The Shelving Store Blog

  1. How to Recycle & Reuse Clutter

    While decluttering, some stuff is easier to get rid of than others—literally.

    We don’t just mean what a hard time you might have trying to sift through clothes you want to donate, but the stuff that’s actually difficult to discard like products that need to be recycled or disposed of safely due to environmental concerns.

    You know what we’re talking about—batteries, paint, and the like. If you’ve been trying to clean out your house and get rid of some sensitive material but you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got a list here of common clutter and where to take it!


    Old cell phones

    We all have that home office desk drawer full of old Androids and outdated iPhones that have built up over the years, especially given how common smartphones have become, and while you might be convinced you’re holding onto one as a backup, it’s time to face how you don’t need them all. The easiest way to get rid of them is to find a Best Buy location that offers low-cost (or free) electronics recycling services. Barring that you could try to find an EcoATM kiosk in the mall to see if they can be traded in for any cash back, or contact a local recycling center to see if they take cell phones.


    Rechargeable batteries

    Similarly, if you’ve had to get your phone battery replaced, you’ve probably wound up stuck with the old one floating around your house, never quite sure what to do with it but not willing to throw it in the trash. You’re correct there—these things shouldn’t be thrown in the trash due to the metals inside them (the kind of stuff you don’t want in a landfill), so try to keep these somewhere safe and out of the reach of kids (like on high closet shelving) until you can contact a local recycling facility.


    Non-rechargeable batteries

    Ah yes, the old scourge of kitchen drawers everywhere—unloved single-use batteries. Maybe you’re sure you’ll need them someday, maybe you’re worried about disappointing the Energizer Bunny, but either way, all single-use batteries have a shelf life and will need to get ditched eventually. Similar to rechargeable batteries, you’re going to need to keep these somewhere safe until you contact either a local center or, in some communities, your local trash collectors to take them off your hands.


    Glass jars, bottles, & containers

    Glass is a sticky situation. Smaller glass bottles (like beverages) can be easily recycled down at your favorite supermarket in most parts of the country, but a lot of bigger ones like wine bottles and Mason jars don’t really have anywhere to go. This is where a little imagination can come in! Mason jars can be frequently reused for things like craft supplies, pens/pencils, and change jars; wine bottles can easily be turned into bird feeders or even spray bottles with the right attachments, and liquor bottles can be converted into DIY soap dispensers and oil lamps if you’re feeling crafty.


    Leftover paint

    Got some unused paint from that last redecorating project? A lot of home restoration companies will take donations of old paint to help with their projects (such as Habitat for Humanity), and so long as you keep it in an airtight container on durable, corrosion-proof chrome wire shelving (or other, similar shelves) it can last indefinitely until you can safely get rid of it, or repurpose it for painting a dresser or a doorframe the next time you feel crafty.


    Old tires

    Whether you’re an amateur mechanic or simply a biking enthusiast, old tires can be a pain to get rid of. The craftier types among you can turn them into fun tire swings, flower planters, or even ottomans. If you’re not feeling the upcycling, start calling mechanics and bike stores—a lot of places will happily buy your old tires off of you to resell later on to someone that needs them more.


    Got any other handy recycling tips? Leave a comment below!

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  2. Open vs. Closed Floor Plans: Pros, Cons, & Organization Ideas

    Whether you’re doing some serious remodeling to your own floor plan or looking to move into a home that offers a different one than your own, the choice between open and closed floor plans can be a tough one.

    They both offer their own advantages and disadvantages, and to speak more practically they can both require vastly different ways of organizing and re-arranging to make sure all your stuff can fit safely in them. Whatever way you go with the layout of your home, you might need a little extra help getting everything organized, and even that’s after you decide which one to go with. If you’re looking for some different home layout options, we’ve got the skinny on what each one can offer and how you can make it work for you:


    Open Floor Plans

    An open floor plan is, to put it simply, a type of floor plan that involves fewer rooms with less separation between them and less closed-off areas. For example, imagine your dining room and kitchen becoming one big room without a lot of walls or strict delineation to separate them.

    The Pros: The biggest advantage of open floor plans is that they feel a lot more spacious. Without anything to disconnect or close off a room, you can get a lot more workable space than with closed floor plans, resulting in more layout and furniture options. It can also create a more social atmosphere by allowing easier communication between rooms in the event of a big dinner or party.

    The Cons: Open floor plans tend to be a little costlier when it comes to heat, as you’re trying to warm up a much wider space as opposed to a closed-off area like a bedroom or bathroom. It can also be more difficult to control noise, as the open space and solid walls will reflect sound throughout the house, which can make it hard if someone is trying to watch TV while others cook in the kitchen.

    How to Organize: With open floor plans, the trick is to use whatever home organization you have to divide the space up as you need. For example, if your open plan includes a kitchen and a dining room, you can use kitchen islands to better mark off where the kitchen is, and use them to double as serving trays when dinner is ready. For open living rooms that connect to other spaces, lining the walls with bookcases can be a good way to indicate the ‘use’ of a space without putting up more walls.


    Closed Floor Plans

    On the other hand, closed floor plans are almost a more ‘traditional’ type of home layout. Closed floor plans separate rooms via walls and doorways, and provide more clearly indicated spaces than open plans would by use of cordoned-off sections.

    The Pros: One of the biggest advantages of closed floor plans is the ability to control the design of your home better. Each room can offer its own layout, look, and feel without having to worry about the living room across from the kitchen, and cozier rooms can offer much more privacy and a better at-home feeling.

    The Cons: Closed floor plans can start to feel a little cramped if you’re not careful. Stuff will have a way of building up between each room, and may lead to things looking messier than they are. It also reduces line of sight across the house and makes some rooms less accessible, which could lead to issues if you have pets, kids, or elderly relatives to keep an eye on and/or help get around the house.

    How to Organize: With closed floor plans, every little bit of space counts. Make sure to use all your available vertical space by installing wall shelves or cabinets wherever possible, and try to pick the best storage option for each room—focus on the sort of tables and shelves that each room would benefit from best, as you need to create more ‘assigned’ spaces that reflect their individual uses moreso than you would with open floor plans.


    Got any other tips or advice for either type of floor plan? Drop a comment below!

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  3. Decluttering Secrets of the Pros

    (We hope you read that title in a big, confident voice, because we sure did.)

    Decluttering has been a common topic of discussion lately—to the point some people make a living helping others with it! While bringing in a little outside help is tempting when things get out of hand, their services can get a little...pricey.

    But not to fear! We’ve been around the block long enough to pick up a few tips from the pros and we’re happy to pass them along without asking to schedule any appointments. If you want to start decluttering your house like the experts do, read on:


    Always make five piles for sorting

    A lot of decluttering advice starts with sorting your stuff into some potential piles, but the experts would specify going for five piles: stuff to move into another room, stuff to donate, stuff to give to a specific person (friend, relative, coworker who was always jealous of that sweater, etc), throw away, and the “marinating” pile. The marinating pile may be the best part—pack those up in a box or plastic storage bin and label it with a date sometime in the next six months to a year. If you don’t take a single thing out of the box before that date, it’s pretty safe to get rid of. You’ll be surprised how quickly this makes things disappear.


    Photographic memory

    Frequently while exploring a home for opportunities to declutter, experts will suggest taking a picture of a space and examining everything in it before you start. Start small, something like a drawer, a cluttered table, or even bookcases and examine the picture. See how it makes you feel—are you anxious about getting rid of any of it? Can you justify how much of it is there? This can give you a good place to start and help figure out what to do next.


    Make sure you’re removing clutter, not just making more storage space

    A lot of people, when confronting clutter, tend to turn to increased storage space as a solution to their problems. Throwing up a bunch of wall shelves and wire shelving is usually a good call in houses that need help getting organized, but the mission can’t end there—even if you’ve made room for all the stuff you already have, the odds are good that you’re going to be getting more stuff later, and you can’t keep relying on shelves to solve your problem. Make sure to focus on actually getting rid of stuff you don’t need instead of just finding new homes for it all.


    Be careful when you get sentimental

    A lot of clutter accumulates because you’re too attached to stuff. (This isn’t a judgment, we all do it!) Think about things you’re holding onto because of the past—your grandpa’s favorite recliner, Aunt Joan’s writing desk, etc—and think about why you’re keeping them. Do you use them? Are you just keeping them around for the memories? Why are they just wasting away in the attic if you love them so much? In a lot of these cases, you may be better off remembering them with some pictures and handing them off to someone that actually needs them.


    Don’t overestimate how much you can sell on eBay

    Finally, a lot of pros will try to steer you away from getting too caught up in the idea of selling the stuff you’re getting rid of. This might be something of a disappointment at first, but it can actually prove way more helpful in the long run. Listing things on eBay is super time intensive and, frankly, something of a shot in the dark—you never know when something will sell, if something will sell, and if you’ll get what you think it’s worth. If you really have your heart set on selling, it might be more worth your time to cut your losses and see what you can get at a consignment shop, or just give it all away. You’ll be so happy to have it all out of your house you won’t even notice you donated it.

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  4. Remodel Your Bathroom to Increase Storage Space

    Remodeling the bathroom. If the idea makes you bury your face in your hands (and it’s pretty understandable if it does), then you know how much work it can be.

    It’s a chance to redecorate, to finally clean out the towel closet, and perhaps best of all it’s a chance to install some new storage and make your bathroom work better than ever!

    If you’re heading towards a bathroom remodel in the near future, or just figuring out how to finally gain more space, we’ve got a few ideas to keep in mind for extra storage while remodeling your bathroom:


    Figure out who uses it, and how

    It might sound a little obvious at first, but in houses with multiple bathrooms or residents, answering this question could indicate the direction of the rest of the project. Do you have a main bath that the whole family uses? Do you have a small powder room in the house that doesn’t do as much as a full bath? Is it a guest bathroom that only gets cleaned up when the kids come over? This can help you prioritize your work and figure out what needs to be done next.


    Prioritize unused space

    When adding new storage space to a bathroom, the easiest place to start is to see where there’s empty space that’s still accessible, and work from there. It’s always going to be easier to add to empty space than it is to renovate current space, so use your imagination. Space around the toilet? Put up an over the toilet rack. Space on the walls, or inside the shower? Use some rust-proof wire wall shelving to hang onto needed shower items. Make the most of the space you have remaining before getting into bigger projects and you’ll find the whole thing going more smoothly.


    Thy name is vanity!

    A lot of bathrooms leave the sink, mirror, and medicine cabinet to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to organizing goods without appreciating the design of a bathroom vanity. Space permitting, slide one of these in adjacent to the shower to allow yourself some extra space for cosmetics and personal products, while freeing up valuable space elsewhere.


    Clean out under the sink

    For starters, if you’re renovating the sink cabinets at all (new doors, new finish, etc) you’re going to want to start by pulling everything out from under it. And you may find that the more you pull out from under the sink, the less you need to put back. Toss out what you don’t need, get some plastic storage boxes to hang onto everything else, and if you’re going really crazy with the sink renovations, try to bring in some shelves or drawers under there to help.


    Sort out your drawers

    Speaking of drawers, your bathroom drawers are probably a worse magnet for clutter than your kitchen drawers, and that’s saying something! Get some small stainless-steel containers and drawer separators to keep your drawers tidied up, and if you’re already remodeling you may want to consider bigger drawers while you’re there…


    Rework the back of your doors

    Finally, the doors in many bathrooms are a valuable and underutilized source of vertical space. Whether you’re replacing them or redecorating, this is a great time to put up some shelves or coat hooks to hang onto towels, bathrobes, or anything else you got in there.


    Did you recently survive a bathroom remodeling and have extra tips for us? Drop a comment below!

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  5. Organizing Your Home: Where (and How) to Start

    Few tasks can seem more immediately daunting than trying to plan out how you’re going to organize your home.

    On the surface it sounds pretty good, right? Get some storage bins or new shelves to keep stuff on, toss out whatever you don’t like anymore, and suddenly voila, your house is cleaner than it’s been since you moved in! the heck do you get started on something like that?

    Trying to begin any house cleaning or organization project can be a daunting task if you’re not prepared, and getting prepared can be easier than you think. The next time you want to start a home organization project big or small, follow these handy tips and get off to a much better start!


    Don’t waste too much time thinking about it: This might sound like it flies in the face of everything we just said, but bear with us a second. A lot of people get too hung up on the details before they start and find themselves paralyzed—they get torn between three kinds of cleaning supplies, they start weighing their options for clothing donations, and so on. In a lot of these cases you should just go with your gut; by buying the supplies you need and mapping out a course of action, you can get started much more quickly than if you get stuck on the little things.


    Solve one problem to start: By getting one thing done, suddenly everything else will feel much easier to finish. Start off by zeroing in on one specific, solvable problem and get it done at the outset. Clear off one counter, clean out one cabinet, clear off one shelf, empty out one dresser drawer, or just start with the first things you see in the morning and you just might surprise yourself at how much more manageable the rest of your tasks become.


    Pace yourself: Try to avoid the temptation to get everything done at once in some fevered rush. A lot of decluttering/organization projects start life as a sudden burst of enthusiasm for cleaning up your living room, but pacing yourself and doing the work that needs to be done as opposed to whatever blips across your mind is going to be much more productive in the long run. As in many cases, slow and steady wins the proverbial race.


    Find a schedule that works for you: What might help more than anything else is the idea of attacking your clutter bit by bit. Some people want to do it all at once, some people work better if they set aside a little time every night, and there’s no wrong answer—just find one that works with your schedule (and stress level)!


    Don’t stress: For certain personality types it might be too late to suggest this, but when trying to declutter, just remember not to be too hard on yourself. Stick with it and the work will get done soon enough, you don’t need to force yourself to work harder than is necessary or let it take up too much of your waking hours.


    What about your last cleaning project—how did you get started? Where did you decide to begin? Let us know in the comments!

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