leaving the lights on can be an unnecessary waste of energy. Purchase a few timers and program them so that the lights come on and turn off at the most beneficial times.
4 Keep a garden
You may not have the greenest thumb in the world, but designing a garden and caring for it can plant a deep sense of appreciation for the earth. Plant a few vegetables over the summer or a plethora of wildflowers and revel in the beauty of your personal green space.
5 Go vintage
Investing in second-hand pieces – be it clothes, furniture or home decor accessories – not only helps reduce your personal consumerism levels, but it can also offer an instant infusion of charm and character into your home.
6 Choose eco-friendly home decor accessories
When looking for those special final touches to make your dream bedroom, contemporary kitchen or soothing bathroom absolutely perfect opt for eco-friendly home accessories. There are all sorts of stylish choices available today that are created using environmental materials.
7 Compost Composting may not be the most appetizing subject to bring up at the dining table, but it is an important environmental step towards living green. Plus, if you create a little compost corner in your own backyard you can nourish your garden and cut down on fertilizing costs in the spring.
8 Repair, don’t replace While it may be awfully tempting to throw out that broken table, ripped sofa or faded bookshelf, choosing to repair an item instead of replacing it is the more environmentally friendly approach. In addition to cutting down on waste, repairing increases the sentimentality of an object and with time, can transform something that was once considered ordinary into an heirloom.
9 Carpool Leave your car in the garage more often and hop onto a bus, join a carpool program or grab your bike when running your errands. Better still, lace up your sneakers and start walking to your destinations. The perks? A workout-inspired and waste-free outing!
10 Keep with it One of the most important things anyone can do when attempting to embrace easy green living is to simply stick with it. Don’t expect you or your family to become perfect ‘green’ citizens of the world overnight. Instead, focus on a few choice goals, such as keeping a garden and recycling regularly, and follow through on those goals before adding to them. Over time, these resolutions will begin to feel like habits and you will be living the green life full-time.
January 4th, 2013
Does your home office need to get a whole new face lift for the New Year? Depending on what you use your home office for will dictate how much you have to purge, decipher and organize for the New Year. Believe it or not, the more organized you are at the beginning of the year will set the stage for the remainder of the year! Here are tips to organize your home office for the New Year.
- Understand where you stand: Put simply, understand the state that your home office is in currently, and determine what you would like it to turn into. For some, clearing out old clutter, papers and files may be in order. For others a true organization system, whether it is file folders, electronic software, or smart phone applications, choose which may be more suited for you. Once you have done this you will be ready to organize!
- Organize small and move bigger: Throughout the year, we all have little pet peeves that didn’t work in your home office. If you have to get up from your desk every time the phone rings, or if your computer monitor location is prohibiting you from being productive. Start small, and work on these items one at a time. On a larger scale, opt for visual organization such as bulletin boards, dry erase boards, and even paint a wall with chalkboard or Idea paint to help see your organized life in front of you.
- Beautify your home office: Whether you are a work-at-home professional or you use your home office for surfing the internet. Your home office should be a place that you enjoy staying in and being productive in. Look through home décor magazines, online publications, or Pinterest for inspiration. Try a bold new color on the walls to spark creativity or bring in an office chair that allows you to be comfortable as you pine away the hours at your desk. New matching desk accessories or just a new calendar can start the New Year off right in your home office.
- Take on a new ritual: If last year you decided to start using electronic calendars instead of hundreds of sticky note reminders, take on a new lifestyle ritual for the New Year. If your life is busier and busier and you don’t have time to check in at the home office, try using a smart phone for organization at your finger tips. If you have challenges in organizing, consider using services that can help. Many online services can organize your receipts, keep track of your electronic files, and assist you in uncluttering your old ways and taking on new ones!
The New Year is about learning from the last year and changing your life for the better. If your home office is in need of organizing and beautifying, use these easy tips to get you on the right track. If the job seems daunting, ask a friend to help you sort out objectively, without feeling guilty at the end of your purge. If you have a home business or a portion of your life too big for your home office, consider hiring an organizing professional that can help you start from scratch and get organized for you to be your best!
Photo Credit: Amber Interiors
December 11th, 2012
Holiday Organizing Tips
It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but it also tends to be the most stressful. Here are some simple organizing tips to reduce some of that holiday stress.
Clear your closet That’s right. Clearing your closet feels great and can actually be fun. It’s a great time of year to donate clothes and other items to the needy and a wonderful opportunity to free up space for new gifts!
Keep a dedicated gift zone Whether you enjoy buying gifts or dread it, it makes sense to dedicate a gift-giving zone in your home. It can be a bin, a couple of drawers, or a shelf on that closet you cleared out. It’s important that there be just one zone and that it be limited. This ensures that these gifts actually get used and that you don’t buy too many.
Limit gift wrapping Also, dedicate a limited zone for the gift wrapping, but keep it realistic. Those all-in-one tallish plastic bins make sense when you need the strict limitations of a small apartment, but they are inadequate in most of the homes we see. A dedicated zone works when it is small enough to ensure that items get used, but not so small that they are doomed to failure. Keeping a lot of wrapping paper to cover those really big gifts? Use colorful tablecloths one can get inexpensively at party supply stores.
Simplify gift giving We are big fans of online gift wish-list sites like Amazon and Kaboodle. They provide a great way to ensure that you are getting people items they actually want, that you know exactly where to obtain them, and that you’re not making duplicate purchases. Consider also, experience gifts. Whether it’s a weekend getaway, a day at the spa, or a night at the movies, experience gifts can spread out the joy of giving throughout the year and cut the clutter!
Simplify entertaining Organizing a party can be one of the most stressful holiday projects. Pot luck means not all the burden falls on you! Another option is to invite friends and family to a nice restaurant and bring them back to your place for dessert and coffee. You get the best of both worlds, with less stress. Maybe you’d like to hold a New Year’s party instead this year. If so, consider an open house format. It’s a much more informal approach, so it lowers expectations. Plan simple fare that can be prepared quickly, like omelets. Catch up with friends and family throughout the day, as they drop in.
Limit decor As you’re bringing out your holiday decor, pass a critical eye over the decor you have left in the bin. If you’re not using it this year, are you really likely to use it next year? If those light-up reindeer that your kids used to love are still in good shape, consider giving them to a family with kids. The space that those reindeer are taking up could almost certainly be put to better use. Limit decor packaging, too. The packaging that decor comes in is designed for display, not storage. It is often overly complicated and wastes space. For example, toss the box the tree lights come in and keep them in Ziploc bags. It keeps them visible, minimal, and untangled.
Dedicated zone for cards Many households are littered with greeting cards, taking up valuable space. Framing a doorway or window with a ribbon is a super simple solution. Just keep a little bowl of paper clips nearby and have fun clipping your cards to the ribbon as the come in. This way they are showcased and more appreciated, because they are in one place. Also, they aren’t cluttering up your valuable surfaces.
Of course, not all holiday stress can be controlled, but our clutter can be. Remove the stuff that doesn’t matter and be sure to enjoy the people that do.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Sidelines!