The Shelving Store Blog

  1. House Plants: Why You Need Them and How to Organize Them

    Aside from simple aesthetic concerns, it turns out having house plants is actually very good for you in a number of ways.

    Sure, they brighten up your room and add a touch of natural color to any space, no matter what your decoration sense is otherwise, but tons of studies have been shown that they actually can help with both physical and mental health.


    Researchers at Kansas State University, for example, noticed that patients recovering from surgery experienced a lot less fatigue and anxiety when they had a potted plant of some kind in their room while they recovered, not to mention the benefits they provide to air quality and humidity control in any room.

    But even if you decide to cheer yourself up with a nice house plant and clean the air in your house, there’s always the pesky question of where you’re going to put them. There’s a few options for this, and it really all depends on the sort of plant you want.


    Are you more into bigger ‘centerpiece’ plants like a ficus or a philodendron? These plants tend to work best in corners of rooms or anywhere close enough to a window to get sunlight; trying to keep them in smaller rooms usually leads to things looking too ‘cluttered’ due to their size. Get some good sized end tables set up near the biggest available window to allow them to get some sun and fresh air and watch them grow.


    Smaller plants like yucca or palms can be kept a number of places. If they’re small enough, you can put one on either end of your coffee tables for a nice accent piece, or a larger one in the center to replace your old coffee table books. These plants also work really well on wall mounted shelves to help with better access to light, as well as giving your walls a good pop of color that you just can’t get from things like movie posters.


    You can also easily arrange plants to accent each other. That large ficus we talked about earlier could be easily flanked by a few small pots with succulents or a peace lily to add a more ‘greenhouse’ look to the room. Arrange taller plants in the back of your shorter ones to give the room a bigger illusion of depth and add more shape than you had before.


    Above all else, remember to decorate around the things you already have in your room. Don’t stress about moving chairs or desks unless they’re really in the way of the good window—instead, try to use house plants to bolster the things you already have in there. Make a still life on your windowsill, jazz up those end tables or glass shelves a little more, and remember not to stress. If it doesn’t look good in the living room, there’s always the kitchen!

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  2. How the Professionals Put Clothes Away

    Would you believe some people actually get paid good money to put clothes away?

    It’s true. Depending on the current state of your wardrobe, you’re either currently scheming to find a way to get that job, or trying to budget a way to afford their services, or maybe both.

    But wait! Before you pick up that phone, we’ve got a couple tips here to help you organize your clothes like the experts do, without asking expensive consultants for a second opinion! Before you start scanning Angie’s List for the best (or cheapest) closet organizer, try these tips first:


    Group like with like

    The best place to start keeping things tidy, whether in the closet or the dresser, is to keep like items together. Whatever your space constraints may be, make sure to always group shirts with shirts, pants with pants, and so on. (And if this leaves any empty space, that’s fine—avoiding ‘hybrid spaces’ is going to be better for your overall organization scheme.


    Fold like an expert

    Folding, rolling, getting mad and stuffing it into the drawer like a ball; whatever your preferred way of organizing bedroom dressers is, you’ve surely found yourself running out of space faster than anticipated in your drawers. One good way to prevent this is to learn the “KonMari” method of folding, a method of folding clothing developed by Marie Kondo, a Japanese organization specialist. There’s plenty of videos out there to help you get the gist, but here’s the important steps: 

    • Fold one side of the garment across the center
    • Fold the opposite side the same way, stopping before the edge, to form a rectangle
    • Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise once, then again

     After that, all you have to do is tuck it into a drawer vertically and voila! It’s a good way of quickly finding the top you wanted, all while creating more space in your drawers for everything that needs to go in there.


    Get flexible with your shelving

    Shelving in bedrooms and closets can go a long way towards holding items that either don’t fit in your drawers or simply need a little extra space to be properly arranged, but the shelves themselves may need a little extra arranging. Get some wall mounted shelves, wire shelves, or closet shelves and arrange them according to what you’re storing on them: tall boots should be kept on the bottom with enough room between them and the next shelf to make them easy to access, shelves of folded clothing need to be kept closer together to free up space elsewhere, and so on.


    Arrange items by frequency of use

    This idea has been gaining a lot more traction among organizers recently, although it may take a little extra creativity on your part. Instead of sorting your clothes by color, type, and so on, simply sort them by how often you wear them. Sure, those shoes are mega cute, but how often have you needed them lately? Your daily wear jacket doesn’t quite match your favorite sweater, but if you need to wear them both for work, why not just keep them both right up front? Even if you swear your color/style/size-based organization system already works, try moving them around based upon how often you wear them, or at least how often you’ll need them.


    Set ‘zones’ for everything

    Finally, take stock of some of the stuff in your room and make sure it all has an accessible station for it; gym clothes in this corner, jackets on this closet rail, and so on. This will have the double effect of giving your clothes a distinct home to prevent mess and crossover, and help your brain categorize where everything is to help you better remember where your clothes are and feel less anxiety about getting ready in the morning.


    Do you have any other tips for organizing that you’ve learned from the experts? Drop a comment below!

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  3. How to Move Into a Smaller House

    Thanks to a number of factors—the economy, kids moving off to college, a simple need to relocate—more people than ever before are choosing to downsize into smaller homes to better suit their needs.

     In most cases, it’s a great call! Smaller homes generally come with a ton of benefits like lower mortgage payments, cheaper utility bills, and less overall ‘upkeep’, without that giant kitchen or rooms you never use.

     And while a lot of this might sound great in theory, even the most excited small-home buyers among us are faced with the reality of just how they’re going to move once they’ve made the decision to.

     Moving is never easy, but it gets much harder when you need to move into a space that has much less room than your previous home. Fret not, however—we’ve got some tips here that can help make any move a breeze! (Comparatively speaking.)


    Take inventory of what you’d really need to keep

    Any move is a good opportunity to purge some stuff you don’t feel like keeping around anymore, but this goes double for moves into a smaller home. A lot of experts suggest something like this: what would you replace if you lost it all in a fire? Maybe that question is a bit morbid, but it’s a great way to look at it. Make a list of everything you truly couldn’t go without or anything that would be impossible to replace (family heirlooms, etc), and everything that isn’t on the list could be considered for sale or donation somewhere.


    Figure out what’s sellable

    A lot of the things you don’t plan on taking with you could be turned into spare cash to help with the move. A lot of people hang onto “insurance” items; stuff they keep around in case of an emergency like that extra mattress in the garage or the unused couch in the guest bedroom that only exists in case something you own breaks. While it might be comforting to keep those around, selling them can help a lot in the short term and may even provide some extra cash for when you do need to replace that mattress.


    Another prime candidate for garage sales or Craigslist would be furniture that’s just too big for your new place. That giant leather sectional might have sounded like a good idea for your current living room, but if it’s not going to fit in your new one, out it goes. Likewise, you may have to sell some things to buy slightly more space-efficient furniture like end tables or bedroom dressers but the reduced headache will be worth it.


    Get some storage at the new placeand make it space-efficient

    There’s going to be a lot of things you take for granted in your current house that just can’t make the move into the new one, such as kitchen cabinets and closet space. Before you really get moved into your new home, take a close look at everything you want to bring with you and see how you’re going to fit it in there. If you need to take the time to hang up some wall mounted shelves before you can settle in and start unpacking the kitchen, or if you need to start deciding what goes in which closet before you can even unpack your clothes, you might save yourself a lot of time and hassle in the long run.


    Be vigilant about future clutter

    Once you’re all settled in and done with the move, it might feel nice to finally be done with everything. But decluttering requires pretty much constant attention, particularly if you’re in a much smaller space than you used to be. Make sure to be ruthless about what you bring in—if you start outfitting your house with collectables or knick knacks, know that you may have to get rid of something to free up the space. Keep an eye out for duplicates of stuff you don’t need multiples of (how many wine glasses and coffee mugs do you really need?), don’t get too caught up in hoarding clothes or magazines, and don’t be scared to just throw stuff out when you need to.


    Have you downsized your home recently? Got any success stories or major hassles you want to share? Drop a comment below!

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  4. It's That Time: Signs You Need to Start Decluttering

    Sometimes when it comes to big decluttering projects, all we need is one good push.

    Maybe you’re waiting for an omen. Maybe you’re holding off until the next time you move. Maybe it doesn’t dawn on you until you find yourself buried under a pile of boxes that fell out of the closet.

    But sometimes it’s the little things. Sometimes it’s the stuff you move a million times a day, that drawer of nice flatware you keep saving for “special occasions”, or that aforementioned closet. Whatever the case, there could be a million small indicators around your house that you should start looking into a big decluttering project, and you might find yourself feeling that much better when it’s done. Here’s a few of the biggest signs that you have ‘too much clutter’:


    Getting stressed about getting dressed

    Most people have more clothes than they’re really going to need, but there’s still such thing as too darn many clothes. Do you find yourself getting anxious in the morning because you’re not sure what to wear, or maybe you’re worried about saving your favorite shirt for ‘just the right occasion’? This can be a sign to clean out your closet, move some things into your bedroom dresser, and get on with your new life—a life of scaled-down clothing options.


    Buried under bags

    We’ve all seen that drawer or cabinet chock full of plastic bags from the grocery store. Who knows when we’re going to need them for lunch or sudden clean-up of a pet mess, right? Go ahead and start throwing those out—it’s not like you’re never going to the grocery store again, and this will be much easier for everyone.


    The case of the un-closing cabinet

    Do you have a kitchen cabinet that just won’t stay shut no matter what you do? (And before you ask, wiseguy, we assume you’ve checked all the hinges and handles.) It’s time to get that stuff organized and moved. Go through your worst cabinets and see what can be tossed out—spoiled food, cups you’ll never use again, that bowl with the crack in it—and keep the rest tidier with the use of cabinet organizers and strategically-placed wall mounted shelves in the kitchen.


    (School) days gone by

    Nostalgia can be a powerful drug, and it can lead to keeping a lot more stuff around the house than we really need to—namely old paperwork from school. Sure, maybe you did really well on that report the first time you saw Citizen Kane, but do you really need to clutter up your filing cabinet with that pleasant memory? Unless it’s something really important like a photo from Grandparents’ Day, don’t be shy about chucking out your old school work to make room.


    Mystery boxes

    Speaking of moving, while some people take that as a good time to declutter, some people take it as a sign to keep even more stuff around. Do you have a few boxes that came with you from your old house that haven’t been opened or touched since you moved? Are you worried they’re going to stay packed until you move again? That’s probably a sign you can start getting rid of whatever’s in those boxes.


    Have you been stuck with a lot of clutter that you were recently inspired to get rid of? Leave a comment below!

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  5. Unexpected Ways to Use Shelf Brackets

    Consider, if you will, the humble shelf bracket.

    Largely designed to hold wall mounted shelves, shelf brackets have been increasingly popular among the handier decorators out there to serve a number of roles around the house, both decorative and functional.

    Best of all, it doesn’t take much to get started down the path of shelf bracketing—all you need is a little imagination, some nails, and empty wall space! Here’s a few of the more fun shelving bracket ideas we’ve come across:


    Lighting holder

    Perfect for renters that don’t want to permanently install wall sconces for their new light, many wooden shelf brackets are the perfect place to hang any lamp with the right-sized hook or appropriately long (and strong enough) electrical cord. Simply thread the cord through any opening in your wall bracket and let the light shine!


    Outdoor planters

    A common complaint among city folk with green thumbs is that they simply don’t have room in their yard to plant everything they want. A great way to get around this is to take some sturdy metal wall brackets and mount them into the fence around your yard, or maybe the side of your house or garage if construction allows it, and keep a planter box on it. It won’t be quite the same as a full garden but you could easily grow some smaller flowers, succulents, or your favorite herbs & spices in a safe, sunny space.


    Bike racks

    Some of the tougher, more industrial brackets (such as wire shelving brackets) can serve perfectly as a bike rack in a garage or shed to save space. Make sure to measure the distance between your wheels to get everything mounted properly!


    Standing desks

    In a similar vein, there’s been an increase of people using shelving brackets and flat wooden slats (or in many cases long wall mounted wood shelves) to create standing desks at the perfect height in their home office. Takes up less room than a desk and gives you all the flat workspace you could need!


    Entryway tables

    Finally, waist-high shelving brackets with a solid wood sheet atop them could serve as excellent entryway organization. Mount these right inside the door (making sure to not block the door itself of course) to give your keys and phone a place to land when you get inside—and pair them with a mail organizer to really get things under control in your front room.


    Have you ever used shelf brackets for something other than a shelf? Drop a comment below!

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