Simple Storage Solutions to Get Through the Year
Yonkers, NY – The start of fall means that it’s time to clean up the house, swap out clothes in your closets, and break out the seasonal tools in the garage. The October 2011 issue of ShopSmart magazine, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, prepares readers with organizing tricks to keep everything tidy year-round.
“The change of seasons is the perfect time for people to break the cycle of their bad organizing habits,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. “With our season-by-season guide, readers can make sure that they keep their belongings organized from year to year and cut down on the amount of time they have to spend re-organizing each time a new season rolls around.”
Store it in the Fall
Garden tools and pots: Hose off dirty gardening gear and stack pots in tiers. For pots with fragile surfaces, layer newspaper between vessels to protect from scratches and chips. Outdoor garden storage benches and cabinets are also great for storing tools and pots over the winter. To find gear easily come spring, group like items together.
Summer Clothes: To free up precious closet real estate, measure the number of feet of hanging space your clothes take up and get a garment rack wide enough to accommodate it all. Stow in a dry basement or attic. And be sure to clean clothes before putting them away – even if they look spot-free. Stains that seem invisible can oxidize over time and be hard to get out if left untreated.
Beach towels, picnic blankets, outdoor linens, and tableware: Clear the linen closet of summer beach towels and outdoor tablecloths and place mats; stash in giant plastic tubs. Cradle outdoor dishes and cups on top. Park the bin in a basement or attic.
Store it in the Winter
Garden rakes: Hang long-handled rakes and garden tools from a pegboard. Affix the board to any garage or shed wall, leaving about an inch of space between the wall and the board to accommodate hooks.
Seasonal decorations: Stow jack-o-lanterns and cornucopias in opaque bins – clear bins let in light, which can damage memorabilia. In the fall, discount stores like Target sell seasonal bins, so you’ll be able to tell what’s for Halloween or Thanksgiving.
Bikes: There are many types of bike racks; some mount into studs on the wall, others mount from a track system. Check out your options and choose one that works for your space. Hang it in an empty spot on a wall in the garage.
Store it in the Spring
Boots: Stuff boots with boot forms to help them keep their shape. You can also use balled-up gym socks in a pinch. Lay each pair of boots flat in a plastic bin. Stack bins at the back of your closet or put under your bed.
Sleds and ice skates: Most sleds have holes for a steering rope; thread heavy rope through the holes, then hang sleds in the garage. Stash disc-type sleds in a large clear contractor bag. Tie a knot at the top and hang from a hood, flat against the wall of your garage.
Bulky coats and bedding: Wash or dry-clean throws, quilts, and duvets, then store in space bags in a linen closet. Short on closet space? Use a rolling garment rack with a zippered front closure to keep out moisture and moths. For bug protection, place cedar blocks at the bottom of the bag before putting it in the basement or attic.
Store it in the Summer
Backpacks and lunch boxes: Clean backpacks and wash lunch boxes, then air them out in the sun before putting away in storage tote labeled “Back to School.” Store the tote in the back of an entryway closet or in the attic. If you don’t have a large storage area, use your child’s closet: Put the lunch box inside the backpack and hang it on a hook in the side or rear of the closet.
Artwork and school papers: “Condense and preserve” is your mantra for children’s school papers and projects. Condense what you need to store by weeding out items your child is no longer attached to. Preserve especially important projects by asking your child to pick out five pieces she wants to save. Put the rest in a portfolio labeled with your child’s name and school year. Store it at the back of her closet or in the attic.
Wool rugs: Roll up cleaned up and vacuumed rugs to keep them free of deep creases or bends, then wrap them in large plastic bags. Store them up high on garage shelf or in your attic.
About ShopSmart Magazine
Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon Consumer Reports’ celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. The magazine features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists. ShopSmart is ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix. ShopSmart is available by subscription at www.ShopSmartmag.org.