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.
The humble sweater: whether for fashion, business wear, comfort, or just plain warmth, the sweater is one of the most versatile garments around today.
This, of course, probably means you own more than a few and need somewhere to store them, especially this time of year when spring is trying its hardest to creep around the corner. Sweaters stand out among cold-weather clothes simply by being a little harder to put away than normal items—too bulky for many drawers and too heavy to hang up, they can turn into a pain before you know it.
When it comes time to put your sweaters away, avoid that yearly ritual of folding, stacking, and cramming sweaters into your already-overtaxed drawers with a few of our helpful Sweater Storage Strategies:
Tips for Drawers:
- Try rolling sweaters instead of folding them: fold the arms to the back, roll up from the bottom edge to the collar, and place the rolled edge up in the drawer (lined up single file) so you can tell each sweater apart. (Be careful not to let V-neck collars get snagged on anything!)
- Sort your rolled sweaters by whatever system works best for you: type, color, style, even when you wear them (winter sweaters vs lighter stuff) to keep them easier to access when the cold weather comes back around—or for those freak days we have every May where it drops back down to 50° again.
Tips for Closets
- One thing to avoid when storing sweaters in the closet is using hangers; these can lead to a horrible condition many experts refer to as “hanger burn” that leads to wrinkles, puckers, creases, and worst of all ruined collars. Don’t fall for hangers that try to claim they’re designed for knits.
- Instead, we suggest using a flatter storage system to avoid running the risk of damage. Take some sweater storage bins or garment bags and line the floor of your closet with them to provide an easy, flat storage solution for sweaters (that can be used to store other knicknacks when sweaters come back into season)
- Not enough space on the floor? Get some closet shelves lined against the back or side walls of your closet. This provides flat space to safely lay all of your sweaters where they can be easily accessed whenever needed.
Tips for Everywhere Else
- Already out of closet space? (We get it.) As long as your home is temperature controlled and pest-free, anywhere can be converted into a space for sweaters. Set some rust-proof wire shelves up in the attic to keep them nicely out of the way, or down in the basement so long as it doesn’t get too musty. (Some of those moisture traps would be perfect here.)
- Space under the stairs? Perfect place for some storage bins. Drawers in the stairs? Even better, just remember what we told you earlier about arranging them in that area.
Got any other out-of-the-ordinary tips for sweater storage? Drop a comment below!
‘Decluttering’ has been a hot topic in the world of home organization and design lately, and while there’s been plenty written about the effect decluttering can have on your mental well-being and stress levels, there’s another place it can start to have a positive impact on your life: your wallet!
Starting a closet purge is the first step towards learning to let go of a bunch of stuff you don’t need anymore, and a great way to get all of it out of your house is to sell it! Consignment shops like Plato’s Closet or websites like Poshmark make it easier than ever to get cash for the gently-worn clothes you’re not going to wear anymore, and will go a long way towards freeing up space in your home. Let’s start by getting your closet decluttered, and then we’ll help you figure out what to do with it all:
- Start by going through everything in the closet and asking yourself a few crucial questions, like:
○ Do I love this?
○ Am I going to wear it?
○ Does it still fit?
○ Does it project the image I want? Can I wear this in front of other people? (This one tends to be a real deal-breaker for a lot of indecisive thinkers.)
- Once you’ve found an answer for those questions, start finding other places to keep them all. Set up a storage bin or even just a big cardboard box to separate the stuff that’s getting sold or donated from what you’re keeping, and make sure to keep the box somewhere you’re not likely to lose it.
- As for everything you’re keeping (which hopefully isn’t much), it’s time to make your closet a little cleaner and easier to get through. Put up some closet wall shelves and sort your remaining clothes by type, size, seasonality, or whatever works best for you—just remember to make a plan and stick with it. Otherwise you’ll find yourself in this mess again sooner than you know it.
Getting rid of it all
- From here, let’s decide what you want to do with the clothes you plan to get rid of:
○ Can you sell it directly? Is there anyone you know that’s always buying clothes for craft projects or just likes thrifting? Can you unload some of it more quickly that way?
○ Where can you take it to in town? Does your city have a lot of consignment shops or resale stores you can take them to first? This tends to be the easiest method, and you’ll usually end up walking out of the store with money you didn’t have before.
○ What about a yard sale? It might not always be the right time of year, weather-wise, but a great resource for selling off unwanted clothes is to throw some tables in the driveway and hold a yard sale. It’s the reason your parents held them, and you’d be surprised how much less stuff you’ll have afterwards.
- Finally, just remember to keep all of your stuff separated. If you’re taking them to a store to sell, a lot of them require clothing to be freshly washed and bagged neatly, so break out the laundry bags and get folding. Otherwise, you’ll at least want to separate items by type (shirts, bottoms, etc) to make them easier for your friends/potential customers/both to sift through.
Have you sold a bunch of your old clothes lately? Got any tips for people who need to do the same? Drop a comment below!
Named for their ability to mount seamlessly to the wall and look like they’re, well, floating, floating shelves have been a staple in home decoration for decades.
Different from standard wall shelves thanks to their lighter profile and range of materials, floating shelves can make a big difference in home organization and storage when used properly.
Have you been thinking about some floating shelves but just aren’t sure where they will go? Or are you just looking to see how other people use them to see if you want to try them out yourself? Check out a few of these ideas we’ve found and see what one works best for your home or apartment:
DIY nightstands: Some floating shelves, such as floating ledge shelves are dense enough to be installed low near the bed and used as nightstands! These shelves take up way less space than your average end table and are great for low-profile storage of things like glasses and lamps in areas where there’s not enough room for a whole end table or nightstand.
Filling in corners: With both standard floating shelves and floating corner shelves, these shelves are a great way to utilize corners for storage needs. Line up two floating shelves in an L-shape to bridge any corner gaps and keep things neatly arranged where you can get to them.
Open vertical storage: Of course, the goal of any shelf is to let you store things better, and in smaller apartments or homes that lack in closets or shelving, floating shelves are a great low-profile way to add storage space. Particularly in rooms where you need easy access to a lot of small things, like the laundry room, the home office, or even that corner of the basement where your toolboxes all wind up, floating shelves can provide unobstructed access to whatever you need to declutter.
Opening up the kitchen: Speaking of which, a lot of kitchens are moving towards a more open, ‘door-less’ design using floating shelves to store things like dishes and cooking utensils without the claustrophobic look that cabinets can sometimes provide. Floating shelves can easily replace cabinets, particularly over the oven or the sink, and provide a more dynamic look while keeping everything even easier to reach.
Converting tight spaces: Small spaces like removed cabinets, gaps in the walls, or even disused medicine cabinets in bathrooms and bedrooms can be easily filled in with floating shelves to provide extra storage in areas that might not have been too useful before. Take some time to find those hard, out-of-the-way spots in your house and put them to work with shelves.
Do you have floating shelves in your home? Let us know how you use them in a comment below!
The, er, younger among you reading this might be surprised to learn it, but people do still read magazines sometimes.
You remember magazines, right? Bigger and more colorful than a newspaper, shorter than a book, usually with some movie star or U.S. senator on the cover. See, back in our day we used to stash all of them in magazine racks throughout the living room. This kept them up and out of the way until they got old, piling up in the closet until we got rid of them at a garage sale.
And while there are some magazines still out there, they’re not as popular as they used to be, and that means you might have some extra magazine racks or holders around the house that aren’t being used. Don’t throw them out just yet though! There’s plenty of ways to repurpose magazine racks around the house that can help you get more organized than ever—all you need is a little time and imagination. Here’s a few of our favorites:
Pantry organization: Depending on their shape, extra magazine racks can easily serve as pantry organizers for items like canned goods and pasta boxes. Line up all your canned vegetables and chili ingredients in your magazine rack and never worry about something rolling out of the pantry again!
Long box storage: Think about all the kitchen items in those long boxes that are impossible to store—aluminum foil, Saran Wrap, and so on. Magazine racks are a great way to stack those up and keep them easy to reach while keeping them out of the way of the rest of your kitchen supplies. Set one up on your counter or in a cluttered cabinet and take some of the stress out of putting your leftovers away.
Craft room organization: If you’re the crafty type, magazine racks are often the perfect size and shape to store excess fabric. Fold it all nice and neat (on cardboard or plastic spacers if you can) and tuck them into each slot of your magazine rack until your craft space is suddenly a lot easier to use.
Hand towels: There are few things worse than washing your hands in the bathroom or kitchen and suddenly having no idea where the towel is, leaving you flailing about with wet hands. Magazine racks can hold folded, backup towels under the sink, near the toilet, or wherever else you have the space to stash them in case of a dry-hands emergency.
Dish racks: Speaking of drying things off, magazine racks are typically a good shape and size to hang onto dishes right after washing. Line them up and let them air-dry, or use them to display your favorite plates until the perfect occasion comes along!
Got any other tips for your old magazine racks? Leave a comment below!