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Easily Clutter-Proof Your Bathroom In Only 5 Steps

Though it’s probably the smallest room in your home, the bathroom is also one of the most-used rooms in your home. Naturally, with more use comes more potential for clutter.

What are your biggest challenges? Keeping your bathroom counter organized? The random items in your drawer that you might not need? Unhung towels? Your child’s toys in the bath tub?

No problem. Follow these five simple steps to clutter-proof your bathroom in no time:

Step 1: Pare Down Your Stuff

organized cosmetics and toiletries in a white bathroom cabinet

It’s a lot easier to organize your bathroom—and keep it that way—when you have less stuff to begin with. Start by decluttering. Set aside an hour or so to empty all cabinets and drawers, or declutter one drawer or shelf at a time over a few days.

Using the floor as your sorting place, group like items such as soaps, shampoos, dental supplies, nail care, and makeup. Trash the trash as you go. That means toss sunscreen, lotions, other toiletries that are past their expiration date, sticky nail polishes, and anything that doesn’t look or smell like it did when it was new, including makeup.

Separate expired and unused prescriptions as well as over-the-counter medicines for proper disposal. If your local pharmacy has a medication take-back program, bring your unwanted medications to them.

If there’s no take-back program in your area, mix your unwanted medications with liquids, cat litter, coffee grounds, or dirt. Then pour the mixture into a sealable bag or a tin that you can seal with a lid.

That way, no one will take the medications out of the trash and ingest them. Do the same with medicines in pill or capsule form, add water to dissolve them, and dispose of the bag in your household trash.

Chances are good that you have duplicates of certain things in your home. Decide how many of those items you want to keep. Then distribute excess toiletries to other bathrooms for example, and discard or give away everything you no longer use, like, want, or need.

You can also pare down your collection of towels. If you’re doing laundry regularly, two weeks’ worth of towels should be enough.

Step 2: Assign Everything a Home

As you decide what to store and where, consider accessibility. Think about how and where you use items and how often you use them.

Store frequently used items where they will be most convenient. Store things you access occasionally or rarely in less prime locations, such as the back of a cabinet or upper shelf of a closet. This might include extra bars of soap, rolls of toilet paper, and boxes of tissues.

It may be tempting to leave frequently used things on the sink counter, but what if all you left on it was hand soap?

If that’s a bit too minimalist for you, try storing everyday items on a decorative tray or in a basket for a cleaner look. Keep in mind that the less stuff you leave out, the easier it is to clean your countertop.

In your medicine cabinet, organize prescriptions and over-the-counter items by family member name,  roommate name, or category, such as “cough,” “cold,” and “pain relievers.”You can also label your shelves, or store the items inside labeled plastic containers like these ones:

You can also label your shelves, or store the items inside labeled plastic containers like these ones:

"dad" and "mom" labeled medication holders in a medicine cabinet
Donna Smallin Kuper

Assign drawers or shelves for each family member or roommate who shares the bathroom, as well as an “ours” drawer for shared items. Alternatively, you can organize drawers by categories, such as “makeup” or “hair care.”

Use drawer organizers to keep drawers organized. Or repurpose empty checkbook boxes or baby wipe dispensers into dividers. And be sure to keep cabinets organized with labels and clear, stackable bins.

Pro Tip: Labeling shelves and bins provides a visual cue that will increase the likelihood that everyone puts things back where they belong.

Another option for storing personal toiletries is a bath caddy or tote for each family member or roommate. What’s nice about this bathroom storage hack is that it’s as easy to put away as it is to retrieve.

Plus, if storage space is limited, you can always store the tote in a linen closet or bedroom.

maidpro mesh house cleaning tote
Great Useful Stuff Mesh Tote

By the same token, keeping makeup in a bag or bin on a shelf is one of many smart ways to store makeup for easy access. Bonus: When you travel, you don’t have to think about what to bring because your makeup kit is ready to go.

Step 3: Maximize Storage Space in Your Bathroom Cabinets and Linen Closet

youcopia ministack spice, vitamin, and medicine organizer
YouCopia MiniStack Organizer

Cabinet space is often underutilized. You may be able to maximize the space in your linen closet and bathroom cabinets by adjusting their shelves to better accommodate items of different sizes.

For example, position shelves so that you can store three rolls of toilet paper and a foot-high stack of bath towels on one shelf, and shorter stacks of hand towels and washcloths on the shelf above it.

If you can’t adjust your shelving, add a hanging shelf or two to maximize the vertical space in your cabinets or closet. A turntable or lazy Susan is the perfect solution for deep or hard-to-reach shelves.

Wire mesh sliding baskets also make good use of deep cabinets while providing easy access for frequently used items. Most products that are made to organize spices are perfect for storing prescriptions, vitamins, and over-the-counter medicine bottles in a bathroom cabinet.

hampton bay over-the-toilet storage cabinet in white
Hampton Bay 2-Door Over the Toilet Storage Cabinet

Some things are best hidden behind closed doors. If you need more closed storage space, move bulk purchases of paper products to a linen closet or maybe even under a bed.

Consider adding a freestanding, ready-made cabinet/shelving unit for extra storage space. Or roll towels and washcloths, and store them in a decorative basket near the bathtub or shower.

Step 4: Hang Stuff Behind Doors

Think you don’t have anywhere to hang anything? Make use of the space behind doors.

Invest in an over-the-door rack with multiple hooks for hanging wet towels, bathrobes, and other articles of clothing. Or hang a shoe bag organizer on the back of a door, and use it to store toiletries and other bathroom items like rolled-up magazines.

Another quick, no-tools-required storage solution is to hang a few hooks that adhere to any surface and remove easily without marring. They come in finishes to match any décor, and in a variety of sizes to hang everything from bath towels and laundry bags to hair dryers and flat irons.

You can even hang your trash bin inside a cabinet door to keep the floor clear:

youcopia plastic bag trash bin
YouCopia Plastic Bag Trash Bin

Everybody knows that a shower or tub caddy helps to keep the bathing area clutter-free. But one caddy rarely offers enough storage space to accommodate the product needs of multiple family members or roommates.

The solution is simple: Organize bath and shower toiletries by family member or roommate name in buckets, and then hang the buckets on your shower curtain rod. The buckets are also great for storing bath toys when they’re not in use.

great useful stuff hanging bucket bins storing skin and hair care products
Great Useful Stuff Hanging Bucket Bins

Step 5: Make Your Bathroom Easy to Keep Clean

2 white bottles and a rubber ducky, cologne bottle, and glass toothpaste and toothbrush holder on a wooden bathroom shelf

Here are four more bathroom organizing strategies that will help you clutter-proof your bathroom like a boss:

  1. If you discovered any unopened and expired items, buy less of those items next time.
  2. Use up toiletries before buying more. One bottle of shampoo to replace the one that’s in use is plenty.
  3. When you get new prescriptions, dispose of the outdated ones. Also, mark expiration dates on bottles with a Sharpie so you can easily see when it’s time to dispose of them.
  4. Keep cleaning supplies handy to make quick clean-ups easier.

Follow the advice in these steps, and chances are high that your bathroom will look, and stay, clean.

This article was written by Donna Smallin Kuper, an organizing and cleaning expert who is also the author of a dozen best-selling books on uncluttering, organizing, cleaning, and simplifying life. Currently writing for Home Depot, Donna is often quoted by the media, in Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple, and Woman’s Day.

Where To Donate Your Old Clothes, Books, Furniture, Toys, Cell Phones, And More

Hoarders aren’t the only ones hanging onto stuff they don’t need. You might have clothes you don’t wear, movies you never liked, and Nokia phones from 2005 lurking in the corners of your home.

Before you toss those items in the garbage, consider saving the planet, and helping out those in need, by donating the items.

There are lots of charities out there, and it can be tough to know where to donate clothes, books, furniture, toys, cars, cell phones, TVs, and more. That’s why we compiled this guide to charities accepting used goods.

While each charity has different guidelines and ways for you to give, all of them will be pleased to receive your old stuff, whether it’s used books or an old car.


goodwill store door and sign
Flickr/Mike Mozart

Items it accepts: Just about anything. Clothing, shoes, furniture, bedding, toys, kitchenware, books, computers, and coffee makers are all cleared for Goodwill® donations.

There’s a pretty specific list offered on the Goodwill donation valuation guide, which will also help you calculate your donation tax deduction.

Items it does not accept: Any item that’s been banned, recalled, or doesn’t meet current safety standards will be turned down. Check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for more info on those standards.

Also, not every Goodwill® location can accept certain “specialty items” like computers, mattresses, or cars. The organization suggests you give your local branch a call before you show up with your old Buick.

If you’re specifically looking to donate a computer, try Dell Reconnect. It’s a partnership program between Dell and Goodwill® that recycles old computers and their parts.

Participating Goodwill® locations will accept any computer in any condition, even non-Dell computers. Over 2,000 locations offer this service, so do a quick search on Dell Reconnect’s site to find a dropoff location near you.

How to donate: Goodwill has donation dropoff sites all over the country. To find the one closest to you, simply plug your zip code into the search bar at the top of Goodwill®’s website.

If you’re donating a ton of stuff and don’t have a car to transport everything, Goodwill® may be able to help you out. Simply call the donation site that’s closest to you and ask them if pickup service is available in your area.

Pro Tip: MakeSpace offers free Goodwill® pickups in NYC, Chicago, and Washington, DC.

makespace offers free goodwill pickups for storage customers in nyc, chicago, and dc

When you schedule your first MakeSpace appointment, we’ll bring a shiny blue MakeSpace + Goodwill bag to your home. Fill the bag with any gently-used items you want to donate and leave the rest to us.

We’ll drop off your donation bag at a local Goodwill — at no extra charge.

Salvation Army

Flickr/Mike Mozart

Items it accepts: The Salvation Army accepts appliances, clothes, furniture, kitchen gear, books, movies, computers, cars, and even ice skates.Here’s the

Here’s the Salvation Army’s donation valuation guide. It’ll help you determine the approximate tax-deductible value of some of the most commonly donated items.

Items it does not accept: Although the Salvation Army welcomes your car, boat, and vehicle donations, they don’t always accept them due to various regulations.

Call 1-800-728-7825 for more details. You can also enter your zip code here to find Salvation Army vehicle donation services in your area.

How to donate: Find a dropoff location in your area or schedule a free pickup at

Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)

a pair of brown leather sneakers atop a pair of folded dark blue jeans

Items it accepts: Shoes, clothing, bikes, toys, electronics, books, small appliances and furniture, tools, cosmetics, and cars are all clear. At the same time, the VVA has a particular need for clothes, so try to prioritize that if you can.

Items it does not accept: The VVA website says it accepts almost anything. If you have questions, give them a call toll-free at 1-800-882-1316.

If you’re considering a car donation, call 1-800-435-7838 or complete and submit the VVA’s online car donation form.

How to donate: VVA pickup and dropoff services are available in 32 states. Head to VVA’s donate page to find a dropoff location near you or schedule a pickup.

Habitat ReStores

habitat for humanity ground breaking in north augusta, sc
Flickr/Savannah River Site

Items it accepts: You already know that Habitat for Humanity builds new houses from scratch. But have you heard about its Habitat ReStores?

Habitat ReStores are non-profit home improvement stores that also accept donations in the form of gently-used or new furniture, appliances, housewares, building materials, and more.

Items it does not accept: Check with the nearest ReStore near you. Each ReStore is unique, and many locations accept items outside of the aforementioned categories.

How to donate: Search for your nearest ReStore and call them. Depending on what item you’re donating and its size, the staff may advise you to drop it off or sit tight while they pick it up from your home.

The Junkluggers


Items it accepts: The Junkluggers is a full-service and eco-friendly junk removal company that picks up your items for donation and brings them to one of their charity partners.

Their charity partners include The Alliance Against Homelessness, Boots on the Ground, Goodwill®, Habitat for Humanity, The Salvation Army, and more.

Since The Junkluggers works with several different charities, they accept a lot of stuff. Seriously. The list of what The Junkluggers takes includes furniture, appliances, computers, printers, TVs, mattresses, sinks, tires, hot tubs, and a whole lot more.

The Junkluggers will also take your literal garbage. If your item can’t be donated, they’ll recycle it.

Items it does not accept: The Junkluggers does not take hazardous materials, including paint, chemicals, asbestos, oil drums (unless they’re empty with the bottom and top cut out), oil tanks, furnances, and water heaters.

How to donate: The Junkluggers serves nine states: Connecticut, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

If you live in one of those states, book a Junkluggers pickup online or call 1-800-LUG-JUNK (1-800-584-5865).

Donation Town

yellow and black ford capri

Items it accepts: Donation Town connects you with local charities that will pick up your stuff for free. While each charity has its own guidelines as to what items they’ll pick up, they typically pick up the following items and more:

  • Antiques
  • Books
  • Bedding
  • Clothes
  • Electronics
  • Jewelry
  • Office supplies
  • Shoes
  • Sports equipment
  • Toys
  • Vehicles

Items it does not accept: It varies by charity.

How to donate: Type your zip code into Donation Town’s search bar. Donation Town will show you charities in your area that pick up donations, their contact info, and what items they accept.


converse chuck taylor sneakers for donation

Items it accepts: Soles4Souls accepts all types of shoes, as long as they’re new or gently worn. They also accept new and gently worn clothing via Clothes4Souls that handles your old coats, shirts, jeans, and more.

Items it does not accept: Any items that are not new or gently worn clothing or shoes.

How to donate: Find the nearest Souls4Souls dropoff location and drop off the shoes and/or clothes that you’d like to donate. Soles 4 Souls also encourages you to host a shoe drive to get your entire community involved. They’ll even help you do it!

Dress for Success

womens blazers hanging on a clothes rack
Flickr/Esmay de Olde

Items it accepts: Dress for Success helps women achieve economic independence by providing support,  development tools, and professional outfits. The organization accepts pantsuits, skirts, dresses, blazers, blouses, shoes, purses, and unused cosmetics and jewelry.

Items it does not accept: Any article of clothing that you wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing to an interview.

How to donate: Drop off your business attire at any Dress for Success affiliate location.

The non-profit organization also strongly encourages donation drives. If you’re interested in hosting one, get in touch with your local branch so they can tell you what items are needed most.

Books for Soldiers

Flickr/U.S. Army

Items it accepts: Books, magazines, comic books, video games, relief supplies, CDs, and DVDs for soldiers stationed around the world.

Items it does not accept: Adult movies, books, or magazines.

How to donate:  Register on Books for Soldiers’ website. Once you’ve chosen a username, you can access the mailing addresses for the military men and women requesting supplies.

If you have any questions about the process that aren’t addressed in Book for Soldiers’ FAQ, email

Operation Paperback

books on a shelf, including harry potter by j.k. rowling

Items it accepts: Paperback books,  magazines, hard candy, and playing cards for the armed forces. The most popular book genres are bestsellers, science fiction, fantasy, murder mysteries, action, and spy fiction.

Items it does not accept: Romance novels.

How to donate:  Register for Operation Paperback and accept the terms of their volunteer agreement. Then log into the Volunteer’s Corner and request addresses of troops deployed overseas, veterans, or military families. Enter the genres of the books you’d like to donate, and the website will match you with relevant requests.

As a heads up, be sure to pack your shipment with an Operation Paperback shipping letter, or a note of your own, when you bring it to the post office.

Books for Africa

light blue, royal blue, and black pens atop an open light blue notebook

Items it accepts: Books for Africa partners with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Africa to provide donated books to African students. While books are the majority of their donations, Books for Africa also accepts paper, pencils, pens, maps, wall charts, and other school supplies.

Items it does not accept: Magazines or journals, including academic journals, are not permitted. Neither are home decorating books, wedding books, cookbooks, music books for grades K-12, foreign language books unless they’re French, or other books listed in the “does not accept” section of the organization’s Donate Books page.

How to donate: If you live in Atlanta, Georgia or St. Paul, Minnesota, you can drop off books at a Books for Africa warehouse. Each warehouse has specific hours, so be sure to check them before you start driving.

If you live elsewhere, you can mail in supplies to the Atlanta location. Here’s their address:

Books For Africa Warehouse-Atlanta
3655 Atlanta Industrial Drive, Bldg. 250
Atlanta, GA 30331

BetterWorld Books

kids mug atop a stack of children's books

Items it accepts: BetterWorld Books works with several literacy groups, including Books for Africa, to bring books to low-income communities, prisons, and kids around the world.

Items it does not accept: Anything that isn’t a book.

How to donate: Use this handy tool to find your closest BetterWorld Books drop box location. For bulkier donations, email

Secure the Call

nokia 6020 phone
Flickr/Rodrigo Senna

Items it accepts: Used and working cell phones. Secure the Call converts them into emergency access phones for domestic violence victims and senior citizens. If you have the cell phone’s charger, please donate that too.

Items it does not accept: Anything that isn’t a working cell phone.

How to donate: Find a collection barrel near you. You can also mail in your old cell phones with Secure the Call’s prepaid shipping label. If you plan on donating one to three cell phones, Secure the Call requests that you pay the shipping costs if you have the means.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)

virgin mobile lg phone emergency call
Flickr/Keera Russell

Items it accepts: The NCADV accepts cell phone donations as part of its program with Cellular Recycler, which refurbishes the phones for sale. A portion of those sales then go back to the NCADV to support their mission of stopping violence in the home.

You can donate any phone (and their accessories) in any condition, laptops, MP3 players, digital cameras, and video game systems. While their website says that iPhones, Samsung, and HTC phones are the most wanted, they will accept any phones.

Items it does not accept: Any item that’s not listed above.

How to donate: Pack your donation and ship it using this prepaid FedEx label. The NCADV encourages you to send at least three items to help keep shipping free.


android phone with charger

Items it accepts: HopeLine is a Verizon initiative that recycles and refurbishes phones for sale, and then uses the money to provide cash grants to programs that combat domestic violence. Verizon also provides some of the phones to domestic violence victims.

In addition to cell phones from any provider and in any condition, HopeLine accepts your chargers, spare batteries, headsets, and pagers, if you still happen to own one.

Items it does not accept: Any item that’s not listed above.

How to donate: Bring your items to a local Verizon retail store and drop them in a HopeLine bin. If there isn’t a Verizon retail store near you, print out this prepaid mailing label and ship your items to them.

Thrift Stores and Public Libraries

outdoor thrift store furniture company sign in chicago, il
Flickr/S Jones

Don’t forget to look local. Thrift stores take all kinds of used items, and some (but not all) public libraries welcome book drops.

Have items you want to keep but don’t need in your home right now (like your Warped Tour tees that you haven’t worn since Blink-182’s last hit single)?

Schedule a MakeSpace pickup.

After we pick up your band shirts and anything else you’d like us to put in storage, we’ll transport everything to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility.  We’ll also create an online photo catalog of your stuff so you always remember what you packed.

What if you get a sudden urge to reminisce and belt “All The Small Things”?

You won’t have to drag yourself to a self-storage unit way across town. Simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the photos of the item’s you want back, and we’ll deliver them to you.

Take a look:

7 Surprising Space-Saving Lessons From Presidential Homes

As your history teacher always said, you can learn a lot from our past presidents. Each one offers lessons in honesty (George Washington), courage (Abraham Lincoln), and the importance of bundling up (William Henry Harrison).

But did you know that our former commanders-in-chief can also school you in an unexpected topic: storage?

No, none of our former presidents wrote a secret book on home decorating. (Although Teddy Roosevelt’s would probably involve tons of bearskins.) However, their civilian homes can teach you how to make a little space go a long way.

That’s right. We looked at the childhood, vacation, and retirement houses of seven past presidents for useful space-saving lessons that you can apply in your own home.

Here’s what we discovered:

Lesson #1: You can stick a bookshelf anywhere.

President: Franklin D. Roosevelt
Home: The Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia

little white house in warm springs, georgia
Wikimedia/Jim Clark

Franklin Delano Roosevelt lived in many homes over his lifetime. There was the “Big House” in Hyde Park, New York where he was born and buried.

There was also the family vacation home on Campobello Island. And that Executive Mansion he occupied from 1933 through 1945. But perhaps the most special Roosevelt residence of all was the “Little White House.”

The “Little White House” is located in Warm Springs, Georgia. Roosevelt first traveled there in 1924, seeking mineral springs treatment for his polio. Although repeated exercise and treatments at the local resort did not restore his ability to walk, he responded well to Warm Springs and bought the resort in 1926.

The resort was a bit run-down and not nearly as grand as his other homes, but Roosevelt loved the little cottage and retreated there often during his four presidential terms. Since his aides frequently followed him there to conduct business, it was nicknamed the “Little White House.”

So what home organization wisdom can you gather from this estate?

Take a look at FDR’s living room:


Roosevelt has a sizable bookcase in one corner, and he’s sandwiched two skinny shelves between a doorway. One of the shelves is practically hiding behind a chair. Use this ingenuity to squeeze shelves into your apartment.

Can’t fit something along your doorway like FDR?

Then try the ledge above your door frame. Also think about using window sills and walls for storage:

the living room in fdr's little white house in warm springs, ga has above door shelves, wall shelves, and a fireplace

Once you’re all set up, consider adding a paperback of Roosevelt’s fireside chats to the books on your floating shelves.

Lesson 2: Alcoves are your friend.

living room of president eisenhower national historic site in gettysburg, pa

President: Dwight D. Eisenhower
Home: Eisenhower National Historic Site in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Our 34th president “Ike” grew up in Abilene, Kansas. When it came time to retire, though, he chose this farmhouse right next to the Gettysburg battlefield.

It made sense: He had already used the place as a weekend getaway during his presidency and even entertained a dignitary or two on the sprawling acres. (Jawaharlal Nehru, then prime minister of India, stayed in the guest room.)

Once he was done running the country, Eisenhower dedicated his days to raising Angus cattle and painting on this Pennsylvania property. The home is now a national park open to visitors, and it retains 99% of its original furnishings.

Although Mamie Eisenhower’s blazingly pink bathroom is probably the highlight, take notes on the living room, pictured above.

The Eisenhowers clearly took advantage of their fireplace mantle, coffee table, and smaller end tables. Each one supports ashtrays, flowers, family photos, and clocks.

Now how did they manage to display several pieces of china without using an inch of that surface space?

An unassuming white alcove.

If your apartment already has an alcove built into the living room or kitchen, put it to use.

If your apartment doesn’t have an alcove, but you’re pretty handy — and you have your landlord’s permission to do this — think about building an alcove. You’re literally adding space to your home, without sacrificing anything but some dusty drywall.

Lesson 3: Get a desk with lots of storage space.

President: Harry Truman
Home: Harry S. Truman National Historic Site in Independence, Missouri

president harry s truman's national historic site in independence, missouri

It seems only fitting that the 33rd president of America spent most of his life in Independence, Missouri. Harry Truman moved into 219 North Delaware Street with his wife Bess at the start of their marriage in 1919, and he stayed there more or less until his death in 1972 (if you don’t count those couple years in Washington, DC).

The Trumans had lots of roots in Independence. Bess’ grandfather built their longtime home, where their only child, Margaret, was born and raised. Truman’s brothers lived in houses nearby, as did his aunt and cousins.

So when Truman returned to Independence for good in 1953, he lived like a man of the people. He didn’t keep a Secret Service detail. He frequently drove his own car, and indulged any neighbor hoping for an autograph or handshake.

Bess Truman kept a large desk made from scrap wood salvaged during the White House renovations on the second floor of the house. While the desk itself was fairly cluttered — Marie Kondo would’ve had a field day with the former First Lady — it still illustrates the importance of a good desk with lots of storage space.

This particular piece of furniture featured at least ten drawers, including several on the sides. The top also contains a few small built-in shelves.

Take a page from Bess’ book and seek out a desk for your home that has enough drawers, hutches, and slides to contain all your office supplies and so much more.

Lesson 4: Hang family photos on the wall.

President: John F. Kennedy
Home: Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts


Few people are familiar with the Eisenhower farmhouse or Truman home. But everyone knows about the Kennedy Compound. The famous photos of the kids throwing a football on the lush lawn and Jackie sailing in her chic beach wear cemented its mythical status.

One other thing helped give the Kennedy Compound its mysterious edge:

While other presidential homes are open to the public, this Cape Cod residence remains private.

Still, historians and journalists have picked out details about the Kennedy Compound. Rose Kennedy, AKA JFK’s mom, revealed plenty in a 1962 video promoting her son’s first Senate campaign. ABC News included some of the details in a report on the Hyannis Port estate.

The main takeaway from this promo?

The Kennedys really valued family photos. Even a small clip shows hundreds of framed photographs of the Kennedy kids throughout the house.

While Rose placed a bunch of stuff on tabletops, she also mounted things to the walls. This is free space you also have for hanging your posters, pictures, and paintings.

Vertical space is a lifesaver in a cramped apartment or house, so feel free to use your walls for storage, too.

Lesson 5: Levitate pots and pans on the wall.

President: Bill Clinton
Home: President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace National Historic Site

president bill clinton's birthplace home in hope, arkansas

Bill Clinton spent the first four years of his life in this green and white foursquare home with his grandparents and mother, who was tragically widowed three months before his birth.

Although the 42nd president would move to Hot Springs, Arkansas with his mom and new stepfather, Roger Clinton, at a fairly young age, he always remembered this place fondly.

“In this house I learned to walk and talk, I learned to pray, I learned to read, and I learned to count by number cards my grandparents tacked on the kitchen window,” he said in 1999.

While three adults and a baby can easily overwhelm a house, the family made it work. In fact, they had quite a bit of space for little Bill to roam in both the living room and dining room, which featured a playpen in the corner.

The kitchen, however, offered less freedom. As you can see at the 1:49 mark in this video tour, there was just enough space for a table, three chairs, Bill’s high chair, and a few basic appliances:


So how did they get around the stark shortage of cabinets?

By using their vertical space, just like Rose Kennedy (and tiny-apartment dwellers Mary Helen Rowell and Grayson Altenberg).

Skillets, baking pans, and an enormous copper bowl all hung from pegs along the wall in Bill Clinton’s boyhood home. Pegs or a mounted rack can do similar wonders for your cookware.

Even a magnetic knife strip, like this one from IKEA, can change your culinary game.

Lesson 6: Be strategic about your house plants.

lbj ranch main house in stonewall, texas
Wikimedia/Larry D. Moore

President: Lyndon B. Johnson
Home: Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park in Stonewall, Texas

The 36th president first acquired the “LBJ Ranch” or “Texas White House” in 1951 when his aunt gave him her rundown ranch.

Lyndon B. Johnson had his eye on the property since his teenage summers spent on the range, and he quickly built out the place into a folksy retreat from his demanding political life.

While he was president, Johnson hosted other past presidents like Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Richard Nixon at the ranch. Guests could expect to receive a tour of LBJ’s prized Hereford cattle in the Show Barn. Or a terrifying dip in the lake.

The prankster president was fond of scaring visitors with his Amphicar by driving off…into the lake…without warning.

But it wasn’t all fun and games. If an important call came in for anyone, they could get down to business: Johnson had around 300 phone lines installed in his Texas ranch.

The Johnsons were obviously nature lovers, so they decorated their home with all kinds of greenery. They didn’t just load down every table with a sprawling fern. They were strategic.

A small cactus on the desk here. A basket of wildflowers on the sitting room table there. And a much larger potted plant on the fireplace hearth.

Look for houseplants in a variety of sizes, suited for a variety of surfaces in your home. That way, you can keep your place nice and green without sacrificing too much counter space.

Lesson 7: Invest in extendable furniture.

president ronald reagan boyhood home in dixon, illinois
Flickr/Roman Boed

President: Ronald Reagan
Home: Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home in Dixon, Illinois

The Dixon, Illinois home where teenage Ronald Reagan lived is nothing like the $15 million Bel-Air mansion he would later share with his wife Nancy. But since you probably don’t need advice on maintaining giant swimming pools, let’s talk about the 40th president’s childhood house.

Four Reagans occupied the two-story home: Ronald, his parents Jack and Nelle, and his older brother Neil. The boys had one bedroom, Jack and Nelle had another. There was also a kitchen, dining room, two parlors, and a sewing room.

Although the family only lived there for three years (the Reagans moved a lot), Ronald seemed to have a special attachment to this particular house. “All of us have a place we go back to; Dixon is that place for me,” he wrote in his autobiography.

What made the place so magical?

Well, the Reagan matriarch probably had something to do with it. By all accounts, Nelle Reagan was an industrious woman, and it shows in her kitchen.

The tops of her cupboards and ovens are home to kettles and creamers. And her space-saving table is home to our jealousy. The table seemingly fits only two, but snap up the leaves and you can feed the whole family.

Look for extendable furniture that can stretch space constraints in your home as well. Search for tables with drop leaves, desks with pull-out panels like the tables in Carmel Place, and even futons that turn your living room into a makeshift guest room.

Bonus Lesson: MakeSpace takes care of all your storage needs.

Home: Your own

You might admire Rose Kennedy’s interior decorating, but you don’t have a spacious beach “compound” to accommodate all your belongings.

Heck, you (and us) would settle for an apartment with an actual dining room.

Good news: You can still live like a president in cramped quarters. All you need is MakeSpace.

Schedule a pickup and we’ll pick up your extra furniture, kitchenware, luggage and anything else that’s taking up valuable room in your home.

Then, we’ll transport everything to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility. We’ll even create an online photo catalog of every item so you always know what you have in storage.

But that’s not all.

When you want something back from storage, you don’t have to drag yourself to a storage unit way across town. Just log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

You may never win a presidential election. But with MakeSpace, you can win the endless campaign for more space in your place.

Top image via Wikimedia/Scewing

Hygge: The Danish Secret To Staying Cozy And Happy All Winter Long

Everyone has an opinion on how to survive the cold, dark months of winter. Some people swear you need a light therapy box. Others say a good humidifier and lots of moisturizer are key.

But the Danes? The Danes say you need hygge.

Hygge is a comfy lifestyle craze that has been gathering steam in the past year. You might have seen books about it, or just wondered how to pronounce it. So what is hygge? And will it really help you through the freezing nights ahead?

This guide will explain what hygge is, why the Danish swear by it, and how you can apply it to your life and home.

While there’s no one way to practice hygge, these tips should point you in the right direction. If you’re a truly serious student, throw on your fluffiest pair of socks before scrolling down.

Click any of the following links to jump to a specific section:
Hygge Definition
Hygge Origin
Hygge Pronunciation
Why Is Hygge So Popular?
How To Hygge Your Life
How To Hygge Your Home

Hygge Definition

hygge definition: feeling cozy and content, and embracing life's simple pleasures

Hygge is a Danish word meaning “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” Basically, it’s when you’re cozy and you feel good about it.

You can use warm slippers, a nice cup of tea, or just a good meal to achieve hygge. It’s the feeling, not the cause, that’s important.

Hygge didn’t just show up a few years ago. The concept has long been a part of Danish culture. Back in 1957, The New Yorker reported that “the sidewalks [in Copenhagen] are filled with smiling, hyggelige people, who keep lifting their hats to each other and who look at a stranger with an expression that indicates they wish they knew him well enough to lift their hats to him, too.”

Many believe hygge is part of the reason why Denmark routinely lands on top of the World Happiness Report. (Denmark ranked #1 in 2012, #1 in 2013, #3 in 2015, and #1 in 2016).

Hygge Origin

rooftop view of winter in kongens nytorv, a public square in copenhagen, denmark
Flickr/Kristoffer Trolle

According to the BBC, hygge is a means to cope with those brutal Nordic winters. Denmark can go dark for up to 17 hours a day during the worst of the season, and the average temperature is frequently around 32 degrees.

So there’s not much else to do but stay inside, which forced the Danes to get creative about their indoor activities. Hence, hygge.

Hygge Pronunciation

The Danes pronounce “hygge” as “hue-gah.” Turn up your volume and watch this quick video to hear the correct way to pronounce hygge:

Why Is Hygge So Popular?

hygge books in a bookcase at waterstones picadilly in london
Flickr/Cory Doctorow

The publishing world went on a bit of a hygge craze starting around 2015, and it’s not stopping anytime soon. The concept was quickly sold as an appealing self-improvement trend that could follow Marie Kondo’s “life-changing magic” of decluttering.

After all, who doesn’t like cozy candles and cardigans?

There was a big wave of hygge lifestyle books in 2016 that included The Year of Living Danishly, The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well, The Little Book of Hygge, The Cozy Life: Rediscover the Joy of the Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of Hygge, and many more.

Once the dust settled, publishers saw they had a hit. And since your friends likely read one of those best-selling books, that’s why you’re hearing about hygge all the time.

So now that you know the basics of this Danish secret to happiness, how do you incorporate hygge into your life and home? Allow us to explain…

How To Hygge Your Life

1. Spend quality time with friends and family.

gone girl synopsis on a flat screen tv in a living room

Marie Tourell Søderberg lists “togetherness” as a key aspect of hygge in her book Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness. Hanging out with the people you like best is a great way to get your hygge on, and it doesn’t really matter what you do.

Dinner parties, coffee dates, or even a Netflix binge can all do the trick. Here are a few more cozy group activities from The Kitchn.

2. Avoid multi-tasking.

A magazine, a flower in a pot, and a cup of coffee are on top of a wooden crate.

Hygge is all about savoring, which means multi-tasking is a no-no. If you find yourself reaching for your phone to check emails while you watch a movie, turn off the phone.

Or if you keep checking out of conversations with your roommate to wash dishes, embrace the time with your roommate and try to steer the conversation towards a topic that the both of you find interesting.

You should focus solely on enjoying your leisure, and don’t feel bad about it. You’re allowed to just read a magazine or just catch up on Game of Thrones. That’s a major part of hygge’s appeal.

3. Remove stressors.

hygge coffee mug that reads "keep calm and drink coffee" on a coffee table

Hygge is supposed to improve your well-being, so anything that makes you feel stressed or sad is not allowed. The Year of Living Danishly author, Helen Russell, believes the best description of hygge is “the absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming.”

Sounds nice.

So the more you can eliminate (or at least temporarily minimize) your stressors during hygge time, the happier you’ll be.

4. Leave work at a reasonable time.

empty workspace with an apple imac

Denmark strongly believes in a healthy work-life balance. In fact, they kind of enforce it.

Every Dane gets a minimum five weeks of paid vacation per year. Long work hours aren’t really a thing in that country, and the parental leave policies (52 weeks!) are incredibly generous. It’s no wonder The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) routinely ranks Denmark high on its list of countries with the best work-life balance.

So if you want to emulate those high-on-hygge Danes, you can start by leaving the office at a reasonable time. You have to get your work done, of course, but don’t linger behind solely to impress your manager or redraft a proposal that’s already solid.

Get out and get cozy instead.

5. Eat well.


The whole hygge lifestyle is sometimes described as “healthy hedonism.” And what’s healthy hedonism without some fine food and drink?

As the above video demonstrates, there’s no guilt in hygge. Just a whole bunch of almond cake, winter salads, and spiked punch.

The book that Jean Menzies, a creative producer at Pan Macmillan, hypes in the clip is How to Hygge by chef and author Signe Johnasen. Signe may be Norwegian, but all the Nordic countries have a pretty firm grasp of hygge.

If you’re curious about what else Signe likes to cook, here are tasty recipes for her salmon burgers, sticky ginger cake with clementine glaze, and roast rack of lamb with a rye, herb, and spice crust. They definitely count as comfort food.

6. Ride your bike.


Denmark loves its bicycles. Copenhagen has nearly 250 miles of bike lanes to prove it! And apparently, bikes are yet another part of hygge.

The above video from VisitDenmark, the official tourism site of Denmark, proves it. When VisitDenmark sent a Swede out to discover what hygge is, the first place she stopped at was a combination bike shop-cafe.

So take your bicycle out for a ride. As long as you’re adequately bundled up and the streets are clear, there’s no reason why winter should get in the way of your pedaling.

7. Wear comfortable clothing.

hygge clothing hanging on a clothes rack in an apartment

Hygge promises constant comfort. And if you expect to be comfy 24/7, you’ll need to dress for the part. But that doesn’t mean you have to wear dowdy sweats all winter long.

Vogue has several chic tips on incorporating hygge into your wardrobe. Have you considered head-to-toe knits? How about Gucci-approved layering?

Then there’s the Sarah Lund sweater. Sarah Lund is the lead character on The Killing — the original Danish one, not the remake you caught on AMC. She wears a specific sweater on the show, and viewers went wild over it.

Sarah Lund’s sweater quickly became its own website, where you can find advice on how to knit a copycat. But if you need to have the OG, head over to Gudrun & Gudrun. The Faroe Islands company still makes the sweater in several colors.

Just be sure to brace your wallet: the Sarah Lund sweater costs $400.

How To Hygge Your Home

1. Curate a hygge candle collection.

In The Little Book of Hygge, author and CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, Meik Wiking, writes that “no recipe for hygge is complete without candles.”

When Danes are asked what they associate with hygge, 85% say candles. That must be why the average Dane burns about 13 pounds of candle wax each year.

But that doesn’t mean you should stock up on “Bahama Breeze” and “Peach Bellini” varieties. The Danes are all about organic, natural candles, so don’t seek out anything with an overly artificial scent.

2. Don’t forget about hygge lamps.

Candles aren’t the only lights Danes care about. Lamps are just as important. Hygge-conscious Danes are known to shell out major money for designer lamps, even if they’re on a tight budget.

The wattage is what’s crucial here. Optimal “hyggelig” (the adjective form of hygge) lighting resembles an open flame or sunset. So go low rather than high. And whatever you do, don’t go fluorescent.

3. Bring the great outdoors indoors with plants.

hygge plants, including a fern and red berries

The Danes are big nature lovers. They are people who love to go on long walks and hikes even when it’s cold outside. But what do they do when it’s too blustery, dark, or dangerous to stroll through the natural scenery?

They bring the greenery indoors. A few houseplants — think ferns, spider plants, and weeping figs — can go a long way. In fact, gardening has been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure and boost endorphins, which can bring about feelings of euphoria.

How to Hygge also recommends a small aloe vera plant in your kitchen (for soothing burns) and fresh flowers once a week. The flowers shouldn’t be too showy, though. Stick to one variety or color to avoid “look[ing] twee.”

4. Build a fire — or stream one.


When you think “cozy,” you probably imagine sitting in a comfy chair in front of a roaring fire. This is a pretty classic hygge scenario, so if you have a fireplace in your home, you should definitely put it to use.

Once you have flames kindling, close the gate and curl up on your space-saving sofa with a blanket and a good book. You’ll feel like a hygge natural in no time.

But if your home doesn’t have a hearth, you can still hack that cozy feeling. Just stream a fake fire onto your TV. Seriously, even the Danish pros do this.

Netflix subscribers have the entire “Fireplace for Your Home” series at their disposal. For Amazon Prime members, there’s Yule Log. Hulu has the hour-long “Christmas Fireplace.” And YouTube has the video embedded above.

5. Soften and simplify your home with hygge decor.

cat sleeping on a hygge rug

What do we mean by “soften and simplify”?

Let’s break it down one word at a time:

Softening your home means making it plusher with soft fabrics. That means area rugs, tapestries, and lots and lots of throw blankets. Drape a throw all over the place. Or pile them high in baskets for your guests (and self).

Simplifying is a little more complicated. Hygge practitioners would definitely get along with Marie Kondo considering they too do not believe in overly cluttered living spaces. But “simplifying” doesn’t just mean ditching your old clothes. It also means making tasks easier.

Consider this HGTV example: Open kitchen shelves don’t just lighten the space in a way that cabinets do. They also make the task of cleaning simpler. Think about similar redecorating moves that you can apply in your own apartment.

6. Designate a hygge nook.

hygge window nook in a home

According to Good Housekeeping UK, a good nook can make all the difference. Designating a favorite spot in your home where you can unwind with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine will help you get your hygge on, so look around your place.

Maybe this nook is the end of your sofa, an easy chair, or a window seat. Once you’ve found your nook, keep an extra cushion or blanket nearby. You know, in case of a hygge emergency.

7. Achieve hygge with MakeSpace.


You understand what you need to hygge up your life. You already picked out the candles, lamps, houseplants, and blankets. (And scheduled a tea party with your sister.) But you’re just not sure how you’re supposed to make everything work.

You can barely fit any new socks in your tiny home. How are you supposed to add a few ferns — and a couple of new throws — in there, too?

You don’t need to go to Copenhagen to find that answer. Just go to and schedule a pickup.

We’ll come get whatever’s standing in the way of your new Danish lifestyle. Then, we’ll transport your stuff to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility. We’ll also create an online photo catalog of your things, so you always remember what you have in storage.

But here’s what will make you feel extra cozy:

When you want something back from storage, you won’t have to spend hours digging through dusty boxes in a dim storage unit. Simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver the item to you.

With that kind of service, you’ll be at the top of the World Happiness Report in no time.

An Interior Designer Shows You How To Create A Fancy Foyer With A Simple Room Divider

Tiny homes and apartments often have a front door that opens directly into the living room or dining room, so there’s no distinct foyer. Although that isn’t usually a deal breaker when buying your first home or renting, it is nice to have a designated entryway.

One solution is to build a dividing wall, but unless you’re using EverBlocks, that means bringing out the power tools and running to the home improvement store for wood and sheetrock.

An easier way is to “build” a different kind of room divider. By “build,” I mean set up a screen to separate the living room from the front door.

An advantage of using a room divider or screen is its portability. If or when you move, it goes with you. But the best part is you can find or create one to fit your home’s exact style. If you’re the creative, do-it-yourself type, the possibilities are endless.

I happened to have a four-part screen with framed-in wood and cardboard inserts. It has two-way hinges that allow it to fold in a variety of flexible stand positions.

4-panel room divider with a wooden frame and cardboard inserts
Merry Cvetan

As an interior designer, I’m always looking for ways to add personality to a client’s home. For first-time homeowners or young professionals renting their first “grown-up” apartment, the design budget is usually limited. However, a limited budget doesn’t mean you can’t turn your home into a space that reflects your style.

To the surprise of many people, I recommend wallpaper. Not only is it making a comeback, but you can use it in more ways than just on the wall. Wallpaper is available in so many patterns and prints, from traditional to abstract, with a rainbow of color options. If you don’t find a paper you absolutely love, you aren’t trying hard enough!

For this room divider, I decided on warm, brown tones, since neutral colors tend to be more versatile. I found a mottled brown wallpaper that resembles natural stone. The depths of colors give it a rich texture.

mottled brown wallpaper that resembles natural stone
Merri Cvetan

Although I love stripes and plaids, I suggest avoiding patterns with vertical or horizontal lines for a multi-section divider. You’ll have to be perfect when trying to match up straight lines, so it’s much easier to forgo them altogether.

First, I painted the wood frame with a semi-gloss latex paint in a matching shade of brown before setting up my wallpaper. A portable folding table is the perfect work surface when working with wallpaper in any installation.

4-panel room divider with semi-gloss latex paint
Merri Cvetan

Since my screen sections are just shy of 13 inches wide by 55 ¾ inches long, I chose a 27-inch-wide wallpaper so I could get two widths out of each length. Using a straight-edge ruler and an X-ACTO knife, I measured and cut each piece.

the back of the room divider's wallpaper has lines for cutting with an x-acto knife
Meri Cvetan

Before attaching the paper to the screen, I laid out each piece to make sure they fit.

room divider panel with mottled brown wallpaper and a tape measure on top
Merri Cvetan

For this project, prepasted wallpaper was the way to go. I also made sure I didn’t pick a really heavy vinyl paper. Following the manufacturer’s directions, I submerged the rolled piece in lukewarm water for 15 to 20 seconds.

a mottled brown wallpaper strip is soaking in lukewarm water
Merri Cvetan

Next, lift the paper out of the water, allowing the excess to run off. Then lay the paper on the table, right side down, and “book” it — meaning fold the paper in half with the back sides together to let the paste activate. Make sure you do not crease the fold.

booking a wallpaper strip on a table
Merri Cvetan

Then lay the paper on the screen section, and gently smooth out any air bubbles with a wallpaper brush. Use a metal paint edger and razor knife to trim away excess paper for a nice clean edge.

Repeat the process with each section, front and back sides, and just like that, you have a beautiful new foyer.

My entryway before I built and added a custom room divider:

merri cvetan's entryway before building and adding a custom 4-panel room divider
Merri Cvetan

My entryway after I built and added a custom room divider:

merri cvetan's entryway after building and adding a custom 4-panel room divider
Merri Cvetan

As you can see, a screen divider instantly transforms one space into two. A hinged screen can be positioned and repositioned depending on your needs and how much space you have. You could also use a coordinating paper on the opposite side so that the foyer would get one look and the living room another.

Choose a paper that suits your personality. If you’re not a neutral person, go bright and bold — there are no rules except to pick a wallpaper you love. Your guests will be wowed when they visit and find out you made this screen yourself.

This article was written by Merri Cvetan, an interior designer who writes for The Home Depot about creating beautiful spaces through crafty DIYs. She provides tips on topics from designing a beautiful master bedroom to creating a foyer when you don’t have one. Visit The Home Depot to see a selection of home decor products you can use to create your own foyer.

How To Decorate A Small Apartment For The Holidays On A Budget

You’re the type of person who starts playing Christmas music in early November. You have several ugly holiday sweaters, and at least five different eggnog recipes.

You’ve seen The Muppet Christmas Carol so many times. You’re embarrassed to reveal the number — but let’s just say it’s in the triple digits.

Basically, you love the holidays. But it’s hard for you to really unleash your cheer, when your apartment (and bank account) can barely accommodate a stocking.

Don’t let space or money hold you back from celebrating the holidays to the max. This guide will show you how to deck the halls even when you have less of a “hall” than a three-person railroad apartment.

With a little strategy and DIY know-how, you’ll have your place looking like Santa’s workshop in no time:

1. Research the Christmas tree market.

christmas trees for sale in nyc
Flickr/Jazz Guy

So you’ve decided to get a tree. The first thing you have to do is figure out where exactly you can get one.

Stroll for a few blocks in your neighborhood and pay particular attention to churches, hardware stores, or any shop that already sells plants. You will usually find Christmas tree pop-ups in front of those places, but they can also show up beside the local CVS.

Still struggling?

amNewYork compiled a bunch of spots in all five boroughs, and DNAinfo has an interactive map.

Now, you shouldn’t necessarily settle for the first tree hub you find. Prices can vary wildly based on your location. If you’re in a ritzier area, you may want to venture outside your neighborhood for a better deal.

Just make sure you have a way to get your out-of-town tree home. Look for vendors with delivery options, or bribe your friend who has a car with cookies.

2. Consider different tree sizes.

small christmas tree for small apartment

Obviously, prices grow with the size of the tree. Those staggering six-footers are definitely impressive, but they may be a drag on your budget — and your tiny apartment. So ask the vendor for a full breakdown of sizes and prices. The tallest trees might be out of reach (pun intended), but you may be able to snag a mid-sized fir for under $50.

There’s also the beloved Charlie Brown tree. Yes, we’re talking about the scrappy little tree that Charlie Brown picks out, much to Lucy’s chagrin, in A Charlie Brown Christmas.

A 24-inch Charlie Brown Christmas Tree and a MakeSpace storage bin on the side.

Tree vendors figured out a long time ago that most of their New York customers were pressed for space, so they began offering small, table-top trees or “Charlie Brown trees” as an alternative.

They usually go for about $25-$30 a pop, and they’re often lusher than Charlie’s actual pick. But if you still want to decorate it with a single red bulb, no one will stop you.

3. Get a Christmas tree stand.

christmas tree stand
Flickr/Anthony Crider

A basic Christmas tree stand isn’t going to break the bank, but vendors also don’t throw it in for free. Make sure to bring an extra $5-$10 in cash to cover the cost.

Vendors typically only offer one or two types of stands, so if you prefer a larger selection, shop for the stand separately. Sporting good and hardware stores will have them. So will Target.

Look for a durable tree stand so that you don’t have to return it next year for a replacement. Also look for one that can hold some liquid, because you’re going to be watering the tree constantly.

4. Don’t want to haul a tree? Buy an artificial one online.

fake xmas trees on a table in an apartment
Flickr/Joshua Blount

Are the logistics of finding and hauling a tree back to your place giving you a yuletide migraine?

Skip the stress and buy a fake Christmas tree. There are plenty of convincing (and cheap!) faux trees on the market.

The best part: You can reuse an artificial Christmas tree for as many years as you want.

If you’re planning to order yours online, make sure to do that early, like right now. Otherwise, it won’t show up until New Year’s Eve. (If you’re lucky.)

5. Ask around for spare ornaments, and DIY the rest.

red and gold christmas ornaments
Flickr/Paul VanDerWerf

Alright, now it’s time to decorate your prized tree. If you’re starting your ornament collection from scratch, the cost can quickly rack up. So before you start mass-ordering Golden Girls ornaments, ask your family and friends if they have any spare stuff taking up space in their homes.

There is a high chance your uncle has, at the very least, an extra set of lights gathering dust in his garage. If he’s not using it himself, he’d probably be happy to give them to you.

Once you’ve tapped out those resources, consider making the rest of the ornaments on your own.

Bake clay snowflakes. And sew together felt Santas:


You can also make pipe cleaner reindeers. Prefer penguins? Idunn Goddess shows you how to DIY an adorable penguin ornament from a light bulb and paint:


6. Hunt for cheap holiday decorations.

manchester christmas market
Flickr/Phil Long

Your apartment’s holiday makeover is not done once you’ve placed a star on top of your tree. You still have walls, coffee tables, and windows to decorate, which you can do for cheap.

Rummage through yard sales and surplus stores first. After that, stalk the aisles of your local drugstore for discounted displays. And don’t forget to search online for any festive flash sales.

You can also stroll through holiday pop-up shops in your neighborhood. A lot of the stuff there will be overpriced, but you can still find affordable items like those ubiquitous paper star lanterns.

7. DIY holiday decorations for your apartment.

diy candy cane pine wreath

Another surefire way to save on holiday decorations? Make them yourself. Start with a crafting classic: the Mason jar snow globe. You can find almost all the supplies — glitter, glue, and tiny sleighs — at your local crafting store.

As The Washington Post points out, the project is simple enough for a child to make. So if you have kids, this is a fun and engaging holiday activity to do with them.

You already know that Mason jars are good at storing pretty much everything. But did you know that Mason jars are also good at being Underwater Forests? You just need some fake flora to bring this forest to life.

You can also make a cute votive display with upcycled cans, wrapping paper, and a wooden hanger. (Make sure to hit Google Translate on that link. The site is written in Hungarian.)

Want a wreath but already blew your greenery budget? Build one out of gift bows.

As Woman’s Day explains, simply attach a loop of floral wire around a Styrofoam wreath ring, which you can find at craft supplies stores,, and even Dollar Tree.

Next, hot glue your bows to the ring. Just remember to think of a color scheme before you start gluing things down.

All of these are excellent DIY holiday decorating ideas, but they each have one flaw:

You can’t eat them.

So let’s turn our attention to the ever-edible gingerbread house. Watch this video from How to Cook That to learn, well, how to make one:


8. Make Christmas tree potpourri.

christmas tree close-up
Flickr/Oregon State University

If you ended up getting a larger tree (i.e. one with ample needles to spare), collect a few fragrant branches for a festive potpourri. Olivia Cleans Green has a super easy Christmas tree potpourri recipe.

All you need to do is collect two small branches, break them up, and then combine them in a brown paper bag with cinnamon sticks, cloves, dried orange peel, and cotton balls containing essential oils.

Shake it all up and then marinate it in an airtight container for one week. After that, you can bust out the potpourri whenever you want your apartment to smell like Christmas.

Bought a smaller tree, and think you can’t pull this off without depriving your Charlie Brown tree of one of its precious few branches?

Think again.

Most tree vendors will give you loose branches for free if you ask nicely. Their trees shed all the time, so they have plenty of needles to spare.

9. Line your windows with paper snowflakes.

stick paper snowflakes on windows

Paper snowflakes aren’t just for kids. Now that you have an adult-level set of crafting skills, you can make some seriously intricate ones. You know, the kind that would make Buddy the Elf’s collection look amateur.


Regardless of your paper-folding proficiency, these snowflakes are a cheap and fun way to brighten up your windows. Here’s a tutorial from Martha Stewart on how to make fancy paper snowflakes.

10. Display your holiday cards.

things organized neatly holiday cards
Flickr/Lauren Manning

Maybe you don’t have a mantel, but you’re still getting tons of holiday cards from your friends and family across the country. Displaying your loved ones’ smiling faces is a surefire way to boost holiday cheer, so don’t relegate those cards to a pile on your counter.

Make use of your apartment’s vertical space by hanging the cards up on the walls. You can even take a play out of the Real Simple book and turn the holiday cards into a jolly display with a tree branch and some ribbon.

11. DIY a menorah.

There are plenty of creative ideas for anyone celebrating Hanukkah. Try making any of these 13 DIY menorahs from Brit + Co for a candelabrum all your own.

You can use wooden blocks, spray-painted bottles, or color-blocked candlesticks for example.

If you’re really down to get wild, head straight to the rhinestone rhinoceros.

12. Wrap your cabinet doors like presents.

You’ve just wrapped enough sweaters, books, and Hatchimals to last a lifetime, and yet miraculously, you still have some extra ribbon and bows. Use that surplus to apply a cheery touch to your kitchen cabinets.

As these holiday decorating hacks prove, wrapping your cabinets in a simple red ribbon can make your kitchen downright holly-jolly. But if you still feel like that room is lacking holiday spirit, move onto our next tip…

13. Transform your fridge into Frosty the Snowman.


Your fridge is already chilly, so it only makes sense to transform it into Frosty the Snowman.

For this cool DIY project, you’ll need to cut out cardboard buttons, eyes, a mouth, and a nose. Then paint the mouth, eyes, and buttons black, and paint the nose bright orange. After the pieces have dried, tape them onto your fridge.

For the finishing touch, upcycle a few strips of old wallpaper into the snowman’s scarf.

14. MakeSpace for Santa’s sleigh


You thought you had enough room for a Christmas tree and a few decorations. But somewhere between your first and 50th rotation of “Jingle Bell Rock,” you got a little carried away with holiday cheer and eggnog.

Now your apartment is covered from head to toe in holly, snowflakes, stars, and a giant unmeltable snowman. If you and your less festive furniture is starving for space, you don’t have to ditch the holly. You just have to MakeSpace.

Schedule a pickup and we’ll come collect any chairs, bikes, surfboards, or AC units that are getting in the way of your holiday displays. We’ll then transport everything to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility, and create an online photo catalog of your stuff so you never forget what you packed.

But that’s not all. Here’s something that’s sure to bring joy and goodwill:

When you want your stuff back, you won’t have to unpack a bunch of boxes in a dim self-storage unit way across town. Simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

Until then, enjoy your decorations and the time with your loved ones. We’ll be here when your decorations need a vacation. Happy Holidays!

a makespace bin used for holiday decoration storage

6 Easy DIY Fixes For Common Household Problems

There’s a scene in It’s a Wonderful Life that pretty much encapsulates the ups and downs of homeowning. It’s the loose ball cap on the stairway newel — at first, it’s endearing. But after years of wear and tear, it definitely loses its novelty.

Don’t tell George Bailey, but homeowners have been dreaming up DIY fixes for these kinds of problems for hundreds of years — most of them with common ingredients and equipment you can find in your pantry or shed.

1. Use wood putty and a sander to buff out baseboard dings.

how to repair baseboards

Battered baseboards are no friend to polished home decor, but they’re unfortunately all too common in our busy world of furniture moving and active kids.

Luckily, wood putty exists. You just take a little bit of this stuff, spread it over minor scratches to even them out, and then sand it down after it’s dry.

Touch it up with a little paint and no one will be any wiser.

2. Unclog slow-draining bathroom sinks with baking soda and white vinegar.

how to fix clogged sink in bathroom

Nobody wants to revisit yesterday’s toothpaste. But when the sinks in your bathroom are draining slow, or not at all, it can be hard to wash all the gunk away in short order.

Thankfully, this problem is fairly easy to fix, and can be corrected using safe, natural ingredients that are a lot better for the environment than your typical drain cleaner.

To start, grab a box of baking soda and a bottle of white vinegar off your shelf. Unscrew the drain cover and dump a ½ cup of baking soda down the drain. Then pour a ½ cup of vinegar down after it, and let it go to town!

It will start fizzing and bubbling, just let it work its magic for a few minutes. Then turn on the tap and enjoy your primping clog-free.

3. Recaulk cracking window seals to prevent wind from driving you insane.

caulking windows to stop wind from coming through

The wind is just like a prying coworker or neighbor: Give it the tiniest in and it will try to get inside and start nosing around. That’s why it’s so important to keep your window seals in good shape.

If you have caulking that’s cracked, don’t worry, it’s easy enough to fix. Use a utility knife to scrape out the old stuff, wipe it down with a cloth, and then reapply silicone caulking in a straight bead all around the window panes.

Lastly, smooth the caulking down and wipe any excess away. Not only will your windows look nicer, you may just save some money on your utility bills, too!

4. Conquer grimy shower grout with baking soda, water, and vinegar.

clean grout with vinegar, baking soda, water, lemon, and salt

If your shower tiles are moldy or grimy, can you really be sure you’re even getting clean?

Washing your hair shouldn’t be a science experiment, but grime that’s basically baked into your tiles needs some special attention.

For an all natural solution, turn once again to our old friends vinegar and baking soda. Line the grout between the tiles with baking soda, then spritz it with a solution of one part water and one part vinegar from a spray bottle.

Give it a few minutes, then scrub it down with a wire brush.

5. Silence squeaky boards with this baby product…

fix squeaky floors with baby powder

Bet you didn’t know that a little common baby powder can stop creaking floorboards in their tracks. You did? Oh well. For those who didn’t know, sweep a thin layer of it across the boards.

The dust will get into the cracks and prevent the boards from rubbing together. Which means no more things going bump in the middle of the night.

6. Put runaway knobs in their place with wood glue or nail polish.

fix loose drawer handle with wood glue or fingernail polish

Got a drawer knob with a mind of its own?

Keep knobs from instigating their own great escape with this simple fix: Unscrew the knob and dip the end in wood glue or fingernail polish.

Let it set overnight, and then relive the glory that is opening your drawer, wobble-free.

That’s all it takes to avoid six common households. If only they had this list in Bedford Falls…

This article was written by Erin Vaughan, a blogger, gardener, and aspiring homeowner. She currently resides in Austin, TX where she writes full-time for Modernize, with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.

How To Host Thanksgiving In A Small Space (Without Going Nuts)

You thought about doing it last year, and the year before that, but this time, you finally did it: You volunteered to host Thanksgiving.

The only problem? Your tiny apartment doesn’t exactly have a dining room. Or a kitchen table. Or actual chairs.

The good news: Hosting Thanksgiving dinner in your home is possible. You just need to get creative.

Luckily, we created this guide that will teach you how to host Thanksgiving in a small space and on a budget— without going completely insane. Follow the 21 smart tips below so that you can easily manage the stress and planning that goes into executing an excellent Thanksgiving dinner, even in an itty-bitty home.

Break out the baster and start cooking!

1. Make a detailed battle plan.

blank things to do list notebook
Flickr/Nikki Buitendijk

No one can wing a Thanksgiving meal, no matter how informal it is. You need to start planning early, and you need to get crazy specific.

Figure out an exact menu. Not a vague “turkey, sides, and pies” plan. Once you have it, think about all the ingredients you’ll need to get to execute that menu.

Can you get all the ingredients in time? Will they fit in your fridge?

Also important: Do you have the correct tools in your kitchen?

You don’t want to be in hour three of cooking the turkey, only to discover you don’t have a thermometer.

Mapping out a timeline will make things much easier. You don’t need to have things down to the minute, but pick out days for grocery shopping and cooking specific dishes. This should help you keep your sanity on Turkey day.

2. Cook some dishes that don’t require an oven.

roasted butternut squash soup in a pot next to condiments on a kitchen counter

As Refinery29 points out, your turkey is going to dominate the oven for hours, meaning you won’t be able to fit much else in there as it’s roasting. So when you’re planning your menu, think of dishes you can make on the stove.

Roasted vegetables, cranberry sauce, and butternut squash soup are all contenders. If you need more ideas, BuzzFeed has a round-up of no-bake Thanksgiving side dishes. Good Housekeeping has a similar list of desserts.

Also consider dishes you can make without any heat at all. Salad may not be exciting, but it’s good to have some light greens to balance out all the stuffing.

For dishes that still need the oven, plan to make those ahead of time and then slot them into the oven for reheating after the bird is cooked.

3. Don’t invite too many people.

interior of a small apartment with a spiral staircase

Thanksgiving is all about sharing. But, as much as it goes against the holiday’s spirit, you have to be a bit pragmatic here about who you share with.

Take stock of your space and seriously think about the maximum number of people you could fit in your home. Once you have that number, stick to it.

If someone you invited asked to bring along their second cousin or friend who’s in town, politely explain that you’d love to have them for dinner but you can’t fit anymore people at your place.

Or, you can head those questions off entirely by explaining your no plus-one policy in the invitation.

4. Don’t tell your guests to “bring whatever.”

green bean casserole on a placemat

Telling people to bring whatever they please is fine for a BYOB barbecue. For Thanksgiving, it’s a guaranteed disaster.

No one is going to think you’re uptight for holding them to a specific dish. Start by telling everyone what you plan to cook yourself. Then tell them what you still need help with.

It’s fine if you open the call up with slightly vague requests, like “a vegetable side” and “a dessert.” But as people call dibs, make sure they give you a detailed response.

You need to have a clear picture of what everyone is bringing to the table so you know how much space to free up in your fridge, and how many dishes will require time in the oven or on the stovetop.

You also need to avoid dish duplicates. Imagine spending all day cooking a turkey just to have your friends show up with 10 green bean casseroles. It can happen, if you don’t plan ahead.

5. But do tell your guests to bring extra folding tables and chairs.

umbra shift yellow hanger chair next to a black chair at a thin white dining table in an apartment kitchen
Umbra Shift

While you’re assigning out recipes to your guests, see if anyone has see if anyone has spare chairs or tables they can lend you for the day. It’ll save you the cost of renting them, and if anyone is a little nervous about their cooking skills, this is a great way for them to contribute.

Other things to consider: extra forks, knives, spoons, napkins, plates, and cups.

6. Do your grocery shopping early.

moving shopping cart in a grocery store aisle
Flickr/Caden Crawford

Grocery stores are an apocalyptic nightmare the entire week of Thanksgiving. They’ll be packed with stressed people, and low on basically everything on your shopping list: cranberries, pumpkin puree, dinner rolls, even nutmeg.

Avoid that migraine by gathering your supplies early.

You don’t have to get everything in one trip, but make sure to amass your stuff — especially your turkey — well before it’s time to start cooking. Even perishable items should be fine five to six days out, according to Real Simple.

Getting your ingredients early also gives you extra time to come up with the perfect spatial scheme for your fridge. Speaking of which …

7. Prep your fridge for the turkey.

near empty fridge ready to defrost thanksgiving turkey
Flickr/Sergio Vassio Photography

Your frozen bird is going to need several days to defrost in your refrigerator — and he’s not exactly dainty. That turkey will require some room, so do a quick purge of your fridge.

Throw out anything that is expired and/or smells a little suspicious. Consolidate items into the bottom drawers and side shelves so the turkey can have a whole row to itself.

If you have a fire escape or outdoor space, you can also defrost that poultry in a cooler while brining it at the same time.

8. Make as much food as you can in advance.


You probably can’t get away with roasting your carrots three days before dinner. But you can break up your cooking tasks during the week. Make your pies the night before. They will taste just fine after a quick reheating in the oven.

For dishes that include perishable items, you can at least knock out some prep work. Chop your vegetables and herbs early and then seal them up in bags in your fridge. Make your sauces (cranberry or otherwise) before the big day.

Basically, do whatever you can to get your Thanksgiving day to-do list down from “exhausting” to “manageable.”

9. Clean your apartment the night before.

vacuum your apartment the night before thanksgiving
Flickr/Travis Wise

On the day of your Thanksgiving feast, you’re going to be way too preoccupied with cooking, baking, and basting to worry about cleaning. So check that task off the night before.

You’re not just aiming to make your home presentable to your guests. Your goal should be to declutter your home so you have more space to work with during your dinner.

Tackle the floor first. You’re going to need it cleared for all those seats and people, so any shoes, dirty clothes, or yoga mats lying there need to get put away.

Then turn your attention to surfaces. Your guests will be resting cups and plates on them, and you might be prepping or serving there as well. Gather up old magazines, stow away the remote controls, and stack your coasters. Sweep and/or vacuum too, just for good measure.

10. Strategically rearrange furniture.

throw pillow on a yellow futon in a living room

While you’re cleaning, think about how you can maneuver your furniture to your advantage. Maybe, as Curbed suggests, you need to push the stylish space-saving sofa in your living room out of the way for a table.

Or maybe you need to temporarily relocate a floor lamp to your bedroom. Visualize the dinner and think about what moves will help everything flow.

11. Get up early and start cooking.

black alarm clock that reads 3:02 am

Even if you already made half your menu in advance, you can’t sleep in on the big day. Kitchen catastrophes happen to the most prepared chefs, and even if you think you know exactly how to make that new stuffing recipe, it could accidentally add an extra hour to your cooking spree.

Set your alarm for an ungodly hour in the morning and have some coffee on hand. (You’re going to need it.) Brew as soon as you get up and get going.

12. Turn everything into a chair.

A video posted by MakeSpace (@makespace) on

Can clothes hangers be chairs? Sometimes.

How about plush Pile cushions on the floor? Sure, why not!

Utilize your couch or futon, too. Roll in the office chair you use at your desk. And dust off your window sills while you’re at it, because your guests may need to perch on those.

13. Don’t worry about seating everyone together.

friendsgiving coffee table setting in an apartment living room
Flickr/Shari’s Berries

You’ll save yourself a lot of stress if you immediately banish the idea of everyone sitting down together in rows around a dining table. That just isn’t possible in a cramped space. (Besides, do you even own a dining room table?)

Don’t feel bad if your guests end up sprawled across your apartment, with some picking at their mashed potatoes in the kitchen and others crowded around the living room TV to scream at their preferred NFL team. It still counts as a Thanksgiving dinner, and they seriously will not mind.

14. Stock red, not white, wine.

beaujolais nouveau red wine in a wine glass
Flickr/Shunichi kouroki

One easy way to manage space inside your fridge? Skip the pinot gris.

Unlike white wine, red wine can be stored on top of your fridge, on the counters, or right on a table. It’s a smarter move, and besides, don’t these pinot noir and Beaujolais picks from Serious Eats sound great?

15. Put cocktails in a big pitcher.

2 cherry beer margaritas in highball glasses next to a pitcher
Flickr/Personal Creations

While we’re on the subject of booze, you might be considering a festive cocktail for the occasion. If you go that route, go big (batch).

Preparing your punch in a large beverage dispenser or pitcher can save some valuable space. Depending on the drink, you can mix it minutes before your guests arrive and then simply stack cups beside the dispenser. Then, everyone can help themselves.

Oh, and if you need help deciding on your signature Thanksgiving cocktail, here are a few ideas from Bon Appetit to get the ball rolling.

16. Don’t go nuts with the centerpiece.

thanksgiving centerpiece
Flickr/Keri Logan

When you’re dealing with small apartments, a cornucopia just isn’t happening. But if you still want something to tie the table together, consider a small bouquet of orange blossoms, or perhaps a tall candle with a nice autumn scent.

You can also opt for a functional centerpiece. Sarah’s Cucina Bella recommends a golden basket with Mason jars inside. What goes inside the Mason jars? Silverware, of course.

17. Hang your decorations instead.

thanksgiving wreath

Worried your small home isn’t appropriately festive?

Rather than loading down surfaces with mini pumpkins or decorative gourds, make use of your vertical space.

String some fake leaves along the walls or hang hand turkeys from the ceiling. Stencil a banner with a message like “Give Thanks,” “Gobble Gobble,” or “Gobble Till Ya Wobble.” You can also hang a Thanksgiving wreath — i.e. the ones that have fall foliage — up on your front door.

18. Serve up a buffet.

thanksgiving buffet table
Flickr/David Joyce

Encourage your guests to serve themselves, buffet-style, once all the dishes are ready to eat. Set up as much as you can right on the stovetop — you don’t need to plate the potatoes you just cooked in a pot — and scatter any remaining dishes across the kitchen.

19. Make sure everyone can see the trash can.

green trash can

If your trash bin normally hides under the kitchen sink, now is the time to drag it out. While it doesn’t have to be the focal point of your party, put your trash can in an obvious, visible spot. It’ll encourage people to throw their garbage in there, rather than leave it on your coffee table or counter.

(They’re not being rude, they just don’t know where else to put it.)

You can even mention it in your welcome spiel. Think something like, “Hey everyone, wine is on top of the fridge, coats go on my bed, don’t mind my dog who likes to go on my bed and nibble on coats, and the trash can is right here.”

Boom: less mess, and less stress.

20. Pack up the leftovers.

The last thing anyone wants to think about after the turkey tryptophan has kicked in is cleaning up the extra food. But you have to do it. And not just because your house will smell seriously gross if you leave a turkey carcass out overnight.

If you’re proactive about packing up your leftovers, that means you can pawn some off on your guests before they say goodnight. And if other people are taking some of the spare yams, your fridge suddenly has a lot more space.

21. MakeSpace in your place.


We can’t increase the size of your apartment, but we can increase the space in your place.

Simply schedule a MakeSpace pickup and pack up any space-eating item that you don’t need right now, like your bike, window A/C unit, Halloween decorations, and surfboard.

We’ll pick up everything (including your furniture) and store it in our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility. We’ll also create an online photo catalog of your stuff so you never forget what you have in storage.

When you want something back from storage, you don’t have to spend hours sorting through boxes in a storage unit on the other side of town. The only thing you actually have to do is log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and then relax. Because we’ll deliver the item to you.

Brining a turkey might not be easy, but storing your stuff in MakeSpace sure is.

Top image via Flickr/Stacy Spensely

A Real Estate Agent Who Lives In A 250 Sq. Ft. Apartment Shares Her Top 3 Small Space Living Tips

New York City is a crazy place to hunt for housing. It’s full of glitz and glam, gut renovations,  tiny nooks masquerading as bedrooms, and slightly larger micro-apartments masquerading as homes to name a few.

And while it’s tempting to just put on your rose-colored glasses and pray, a bit more of a Rosie-the-Riveter tint will help you envision the unseen upsides to every space.

Here are three quick NYC apartment tips (because let’s be real, you only have a New York minute to spare) that will help you make the most of your future home — from a happy human and real estate agent living in a 250-square-foot apartment in Harlem:

1. Inspect the apartment’s layout, lighting, and ceiling height.

nyc apartment interior

If you’re buying, you’ll get a decent estimate of the property’s size in square feet, especially if it’s new construction. But for most rentals, turnover is so high and renovations so pervasive that landlords don’t publish square footage. That leaves the gut-instinct-to-verified-data ratio firmly in the renter’s control.

So: A) bring a tape measure and B) pay attention to things like layout, light, and ceiling height. Those affect the livability of the space far more than a 20-square-foot difference in “size.”

Pro Tip: If the place has tiny windows, here are seven easy ways to fill your apartment with natural light so that you don’t go insane.

2. Think vertically.

wall bookshelves in an apartment's living room

As a realtor, I’d say vertical space is NYC’s most undervalued real estate asset. I can’t tell you the number of apartments I’ve seen in which all use stops at the height of the tallest occupant!

The best investment you can make in a small space is a cute footstool and a whole lotta shelving. Then, get creative!

IKEA sells fabulous wall-mounted tension wires that are great for hanging lighter clothing items. Floating shelves solve the problem of books. Extra towels and linens can be stored in baskets on high.

Heck, if you have cool folding chairs (like the army issue ones I scored on Etsy), you can mount them to the wall for an easy-but-not-omnipresent seating solution that won’t cramp your studio space.

3. Count your clothes before your closets.

clothes on top of a mason risch piano

How much is one closet technically worth in a one-bedroom apartment? Those of us who grew up in suburban environments (guilty!) may have an instinctive preference for cavernous storage space, along with an unclear understanding of our actual needs.

Borrow a copy of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up two months before your move, and purge clutter from your closet before you pack. That way, you’re not counting, or worse, hauling, unloved items from one home to the next — only to throw them away after you’ve dipped on your dream apartment because it didn’t have enough closets.

Look: There’s going to be something unsightly but super functional you’ll have to store in-house and out-of-sight (vacuum cleaner, broom, dustpan). But for the rest of your home goods, there are bureaus, floating shelves, baskets, room dividers/sliding storage walls and tech-savvy off-site storage alternatives (hello, MakeSpace!) that make seasonal switch-outs a snap.

The more you get creative with your apartment’s layout, utilize vertical height, and prioritize the stuff you love most, the more you’ll be able to live happily in your tiny (but awesome) NYC apartment.

This article was written by Michaela Morton, a senior licensed real estate salesperson and Certified Buyer Representative at Bohemia Realty Group where her special focus is on Harlem rentals and sales. A performer, writer, and fluent French speaker, Michaela loves making friends of neighbors and neighbors of friends. Read more on the Bohemia blog and follow her on Facebook and Instagram @michaelabohemia.

How To Clean And Store Your Halloween Costume, Mask, And Decorations

Getting ready for Halloween was a blast. You got to spend weeks crafting your homemade Harley Quinn costume, sticking fake ghosts to your windows, and decking out your entire apartment with creepy companions. (Steve the Skeleton is your favorite.)

But after all the candy’s been dished out and the apples have been bobbed, you’re now left with a ton of out-of-season stuff crowding the space in your home. You might have been inclined to ball all of your Halloween stuff up and throw it in a closet.

Except there’s only one problem: You still want Steve to look nice next October. Right?

That’s why we’re going to teach you how to properly clean and store your Halloween costumes, masks, and decorations. It might require a few more minutes and a lot more cornstarch, but it’ll keep your Halloween stuff looking squeaky (or spooky?) clean for next year.

Click any of the below links to jump to a specific section:
How to clean Halloween costumes and masks
How to store Halloween costumes and masks
How to clean Halloween decorations
How to store Halloween decorations

How To Clean Halloween Costumes And Masks

1. Don’t wait.

Most Halloween costumes incur some wear-and-tear over the course of your festivities. But you probably aren’t even aware of all the dirt, stains, and pumpkin guts currently clinging to your outfit.

Look over your costume as soon as you can to spot-treat any small spots. Then check the label for any instructions on how to launder your Ninja Turtle shell.

2. Check the costume’s washing instructions.

dry cleaning
Flickr/Simon Law

If your costume is dry-clean-only, that’s a no brainer: Drop it off at the cleaners and be sure to point out any specific problem areas to the staff before you go.

Likewise, if your ensemble is cleared for the laundry machine, this is pretty easy. Apply any Oxi-Clean or preferred treatment to stains on the clothing, load up your favorite detergent and fabric softener, and run it through a cycle.

But if your costume is a beaded or sequined affair, you’ll probably need to handwash it. As Clean Laundry advises, start by filling your sink or tub up with cold water and mixing in a small amount of (gentle!) detergent and fabric softener.

After you’ve flipped the costume inside out, knead the fabric by hand for about a minute and then rinse it all out. Make sure all the soap is washed out before you remove the outfit. Then turn it right-side out and hang it to dry.

3. Wash a wig with cold water and shampoo, and then lay the wig flat on a towel to dry.

You can’t pull off an accurate Cruella DeVille or Strawberry Shortcake without the proper wig. But at some point in the night, you probably took yours off to readjust… and accidentally placed your synthetic hair in a mess of melted Kit-Kat bars. Don’t freak out! According to Deadspin, this is an easy cleaning task.

You’re essentially going to treat your wig like it’s actual hair. Work a little shampoo into the weave with cool water and then soak it, rather than scrubbing. When it’s time to rinse, hold the wig under the tap and rotate it under the running (and still cool) water. Then carefully shake off the water as best as you can and lay the hairpiece flat on a towel to dry.

4. Wash a fur costume with cold water and shampoo, and then let it air dry.

No, we’re not talking about mink. We’re talking about the fuzzy lion, tiger, and bear (oh my!) suits you wore out trick-or-treating to stay warm. Those can also be cleaned with shampoo, but the drying technique here is a little bit different.

You’ll use shampoo and cool water again to work out any dried candy stains. Except rather than shaking your wet bear suit all over the living room, roll it up in a towel (or two) to squeeze out as much excess water as possible.

Then hang up your costume to air dry. If it looks a little matted after its shampoo scrub, aim your hairdryer on the damp suit. Just keep it on the “cool” setting. Pet brushes can also help work out the matted clumps of faux fur.

5. Clean your mask with a damp soapy washcloth, and sprinkle cornstarch on the mask’s interior to prevent the mask from sticking to itself.

halloween witch mask

What about your Michael Myers, Joker, and witch latex masks?

You can’t exactly put those in the washer — and definitely not in the dryer — but luckily, eHow has the answers.

The first thing you’ll need is a clean washcloth. Dampen it with warm water and then add two drops of hand soap to the cloth.

Run the cloth over the front and back of the mask, paying special attention to eye and mouth openings. (That’s where your sweat, saliva, and runny make-up is most likely to collect.)

Next, dampen a second clean washcloth with nothing but warm water. Now wipe the entire mask again with that cloth to rid the surface of lingering suds.

Grab a clean, dry hand towel to blot out the wet mask. Once that’s done, sprinkle some cornstarch over the mask’s interior so it doesn’t stick to itself.

Finally, if the mask has hair attached, use a stiff bristle brush on it to remove clumped dirt or just knots.

How To Store Halloween Costumes And Masks

1. Make sure your costume and mask are completely dry.

Hopefully, you already cleaned your costume. If not, do that first.

Now before you prep your outfit for storage, make sure it’s lost any lingering moisture.

Here’s why:

Damp costumes are bound to breed mold and other unsavory stuff. You don’t want to make this discovery two days before Halloween, when you pull out your Batsuit for another round of parties.

2. Upcycle your curtain and bedsheet bags.


We’re not talking about Tupperware here. Think of the zipped plastic bags that your curtains or bedsheets come in.

As YouTube personality Average Jane demonstrates in the video above, those bags are perfect for storing masks and potentially entire costumes. Check that the bags are free of any dust or grime before you fold your Jigsaw get-up into the bag.

3. Stuff a hat with bubble wrap or newspaper to maintain its shape while in storage.

halloween witch hat
Flickr/Krissy Humphries

Witch hats are bound to crumple without the proper maintenance. So listen to Moving Insider and remember to shove some bubble wrap or old newspaper into your Halloween hats to maintain shape.

While you’re at it, you might also want to consider a head-shaped piece of Styrofoam for your masks.

4. Store your costume in a garment bag, or in a box with tissue paper separating each item.

victorinox garment bag
Flickr/Travis Johnson

Keeping your costume in a garment bag will give it an added layer of protection in your closet, as long as you make sure not to bundle up too many costumes into one bag. That’ll place a serious strain on the fabric, ultimately defeating the whole purpose of the garment bag.

Prefer to fold your outfits and store them inside boxes?

Be sure to separate each item of clothing with some carefully wrapped tissue paper. It’ll help prevent wrinkles, and give your costume one more level of defense from the elements.

5. Seal up your Halloween makeup and fake blood.

Flickr/Thamires Vieira

Some costumes require an arsenal of face paint, makeup, fake blood, hairspray, and other beauty products. Take an extra minute to make sure the caps and lids on each of those items are firmly secured before you stash them away.

If there’s no room for them in your medicine cabinet, try storing them in these amazing beauty storage and makeup organizing ideas.

Remember: All it takes is a small leak from the tube of fake blood to turn your drawer into a gory horror scene.

How To Clean Halloween Decorations

1. Wipe dust off of your decorations and ornaments.

village of lost souls halloween ornament
Flickr/Kevin Dooley

Cobwebs may be trendy during Halloween, but you shouldn’t let real ones linger on your seasonal decorations.

Whether you have a set of orange paper lanterns hanging from your ceiling or a collection of mini haunted houses on your mantel, use a clean hand towel on each of them to rid your ornaments of soot, dust, and grime.

Depending on what you display each year, you might’ve doused your decorations in hot sauce or vinegar to deter hungry pests and critters. Make sure to wipe that all off, too — only you should use a damp cloth for that, so your gourds don’t smell like old Sriracha next year.

2. Spot-treat your skeleton, witch, and scarecrow’s clothes for stains.

halloween skeletons sitting at a dining table
Flickr/Thad Zajdowicz

Have a prop skeleton, witch, scarecrow, or other spooky specter hanging out on your front porch?

You probably can’t throw their outfits in the washing machine, but you can spot-treat them for obvious stains. After you’ve brushed any dirt off them, give their cloaks and flannels a glance for problem spots.

Not sure if you need ammonia, dish soap, or a Tide-to-Go stick?

Consult this ultimate stain removal chart from Real Simple for some real answers.

3. Power wash and mend your inflatable Halloween decorations.

inflatable jack o lantern in a house's front yard

You might have an inflatable ghost haunting your yard. When it’s time to power him down, be sure to give Casper a good clean. The pros recommend power washing your holiday inflatables.

After you’ve hosed everything down, check for any new tears. You can patch them up with a simple needle and thread.

How To Store Halloween Decorations

1. Label and color-code everything.

dymo label tape that reads "evil mad scientist"
Flickr/Windell Oskay

What’s the best way to ensure you won’t mix your goblins up with your Santas?

Clearly mark and designate your Halloween stuff.

Lauren Mang of Let Me Organize It recommends that you get a plastic bin for your haunted holiday decor and create distinct labels for it, or buy a bright orange bin to associate it firmly with All Hallows’ Eve.

She’s serious about using only one bin to store your Halloween decorations: any more and you’re likely to overload your closet.

Don’t have a closet?

No problem. Here’s how to live without a closet.

2. Itemize your Halloween decorations.

Over on Ask Anna, the titular Anna Moseley suggests you make a list of every single item you’re going to store  in your plastic storage bin. This may seem like an aggressive organization move, but it’ll come in handy a year from now when you can’t remember where you put that dang skeleton.

Quickly jot down all your ghoulish decorations as you line them up for storage. Then, after you’ve put them all in the tub, place the itemized list on top and close the bin.

3. Stock up on plastic bags and bubble wrap.

bubble wrap

Ask Anna further recommends you put any item with paper or fabric in a resealable plastic bag. That’s to give it some extra protection from pests and moisture in the air.

For anything remotely fragile (think creepy dolls or glass jars), pad the item in bubble wrap to act as  a buffer between the item and the rest of your Halloween accouterments.

4. Break out the tackle box.

fishing tackle box
Flickr/Craig Berscheidt

There’s fragile, and then there’s meticulously-detailed-mini-Whomping-Willow fragile. Your truly tiny tchotchkes and odd-ends probably shouldn’t go in the big bin. Store them in a tackle box instead.

The tackle box will keep your extremely fragile items safe and separate from your bigger items. Just make a note on your itemized list so you don’t forget where you stashed them.

5. Keep candles in the dark

Flickr/Lisa Padilla

Maybe you have a large collection of candles to make your living room look like a witch coven. Those wax stubs might melt or warp in a sealed plastic container.

To preserve the colors and shapes of the candles, store them in a cool, dry, and dark environment. Also, as Easy Home Organizing notes, you should place tapered candles on their sides.

A garage or attic definitely doesn’t fit the bill, and even your kitchen cabinet might be too hot. Slot the candles into a box and store them in a shady drawer or on a shelf.

6. Coil your string lights around a hanger or aluminum can

We showed you 10 ridiculously easy ways to store holiday decorations, including Christmas lights. The same DIY storage idea applies to storing your orange-and-black string lights.

When it’s time to take the lights down, carefully wrap them around a piece of cardboard, an old hanger, or even a Pringles can. Doing so will keep your lights nice and tangle-free for next year’s Halloween party.

7. Or give those skeletons in your closet to MakeSpace

Got a bag of fake bones still sitting in your chair? Or a bunch of ghoulish lanterns still scaring your neighbors?

Just because Halloween is over doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your Halloween spirit for the sake of storage. Instead of ditching your decorations, or something else in your home,  to make room, let MakeSpace store your scary stuff.

All you have to do is schedule a pickup, and we’ll come get your things. Once we have all your fake pumpkins — or furniture and spare clothes — we’ll transport everything to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility.

We’ll even create an online photo catalog of your stuff so you never forget what you have in storage.

And like all good ghost stories, there’s a twist:

When you want something back from storage, you don’t have to dig through an endless sea of boxes in a sketchy, scary, and over-priced self-storage unit that’s buried off of a highly-trafficked highway. Simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

You know, just in case you miss being Michelangelo and don’t want to wait until October 31, 2017.

Top image via Flickr/Kevin Dooley

Astronauts Show How To Live In Small Spaces [8 Genius Tips]

There was probably a point in your childhood when you proudly declared to anyone who would listen, “I’m going to be an astronaut when I grow up.” But unless you earned an advanced engineering degree, passed all the rigorous training tests, happen to have superhuman eyesight, and managed to make it through the flight simulator without puking, that didn’t actually happen.

Although you may not be a spaceman or spacewoman today, you can channel some of that NASA spirit by learning from astronauts’ insanely unconventional, small space lifestyle. The secrets of the International Space Station (ISS) — where crew members from all over the world live for several months at a time — can teach us a lot about how to live in small spaces.

Here are eight of the best small space living ideas derived from articles and videos about ISS, and how you can apply them to your gravity-bound apartment.

1. Streamline your sleeping arrangements.


If you think your bedroom is tiny, get ready for a culture shock. Astronauts do not have real rooms where they can doze in peace. They also don’t have any mattresses, memory foam, or plush pillows to their name. Instead, each one is issued a small sleeping pod with a sleeping bag, which is tied to the wall so it doesn’t float away.

This might seem like cruel and unusual punishment, but it actually makes sense in space. Since you’re in zero gravity, sleeping standing up in a bag doesn’t feel any different from lying down horizontally on a surface. As Internet-famous astronaut Chris Hadfield explains in the video above, you can relax every muscle in your body until you zonk yourself out. Provided you’ve already changed into your PJs, of course.

Now, you can’t pull off this scheme on Earth without some serious back pain. But you can apply this minimalist approach to your own situation:

  1. Skip the bulky headboards and go for a no-frills frame. Or find a space-saving bed that comes with built-in storage, so you maximize the space.
  2. Mount shelves above your bed or next to it on the adjacent walls.
  3. Use your window sill as a nightstand.
  4. Add bed risers.

These are just a few ideas to get you started, but you will find about 50 more in our list of insanely clever bedroom storage hacks.

2. Downsize your medicine cabinet.


Going to the bathroom is crazy complicated in outer space. As you can see in the above video tour, ISS has a specialty toilet and plenty of different papers and wipes to help astronauts do their business.

But the “bathroom” is cramped to say the least, and doesn’t include a sink or shower — let alone a medicine cabinet. So instead, the astronauts are reduced to a small toiletries kit containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, combs, brushes, deodorant, and razors. Plus the specially-made-for-space shampoos that require no rinsing and very little water at all.

They can use those products in the “hygiene corner,” seen in the video below. Be grateful you don’t have to clip your fingernails over a grate, like European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti:


We’re not suggesting you ditch your shower, but you can learn a thing or two from this basic setup.

First things first, clean up your medicine cabinet. Go through it and throw out any empty toothpaste tubes, snapped hair ties, or expired mascara. Then get smart about how you’re using your space.

Install an organizer with sliding shelves under the sink. Suction cup your shampoo to the shower wall. Or make a magnetic board for all your makeup. You’ll find those creative tips and more in our collections of 42 brilliant bathroom storage hacks and 16 amazing beauty storage ideas.

3. Learn to exercise in close quarters.


Astronauts are not allowed to be lazy. Exercise is a required part of their daily routine, and for good reason. When you’re constantly floating around rather than walking between rooms, you’re not really engaging your muscles. That kind of inactivity makes them weaken, and can lead to muscle and bone loss.

To stay fit, crew members work out on a very special treadmill called the Colbert treadmill. It’s named after Stephen Colbert because, if you’ll recall, he encouraged Colbert Report viewers to flood NASA’s naming poll in 2009.

This piece of equipment does not have any sort of handle or frame for astronauts to grip. In order to run in the weightless environment, they must strap themselves into a harness before firing up the machine. You can watch astronaut Karen Nyberg run on it in the video above.

But that’s not all. The ISS has two other pieces of exercise equipment: the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) and Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization System (CEVIS).

In less scientific terms, the ARED is a weight-lifting machine and the CEVIS is an exercise bike. Watch the ARED in action:


If astronauts managed to sneak three fitness machines onboard a cramped space station, you can store some exercise gear at home, too.

If even the skinniest machine is too large for your apartment, invest in a set of kettlebells for your weight-training needs and a simple exercise mat so you can follow aerobic routines on your TV. Then slide them under your bed or into a closet when they’re not in use.

If you’re big on yoga, Etsy is a goldmine for mat holders and racks. You can also invest in a rolling exercise equipment cart. Or build a custom cabinet to suit your needs.

4. Get smart about grocery shopping.


Probably the most fascinating part of life on the ISS is … space food. You know all about astronaut ice cream and Tang, but that stuff is just the beginning.

In order to keep the crew fed for long periods of time and keep liquids under control, NASA and its international counterparts have to seriously manipulate their meals. In some cases, that means removing all water from the food to conserve weight and make the food rehydratable.

In other cases, that means applying ionizing radiation to the food to keep it from spoiling. The food also has to be slim and lightweight so the crew can stockpile. That’s why most of the containers you see Chris Hadfield handling in the video above look like Capri Sun pouches.

So what lessons can we glean from the ISS kitchen?

Well for one, you probably shouldn’t be buying in bulk. If you have a large family, it’s a necessity. And if you actually have a garage, go for it. But that 30-pack of paper towels is a major space suck that’s hard to justify. Try to stick to the stuff you need in the immediate future, and leave hoarding to these people on A&E.

Shed unnecessary extra packaging, like the boxes your teabags come in, to make spare room in your cabinet. Mount a magnetic strip on the wall for your knives, or a set of hooks for coffee mugs like Monica from Friends. And when in doubt, turn to this list of kitchen storage hacks for more tiny home living tips.

5. Optimize your library.

An organized wooden floating bookshelf is storing 11 different books.

What does an astronaut do in his/her downtime?

Well, they have plenty of movies to watch to keep themselves entertained. They can catch up with loved ones by calling home through the software on their laptops. They can also turn to the locker filled with paperback books on the ISS to stimulate their minds.

One locker for all their books? That’s a pretty tidy book storage system. You could probably use help organizing your own collection of novels, but you don’t need to acquire a locker to pull this off.

First, consider what books belong in the library donation bin. Know all the recipes in your cookbooks by heart? Have useless old college textbooks collecting dust on your floor? These are prime candidates for the pile. Here are a few more things to consider when deciding what books to keep.

After you’ve downsized your collection, consider where you’re storing your favorite books. You don’t have to buy a bulky freestanding case for them. Instead, get creative with headboards, hallways, and high-perimeter shelving.

If all else fails, you can always go digital with an e-reader.

6. Purge your closet.

declutter closet makespace was here

There is no place for fashion divas/divos in astronomy. Crew members on the ISS are allowed only a few basic clothes for their stay.

As NASA explains, astronauts typically get about one pair of shorts and one T-shirt for every three days of exercising. Work shirts and pants (or shorts) have to last longer; those are changed every 10 days. Underwear and socks are swapped every other day. There’s also a two-sweater allotment, and Polartec socks for chilly nights.

Astronauts repeat their outfits for as long as they can. But eventually, clothes get dirty and there’s no way to wash them onboard. So when they hit the point of no return, dirty clothes are shot into space with the rest of the ISS garbage.

Luckily, you have access to a washing machine and, hopefully, a closet of your own. Don’t have a closet? Here’s how to live without one.

Either way, you could certainly stand to clear out some clothing. Go with Marie Kondo’s  trendy KonMari method of organizing. Consider each item individually, and ask yourself if it sparks joy. If it does, it can stay. If it doesn’t, mark it for donation or a garage sale.

makespace offers free goodwill pickups for storage customers in nyc, chicago, and dc
MakeSpace offers free Goodwill pickups in NYC, Chicago, and Washington, DC

7. Ditch the alarm clock.

red alarm clock on a white and black paw print blanket and next to a tea mug

Alarm clocks are nowhere to be found aboard the ISS. So how do astronauts wake up? Thanks to an assist from the crew back home.

Every morning, the NASA staff on Earth pipes music into the PA system. The track is dedicated to a different astronaut each day, and it’s chosen by a family member or colleague. For instance, one astronaut’s wife selected “Macho Man” for him the morning after a difficult spacewalk.

You can also clear some space on your dresser or bedside table by eliminating alarm clocks from your life. The simplest alternative is to set an alarm on your phone. But if you’d rather not be roused by one of your iPhone’s token tones, you have other options.

If you have Sonos, you can set up an alarm through that wireless system. Just go to Menu, then Alarms, then New Alarm. There you can choose a time, track, volume, and frequency. Just don’t forget to set it for your bedroom, rather than the kitchen or patio. Here’s a guide from Sonos in case you get lost.

Prefer not to rely on any hardware?

You can train yourself to wake up naturally. No really, it’s possible!

You’ll need to track your sleep patterns and then gently wean yourself off an alarm by setting a softer tone and forgoing the snooze button. Here’s how. With practice, you can do it.

8. Or leave the space stuff to the astronauts, and store your stuff in MakeSpace.


A photo posted by MakeSpace (@makespace) on

There’s a reason only an elite few go to space. Living above Earth is hard work. So don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get your kitchen to the streamlined standards of ISS. Instead, effortlesly store your spare stuff in MakeSpace.

Simply schedule a pickup and we’ll pick up  your appliances, furniture, and paperback novels so you have more space in your home to do whatever you want with.

After we’ve collected your things, we’ll transport them to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility. We’ll also create an online photo catalog of your stuff so you always know what you have in storage.

The best part: When you want something back from storage, simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

We may not be on the moon yet, but we are in four cities.


Top image via Wikimedia/Michael Edward Fossum

Should You Keep CDs And DVDs? How To Store And Sell Them For Cash

It’s 2016, which means you don’t watch movies or listen to music the way you used to. Rather than blasting tunes from a boombox, you have Spotify and iTunes. And between Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Instant, and Google Play, you can’t remember the last time you actually cracked open a DVD case.

Still, you probably have a mountain of old CDs and DVDs sitting somewhere in your closet. So what should you do with them? Do you keep them? Sell them? Store them? Recycle them?

Let us help you decide.

Below, we’ll lay out all the pros and cons to keeping old CDs and DVDs. Then, we’ll give you some tips on selling and storing CDs and DVDs, in case you still want to keep them.

Click any of the below links to jump to a specific section:

Why you should keep CDs and DVDs
Why you should not keep CDs and DVDs
How to sell CDs and DVDs for cash
How to store CDs and DVDs in style

Why you should keep CDs and DVDs

keep cd collection at home

Don’t let your tech-savvy friends call you a hoarder for clinging to your CDs and DVDs. There are plenty of totally sane reasons for keeping them around. First and foremost? The fact that you don’t actually “own” any digital music or movies.

It doesn’t matter if you bought an album fair and square off iTunes or purchased a movie on Amazon. In all these transactions, you’re technically just paying money to license that media.

What does this mean?

Think of it this way: If Apple, Amazon, or Google was wiped off the face of the earth tomorrow, would you still be able to play and/or stream the stuff you’ve bought from them?

No you wouldn’t, because any music or movies purchased from those platforms is entirely linked to and restricted by the seller. If those sites are down, you can’t access your media. And if they decide you’ve maxed out your copyright privileges, well, there’s nothing you can really do about it.

Seriously, this has been decided in a court of law. Read up on the Capitol Records v. ReDigi decision.

Then there’s quality. When your WiFi connection is spotty, it’s bound to distort the frames on the movie you digitally rented, or skip tracks on the new album you’re streaming. Unless there’s a scratch or smudge on the discs you own, this isn’t an issue with physical copies.

Another factor to consider? Your kids. As Forbes argues, parents can’t rely on digital media to entertain their children, especially during travel when they need it most. Depending on in-flight WiFi is a fool’s game, and you’re bound to lose a signal when you’re driving through the country.

Portable DVD players — or ones built right into the mini-van — are the only sure bet for parents committing to several hours in the air or on the road with their toddlers.

Serious movie nerds should also pause before chucking their prized DVD collection. Certain films are insanely hard to find online. For instance: absolutely everything from animation icon Hayao Miyazaki.

Fans of Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke have long lamented that it’s impossible to find these foreign flicks online. It’s one of the main reasons a Senior Editor at CNET said he regretted ditching his DVDs.

And the same goes for classical music geeks. As The Atlantic and The New Yorker have argued, digital music platforms like iTunes and Spotify give the short shrift to classical tunes. The tagging and track data on these tracks makes little to no sense, making it unnecessarily difficult for fans to organize or just locate their favorite compositions.

Why you should not keep CDs and DVDs

cd rot

Sure, licensing laws are aggravating. But you know what else is frustrating? Losing valuable storage space to a mountain of CDs you haven’t played in years. The simple fact is physical media takes up room, and considering how many people do solely listen to music on Spotify or strictly watch movies on Netflix, it can be hard to justify keeping around all those old Blink-182 albums.

Plus, current technology is leaving CDs and DVDs in the dust. Computers have been slowly phasing out disc drives since at least 2008, when Apple debuted its sleek and skinny MacBook Air. It felt like air because it was missing a clunky CD slot, and pretty soon, Apple was striking disc drives even from its iMac. Sony followed suit. And why wouldn’t they? Services like Google Drive were already encouraging users to keep their documents, videos, music, and pictures digital.

Here’s another problem: Discs don’t last forever. As NPR explains, there’s such thing as “CD rot.” This can happen when the outer layer of the disc erodes, exposing a silver layer beneath. Once that silver is exposed, it tarnishes — and tarnishing can fundamentally alter the sound. Discs with this kind of damage can crackle and cut out completely.

How to sell CDs and DVDs for cash

stacks of dollar bills

Although it may be hard to believe in 2016, there is still money to be made off CDs and DVDs. Take Decluttr. According to Fast Company, the company has raked in several million dollars, and it’s done so with a simple promise: to buy any old CD, DVD, or video game you send in. Decluttr even pays for postage.

Or you could patronize Amazon Trade-In. Simply send in your used discs and you’ll get a gift card in exchange. Shipping is covered, you get an immediate offer, and there is no registration or formal listing required.

SecondSpin and CashForCDs offer similar services. But if don’t like the price quotes you’re getting online, you can sell locally to record shops. Or you can try selling your used CDs and DVDs (and other things you don’t want in your home) on Facebook’s new Marketplace.

How to store CDs and DVDs in style

Ok so maybe you still want to keep all or some of your old CDs and DVDs for whatever reason. Don’t just toss them in a box or in a plain rack. Store them in style.

Store your CDs and DVDs in a wallet or binder.

diy cd storage binder
Flickr/Tarlen Handayani

The simplest way to shed some bulk from your collection is to ditch your CD and DVD cases. But you can’t just leave the remaining discs in a heap on your floor. They need to be protected from scratches, so check out your local electronics store for a durable CD/DVD “wallet.”

These CD/DVD wallets and binders can store anywhere from 24 to 400 discs. And if you like, you can slip some of the cover art from your original cases into each disc’s sleeve, so you can easily differentiate between your Alanis Morrisette and All-4-One albums.

Store your CDs and DVDs against the wall to save floor space.

cd and dvd storage shelves
Flickr/Simon Bleasdale

Not ready to part with your CD or DVD cases? Bookcases or shelves are a no-brainer for stacking those together, but they don’t have to be boring. Organize them by color for some easy visual flair, or choose a set of cool bookends. (Like this fake katana off Amazon or this vinyl set from Etsy.)

You can also literally spell out your passion for cinema by following this film-themed shelving spin from IKEA Hackers.

Or let MakeSpace store your CDs and DVDs.


You might be reluctant to give up your old movies and music. But you can’t deny they’re taking up way too much space in your place. Instead of hoarding them in your friend’s garage, entrust your CD collection to the storage experts at MakeSpace.

Simple schedule a pickup, pack your DVD and CD collection, and we’ll take care of the rest.

We’ll come get your stuff (whether that’s CDs, DVDs, or spare furniture) and store them in our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility. We’ll also create an online photo catalog of your stuff so you never forget what you have in storage.

Even better, when you want something back from storage, just log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you. It’s as easy as pressing Play.

Top image via Flickr/Garrett Coakley