1. The Art of the Cart: Five Ways to Use a Bar Cart At Home

    Maybe we have Mad Men to thank, maybe it’s the trend towards more people entertaining at home, maybe people are just looking for more ways to decorate, but however you slice it, bar carts are totally in right now.

    The humble bar cart has come back in a big way over the last few years, as both professionals in the restaurant business and regular folks alike discover the various presentation, decoration, and space advantages that bar carts can offer.

    Have you recently acquired an antique bar cart you can’t wait to put to work? Are you eyeing a new one but want to have a plan for using it before you click ‘order’? Wait no longer: here’s five fun ways to use bar carts & serving carts in your own home!


    Serving Drinks

    It’s pretty obvious but it’s still worth mentioning—serving carts are an ideal way to keep cocktail mixers, serving supplies, and favorite drinks close at hand. Depending on the design of your cart you could go about it a few ways, but the ‘conventional’ method is to keep glassware and serving supplies (coasters, stirring sticks, beakers if you’re a really devoted mixologist) up top and the drinks down below unless you’ve got a lot of them or there’s one you find yourself reaching for a little more than usual.


    Coffee Station

    Not too into the whole liquor thing? Serving carts are a perfect way to arrange a station to get your coffee going easier than ever. Keep your coffee maker/Keurig machine on top and spread out your favorite coffee flavors, creamers, and mugs through the rest of the cart to make sure you can get that jolt you need in the morning.


    Movable End Table

    End tables are a common fixture in many living rooms thanks to their versatility, but for a truly useful small table, a repurposed serving cart could be just the thing. Imagine how much easier it would be to eat, drink, or simply organize your magazines and remote controls if your end table could roll around—if you use a bar cart, it can!


    Dinner/Appetizer Serving

    In a similar vein, serving carts can provide a helpful function in the kitchen or dining room by providing a mobile serving station. Wheel everyone’s plates straight out from the kitchen, push around a tray of hors d'oeuvres during a party, or just use it to make appetizers easier to get to before the main course is ready.


    Party Favors

    If you’re the sort that loves having a get-together, you’ve probably encountered all kinds of storage issues with gifts, party favors, and the like. If you need to provide everyone a place to keep their birthday gifts, or if you’re laying out something like a guestbook or photo props, a serving cart is a perfect (and movable) way to get them out to the guests where they belong.


    Have you been using a bar cart in your home? Leave a comment below and tell us how!

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  2. Finding Your Book Organization Style

    Alright book lovers, it’s time to face the harsh truth: sometimes, it is possible to own ‘too many’ books.

    We’re speaking strictly from a practical standpoint, of course. Nobody is here to judge your multiple autographed copies of A Song of Ice and Fire, or your unfinished paperback of Casino Royale you bought forever ago when the movie came out because you had no idea the James Bond movies were based on books.

    What we are here to do, though, is help you find a way to organize them that suits your needs! Everyone has different styles of book collections, and as a result everyone has different ways to organize and store them. Instead of trying to suggest a one-size-fits all approach, let’s take a look at a few different book-hoarding scenarios and find an organizational style that works best for you!


    Do you like a neat, orderly shelf?

    Show of hands: who here was the kid with the neatest desk in the room? You’re probably the sort that needs a good, well-organized book collection, either alphabetically or by series (or both if you’ve got a lot of Dune novels to handle). Alphabetizing is a good way to start but it comes with some pros and cons—you have to decide exactly how everything is sorted (Title? Author, like at the library? Publisher? Don’t laugh, we’ve seen people do that) and you have to decide where to keep it. So long as you have enough spare bookshelves to keep everything on and know how the alphabet works, this could be a good way to go, but we don’t recommend it for smaller collections.


    Do you want to show off?

    Books, commemorative plates, Japanese Star Wars toys...whatever it is people collect, and whatever reason they give for collecting it, at least part of the reason is so they can show it off. If your aim is to inspire book envy in your fellow bibliophiles, a more ‘open’ and showy shelving option might be best. Take a few of your favorites—that autographed hardcover of Deathly Hollows, ancient Sherlock Holmes collection you got from your grandpa, or Tom Clancy novel you bought at the airport out of desperation that you wound up kind of liking—and put them up on some wall shelves to show off to everyone when they visit. This is a great way to help separate the “collector’s items” from the stuff you have yet to read, and will give them a nice space out in the open to be proudly admired.


    Do you need to separate the stuff you’ve read from the stuff you haven’t?

    When trying to organize a book collection, a lot of people tend to focus on looks or accessibility ahead of practicality, but your book organization can actually come in handy in many cases. When trying to reorganize any stack of books, take some time to sort out the next ones in the rotation from the well-worn favorites you’ve tackled a million times. This will give you a good visual indicator of what you want to read next, and help you sort and prioritize everything. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll stop you from buying more books before you’re done with the stuff you’re reading already.


    Ah, who are we kidding? We understand.

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  3. End-ing the Debate: The Difference Between End Tables & Accent Tables

    There sure are a lot of tables out there, aren’t there?

    And it seems like they all have a different use. Some are supposed to go in the bedroom, some are supposed to go in the living room, but you’re never too sure where each one of them should be used—and they’re all going to wind up covered in coasters and magazines eventually anyway, right?

    However, for those among us that like to think they have a bit more flair for interior design, you might be surprised (or happy) to learn there’s actually intended uses and places for most of these tables! Today, we’ll look at two of the most common ones: end tables and accent tables!


    End Tables

    Let’s start with end tables. Most end tables are pretty standard and, well...table-ish in design; square top, two-to-four legs holding the whole thing up, nothing too shocking so far.

    What separates them from other tables is, more often than not, their intended function. As fitting their name, end tables are often designed to fit compactly into the spaces near the end of other items, or at least out of the way. For example, a common place for end tables is to bookend a sofa by fitting into the smaller spaces between the sofa and other furniture and/or the walls. They’re also good at filling in unused corners of a living room with functional table space and making areas of the room feel less ‘empty.’

    Of course, what end tables really excel at is just that: adding functional table space. End tables are designed primarily for usefulness, despite the number of shapes, sizes, and finishes they can come in, and are perfect for adding a useful flat surface to your living room in areas that might not be too reachable otherwise. Perfect for holding drinks, giving you a place to set your book when you’re done reading for the night, and helping stop the remote from immediately getting lost.


    Accent Tables

    This brings us to accent tables! You’ve probably heard the “table” part of the name and jumped to a few conclusions—four legs, solid top, and so on.

    The biggest difference here is that accent tables are typically intended as more decorative. Not that they aren’t perfect table-like settings to keep items such as coffee table books, but accent tables are made for the purpose of complementing the design of your living room, adding color or texture, or simply helping with the ‘flow’ of things in the room. Accent tables are great to park near coffee tables and chairs to improve or change the overall look of your living room or den, and are an awesome way to freshen things up without a lot of costly renovations or the hassle of furniture moves.


    Do you decorate your living room with end tables or accent tables? Got any other fun ideas for living room furniture? Drop a comment below!

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  4. Five Ways to Increase Productivity When Working From Your Home Office

    Whether it’s due to shoddy weather, a power outage, or leaky office roof, working from home isn’t the worst thing that could happen.

    Of course, telecommuting comes with its own host of problems: the desire to keep snacking, the fact you’re probably in your pajamas the entire time, and above almost all else, that it’s just so hard to stay productive.

    It happens to all of us sometimes, due to the various distractions of home, computer troubles, and the like. While there isn’t much we can do about your need to snack or browse Reddit (we’re just a simple home organization store, after all) we do have a lot of suggestions for organizing your home office and getting things just so in order to make the most of any telecommuting you might have to do.

    Let’s stop hitting the snooze button, head into that home office, and get to work:


    Make yourself comfortable

    We don’t mean by staying in your jammies all day while working (in fact, we’ll get to that in a second), but we do mean you should have a comfortable, accessible workplace. Too many people consider home office furniture to be an afterthought after buying all their living room furniture and bedroom furniture, but in truth it should be an equally high priority if you expect to get any work done - no more threadbare thrift store office chairs for you! Find a comfortable chair and a full-featured home office desk that can comfortably hold everything you need to get work done so you’re not stuck trying to type on a rickety old poker table.

    Once you have a desk, declutter it

    Much like what you may struggle with in the office, home office clutter can seriously cut into your ability to get things done. Clean your desk regularly, toss out any paperwork you no longer need, take everything to the office that can be kept at the office, and use desk organizers to keep your phones, paperwork, tablets, and writing utensils close at hand in case you need them.

    Set up different zones for different work

    A lot of offices these days allow different spaces for different types of work; meeting rooms, collaborative lounges, breakrooms, etc. Try to do the same for your house - if you have to take a phone call, step out of your office so you can focus a little better. If you need to research your competitors or do more creative work, why not go into a room with more sunlight or somewhere more comfortable so you can relax and use your imagination? At the very least, try to break up your office itself into different zones using side tables or office carts so you can step away from your desk when you don’t need the computer.

    Make sure your home network and computer are up for the task

    If you know you’re going to be working from home a lot in your new position, do some quick home IT to make sure your stuff is up to snuff. Test your home network to make sure it can handle the load, make sure your computer can run any needed software, and keep an eye out for potential issues like kids hogging the Wi-Fi or a computer that hasn’t been updated in a year. You’ll thank yourself once you get through an entire workday without a crash or internet outage.

    Get dressed

    We know, we know, but by getting dressed and ready to face the world, you’ll get yourself into a much better mindset for staying productive and getting work done. Get up at the same time as you normally would, take a shower, get some coffee, and get dressed - or at least dressed to the point where you wouldn’t be embarrassed to leave the house. You’d be surprised at how much of an impact it can have on your focus and mindset.

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  5. Five Benefits of Kitchen Islands

    For a lot of houses, the kitchen is the heart of it all.

    Whether your kitchen pulls double-duty as a kitchen and dining room, or if it’s just where you do your meal preparation, the key to making sure your kitchen works to its full potential is to keep it organized and put-together.

    Aside from the usual assortment of shelves and cabinets, an organizational solution more and more people are turning to for their kitchen is a kitchen island. Whether as a portable cart or a permanent fixture in the center of the room, islands have become an increasingly common sight in kitchens all over the place as more people become aware of their usefulness in organizing even the most chaotic of kitchens.

    Are you considering a kitchen island but haven’t been totally convinced? Or are you just curious to see what they could do for your kitchen and your home? Check out these five big benefits of kitchen islands, and see what they can do for you:


    Additional Storage Space

    One of the biggest advantages a kitchen island can give you is more places to put all your stuff, and who doesn’t want that for their kitchen every now and again? Many permanent kitchen islands can be customized with cabinets and drawers below, and a lot of the mobile ones come with additional wire shelves on the bottom as well as racks for dish and utensil storage up top. Whatever it is you need to store, kitchen islands are an easy way to increase the amount of space you have for organization.

    Work Surfaces

    Kitchen islands can also go a long way towards increasing counter space and offering additional workspace to get things done. By adding a solid top, butcher block top, or shelf liners to your kitchen island, you can quickly add more hard surfaces to get cooking done. No longer will you need to cram your cutting board into the corner by the oven to chop vegetables or set down a hot pan—kitchen islands can give you a lot more elbow (and breathing) room!

    Casual Seating

    We’ve all had those times in the kitchen where we couldn’t quite have people at the dining room table but needed somewhere for them to sit, and that’s where kitchen islands come in! By providing a bigger focal point for the room itself, you can easily line up some chairs around it to create a more casual sitting area for anyone that dropped by for a drink, or even if you’re just preparing a quick breakfast.

    Room for Extra Appliances

    We’ve all had that moment where we spotted some fancy new blender or that thing that turns vegetables into pasta noodles (you know what we’re talking about) but you just didn’t have the space for it in your kitchen. Kitchen islands can easily solve that problem by providing more room for appliances without a costly cabinet remodel, not to mention all the new outlets that can be installed on them.


    If you got a mobile kitchen island, the upsides to being able to move it around as needed will be apparent right away. Turn your kitchen cart into a new serving cart for cocktails and drinks during parties, or use it to serve appetizers away from the table while dinner finishes up. Or you can use it while you cook, keeping less-vital supplies and appliances out of the way in case you suddenly need to free up some elbow room while finishing that big new roast.


    Has a kitchen island totally revamped your kitchen and your home? Drop a comment below!

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