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How to pack fragile furniture

On moving day, fragile furniture can add extra stress to an already difficult process. Unless you never grew out of your inflatable furniture phase of the late 90s, you most likely have pieces that could use some extra attention as you pack them for moving or storage.

Although MakeSpace’s Storage Rules disclaim all liability for items that one could reasonably call “fragile,” we do still store them. All we ask is that they’re packed with additional care.

If you know you’ll be storing delicate furniture like the items below, and you don’t want to give them a second thought once they’re hauled away to our secure storage facility, be sure to follow these tips:

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

Particle Board

Old Pallets

Vanity Sets with Mirrors

Wooden Desks/Tables with Carving and Ornamentation

Small Plastic Appliances

Glass-Top Tables

Particle Board

black laminated particle board shelf

Particle board is an engineered wood product that can be laminated for the look of real wood but without the heft or cost. It’s manufactured from combining wood chips, sawmill shavings, or sawdust and a synthetic resin or other binder, and is then pressed and extruded.

Particle board is commonly found in cabinetry, furniture manufactured in the 1950s, or inexpensive pieces that are more or less meant to be temporary additions to your decor. It is considered fragile because its pressed wood components are more susceptible to damage than their solid wood counterparts. This is particularly true when the piece required assembly after purchase, but will be stored and/or moved in its fully-assembled state.

If you’re trying to pack these items for storage, note that while our SpaceMakers will be thrilled with how easy your furniture is to carry, they will be hesitant about dents and dings. Since the structural integrity of the material is not guaranteed, you’ll find that many moving and storage companies do not offer increased insurance coverage for furniture made of particle board.

To protect pieces made of this material, take extra care in wrapping the edges and corners of bookcases, desks, cabinets, dressers, and shelves. Adding a layer of bubble wrap or other padding prior to wrapping the item in a moving blanket will help prevent chips and impressions on the material’s surface.

Old Pallets

discarded old wood pallets
Flickr/Walt Stoneburner

If you’re a DIY genius, you’ve likely taken home a discarded pallet you found on the side of the road and crafted a custom coffee table, hanging planter, or bookshelf.

Hopefully, before you broke out the nail gun, you checked whether the pallet was marked with an HT or MB. These codes tell you how the wood was treated prior to being made into a pallet, and could affect its strength and safety when it’s repurposed into something else.

Heat treating (HT) is a process in which the wood is heated to a core temperature of at least 132.8°F (56°C). HT is performed as a pest control treatment and is not otherwise harmful to your health.

Pallets marked with “MB” have been chemically treated using and methyl bromide. This potent pesticide kills invasive insects like pine beetles, but has also been linked to health issues in humans, as well as having a negative impact on nature. Methyl bromide was banned in 2005 by The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC); however, you may still find pallet wood from time to time that has been treated in this manner. We’d recommend avoiding it.

Regardless of how the wood was treated, pallet projects are considered fragile because of the unpredictable nature of recycled wood. While definitely sturdier than particle board, wood from pallets could have been subjected to environmental factors or weakened from prior use.

Before packing this kind of furniture up, tighten screws and give nails a few light taps with a hammer to secure them. Then, wrap the entire piece in packing paper to avoid snags on any rough edges, and cover it with a moving blanket.

Wooden Desks/Tables with Carving and Ornamentation

vintage wood desk with carving and golden decoration
Flickr/Housing Works Thrift Shops

Your grandmother’s beautiful wooden writing desk is incredibly solid. It’s the carved details and additional ornamentation that make pieces like this gorgeous, and since you don’t see furniture decorated like that anymore, you know you’ve got a timeless piece on your hands. Unfortunately, these elements make older items risky to move, as well. With decorative components protruding from the piece, the possibility of it of being scratched or chipped increases, which can take away from its character and value.

If there are any embellishments that give you cause for concern, wrap a few extra layers of padding on to provide extra protection. Steer clear of any material that could scratch the wood, and avoid using tape near its surface, as it could remove the finish and/or leave behind an unsightly residue.

Vanity Sets with Mirrors

black makeup vanity with mirror

A classic vanity set is a piece of furniture that can be passed down from generation to generation. Let’s make sure it makes it through that journey scuff-free by packing it safely.

If the vanity itself is solid wood, it can be wrapped appropriately and would not be considered fragile, and is therefore covered under MakeSpace’s standard protection plan. The mirror, however, is a different story.

The mirror falls under the “fragile” category for obvious reasons. When still connected to the vanity base, it’s less sturdy than it would be on its own, and runs the risk of cracking or breaking off. If possible, separate the mirror from the vanity so that it can be safely wrapped independently from the rest of the piece.

To do so, first put tape across the mirror in a criss-cross pattern to keep it secure and hold pieces together should any accidental breakage occur. Wrap the mirror in packing paper or newspaper, then wrap again in bubble wrap. Wrapping in only bubble wrap can cause it to cling to the mirror’s surface and create tension that could lead to cracking, so be sure to do the newsprint step first.

Prepare a large, flat box meant for frames by stuffing the bottom of it with extra newspaper. Place the mirror inside and fill any gaps with newspaper, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or other protective packing material. Tape the box shut, and be sure to label it “Fragile” so the SpaceMakers know to use even greater care than usual.

Small Plastic Appliances

white plastic cuisinart food processor on granite countertop
Flickr/Ernie Murphy

You’ll never crave a quesadilla more than when you receive your quesadilla maker back from storage and it’s cracked beyond repair. We don’t want anything to come between you and cheesy goodness, but the plastic coating on these and other small appliances is susceptible to breaking if not properly wrapped for storage.

To make sure your food processors, electric kettles, rice cookers, and more won’t suffer from electrical issues or total product damage, start by coiling the cord appropriately. Then, wrap the appliance in a couple layers of bubble wrap or a thick sweatshirt to give it extra cushion before it’s packed away in a bin.

If you have the original box that the product came in, or if you’ve found a small box that will hold it, stuff a few old socks or washcloths in the free spaces to eliminate shifting and provide a little softness.

Glass-Top Tables

round glass top dining table with wood base

A glass-top table is the be-all-end-all of fragile items. It’s both incredibly delicate and dauntingly cumbersome, and if not wrapped properly, it’s almost guaranteed to come out of a storage or moving experience with some kind of damage.

Let’s avoid that, shall we?

Being scrutinizing when protecting the table is the best defense against encountering any issues, so although this seems like a lot of steps to follow, we swear they’ll be worth it.

First, remove the glass top from the table base. For some tables, this will simply entail lifting the glass off the base. For others, you may need to carefully unscrew the top to separate it (detailed steps on how to do that can be found here). Wrap the base as you would any other wood furniture.

Once the glass top is removed, wrap it completely in packing paper secured with tape. Make sure the tape doesn’t come in direct contact with the glass or else you’ll have some sticky adhesive residue to deal with. Wrap the paper-covered glass again in bubble wrap (avoiding direct bubble-wrap-to-glass contact—see Vanity Sets with Mirrors for the reason why).

Next, place the glass top inside a large box suitable for a TV or frame. Fill any empty spots with extra packing paper or bubble wrap, and tape it shut. Label the box as “Fragile” and even note that it is a glass table top so that the SpaceMakers are aware of the extra care it requires.

 

Once you’ve wrapped and cushioned like nobody’s business, you can breathe easy knowing your fragile furniture will be handled responsibly by MakeSpace.

Although they don’t fall under our storage rules, we’re still happy to pick up these pieces (once they’ve been verified as safely packed) and carefully transport them to our secure storage facility. There, they’ll be cautiously stored until you’re ready to have them returned to you, which is super simple: Just schedule a delivery online or in the app, and we’ll bring your items right back.

Don’t sink to using plastic milk crates and cardboard furniture simply because you’re worried about moving fragile items. With a little extra attention and a lot of bubble wrap, your delicate furniture can withstand storage without a problem.

The state of stuff in America

Here’s a riddle for you: A household has accumulated more than 300,000 personal items. The home itself spans approximately 930 square feet. How does all the stuff fit?

Answer: It doesn’t. And not for a lack of trying, either.

MakeSpace recently conducted an online survey with Ask Your Target Market (AYTM) about the state of stuff in America, talking to 1,000 men and women in the United States.

What’s the general consensus?

While we’re aware we have a lot of stuff, downsizing is no easy task, and determining what can be kept, stored, or given away can be a daunting process.

“This survey confirms what we’ve known at MakeSpace for years, that while people are seeking out a more minimalist lifestyle and choosing to live in smaller spaces or downsize, most still have a lot of belongings, many of which have sentimental value,” said MakeSpace Chief Marketing Officer Richard Mumby.

Let’s see how the stats [and the boxes] stack up:

The Nostalgia Predicament

to keep or not to keep infographic

People are overwhelmed by the amount of stuff they’re holding onto, but even more stressful is the potential remorse they’d feel if they got rid of something “important.”

So what are we saving?

47.7% of people are keeping their and their children’s old toys or books, even those that are no longer useful.

25.8% are reliving their glory days with old trophies.

43.5% of respondents confessed to holding onto a school art project or handmade gift from their kids.

People know that they should clear the clutter, but many are hesitant from experience: 41.6% of those surveyed said that they regret throwing or giving away sentimental items in the past, despite not having any space to store them.

Closet Conundrum

the great closet compromise makespace infographic

Brace yourselves, people: the things your peers are willing to do for more closet space are…fascinating, at the very least.

It seems that closets just aren’t big enough to hold all our stuff. 67.2% of people said that their bedroom closet is the most cluttered space in their home, while 25.3% claim their hall closet holds the bulk of their clutter.

And whose fault is that? Ladies, raise your hands. 47.7% of women admitted that they use more of their home’s total closet space than their significant other. But the men aren’t off the hook: 9.2% of those surveyed admitted that they’ve taken over the closets in their homes.

Regardless of who’s commandeering the closets, more than half of people (52.6%) agree that an extra walk-in is preferable to an extra bathroom.

Of course, to accommodate extras, you’ll need to cut back in other areas. Nearly half of participants are more than willing to make some major sacrifices:

  • 49.1% of those surveyed claim they would be willing to be celibate for 6 months in order to have more closet space, because it’s easier to wear your chastity belt than to try and store it
  • 17.2% of respondents said they would opt for a six-month pay cut if it meant a more sizable closet
  • 51% of men would be open to adding instead of subtracting—to their waistlines, that is. They would consider gaining 10 pounds for 6 months if it meant more room to hang their now-two-sizes-too-small pants

Square Footage Fight

she's cleaning house makespace infographic

Handling your own overflow of stuff is one thing. Purging someone else’s extras is another. And 32.7% of women have done it, admitting to throwing out or donating some of their significant other’s things—without them knowing (only 16.4% of men admitted doing the same. Smart).

When they get things out in the open, over half of respondents aren’t arguing about the thermostat, clothes on the floor, or whose turn it is to wash the dishes.

Instead, 52.2% of people surveyed said that not having enough space is typically the reason behind a fight with their roommate or significant other.

Would more space in the home cause them to agree on a comfortable temperature, have better aim into the hamper, and scrub their plate as soon as they finished eating? Probably not, but it might help.

Secrecy Situation

stashing our stuff makespace infographic

In the event we can’t successfully get rid of someone’s stuff, we’re keeping the secret between ourselves and hiding items in some pretty obscure places.

  • 59% of people surveyed store stuff under the bed
  • 18.5% admitted to stockpiling their things under the kitchen or dining room table
  • 15.4% said they pull a Carrie Bradshaw and store their things inside of kitchen appliances (e.g. oven, microwave, etc.)
  • The lucky ones (63.4%) humble-bragged that they use a spare bedroom for any bonus items
  • Many people take hidden storage outside the home, with 27% using their garage to park their overflow of belongings instead their cars
  • 15% of all respondents (and 20% of just the men) said they use their car trunk for extra storage
  • 17.1% of men have had their possessions exiled to the balcony or outdoor patio

 

The facts don’t lie, guys. We’ve got too much stuff, and we have serious reservations about the proper way to deal with it.

MakeSpace makes that decision a little easier.

With on-demand, full-service storage in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, DC, customers no longer have to sacrifice their already-small spaces by implementing awkward storage solutions. MakeSpace picks up, stores, and delivers your items, and it can all be handled with a few taps in the app.

Downsizing is tough, but with MakeSpace, we can start to tackle our piles (hidden and otherwise) in the most convenient way possible. Schedule your first pickup today (it’s free!), and see why stress-free, affordable storage is the answer to America’s clutter quandary.

The anatomy of a perfectly packed MakeSpace bin

A well-packed MakeSpace bin is a work of art. That’s not hyperbole. That’s fact.

And we believe everyone has the ability to be an artist. You just need the right tools and some creative inspiration.

Packing your bin properly not only gives you an excuse to post a #belfie (bin selfie, duh), but it also ensures that your items will remain protected and organized throughout the storage process.

We’re all for creative license when it comes to expressing yourself through your art, but when prepping a bin for pickup, there is a right way to do it. Follow this step by step guide to a perfectly-packed MakeSpace storage bin.

Step 1: Check the Storage Rules

MakeSpace-bin-pack-me

Before you show off your packing prowess, make sure the items you’re storing adhere to our Storage Rules.

We can store the Uncle Sam costume you don each Fourth of July; however, the leftover fireworks from last year’s celebration have to stay with you. Similarly, we’re happy to safely store your spice rack, but it has to be empty—perishable and non-perishable food items are forbidden, so we won’t be able to take your turmeric and thyme.

Our Terms of Service go into all the details of what can and can’t be stored and how the whole experience works, so check those out prior to packing.

Step 2: Gather like items

makespace wedding dress and tuxedo storage bin

Similar items packed in the same bin will make it easier to request one bin back that holds all the necessities.

When you’re ready to receive all of your snowboarding gear, or all of your Halloween costumes, or all of your prized Mickey Mouse memorabilia, you can pick the appropriate bin from your online photo catalog and we’ll deliver it right to you.

No more digging through one bin for your party shoes and another for your cocktail dress. By keeping like items packed together, you’ve created a quick one-stop-shop for your essentials.

Step 3: Create boundaries

The whimsical MakeSpace bin of Bezar Co-founder and Creative Director, PieterJan Mattan, is used for on-demand TriBeCa Manhattan storage.

Your stuff is important to you, and if the option to hire full-on bodyguards to protect your things was offered, you have to admit, it’d be tempting.

While jacked dudes with ear pieces aren’t part of our protection plans, it is possible to build in some extra security to each bin you pack at home.

Take sturdy items like books and wooden accessories and place them around the perimeter of the bin. This will create a rigid barrier against the sides that will prevent the rest of the contents from accidental damage or shifting during transit.

Our bins are pretty tough, but we don’t take any chances when it comes to your items, and we know that you don’t plan to, either.

Step 4: Lay down the base

When you pack a bin that’s all about the base, you can rest assured that there will be no trouble.

Now that the sides are secured with books, take your extra towels, blankets, thick jackets, sweatshirts, etc., and use them to line the bottom of the bin. This extra-cushiony layer will give your belongings a soft spot to land. Plus, these bulky items tend to be difficult to pack otherwise, so you’ll be giving them dual purpose while ensuring the rest of your things are well-protected.

Step 5: Roll them up

rolled clothes are on a bed and ready for packing
Flickr/Connie Ma

If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck out of each bin, consider rolling (not folding)  your clothing.

Although the jury is still out on which method will leave your clothes wrinkle-free upon unpacking, rolling your jeans, t-shirts, and yoga pants will save space and is best suited for fitting the most items possible.

Pro Tip: Some items might benefit from being rolled inside out, like those adorned with sequins or delicate embroidery, or pieces that are dyed, like dark-wash jeans. Since there will be less friction against the decorations as the clothing is moved from the truck to the storage facility, you won’t have to worry about wear and tear or color transfer.

Step 6: Top it off

Fashion designer and MONSE co-founder Laura Kim uses MakeSpace for winter clothes storage NYC.

Just as you gave your items a cushioned base, adding another soft layer on top of them will safeguard everything as the bins are stacked and moved.

Rolled up newspaper and scrunched up plastic bags are handy if you’ve run out of sweatshirts and coats. And, of course, bubble wrap is the old standby that keeps your belongings guarded against heavy bins and other objects set on top.

Step 7: Write that down

makespace app version 2.16.2 my stuff screen

With our online photo catalog, you never forget what you have in storage. However, these pictures are not an item-by-item photo album. While we recommend packing bins in such a way that it’ll be clear to you what each one holds, writing down their specific contents before they’re sealed can help ensure exactly what you ask for is delivered back.

Each bin features a barcode, which helps our team properly manage it once it enters our facility. When the bins are still in your home, copy down this barcode and list the individual items in each bin. Once we’ve picked up your stuff, hauled it to our facility, photographed each bin, and the photos are available in your online photo catalog, you can edit the information associated with the bins to keep track of their contents, piece by piece.

This will come in particularly handy if you have multiple bins-worth of holiday decorations, but only need the one that holds the inflatable menorah. Listing what’s inside of each bin will make finding what you want and scheduling a delivery a piece of cake.

 

After you’ve sculpted the masterpiece of all MakeSpace bins, what do you do next?

Nothin’.

Our SpaceMakers will pick up your perfectly-packed bins, wardrobe boxes, and anything else and transport them to our safe and secure storage facility. You barely lift a finger.

Whenever you’d like some or all of your things back, simply schedule a delivery with a few taps in the app and we’ll bring them right back to you. This saves time and allows you to do the things you really enjoy, like painting the next classic work of art or filling in a page of a coloring book.

However you choose to express your artsy side, get creative with MakeSpace.

Get Your Sweat On: The 13 Best Fitness Classes In NYC

What do you call a motionless New Yorker?

A tourist.

City dwellers are constantly on the move, whether they’re running to catch a train, running to steal a cab, or running their mouths about the drawbacks of their least favorite borough (while singing the praises of their own neighborhood).

It truly is the city that never sleeps, and New Yorkers fill every waking moment with activity of all kinds.

And if they have a free hour?

They exercise.

Of course, the home of the tallest building in the United States, most expensive pet wedding in history, and largest Chick-fil-A in the world doesn’t do fitness halfway.

These 13 fitness classes feature the sweatiest, heart-pumpingest, most unique workout experience the Big Apple has to offer. Get your best body in check so you can survive in the best city in the world.

1. SURFSET

surfset instructor nyc skyline
SURFSET

While SURFSET isn’t a “how to surf” class (kind of hard to pull that off in the waveless East Village), it’s surf-inspired to build balance, core strength, coordination, agility, aerobic conditioning, and lean muscle.

Don’t worry about being a total kook and snaking someone on a wave just as they were about to get pitted. Instead, get stoked on establishing total body awareness on their 6-foot long surfboards on top of three balance balls, which mimic the feeling of being on water and challenge you to engage all of your muscles as you find stability.

Incorporating “shred the gnar” into everyday conversation is optional.

Free Bonus: How To Store Surfboards, Paddle Boards, And Beach Cruisers

2. SLT

SLT class on reformer
SLT

SLT stands for “Strengthen Lengthen Tone.” Get ready for 50 minutes of engaging your core as you plank, twist, lunge, and pulse your way to a stronger, leaner physique.

“Most New Yorkers are very pressed for time and schedule their days to the minute,” says instructor Adina Silverstein. “SLT effectively combines strength training, cardio, and the most challenging elements of Pilates into a 50 min class, so in under an hour, clients can get a killer full-body workout. At SLT, transition time between moves is minimized, so that you spend the entire 50 minutes of a class working out.”

Think you’ve felt soreness in every part of your body? Think again.

SLT’s workout is performed slowly to activate the slow-twitch muscle fibers, so you’ll be exhausted by the end of each workout, and toned and tightened after a few weeks of regular practice. Unlike other workouts, which are specific to either cardio or toning, SLT combines the two for a session that’s as efficient as it is effective.

3. M Dance & Fitness

M Dance and Fitness
M Dance & Fitness

The great Jennifer Lopez once said, “I just wanna dance. Is that a crime? Alright then.”

Less worried about hitting PR’s and would rather just get down with your bad self? M Dance & Fitness welcomes you with open arms and a swivel of the hips.

“We’re one of the only companies offering a wide variety of classes — over 12 different formats — specifically geared towards beginners,” says owner Misty Clark. “There’s no sense of competition, intimidation, or pressure. All of our instructors and students are fun, friendly, welcoming, and encouraging.”

Fun class options like Hip Hop/Burlesque Cardio, Hottilates Barre, and Cardio TONE get your heart pumping and your booty popping. Your face might also be sore after class, but no worries — that’s simply from all the smiling.

4. Regenerate Fitness

Regenerate Fitness

One of your main goals this year is to lose weight, but you want to do it the right way.

Head straight to Regenerate Fitness.

This private and semi-private personal training studio specializes in weight loss and corrective exercises that help reduce the likelihood of injury while optimizing performance.

Their range of semi-private classes include an intense 30-minute High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Tabata class, Cardio Abs, restorative yoga, chair yoga, beginner pilates mat, and kickboxing.

The instructor’s passion for health, wellness, and fitness will help you effectively achieve your goals effectively and at a pace you can stick with.

5. Body & Pole

body and pole dance fitness
Body & Pole

If you forget to drop off your inhibitions at the door at Body & Pole, don’t worry —  after five minutes in any of the pole, hoop, or fabric classes, they’ll see themselves out.

“This city can be fast-paced and stressful. We hope to provide a safe oasis where you can learn new skills, express yourself, feel connected to a community, and have fun!” says manager Irmingard Mayer.

You’ll quickly discover that spinning around a pole and dangling from aerial silks require a lot more than momentum and a floor to catch you. If you’re new to any of the techniques, Body & Pole suggests taking their intro classes (a few times) to ground yourself in the proper placement of your body on the various apparatus.

Sure, you’ll get your heart pumping, but it’s about more than just earning a badge on your Fitbit.

“We hope our classes will provide students with an all encompassing experience rather than just a workout. If you want a workout, you can definitely get a sweat, build strength, and increase flexibility. But beyond this you also gain new skills by learning technique and increasing body awareness. It is about how you feel in the moment and what your body can do rather than what you look like.”

6. Mile High Run Club

mile high run club instructor
Mile High Run Club

We’ll skip the Forrest Gump jokes and get straight to the point: If you want to be a faster, stronger runner with more endurance, Mile High Run Club is for you.

A variety of classes help runners of all levels work toward their goals. DASH 28 helps you build your mileage in a 45-minute session that covers two to three miles on the treadmill and incorporates strength training. Expect to cover about five miles in the treadmill-only High 45 endurance class. Short on time? Get your cardio in for the day with 30 minutes of straight running in the DIRTY 30 class.

Becoming a great runner doesn’t take 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours. Just grab a pair of magic shoes, and let the coaches at MHRC help you run like the wind blows. We have a feeling you’ll go together like peas and carrots. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

7. The Bari Studio

bari studio bounce class
The Greenwich Hotel

You’ve run all the miles, pulsed all the pulses, and danced til ya couldn’t dance, til ya couldn’t dance no more. Your muscles stopped responding to your workouts. You’ve hit the dreaded exercise plateau.

It’s time for the bari method.

Their Dance class moves and grooves you through a superset dance combination while interspersing toning moves for a full-body experience. Bounce marries trampoline work with hanging resistance bands to simultaneously challenge your strength and balance. Sculpt utilizes the barre, hanging resistance bands, bari balls and bari skimmers for allover conditioning.

Can’t decide? Opt for the Hybrid class to get a taste of it all. Body boredom doesn’t stand a chance with bari.

8. Tone House

tone house fitness studio
Tone House

If you’ve never considered yourself an “athlete,” Tone House is ready to change your mind. The changes in your body will be an added bonus.

The first-ever extreme, athletic-based group fitness studio, Tone House’s classes are team-oriented, competitive, and fun, with a ton of sweat thrown in for good measure. While each class varies, the core focus is consistent transitions from explosive to non-explosive exercises paired with resistance and velocity training techniques.

Basically, after a few weeks, you’ll be a beast. Which is cooler than just claiming “athlete” status, honestly.

9. trampoLEAN

trampolean-leg-butt-workout-class
trampoLEAN

The last time you jumped on a trampoline, you were eight years old playing with your cousin and trying to bounce each other off the edge before your mom yelled at you to stop.

Things have changed a bit.

At trampoLEAN, you’ll contract and relax muscles in all parts of your body with every bounce. The low-impact workouts alleviate stress on your joints but keep you moving constantly for a full 50 minutes, which translates into a serious calorie burn.

“trampoLEAN’s low-impact class helps you stay laser focused on your mind/body connection,” says founder Louis Coraggio.

“This class helps New Yorkers improve their reactive time. If a biker or car swerves in front of them on the streets, they’ll be able to jump out of the way faster. The streets of New York are busy — you’ll keep your balance better the next time someone bumps into you or you step on something slippery on the streets.”

10. Sword Class NYC

sword class nyc class
Sword Class NYC

These days, it’s important to be prepared for anything. Nowhere is that more true than New York City. From mascot fights to surprise Broadway performances on the subway, you never know what each day will bring.

While we’d advise against participating in cartoon character brawls, and we assume you’d like to leave belting out showtunes to the professionals, there is a disciplined way to be ready for whatever. And you get to use a sword.

Different Sword Class NYC classes will teach you the techniques associated with various historical sword fighting practices. Big fan of Japanese culture and looking to channel your inner Samurai? Give Kendo a shot. More of a “knightly duel” kind of person? Get your Game of Thrones on with HEMA: Longsword.

“Sword Class NYC is the only school in the US dedicated full-time to the training of both eastern and western medieval armed combat arts,” says owner sensei Raab Rashi. “New Yorkers leave their fears, troubles, and worries behind as they train with sword in hand, making their mind, body, and spirit act as one.”

11. ChaiseFitness

chaisefitness resistance training
ChaiseFitness

So you’ve tried barre and Pilates, and they were great. But they didn’t exactly live up to the hype that Instagram, fitness magazines, and your sister-in-law had built up.

What was the big deal?

Why the hubbub?

Give it another try, and this time, head to ChaiseFitness.

“ChaiseFitness is a unique workout because it takes the benefits of Pilates and adds resistance training, ballet, and aerobics into a variety of classes with the fun upbeat vibe of NYC,” says founder Rachel Piskin. “Our studios offer very personalized attention since our classes sizes are small, which is unique in NYC where many studios try to fit as many people as possible into a small space.”

Over time, you’ll watch your physique transform, thanks to the lengthening and strengthening effects of each move.

12. ConBody

man doing conbody workout
ConBody

NYC: If you can make it here, you’ll make it anywhere.

The same can be said for making it through a ConBody class.

“A lot of people say that this is the hardest class in the city,” says CEO and Founder Coss Marte. “We’re bringing the prison workout out to New Yorkers.”

The bodyweight-only program was developed using military bootcamp techniques. Squats, burpees, push-ups, planks — each move is taken to the max to inspire strength, endurance, and whole lot of burn. Each session is designed to be completed anywhere, anytime (in a prison cell, for example). It is not meant to be easy, which makes it incredibly effective. And exhausting.

“We don’t use any equipment in this class. We really push it to the next level in terms of what you can do utilizing just your body. You feel like you’ve worked out here. It can be addicting.”

13. Rumble

rumble boxing aqua punching bags
Rumble Boxing

Be a lover, not a fighter. Or take out so much pent-up aggression on a punching bag that your fighting spirit gives way to an abundance of love. Whatever works.

Rumble Boxing can provide the equipment and the endorphins.

Each class is comprised of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), strength training, metabolic conditioning (METCON), and cardio. You’re constantly moving through a series of grueling exercises for 10 rounds of heart-pumping fun.

“Rumble is simple by design, challenging by execution,” says founding trainer Andy Stern. “While the exercises and combinations are simple to follow, you push yourself at your own pace. No matter your level of boxing or strength training, you always have an opportunity to learn something and improve your craft.”

 

Life in New York City is unique, and the way New Yorkers stay in shape is no exception. The best fitness classes in NYC offer up something that 8.5 million people can’t seem to get enough of.

You’re obviously not going to miss out on enjoying a deliciously weird Spaghetti Donut or Burgrito. Work them off in just as unexpected of a way.

You might also not expect how easy storage can be. Save your energy for a cool workout class and leave the heavy lifting to MakeSpace.

Simply schedule a pickup and pack your stuff. We’ll pick up everything from your home and transport it to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility.

When you need your foam roller and/or portable back massager back (and trust us, after these workouts, you will), browse the convenient online photo catalog of your stuff, click the items’ photos, and we’ll deliver them to you.

Everything You Need To Know About Properly Storing Wine At Home

“Wine fridge” was totally on your must-have list the last time you went apartment hunting. But after seeing approximately 52 units in various states (dilapidated) and sizes (small), you were just happy you ended up with a functioning sink.

You might not have gotten that wine fridge or cellar of your dreams, but you can still store your vino in an artful, thoughtful way.

We show you the best way to store wine at home with some of the coolest wine racks, cabinets, holders, tables, and other wine storage solutions on the market.

There’s a lot of information here, so be sure to savor it slowly, like a burgundy from 1978.

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

Wine Storage 101
Wine Racks
Wine Cabinets
Wine Bottle Holders
Wine Tables, Furniture, And More

Wine Storage 101

1. Adjust your thermostat

wine bottles chilling in a wine cooler
Flickr/Your Best Digs

What’s the best temperature to store wine?

According to Wine Spectator, never crack 70°F. Too much heat will age your wine faster than you’d like. But you also shouldn’t bury your bottles in the fridge (at least not long-term). That chilly environment can dry out corks, allowing air to sneak into the bottles and ruin your wine.

Somewhere between 45°F and 65°F is the sweet spot. And if you’re wondering what temperature you should serve your chardonnay at, here’s a handy chart from Vinotemp.

2. Keep temperature steady

thermostat set to cool temperature
Flickr/Jena Fuller

One more thing about temperature: It’s important to maintain consistency.

Just as wildly fluctuating temps can ruin your hair, they can also mess with your adult beverages. Possible side effects of temperature swings include tainted taste and spontaneously bursting corks.

Now, that doesn’t mean you need to obsessively monitor the thermostat for the slightest changes. Just make sure the area you choose for your wine collection is generally stable, temperature-wise.

3. Lay wine bottles on their side

store wine bottles on their sides
Flickr/Tara Angkor Hotel

Sideways isn’t just the name of a movie about wine enthusiasts. It’s also the way you should position your wine bottles. The pros recommend this because it forces your wine to brush up against the cork. That keeps the cork moist, so it won’t dry out and let all that pesky air in.

You also definitely don’t want to leave bottles upside down in their packing cases. As Real Simple explains, that’ll cause sediment to collect on the corks.

The one exception is bottles with screw tops. Screw caps keep out more air than cork screws do, so you can store wine bottles with screw caps upright if you want to. As long as it’s in a dark place…

4. Dim the lights

store wine in low light

Wines that have been exposed to light (from the sun or just a fluorescent bulb) for long periods of time become “lightstruck,” and that’s a bad thing to be.

Lightstruck wines take on weird tastes and funky aromas. One winemaker describes the smell as “kind of like plastic or styrene.” Yum.

Since we assume you’d rather smell berries and wood than plastic, store your wine in a shaded area.

Wine Racks

The RackPack

rack pack wine storage rack
UncommonGoods

Sometimes, you just need to store three wine bottles. Other times, you want to prep for a holiday party with 12. Get you a rack that can do both.

The RackPack at UncommonGoods transforms to accommodate your wine storage needs. When it’s all locked up, it holds three bottles or just one upright.

Once unhinged, it transforms into an upside down V shape with slots for six bottles. But if you lay it flat, there’s suddenly space for two pyramids of six bottles, bringing you to a grand total of 12 bottles. Not bad for a $25 pine box.

Metal Hanging Wine Glass Rack

metal hanging wine glass rack
AllModern

Who needs a chandelier when you’ve got a dangling wine rack?

This heavy-gauge metal piece hangs 24 pieces of stemware and still leaves space for eight bottles of wine up top. Make sure to mount it in studs or beams, unless you want your rosé to come crashing down.

Black Hexagonal Wine Rack

world market hexagonal wine rack
World Market

Think of it as building blocks for your pinot. World Market’s geometric rack stacks six metallic hexagons together, giving you space for six bottles of your choosing.

But as one enthusiastic customer notes, you can hack that quota. Simply place three more bottles at the top. Provided you “lock the shoulders of the bottles into the gaps,” of course.

Wall Hanging Wine Rack

personalized wooden wall hanging wine rack
Etsy/RobertsCraftShop

An all-inclusive wine storage solution is finally yours in this personalized wooden hanging wine rack. It also holds six wine bottles, with stemware space below.

The downside: It can only accommodate four glasses.

The upside: You can personalize it by adding your name to the wood panels.

Better act fast: It’s currently 10% off.

Film Reel Wine Rack

film reel wine holder
Etsy/MotionPicFilmStore

If you prefer to pair your wine with movies, this is the rack for you. It’s made from three vintage 35mm film tins, which lend a cinematic quality to your collection. Toast Hollywood every time you uncork.

Horseshoe Wine Rack

horseshoe wine rack
Etsy/HorseshoeRacks

If the mere mention of Wine Night sends you off to the races, this horseshoe wine rack will make it even harder to control your excitement.

Fortunately, spots for six of your favorite Tempranillos, Sangioveses, and Syrahs mean that, if nothing else is contained, at least your stash will be.

DIY Wine Rack

If you’d rather build your own wine storage rack, follow this guide from Nuts & Bolts.

In just an hour, you’ll have a wooden lattice wine rack capable of storing 36 bottles. Stock up on your drills, glue, and screws before you get going.

Wine Cabinets

Baxter Studio Dry Bar and Wine Cabinet

wood wine storage cabinet
Overstock

You’ll feel like a boozy spy with this unit from Overstock. Slide back the tabletop and you’ll discover hidden storage for corkscrews, linens, cheese knives, and more.

Tug on the tiny silver knob and the door will drop down to reveal racks for 10 wine glasses. The only thing that’s not secretive is where the actual wine goes — that would be in the cubbies at the bottom.

Pulaski Alannis Wine Cabinet

large wine cabinet armoire
Available Online Only at bedbathandbeyond.com

To the untrained eye, this appears to be a stylish armoire. But swing open the doors and you won’t find sweaters. You’ll see shelf after shelf of varietals.

This cabinet is meant to house everything you require for wine time. There are drawers for corkscrews and aerators, and stemware racks for glasses up top. That leaves the tall shelves entirely free for your robust private wine collection. With space like this, you can even hide a Franzia in the back. We won’t tell.

Lawana Wine Armoire

Want a more old-school European cabinet to house your collection of Italian vintages?

Safeguard your coveted Montepulciano d’Abruzzo in this gorgeous mango wood and wrought iron armoire.

The top half features spacious shelves and space for 20 glasses, while the bottom half displays your bottles on five rows of racks. You can fit 35 bottles comfortably, if you can resist indulging long enough to let them accumulate.

Renfroe 12 Bottle Floor Wine Cabinet

This wine tower might be skinny, but it packs a mean storage punch.

Up to 12 bottles and 16 glasses all have a home here. And at less than two feet wide, it won’t take up precious wall space in your actual home.

Adams Phone Booth Wine Cabinet

Still miss your semester abroad in London?

Give yourself a taste of Britain with this Adams Phone Booth wine cabinet that’s shaped just like an iconic red telephone box. It comes with stemware racks so you never have to phone it in when it comes to hosting a fun wine night.

Wine Bottle Holders

Wine-O-Saur Wine Bottle Holder

This guy roars for Rioja. The Wine-O-Saur comes with a stegosaurus-shaped frame made of maple wood with a dark walnut stain. He can’t swing his spiked tail at you, but he can store your favorite bottle on his haunches.

Elephant Wine Holder

wooden elephant wine bottle holder
Etsy/WoodKO

Not a big fan of the Jurassic period?

Then go with a modern mammal. This wooden elephant wine holder on Etsy has ears as big as Dumbo’s and tusks to boot.

But don’t worry: It won’t spray your wine out of its trunk.

Antler Wine Bottle Holder

faux deer antler wine bottle holder
Buffalo Trader Online

No animals were harmed in the making of this wine holder. It’s just hand-painted resin. Still, you’ll get serious hunting lodge vibes from the majestic deer antler-inspired bottle holder.

The twisting, tinted antlers support your most prized bottle, no hunting required.

Stiletto Wine Bottle Holder

Carrie Bradshaw would go nuts for this high-heel bottle holder. It may not be a Jimmy Choo, but it does have leopard print, a cheeky peep toe, and a sky-high stiletto for your preferred Port.

Bike Wine Bottle Holder

bicycle wine bottle holder
Bicycle Gift Hub

For the cyclist who also loves a good Chablis, there’s this bicycle wine bottle holder. The antique bronze metal frame supports a bottle of just about any shape on its seat.

Do your own Tour de France with wine tastings from the Alsace, Bordeaux, and Côtes du Rhone regions.

Lighthouse Wine Bottle Holder

While most lighthouses are beacons for stray ships, this one is a beacon for wine lovers. This metal lighthouse wine bottle holder comes with its own windows and railings, and goes for $19.95 at Potpourri Gift.

Wine Tables, Furniture, And More

ZEbag

red ZE bag wine bottle carrier
ZEbag

Leave it to the wine pros in France to design this wine storage transformer. You can roll the ZEbag up into a hexagon and carry six bottles inside.

Or you can unfurl it on your countertop for staggered storage.

Or you can hang it up like an over-the-door shoe rack.

It’s the Megatron of wine storage, minus the risk of it robotically coming to life and taking over your city.

Vintage Oak Wine Barrel Bistro Table

A lot of wine gets fermented in oak barrels. So it’s only fitting that this oak barrel bistro table from Wine Enthusiast stores wine bottles inside.

Swing open the door and you’ll find plenty of room for your reds, whites, and rosés. Heck, you can even throw in a decanter or two.

And when it’s time to entertain, your guests can rest their glasses — and complementary cheese plates — on the tabletop secured to the barrel.

Renaissance Wrought Iron Wine Jail

Wine jail” sounds like where you go when you act up in a vineyard. But it’s actually a beautiful home for 45 of your best vintages.

The wine jail’s door boasts intricate scrollwork with an antique bronze finish that takes you back to the time of Michelangelo and Raphael. Just like regular jail, the wine jail has a lock. Unlike regular jail, you can easily open the lock.

Walk-In Wine Vault

vinotemp large walk-in wine vault
Vinotemp

Serious wine geeks only need apply. Like Scrooge McDuck’s money bin but for wine, this walk-in wine vault houses an insane 2,500 bottles of wine, because why not. It’s so spacious you can literally walk inside it to peruse the redwood racks and/or just hang out with your tannin-filled best friends.

Another bonus: It includes a cooling system so you can control the temperature and humidity.

Obviously, you need significant space in your home to make this vault work. You’ll also need serious cash: The vault goes for $19,995.

Need to clear some room in your home for your wine collection?

Simply schedule a MakeSpace pickup (your first pickup is free!) and pack your displaced furniture or oversized kitchen appliances.

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

It gets better:

When you want something back, log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you. It’s really that easy.

So sit back, relax, and uncork one of your favorite reds knowing that MakeSpace has your storage needs covered.

Growing Herbs Indoors: How To Grow An Herb Garden In Your Apartment

When you move into a small city apartment, you let go of certain dreams:

  • Pulling into a two-car garage every day after work
  • Adopting a pack of Bernese mountain dogs
  • Planting a perfectly manicured set of rosebushes

A full-on botanical garden might be impossible. Growing herbs indoors? Much easier to pull off.

This guide will teach you how to grow herbs indoors. You’ll master planting herbs in pots, caring for them, and harvesting your sage, cilantro, and basil when the time is right. Plus, you get to exercise your green thumb and improve your home cooking.

You may have to make a few trips to Home Depot, but your stomach will thank you.

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

Indoor Herb Gardening Basics
How To Grow Basil
How To Grow Mint
How To Grow Rosemary
How To Grow Oregano
How To Grow Thyme
How To Grow Sage
How To Grow Parsley
How To Grow Cilantro

Indoor Herb Gardening Basics

growing herbs on an outdoor balcony
Flickr/Suzette

Selecting a spot for your new indoor herb garden is the most important part of the process. The plants need a place where they can get six hours of sunlight each day.

A kitchen windowsill is a great option. But as Planet Natural advises, a corner with two windows — one that faces south and one that faces west — is the best case scenario.

Have an apartment with minimal natural light?

Bump up the brightness with some fluorescent or high-intensity discharge (HID) lights, available at home improvement stores.

Free Bonus: 7 Easy Ways To Fill Your Apartment With Natural Light

Your pots should be at least eight inches in diameter — for certain herbs, even larger pots are better. And when shopping for soil, don’t make the rookie mistake of picking up garden soil. It’s too heavy for pots and not formulated for the plants that grow inside them. Get a high-quality potting mix instead.

While it’s fine to use soil straight from the bag, mixing in some compost (for added nutrients) and coarse sand (for better drainage) can work wonders.

It’s important to water your plants, but don’t go overboard. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so try to hit a happy medium. The rule of [green] thumb is to water when the soil feels dry an inch below the surface. Also, use pots with drainage holes.

Three more important  pieces of advice:

  • Make sure to label each of your plants.That way, you won’t accidentally add cilantro to your pesto sauce.
  • Once the herbs mature, harvest carefully. Taking more than a third of the plant at once makes it harder for the plant to recover and produce new herbs.
  • When it is time to harvest, do it in the morning. According to Modern Farmer, the midday sun saps the essential oils out of herbs, so it’s best to grab them while they’re still full of flavor.

So what are the best herbs to grow indoors?

Here are a few of the most common herbs, and what it takes to make each of them thrive.

How To Grow Basil

how to grow basil indoors
Flickr/Tony Austin

Basil is an herb garden no-brainer. You can use it in pastas, salads, pizzas, sauces, and so much more. Plus it’s very easy to cultivate at home.

Basil requires a medium-sized pot, since it usually grows to between 12-24 inches in height. Fill the pot up about 3/4 of the way with soil and lightly water it.

Then it’s time to add your seeds. The New York Restoration Project recommends spacing the seeds 2-3 inches apart on top of the soil. Once they’re settled, cover them with the remaining 1/4 of soil.

You’ll need to space your seedlings even further apart after they’ve had a chance to grow. Every now and then, snip off the tips of the plant to encourage the basil to branch out. Also, keep an eye out for flowers. You should cut those before they bloom.

As soon as your plant is in tip-top shape, pick leaves individually to suit your recipes.

How To Grow Mint

fresh mint grown indoors
Flickr/Terri Bateman

Mint is a sprawling plant, so take extra precautions to keep it contained. The first thing you’ll need to pull this off is a large, deep pot. Use one that’s 12-16 inches wide.

The Kitchn suggests you skip the seed stage and start with a more mature piece of mint. If you have a friend who’s already growing buckets of the stuff, ask him or her to cut you off a root.

Don’t have a pal with a green thumb?

Head to the farmers’ market and pick up a sprig. You can set that in a glass of water near the window and, once the roots emerge, transfer it to the pot.

Since mint grows like crazy, stay on top of your harvesting. You can pick leaves as you need them, like basil. Or your can reap most of the bounty at once by cutting the leaves at the stems. If you’re doing the latter, make sure to harvest before the whole plant flowers.

How To Grow Rosemary

home grown rosemary
Flickr/craigles75

Don’t be a hero and try to grow this stuff from seed. Rosemary is very difficult to germinate.  Many seeds don’t take at all, and the ones that do take their sweet time.

That’s why Gardening Know How suggests buying a small bedding plant from your local nursery. Make sure it doesn’t have any powdery mildew on it before you purchase.

Set your plant up in a pot at least 12 inches wide. Rosemary hates the cold, so put it close to sunlight. Also, don’t crowd it with too many other plants.

Because rosemary is a bit tougher than some of the other herbs on this list, you’ll need clippers to harvest it. You can take quite a bit at a time, but don’t cut the stems too low or it’ll take longer for the plant to regrow.

Although you can use fresh rosemary, eHow expert Jarrett Mann says it tastes better dried and stored:

To dry your rosemary, bundle up the sprigs and set them in a dry space like an attic or your oven. (The Kitchn suggests placing it on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, then turning the oven onto the lowest setting.) Then, you can pull off the leaves and crumble them into a jar. Alternatively, you can pluck off all the leaves and freeze them in a Ziploc bag for later use.

How To Grow Oregano

growing oregano in your home garden
Flickr/Br3nda

Although oregano can be grown from seeds or root cuttings, cuttings are much easier on first-timers. After you’ve set your oregano up in a pot that’s about 12 inches in diameter, keep an eye out for flower buds. As with basil and mint, those signal it’s time to harvest.

If you’re taking a big batch of oregano rather than a few leaves for your dinner recipe, cut by the stem and then hang the bunches to dry. Once dry, pick the leaves off the stems and seal them up for storage.

How To Grow Thyme

thyme growing in a pot indoors
Flickr/Jason Baker

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, thyme seeds are tough to grow because of their slow, uneven germination. So it’s much less of a headache to start with a seedling that’s already bypassed the early stages of growth.

Water thyme frequently, and cultivate it in a sandy soil mix. When it’s grown, thyme is super simple to harvest. Just snip off whatever you want, leaving several inches on the stem so it doesn’t slow down.

If you want to use thyme fresh, grab the leaves off the stem and crumble them slightly before adding them to your recipe. If you want to use it later, hang the stems up to dry in a cool, dark spot and then pack them into glass jars.

You can also freeze thyme, though maybe not in the same way that Time Lords do. For more info, refer to Crafty’s guide on how to grow thyme indoors.

How To Grow Sage

gathering home grown sage for cooking

The next stop on our tour of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair” garden is sage. This herb can grow up two feet tall and two feet wide, so make sure you start with a big pot.

Balcony Container Gardening recommends you keep your soil fairly dry, and supplement with fertilizer once a month during growing season.

Sage can acquire a “woody” quality after your plant hits the three or four year mark, so take cuttings while it’s in its prime. That way, you can cultivate new specimens before the current one hits retirement.

You can harvest sage leaves as you need them. But if you want to help your plant reach its highest potential, do at least two bigger hauls during its growing season. This will make the plant more rounded, and the leaves more plentiful.

How To Grow Parsley

chopping home grown parsley for cooking
Flickr/Kelley Boone

There are actually two types of parsley: curly leaf and flat leaf.

Curly leaf is much easier to chop, but flat leaf (also called Italian parsley) has a bolder flavor to it. Decide which one is best suited to your culinary needs before you proceed.

On the Green Farms recommends you grow your parsley in a gallon-size pot with a minimum depth of eight inches. It’s fine to use several seeds, since parsley has a low germination rate.

When do you harvest parsley?

Once your plant is producing leaf stems with three branches. The plant should be about six inches tall by that point. Simply take a stem or two from the lower branches to start and then build as the plant continues to grow.

While you can keep parsley going for two years before it taps out, know that the second-year yield will probably be more bitter than the first.

How To Grow Cilantro

cilantro grown in a bucket indoors
Flickr/yevkusa

Anyone who loves guacamole (aka everyone) needs a steady stream of cilantro in their lives. This is easy to achieve. It begins with coriander seeds.

Coriander and cilantro are often used interchangeably, but there’s a slight distinction. Coriander refers to the seeds, while cilantro is the term for the plant those seeds produce. According to Den Garden, coriander has a high germination rate, so don’t plant too many in your container. Go for a medium-to-large pot, since cilantro roots run 19-23 inches deep.

The first couple leaves will look long and plain, and sometimes they stick to the seed. Don’t panic, that’s normal. Let the leaves be. The plant will straighten itself out.

When the leaves are ready to reap, it’s best to pick and use them ASAP. Unlike many other herbs, cilantro does not dry or freeze well. So get it in that guac, stat.

Clear room for your herbs with MakeSpace

It might start with a simple basil plant. But once you’ve got some thyme, oregano, and parsley in the mix, you’re going to need extra sill space for your thriving herb garden.

So what should you do with the oversized appliances or accessories that have been displaced by your sage bush?

That’s easy. Send them to MakeSpace.

After you’ve scheduled a pickup (your first pickup is free!), we’ll pick up your stuff and transport it to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility. We’ll also create an online photo catalog of your stuff so you always remember 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.

Maintaining fresh mint might not be easy, but storage has never been simpler.

The Expert’s Guide To Packing, Cleaning, And Storing Your Camping And Hiking Gear

Hiking and camping can be in tents, but rewarding. You get plenty of fresh air, a break from stressful city living, and you stay in excellent shape.

But there is one major downside: managing all the gear.

Boots, backpacks, tents, and sleeping bags have a way of eating up all the extra space in your place. Luckily, there’s a smarter way to store your hiking and camping gear

We harnessed the power of trail associations, magazines, YouTube tutorials, and even The Mountaineers. All so we could create this expert guide on how to pack, clean, and store your camping and hiking gear.

Follow the advice, and you’ll have nothing but happy trails and serene, starry nights in the wilderness from here on out.

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

How To Pack For Camping
How To Clean Your Camping Gear
How To Store Your Camping Gear
How To Pack For Hiking
How To Clean Your Hiking Gear
How To Store Your Hiking Gear

How To Pack For Camping

1. Invest in a rooftop car carrier

an SUV with a rooftop carrier during winter
Flickr/Aaron

Depending on your particular brand of camping, you might have more stuff than your car can feasibly contain. That’s what rooftop car carriers were made for.

You can find all kinds of options at outdoor gear stores like REI or more general stores like Walmart and Sears.

2. Or some cargo nets

You may not need a whole extra storage appendage, but you do need to keep all that gear in your trunk in place. Some strategically placed cargo nets can do just that. And they’ll save you the agony of cleaning up your spilled cooler at the first rest stop.

3. Follow a camping checklist

Before you place anything in your car, run down a camping checklist. Do you have the items below?

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bags
  • Water filter
  • Flashlight
  • Windbreaker
  • First aid kit

It’s easy to forget seemingly small but actually important items. Make a comprehensive list and pull out everything on it before you start playing storage Tetris in your trunk.

If you need some help, Real Simple has an interactive camping packing checklist. You can also watch Howcast’s three-minute-long video on how to pack all your camping gear:

4. Throw some frozen water bottles in your cooler

Even if you pride yourself on your ability to rough it in the woods, you probably brought along some food and beverages to supplement all those wild berries you foraged.

Here’s an ingenious hack to keep those items cold:

Place a few frozen bottles of water alongside them in the cooler.

The bottles will function as DIY freeze packs. When they melt, you’ll get some bonus filtered water to drink.

5. Pack the tent last

The logistics of packing your trunk for a camping trip are more involved than they seem. If there’s something you need to unpack first, then it should be the last thing you place in the car. The tent (or tarp) definitely fits that bill, so set it aside until everything else is safely stowed.

How To Clean Your Camping Gear

1. Throw your sleeping bags in the washing machine

Even if your sleeping bag looks relatively clean, it’s probably picked up some sweat and stenches from your weekend trip. Give it a fresh clean by simply putting it in the washing machine.

Check the bag’s label to be sure, but if it’s a front-loading washer, you should be fine. You can even dry your sleeping bag in a front-loading dryer on low heat. Just throw a few tennis balls in with your sleeping bag to avoid clumping.

2. Let your tent air out before you put it away

One of the biggest concerns when it comes to tent storage is mildew. If you put away a tent that’s not completely dry, you’re bound to get that nasty fungus.

To avoid it, set up your tent outside after your camping trip and let it fully dry out. Brush off any dirt or sand from the fabric, stakes, and poles. Now it’s ready for mold-free storage.

3. Thoroughly wash your utensils, dishes, and pots

You might have rinsed your pots, forks, and spoons out on the campgrounds. But once you’re back home, give everything a good clean with dish detergent or a spin in the dishwasher.

Sloppily cleaned cutlery is a breeding ground for bacteria, and you don’t want to get indigestion on your next weekend in the wild.

4. Carefully clean your portable stove

Before you clean anything on your camping stove, remove the fuel.

Once that’s safely tucked away, wipe off any crumbs or soot from the stove’s exterior. Then consult your stove’s instruction manual for further advice on how to properly clean the rest of the appliance.

How To Store Your Camping Gear

1. Categorize your gear by use

Camping requires a lot of stuff that comes in different shapes, sizes, and degrees of flammability. The easiest way to organize all your camping cargo is to break things down by their function.

As the American Hiking Society explains, you can cluster sleeping bags and tents into a “shelter” group, stoves and utensils into a “cooking” group, and sleeping pads and stakes into a “ground” group.

2. Then load it into crates or bins

Now that you’ve got neat piles of everything, pack them into corresponding crates or bins. And make sure to label each one with the correct group name, so you know exactly what’s in each container.

3. Slide it onto shelves

If you’d rather not drop the cash on all those crates, you could line your grouped items up on a rack system or even spare shelves in your apartment building’s basement.

And depending on how hot or damp it gets in the basement (or how many mice hang out there), you may want to move your stuff inside your home to a closet or hidden storage area.

4. Roll your tent up, don’t fold it

Folding your tent repeatedly can tear the fabric or damage the waterproof coating. Instead, roll your collapsed, clean tent into a sack and store it somewhere where the UV rays won’t hit it. Those can also inflict some harm, so keep your tent away from windows.

5. Hang sleeping bags in closets

Although rolling up your sleeping bag seems like the simplest, most sane solution, the “gear guy” at Boys’ Life magazine cautions against it. Stuffing a sleeping bag into a sack long-term messes with the insulation. If you have a spare hanger in the back of your closet, hang your sleeping bag up next to all your clothes.

6. Lie them flat under your bed

Boys’ Life says you can also slip your rolled-out sleeping bag under your bed, as an alternative for people with cramped closets.

Best way to store camping gear: MakeSpace

Packing away camping gear in the off season can make your home cramped and make you dream of escaping to the great outdoors. It doesn’t have to be that way, thanks to MakeSpace. Simply schedule a pickup (your first pickup is free!) and we’ll pick up your tents, sleeping bags, and anything else you don’t need in your home right now.

We’ll then transport your stuff to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility and create an online photo catalog of your stuff so you never forget what you have in storage.

When it’s time for your next camping expedition, just log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

How To Pack For Hiking

1. Organize the things in your backpack by weight

When loading up your backpack for a hike, keep your spine in mind. Keep the heaviest items centered to save yourself a lot of back pain.

Place some lighter items at the bottom of the backpack, followed by the big stuff, and then some more lightweight items. This system will also keep your heavy items cushioned, so they don’t sink or slide wildly.

2. Keep the vital stuff easily accessible

Think about what you’ll be grabbing the most during your hike: Your water bottle and snacks will be the most frequent. Sunscreen is a close second. Sunglasses will be key in the early afternoon. And your phone should be easy to grab in case of emergencies or a sweet landscape photo.

All those things should be stored on the outer pockets, so you can get to them without dumping out your entire backpack.

3. Remember the Ten Essentials

You don’t need to consult a million checklists for hiking because here’s one the pros have been using for decades: the Ten Essentials.

Developed by The Mountaineers in the 1930s, the Ten Essentials list includes the following categories and items:

  1. Navigation — map and compass
  2. Sun protection — sunscreen and sunglasses
  3. Insulation — outerwear
  4. Illumination — flashlight or headlamp
  5. First aid supplies — first aid kit
  6. Fire — waterproof matches, lighter, or starter
  7. Repair tools — duct tape, safety pins, needle and thread, nylon fabric repair tape, and cordage
  8. Nutrition — extra food
  9. Hydration — water
  10. Emergency shelter — tent or tarp)
Free Bonus: How To Pack For Hiking Like A Minimalist

How To Clean Your Hiking Gear

1. Wash and waterproof your hiking boots

hiking boots in leaves

Once you’ve hiked home and removed your boots, let the boots air out and dry. Next, use a stiff shoe brush to remove dirt. If there are tougher stains that won’t come out, apply some warm water (no soap) and brush again.

Now it’s time to assess the smell. Sometimes sprinkling baking soda inside your boots will do the trick. If it doesn’t, remove the insoles and wash them with a mild detergent. After everything has dried, apply a waterproofing treatment to the boots so they’re safe for your next hike.

2. Take old boots to the cobbler

After countless trail treks, even the sturdiest hiking boots will show some wear and tear. Instead of replacing them, consider getting them resoled at a cobbler. This will add years to your boots’ life and save you some cash.

3. Scrub your hiking backpack

male hiker backpack

Most backpacks can be placed in a washing machine, but double-check the label first. And don’t put it in the dryer.

If your backpack isn’t cleared for machine washing, scrub it  with warm, soapy water. Then hang it to dry. And if you’re ready to go the extra mile, take a cue from Backpacker and clean the zippers with a toothbrush before lubing them with silicone grease.

How To Store Your Hiking Gear

1. Keep boots in cool, dry spaces

Most hiking boots contain leather, and you know what doesn’t respond well to heat? Leather.

Too-hot or simply moist areas will cause your boots to crack. Your best storage bet is probably your closet. But since you don’t wear your hiking boots every day, place them in a less prominent spot than the shoes you wear throughout the week.

2. Do the same for backpacks

The backpack you use for hiking probably doesn’t have leather. But cracks aren’t your concern here. Mildew is.

The fabric on your backpack is likely to contract mold if it’s in a spot with variable temperature or tons of moisture, so pick a storage spot accordingly.

3. Shield both your boots and backpacks from the sun

Excessive exposure to sunlight can fade leather boots. It can also fade the colors on your backpack. Keep them both looking new by choosing a UV-free storage space.

Best way to store hiking gear: MakeSpace

There’s one cool, dry place with zero direct sunlight where you can store your boots without taking up an inch of room in your apartment: MakeSpace. All you have to do is schedule a pickup (your first pickup is free!), pack your stuff, and leave the rest to us.

We’ll pick up your hiking gear, transport it to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility, and create an online photo catalog of your stuff. That way, you always remember what you have in storage.

Whenever you feel the mountains calling, simply log into your MakeSpace account, click the photos of the items you want back, and we’ll deliver them to you.

Once you’ve overcome all the passes and peaks you can handle, properly cleaning and storing your gear is crucial to the success of your next outdoor expedition. Keep the wilderness wild and your equipment equipped. You can never be too prepared!

The Right Way To Store Skirts And Dresses: 14 Easy Steps [With Photos]

Skirts and dresses are often the most delicate items in your closet. Some of them — like the ones you wear to weddings — might also be the most expensive. That means they need some extra care.

To help you keep them in the best shape while maximizing space, we created this guide on the best ways to store, clean, and organize every skirt and dress you own. It’ll keep everything from your jean skirts to your designer ball gowns in the best possible condition.

1. Edit your collection

organized walk in closet
Stylizimo

Experts agree: When organizing your clothes, you should always take an initial stock of which items you actually wear and which ones have been gathering dust. But it doesn’t have to be quite as dramatic as “purging” your wardrobe.

“I like edit,” says Laura Cattano, a professional organizer in New York. “Editing is a thoughtful process. If you’re going to edit your clothes, you should know your style ahead of time. How do you want to look? What’s your lifestyle? That’s the step everyone skips, and they can’t figure out why they can’t get their closets organized.”

Go through these questions as you look over your skirts and dresses. If you find something that doesn’t fit your look or lifestyle, put it in a pile for Goodwill.

Ann Sullivan, another NYC professional organizer, recommends keeping a “donation bag” right in your closet so that when you spot something you don’t wear, you can eliminate it immediately.

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

2. Sort skirts and dresses by season

sweaters organized by season and material

You won’t be wearing heavy tweed skirts when it’s a boiling hot summer day, or sundresses in the winter. Group all your clothing by season and rotate each cluster out as the temperatures change.

Nancy Heller of Goodbye Clutter offers one caveat:

“If you’re a big traveler, the typical season rotation will be a little out of whack. So look at your upcoming trips and do your best to organize your closet accordingly.”

3. Group them together

group similar clothing in closet
Flickr/Rubbermaid Products

Now that only your in-season clothes are in your closet, single them out by type. “If the person has room, I like to keep all the skirts together,” says Heller. “Then they’re not too hard to find. Try to keep them together and it’s a hodgepodge. It’s important that people see what they have.”

Sharon Lowenstein of Organizing Goddess concurs. “Sort similar items together,” she says. “Dresses and blouses are wider than pants, so you won’t see everything if they’re all mixed together.”

Clustering your dresses in one group and your skirts in another will help you sift through your outfit options each morning. And you can subdivide even further by pairing up work dresses, wedding dresses, and more.

4. Consider a color scheme

color-coordinated dresses
Simply Spaced

Color-coding your closet might seem like an aggressively type-A move, but as Lowenstein argues, it makes it much easier to see and locate items hanging on the curtain rod.

Putting an additional marker or divider between close colors, like navy blue and black, also helps you know what color dress you’re putting on before you check it out in your mirror.

5. Each dress gets its own hanger

7 dresses hanging on a wall-mounted storage rod
My Pink Life

It’s tempting to pile multiple dresses onto regular hangers or the multi-tiered versions. But that also makes it harder to see what you actually have in your closet.

“You need to keep clothing to one item per hanger,” says Lowenstein. “A lot of people will keep two dresses on one hanger or get those hangers that swing out to hold five pairs of pants. Those multi-clothing hangers are great for off-season clothing, but not every day.”

That might seem like a waste of space, but if you’re using the same types of hangers — and not a chaotic mismatch of wooden hangers, plastic ones, and the flimsy wires you get from the dry cleaners — everything should fit in place.

6. And they should be nice hangers

wooden hangers hanging on a wall-mounted board with hooks

Hangers seem like a cheap, throwaway item you don’t have to worry about. But they have a bigger impact on your clothes and your closet than you think.

“A lot of people don’t invest in good hangers. They buy generic ones that aren’t good for long-term use,” says Sullivan. “You should invest in the best hangers you can afford.”

She recommends looking beyond the “huggable” hangers you find at Bed Bath & Beyond and bearing in mind what kind of clothing will go on the hanger. An expensive silk dress needs a different type of hanger than a cotton maxi.

If you need some guidance pairing the right hangers with your dresses and skirts, consult this WikiHow tutorial on how to match hangers to clothing.

7. Use straps to make sure your dress is properly fitted

Many dresses come with thin straps sewn into the inside. They don’t seem to serve any purpose — until you hold a hanger.

As stylist Kristie Hale demonstrates in the video above, you should be looping those straps around the neck of the hanger. This helps the dress hang perfectly in place, which prevents wrinkles you’ll have to iron out later.

8. Clip skirts to their hangers inside out

tulle skirt hanging
Bernina

Storing skirts on hangers with adjustable clips is a smart idea. The sliding clips accommodate all sorts of sizes without stretching the fabric.

That way, you avoid the creases that come with folding a skirt over a traditional hanger bar. But those clips can leave marks, particularly on delicate skirts.

If you hang the skirt inside out, though, the marks are suddenly on the side of the garment that no one sees. As an added bonus, it keeps the skirt exterior from rubbing against other fabrics hanging next to it and accidentally knocking some beading or elaborate stitching loose.

9. Take stained dresses and skirts to the dry cleaners stat

clothes in plastic dry cleaning bags are hanging on racks at the dry cleaners

When you accidentally splash sauce on a “dry clean only” dress or skirt, it’s important to act fast.

First, dab (don’t rub) away as much of the liquid as you can. Then take the dress or skirt to the dry cleaners as soon as you can. Waiting on a trip to the dry cleaners gives the stain more time to set, so time is of the essence here.

Describe the stain stats (e.g., what you spilled and when you spilled it) to the person behind the counter in as much detail as you can. That way, they’ll know the best way to treat the problem area. 

10. But don’t leave anything in the dry cleaning bag

sequin skirt dry clean only

When you come back with a mountain of skirts, dresses, and suits from the dry cleaners, all you want to do is clump them on the closet rod and move on to more important things.

Fight that urge.

As Sullivan cautions, leaving clothes in the plastic dry cleaning bags is “definitely not a good idea.” For one, the bag will trap in lingering moisture from the cleaning process, which can cause mildew.

Plastic bags also contain something called butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). This antioxidant can discolor or yellow your clothes when it comes into contact with the wrong things in the air.

So don’t chance it: Remove and recycle all the plastic bags from your dry cleaning the second you get home.

11. And don’t clean them too much

laundromat washing machine
Flickr/timlewisnm

There is such a thing as being too clean, particularly when it comes to your clothes. Frequent dry cleaning visits can deteriorate the fabric on your dresses and skirts, not to mention break your bank account.

The big dirty secret:

You can wash a lot of “dry clean” clothes yourself.

As Cosmopolitan advises, check labels for “dry clean only” versus “dry clean” phrasing. If you see “dry clean only,” stick with the pros. If you see “dry clean,” it’s applied to polyesters and nylons that you can usually hand-wash at home (just make sure to lay them flat to dry).

12. Seriously, cool it

4 girls in floral skirts and black tops

In addition to those delicate clothes we just discussed, you may be overcleaning the dresses and skirts that fit safely in your washing machine.

You can certainly wear your skirts, which are far away from your sweat glands, at least three times before cleaning. Unless you get marinara on them. Then wash them pronto.

13. Approach suede and leather skirts with caution

a girl wearing a black leather tie front mini skirt and a black bag over her left shoulder
Flickr/Laura

While it’s important to attack any leather or suede skirts at the first sign of staining, be extra careful with how you handle cleaning these materials.

If it’s just dirt, a brush can probably take care of the problem. A damp cloth or saddle soap can remove minor spots on leather, but don’t try that on suede. Suede can become hardened and discolored when it’s exposed to water.

For serious stains, consult a professional. Your dry cleaner can usually refer you to a leather specialist.

Want to avoid these issues in the first place?

Get a commercial waterproof protectant spray for all your leather and suede items.

14. Only keep fabulous skirts and dresses in your closet

baroque costume dress

You already know to filter your clothes collection by season, style, and color.

But here’s one not-so-obvious tip:

Only store and care for skirts and dresses that make you feel fantastic.

“Fill your closet with items that you love and feel great in,” says Lowenheim. “Every time you get dressed, you should feel fabulous. I always say that you want to go out of your house and feel that if you ran into someone you haven’t seen since high school, you won’t feel bad about your outfit.”

So if you have a jean skirt you’d hate for Heather Finley from ninth grade government class to see, pitch it and find something you love wholeheartedly.

If you’d rather dedicate your limited closet space to pants, let MakeSpace store your dresses, skirts, and other out-of-season clothes. Our free storage bins can fit every casual skirt and sundress you own, and our free wardrobe boxes can safely store your more formal frocks.

After you schedule a pickup and pack your stuff, we’ll pick up everything, store it in our secure storage facility, and deliver it back once warm weather arrives. Except for maybe those lucky Los Angelenos who enjoy skirt season year round.

9 High-Spirited Football Party Tips And Ideas To Get You Fired Up For Game Time  

It’s not always easy to make it to the stadium to tailgate before a football game. Luckily, you can show support for your team without ever leaving your apartment: Host a winning tailgate party your fellow fans are sure to love.

Score points with these 9 high-spirited football party tips and ideas for taking the tailgating action indoors.

1. Sit this one out

tailgate party football fans
Package Concierge

Enthusiastic fans might still spend the majority of the game on their feet yelling at the screen, but even the most devoted couch referee needs a soft place to sit when on commercial break.

So, provide plenty of seats in front of the TV. Bring in folding chairs or lawn chairs. And add blankets and pillows so floor sitters are still comfortable.

2. Make the snacks grabbable

football party snacks wraps

It’s tough to talk pre-game trash if you have to simultaneously assemble a sandwich.

The solution:

Make tailgate treats easy to grab.

Chip and dips are standard game day fare, but heartier snacks like wraps, meatball sliders, or mini burgers are 10x better. Just have them pre-made and pre-cut.

And don’t forget to keep desserts a snackable size, too. Speaking of which, it might be fun to consider…

3. Football-shaped everything

football brownies party food
Crafts A La Mode

If you own a football-shaped cookie cutter, don’t limit yourself to just cookies. Go to town on brownies, sandwiches, mini quesadillas, cheese — literally anything edible. Because a tailgate is not a tailgate without football everything.

4. DIY the decorations

penalty flag napkins football party decorations
The Cleaning Authority

While you don’t have to go all out for a low-key tailgate party, some effortless DIY decorations will guarantee that your guests deem your shindig a touchdown.

The Cleaning Authority has some awesomely clever tips, including displaying yellow napkins as penalty flags. So no one has to commit the ultimate party foul of piling pigs in a blanket into their bare hands.

Even the most craft-averse fan can create something festive, like Catch My Party’s super simple paper chain garland that will last you from pre-season games all the way until the Super Bowl.

5. Smile for the camera

football party photo booth
POPSUGAR

Set up a selfie station with DIY props and a football-themed backdrop for mini photoshoots during timeouts. Choose a clever hashtag for everyone to use when posting their pics. Even if your team doesn’t come out on top, at least your latest Instagram post will.

6. Set the bar

sophisticated bar cart
One Kings Lane

Throw some beers in a cooler and you’ve made just about every tailgater we’ve ever met happy.

Want to up the ante?

Add a few minor touches to your beverage table like interior designer Sam Allen did with his two-tier side table. He kept his bar setup simple and well-stocked for guests but maintained sophisticated elements, like a silver serving tray.

If you’re trying to stay true to the spirit of parking lot tailgating, load up some mini coolers with the drinking essentials and place them around the room to quench every super fan’s thirst.

7. Let the games begin

custom san francisco 49ers cornhole boards
Flickr/StickerGiant

You’ll need something to keep everyone busy until kickoff, and classic tailgate games initiate the good times that will continue to roll all day long. Bringing these games indoors just adds to the fun!

DIY cornhole boards are easy to build and can be custom-painted to show your team spirit. Place them down a long, empty hallway to provide plenty of space.

And let’s not forget the perennial crowd pleasers: beer pong and flip cup.

Just be sure to put a tarp down under the table to save your floors from spills. Or be prepared with your favorite all-natural green cleaning products to mop up after everyone leaves.

8. Don’t be trashy

Take a cue from ultimate tailgaters and eliminate after-party clean up chaos:

Strategically set up pop-up hampers to serve as trash cans.

There’s no excuse for leaving used napkins and plates around when disposal is in arm’s reach. After guests are gone, simply empty the hampers and collapse them until next week’s game.

9. Schedule a MakeSpace pickup

The friendly rivalries and comeback plays never have to end. Unfortunately, the football season will. When that time comes, pack up your photo booth props, cornhole boards, and collectible memorabilia, and let MakeSpace pick them up.

We’ll transport everything from your home to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility. We’ll even take photos of your items that you can view in your personal online catalog, so you never forget what you’ve stored.

When your team makes an expected trip to The Big Game (!) and you need to throw the indoor tailgate party to end all indoor tailgate parties, you can schedule a delivery with just a few clicks.

Game-winning party tips and a top-notch post-game storage strategy mean you’ll be performing your best end zone celebration dance all season long.

How To Pack Glassware And Dishes For Moving And Storage: 6 Easy Steps [Instructographic]

Your glasses, dishes, and china are super fragile. Luckily, “fragile” doesn’t have to mean “will get broken.”

Protect your delicate items by packing them the right way. Here’s how to pack glassware, dishes, and china for moving and storage:

Materials:

  • Cardboard cell box for glassware
  • Cardboard box for dishes
  • Packing paper
  • Clothing and/or towels
  • Socks, air pillows, or balloons
  • Packing tape
  • Permanent marker

how to pack glassware and dishes for moving and storage instructographic by makespace

Step 1: Get a cell box for glassware and a cardboard box for dishes.

Pre-made cell boxes are the best for storing glassware. The cardboard dividers between each glass prevent friction and potential breakage.

Step 2: Pad the insides of the boxes with towels, sweaters, or sweatshirts.

Your glassware and dishes need a soft bed of packing material to cushion them through transit and while in storage.

Crumpled (not folded) packing paper, bath towels, sweaters, and sweatshirts are all great shock absorbers. Use them to pad the interior top, bottom, and sides of the boxes so your items are protected from all angles.

Step 3: Wrap each piece individually with packing paper first, then bubble wrap.

Fragile items need all the protection they can get. Wrapping each piece separately is your best defense against accidental damage.

Using one sheet of white packing paper (you can use newspaper, but there is potential for ink transfer), insert one corner into the open end of the glass to provide cushioning. Fold both sides of the paper up and over the edges. Tuck sides in as you roll each piece. Do this separately for each glass or dish.

If you must use bubble wrap, do not apply it right onto the glass. If the bubbles come directly in contact with the glass, they could have a sticking or suctioning effect that could break it. Wrap the glass in paper or tissue first, then follow with bubble wrap.

For plates, lay the piece in the middle of a sheet of packing paper. Take one corner and pull it over to completely cover the surface of the plate. Repeat this with the other three corners and either tuck in or tape down the paper ends.

Each piece of crystal or very fragile china should be double wrapped.

Step 4: Insert the glasses and stemware into the cell box, and place dishes upright into a separate box.

It’s best to store plates upright, not stacked one on top of the other. In the event that the box experiences any kind of force, the edges of the plates will be able to handle a lot more pressure than if they were laid flat.

Step 5: Fill any empty space with rolled up packing paper, clean socks, or air-filled packing pillows.

Glasses and dishes prefer to be snug. Fill any empty space between each piece with rolled-up paper, clean socks, air pillows or partially-inflated balloons.

Pack the boxes about three inches from the top, adding a crumpled layer of packing paper or other packing material as the final layer. When closed, the top flaps of the box should be difficult to push down. That way, anything stacked on top of the boxes doesn’t break your items.

Step 6: Tape the boxes shut with packing tape, and label them as “FRAGILE.”

Self-explanatory.

All packed and ready to go?

Schedule a MakeSpace pickup, and let us know you’re storing fragile items. We’ll pick up your stuff, stick a “FRAGILE” sticker on your box containing fragile items, and store everything in our secure storage facility.

The best part:

When you need something back from storage, we’ll deliver it to you.

Schedule a MakeSpace Pickup
 

Choose your city to learn more about MakeSpace in your area:

New York City
Washington, DC
Chicago
Los Angeles

20 Brilliant Apps And Services That Make Moving A Breeze

Nobody enjoys moving – As far as we know, the song “I like to move it move it” isn’t exactly referring to a home relocation.

But lug it or loathe it, moving season is currently in full swing. These 20 apps and services make the act of schlepping all your stuff from point A to point B miraculously less of a headache. Now if you could only get “I like to move it move it” out of your head.

Click any of the links below to jump to a specific section:
Home Hunting
Prep
Heavy Lifting
Errands
Settling In

Home Hunting

1. Snag the perfect new home with Zumper

Zumper App

Searching for an apartment can feel like a marathon and a sprint at the same time, especially in a big city. If you take too much time to gather paperwork or weigh your options, you could lose out on the apartment of your dreams. Pace yourself with Zumper.

With over a million listings, you can get real-time alerts about new apartments before they hit other popular rental sites. Plus, they provide landlords with digital credit reports and instant rental applications so that you’re closer to the finish line without the extra stress or effort.

Hit your stride with Zumper, and find a place that’s your new personal best.

Available for iOS and Android

2. Take the “ugh” out of apartment hunting with PadMapper

Padmapper App

You think finding a new place to live should be a safe, easy, and straightforward process? It’s not crazy talk, after all! Padmapper plots all available apartments on a map, then lets you filter out the $5,000-a-month rentals (yeah, right), the long-term leases (just in case), the 2 bedrooms (no roommates, please), and the places that don’t take dogs (Mr. Bojangles is practically your child).

Apartment hunting doesn’t have to be a series of unanswered emails and landlords that give off a creepy vibe. PadMapper makes sure of it.

Available for iOS and Android

3. Find your dream NYC apartment with StreetEasy

Streeteasy IPad Search

Moving to the Big Apple? Or within it? Either way, the road to leases is paved with questionable brokers and wild goose commutes. StreetEasy lives up to its name – by making moving much, well, easier.

Free Bonus: 41 Easy Moving And Packing Tips That Will Make Your Move Dead Simple

Peruse and filter pads by desired amenities, target price range, and neighborhood. If you and your rescue pooch are looking into park-side accommodation, you can turn on alerts and get notified of relevant listing updates, in real time.

Available for iOS and Android

4. Swipe right on your ideal housemate with Roomi

Roomi App Chat Screen

What do you do when your brand-new housemate steals all your belongings, then flees? If you’re Ajay Yadav, you invent an entire app designed to ease the plight of finding urban housing.

Unlike traditional niche outlets (Craigslist fails to identify more than half of scam rental listings on its sites), Roomi is refreshingly transparent. You sign up with your Facebook or email account, pen your bio, and answer five simple-yet-potential-deal-breaker Qs (smoker? morning bird? cat fanatic?). Then you’re free to swipe through potential homes and homies, and coordinate viewings using the built-in chat feature.

Available for iOS and Android

5. Take stock of your home-buying needs with TripleMint

 

It’s interesting that traditional real estate brokerages focus on the agent before the customer, because last time we checked, the agent wasn’t the one shelling out big bucks to find a place to call “home.” Likewise, sellers weren’t paying their agent top dollar not to receive the same in return for their home.

TripleMint’s software-powered approach remedies these situations and more. Using predictive analytics, they can anticipate the future of the market. You receive data on when sellers are most likely to transact and which buyers are most likely to buy, giving you more choices and a better way to decide between them.

A process that makes every transaction faster, smarter, and more successful? Triple check.

Prep

6. Label and locate every box with Sortly

Sortly Item List

When popping open a bottle of red to celebrate the first leg of your big move, which of the following best describes your hunt for the bottle opener?

Option A: Somewhere underneath a mountain of half-sorted, scattered cardboard boxes.

Option B: Not sure. Let’s just push the cork in.

Option C: Found it! I simply typed “bottle opener” into my Sortly app, and located the tagged, QR-labeled box in seconds.

Yeah, we’d opt for C, too.

Using customizable tags, off-the-shelf QR tags, and searchable labels, the Sortly app takes the guesswork out of unpacking. Cheers to that!

Available for iOS

7. Sell and recycle items with OfferUp

OfferUp profile page

There’s nothing quite like moving to make you reevaluate an item’s presence in your life. Like the food processor you used for one epic pesto night – and then totally forgot about. Or the bulky speakers you stopped using when Alexa entered your life.

Enter OfferUp: Like a garage sale, it’s a quick and efficient way to make moolah off your gently used goods. Unlike a garage sale, you don’t have to sit around haggling with neighbors in the heat.

Available for iOS and Android

8. Chipolo. Because remembering where you left your keys is hard.

Chipolo list view

If losing your phone in a couch cushion incites a similar panic to when it’s really, actually, not-in-your-house lost, you need Chipolo.

Attach Chipolo to your keys, wallet, phone, bag, or anything else that would put a damper on your day if it went missing. If you’re having trouble finding an item, you can ring it via the app, and the melody will play at an impossible-to-ignore 100 decibels until it’s been located.

You can even seek the help of other Chipolo users if your item is on the loose. Simply tap the “Notify When Found” button in the Chipolo app, and the whole community anonymously joins in on the search. Convenience and camaraderie in the palm of your hand.

Available for iOS and Android

9. Overlook nothing with Updater

Updater iPad desktop

Even in the most organized move, tiny details have a tendency to fly under the radar. Did you remember to send your new address to your alumni newsletter?

Then there’s all the DMV paperwork. And are you switching cable companies or what?

If you find yourself repeatedly on hold while transferring services, hang up. Get an invite (here’s how) from Updater. Then let them do the rest.

Like your personal “dashboard for moving,” the site handles everything from mail forwarding to digital moving announcements. You can also compare and book one of their pre-screened, pre-vetted moving companies (known as “Updater Verified Movers”), directly via the app.

You’re now free to carpe your moving diem: Updater estimates they’ve saved their users over 4.7 million hours.

Heavy Lifting

10. Actually look forward to moving day with Unpakt

Unpakt inventory desktop

We’re not going to sugarcoat it: Moving Day and a vacation have zero in common. However, the way you book your movers will have it feeling close.

Just as you would compare flight and hotel prices before booking, Unpakt helps you determine the best moving company for your needs. Simply enter your starting and final destination addresses, create an inventory list of what’s being moved, then view instant prices from pre-screened, full-service, licensed, and insured moving companies.

Prices can be viewed per item and are guaranteed not to change. On average, customers save 45% on moving costs, plus seven hours of time that can be dedicated to re-hanging the gallery wall their girlfriend would actually like shifted ¾ of an inch to the left.

Available for iOS and Android

11. Step up your moving game with HireAHelper

HireAHelper logo

Paying your friends in pizza and beer to help you move was no problem in college, but you’ve upgraded from worn-out futon to a beautiful suede couch. Your moving labor should get an upgrade, too.

HireAHelper lets you search through straightforward hourly rates, equipment lists, business credentials, and unfiltered customer reviews to find the best local help for the job. You won’t have to worry about scams or price gouging, and booking through HireAHelper gets you complimentary insurance on every helper’s service, covering $.60/lb up to $10k in the event of accidental damages.

You’ll get peace of mind and a few extra pieces of pizza all to yourself. Now that’s an upgrade.

12. Get truck and muscle, anytime you need it with Dolly

Dolly app schedule screen

So you finally snagged the perfect bed for your new digs. The only hitch? Between picking up apartment keys, installing floating shelves, and unpacking your wardrobe, you’re short on the time and muscle to move it.

With a couple clicks, you can simply outsource both. Pick a time and place, and Dolly will match you with a truck-driving, item-wrangling Helper. Want to say “Hello, Dolly?” You can also chat about your upcoming appointment directly via the app. Get a quote upfront – no surprises!

Available for iOS and Android

13. GoShare is your friend with a big truck

GoShare Home Screen iPhone App

GoShare is the Mr. Rogers of local services sharing: Their drivers want to help their communities by collaborating on pickup and delivery tasks. They’re happy to lend a hand when you need to get a huge dresser from one place to another, so won’t you be their neighbor?

You can select 1-2 delivery professionals, choose the vehicle that’s right for the job (small pickup truck, large pickup truck, or cargo van), and request items such as a furniture dolly or trailer. All scheduling can be done on demand or in advance, and can cover quick delivery from a retail store to your home to a long-distance move, up to 250 miles.

You’ve always wanted to have a neighbor just like these drivers, and with GoShare, you finally do.

Available for iOS and Android

14. Bellhops provides moving services minus the stress

Bellhops moving truck

If you yelled out, “Trust fall!” who is the first person you imagine catching you before you fall to the ground? Is it your movers? No? Let’s change that.

Bellhops are more than just guys who can lift a couch. Their commitment to professionalism, friendliness, and above-and-beyond service is a welcome change from the stressful big-box moving experience.

You can schedule a full-service local move that includes the truck, dolly, and moving blankets, or a labor-only move with just a few easygoing Bellhops. You can also schedule an in-home move for when you need help reconfiguring your living room furniture or moving things around after a remodel.

Your Bellhops come prepared and dedicated to providing the best service imaginable. You’ll probably fall for their expertise, but don’t worry, they’ve got you.

Available for iOS and Android

Errands Assistance

15. Download local help with Takl

Takl in progress screen

Maybe you need a personal Hercules to unload all your patio furniture. Or someone to install your flat-screen TV, surround-sound speakers, and set up your cable. Hey, maybe things got a bit rowdy during your housewarming, and the last thing you want to do is mop.

Help can be on the way in about an hour, thanks to Takl. Enter the chore you’d like completed – or create your own “odd-job” – and choose from six or so independent, background-checked providers. Each task is priced upfront, so there’s no guesswork (though there is an option to tip). Just don’t blame us when your kids start outsourcing their chores on the reg.

Available for iOS and Android

16. Keep your wardrobe fresh with Rinse

Rinse app chat screen

Spending the day at the laundromat is the exact opposite of what you want to do after you’re done moving. Free up your afternoon with Rinse’s easy laundry pickup and delivery. Their reliable schedule (7 days a week between 8pm and 10pm) paired with high quality dry cleaning, wash and fold, hang dry, repair, and leather cleaning services make laundry day something you might even look forward to.

A little anxious about someone else handling your clothes? Totally understandable. Rinse works with only the best cleaners and has built in multiple layers of inspection to ensure highest-quality care. Should you have any questions, you can communicate with their customer service team via text message and a real person will respond.

If you’re ready to declutter your closet, Rinse will pick up clothes and donate them to a local charity on your behalf. So fresh, so clean, so compassionate.

Available for iOS and Android

17. Outsource your To-Dos with TaskRabbit

TaskRabbit App Homepage

It’s usually around the second column of the “Things to Take Care Of Around the House” list that people realize they might need some help. Luckily, TaskRabbit is more than prepared for that column and beyond. Search through their wide variety of home services to find your project, then choose the qualified Tasker you’d like to get the job done.

The Tasker shows up on the selected date and mounts your TV, repairs your broken chair leg, builds a bookshelf, and will even move your things from one apartment to another. Secure payment goes through the app, so all you’re left to do is cross it all off of your list and get on with your day.

Available for iOS and Android

Settling In

18. Master your new ride with the Transit App

Transit App Artwork

With a new home comes a new commute. And if you’re living in an urban area, that daily ride is often accompanied by the frantic realization that you’ve literally just missed the bus.

Transit, a sleek and functional transportation app that operates in over 135 cities worldwide, aims to eliminate those morning mishaps.

Its “Go” feature nudges you when it’s time to leave, and tracks your motions to make sure you’re literally up to speed. The app also piloted a crowdsourcing feature (currently operating in New York City’s MTA), which provides real-time information for other commuters down the line.

The best way to befriend your brand-new neighbors? Make their own commutes a lot easier.

Available for iOS and Android

19. Get dinner (and dessert) delivered with DoorDash

doordash bag

One of the greatest parts of relocating is discovering all the eateries in your new hood. During the actual move, though, sweatpants and chill usually trump the urge for fancy rezzies.

During that interim period when you’re unpacking quite an appetite but have no idea where your cutlery is, DoorDash just may become your culinary BFF. Each of its service areas features an appetizing roster of local hotspots and national restaurants including places like Taco Bell, The Cheesecake Factory, and P.F. Chang’s.

Available for iOS and Android

20. Let MakeSpace pick up and store your stuff

A little extra help in the moving process is always welcome, and these apps and services make it go as smoothly as possible.

Of course, MakeSpace has your back, too. Whether you want to store your old sofa or the out-of-season clothes you don’t need in your new home right now, schedule a MakeSpace pickup and leave the rest to us.

We’ll transport the bike you no longer need and the pans you’ve put on hold to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility. We’ll even create an online photo catalog of your stuff so you always remember what you have in storage.

Ready to start cooking again? You’ve already gotten used to the simple life – don’t waste the day sifting through a self-storage unit for pots and lids. Simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the items’ photos, and we’ll deliver them to you.

You expect your moving day to be a breeze. Why should storage be any different? Go easy on yourself:

Schedule a MakeSpace Pickup
 

Available for iOS

91 Outstanding Outdoor Decor Ideas From 26 Top Interior Designers, Decorators, And Landscaping Specialists

Sometimes there’s nothing better than kicking back in your living room with the air conditioning blasting and nary a mosquito in sight.

But you can’t spend the entire summer indoors.

If you create a space outside that’s perfect for relaxing, soaking up a few rays, or enjoying a nice breeze in the shade, you won’t miss the hum of the AC at all.

We asked 26 top interior designers, decorators, and landscaping specialists to give their best outdoor decor ideas, tips, and tricks. Create the ultimate space on your balcony, patio, deck, or backyard for some sensational summer fun. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Sarah Barnard, Sarah Barnard Design

sarah barnard of sarah barnard design

1. Focus on the pretty

Contemplate what your important focal points should be. A beautiful tree? A softly trickling fountain? An impressive outdoor kitchen?

The elements that you choose to dominate the space physically and visually influence its overall feeling/mood.

2. Throw some shade

The best outdoor spaces have a combination of sun and shade. Consider retractable Roman shades or awnings in combination with shade provided by natural plantings to provide some versatility. This also allows you to enjoy the space in any weather.

3. Keep it functional

I recently completed a home remodeling project for a beach-loving bachelor. His tri-level townhouse is fabulously located; alas, the outdoor space is limited to a few balconies and a roof deck.

We focused on beautifying the small spaces and maximizing their function. Using natural wood tiles over the existing concrete deck helped to create a natural look that will patina over time.

A combination of powder coated metal lounge furniture, natural rustic wood tables, and lightweight concrete pottery created a richly toned, masculine, minimalist space.

Jarret Yoshida, Jarret Yoshida, Inc.

jarret yoshida of jarret yoshida, inc.

4. Maintain consistency throughout the home

My basic philosophy for outdoor decorating is to make your yard a continuation of your indoor space. Whether you are in New York City, a smaller city area, or a spacious suburban or country location, your yard can become an extension of your home.

5. Choose fashion and function

Choosing furniture that is both beautiful and durable is a must. Depending on the climate you live in (and considering spatial factors), stackable or foldable pieces can make for ease of storage during the harsher weather months. This would also ring true for any BBQ equipment you may have.

6. Compost

Composting is a great way of lessening our burden on landfills while making great soil as well. Whether you use a compost pile or a bin, it is easy, economical, does not attract annoying insects or smell, and makes for very happy worms and a happy Mother Earth.

It also makes for a wonderfully rich soil to feed the plants. Our backyard grapevine went from just a few feet long after years of neglect to spreading along the entire fence line. It makes for a wonderful, color filled fence — all because of composting.

7. Use eco-friendly decking material

Make the correct choices for your decking and patio material. By using recycled plastic decking material, you can not only find a wide variety of colors and finishes but also help the environment by using recycled material. These materials also last longer and need next to no maintenance.

8. A Brooklyn backyard update

My favorite outdoor project that I have worked on is my very own backyard in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. After purchasing our 100 plus-year-old brownstone, we had a lot of work ahead of us, both inside and out.

The backyard was, for lack of a better term, an overgrown mess. The ground was riddled with broken glass, metal, and any and everything that years of neglect can add.

We built a sifter from 2x4s and chicken wire and sifted the soil 10” down, removing bags upon bags of waste. We reclaimed much of the original slate that was there and made for borders and walkways.

A raised bed in the back, ground level beds on the sides made for side planting areas. We got rid of the concrete slab patio and found original slate underneath. We had the slate taken up, a new area raised and graded, and the slate put back in.

We enriched the existing soil with a peat moss and manure mix and then seeded for a center lawn. There were some existing plants that we saved and mixed in our own perennials and annuals.

Next: the compost pile. We maintain one in the back corner and use this to feed the soil each and every year.

We have created the “outdoor rooms” by placing reclaimed architectural pieces (two old wooden fence posts that now offer climbing space for morning glory) in the back corners. They separate the back patio and raised bed from the lawn and front patio.

Our backyard is now a greenspace and refuge for us in the middle of busy Brooklyn.

Brianne Bishop, Brianne Bishop Design

brianne bishop of brianne bishop design

9. Spend money where it counts

Be aware of the elements and take this into consideration with your investment. I always encourage clients to invest in more long-term pieces, such as fiberglass planters, built-in kitchens, and metal furniture. Save on the pieces that could be more disposable, such as cushions, rugs, and candles, as they take the most abuse.

10. Savor every season

Every project here in Chicago has a fire table; it extends our summer season that much longer!

11. Diversify the space

brianne bishop's luxe on chicago rooftop project scene 2: a coffee table in the middle of two outdoor benches facing eachother

We recently completed a large rooftop for a luxury rental building in West Town, Chicago (called Luxe on Chicago), and it was a fun challenge because of not only the size, but also the amount of function we wanted to achieve.

brianne bishop's luxe on chicago rooftop project scene 3: a circular coffee table surrounded by 4 outdoor chairs with pillows

We created little vignettes for enjoying a coffee and newspaper, and a large sectional seating arrangement outfitted with a TV, to hang out and barbecue with friends. It was a tight budget, yet we were able to achieve style and comfort while remaining edgy, just like the neighborhood.

brianne bishop's luxe on chicago rooftop project includes an outdoor sectional, chair, and coffee table

12. Change it up with color

Like my interiors, I like to keep outdoor furniture and fixtures neutral and allow the accent pillows and plants to be the pop of color. This also allows you to change your scheme every season if you wish. I have done everything from black and white flowers to hot pink and lime green!

Also, understand that furniture pieces in the elements will not have the longevity of your interior furnishings, so embrace the patina that will inevitably happen.

Just like the philosophy of wabi-sabi — wear and tear can be just as beautiful!

Jennifer Horn, Jennifer Horn Landscape Architecture

jennifer horn of jennifer horn landscape architecture

13. Find flexible furniture

When it comes to furnishing, focus on flexibility. The oversized woven sectionals that are prevalent today are wonderful (and comfy!), but they can be cumbersome and difficult to shift out of focus if you need to accommodate a bigger crowd.

14. Make it easy to expand your circle

Imagine how your outdoor space will function for a quiet night at home and then what adjustments will help you entertain a bigger crowd. Occasional tables that can double as ottomans allow you to seat more people for a party but keep your space feeling intimate for smaller groups.

15. Accommodate your guests

Another outdoor furnishing tip: If regular visitors are older, be sure to have a chair or two that has arms and isn’t too low — sectionals and oversized lounges can be difficult for older guests to sit in.

16. Easy to clean

Spaces that are exposed to the elements collect pollen, dust, leaves, and snow. Thus, they require more cleaning. Keep decorative objects to a minimum so you can quickly sweep or wipe down surfaces for an impromptu gathering.

17. Adios mosquitoes

If you are in mosquito country, a fan is imperative. A ceiling fan can be mounted to a pergola or other overhead structure. Or you can use weatherproof oscillating fans, which should be easy to set up.

Moving air, in my experience, is one of the only foolproof ways to keep mosquitoes at bay.

18. Set the mood with … mood lighting

For parties, rely less on electrical light fixtures and create an intimate space with hurricane lamps and candles. Twinkle lights are always a crowd pleaser — look for commercial grade products that can be set on a dimmer.

19. Divide and decorate

We recently completed a city garden in Kalorama, DC. The garden space was very shallow, and the detached garage was omnipresent from the breakfast room.

We lessened its impact by adding a raised fountain between these structures. The fountain provides a foreground object to focus on, making the garage feel more distant.

Free Infographic: How To Easily Clean And Organize Your Garage

June Shea, Shea Studio Interiors

june shea of shea studio interiors

20. Give any space a purpose

I always start by asking what do I want to do in the space? Dine, lounge, read? That helps determine what needs to be in the space to make it functional for those needs.

june shea backyard seating with red cushions, 2 side tables, a coffee table, and 2 outdoor chairs

It doesn’t have to be a huge space, either. For example, you can make a small balcony an inviting space by adding a couple of small chairs, a carpet, and a few plants to it.

june shea backyard seating with red cushions, outdoor tables and umbrellas, and a pool

Marie Burgos, Marie Burgos Interior Design

marie burgos of marie burgos interior design

21. Your environment affects your emotions

I am from the beautiful island of Martinique, where I experienced the color and elements of nature in the Caribbean. The energy of what surrounds you delights all your senses. I truly believe that your environment has a huge influence on your emotions and ultimately, on achievements and happiness.

22. Feng Shui your space

My approach to creating spaces integrates the Feng Shui philosophy. I focus on balance, harmony, the use of natural elements, and the Yin and Yang forces.

These elements are all present in the spaces I design in the form of a color, texture, or shape. It’s all about creating a space that looks beautiful and feels right.

23. Winding walkways

Create a gently curving pathway for energy to flow in smoothly.

24. Let the decor entice you

Choose relaxing, flowing shapes when it comes to furniture and decor. The garden should be nice to look at through the windows when the weather is compromised and should be inviting when it is sunny.

25. Apply the elements

Integrating the five Feng Shui elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water) in your garden is important — especially water because of its powerful and soothing presence.

26. Make it a clutter-free zone

Don’t use your outdoor space as a storage place! Your home should harmoniously blend with its surroundings. A cluttered outdoor area will drain the energy from you.

27. Pick plants for every season

Don’t forget to use plants that look great during winter. Mediterranean plants, like lavender and rosemary, are very scented, pretty, and often evergreen.

28. Let mother nature make music

A must-have outdoor decor element is wind chimes because they’re a great way to increase the flow of good Chí (positive energy). Place them in the corners of the yard to add balance and establish comfort.

29. Feed the birds

Bird feeders are amazing energy attractors, and the birds themselves carry many qualities we want in and around our homes.

Ghislaine Viñas, Ghislaine Viñas Interior Design

ghislaine vinas of ghislaine vinas interior design

30. Keep inside in mind

deck with sliding glass doors and outdoor decor designed by ghislaine vinas

When you’re selecting colors and furniture for your outdoor patio, keep in mind that they need to work with your interiors. See it as an extension of the indoor space, especially if there are glass doors allowing you to see both at the same time.

31. Remix your style

ghislaine vinas' poolside patio with a fireplace, 3 sofas, and 2 outdoor hanging chairs

It’s easy to fall into getting a set of furniture that’s all the same style, but it’s fine to do a sofa in one style and two chairs in a different style — especially because there are so many amazing furniture collections now.

32. Root the room with a rug

ghislaine vinas' fun outdoor decor: 2 mustard outdoor seats, a green circle rug with 3 giant ping pong balls on top, and a green ottoman

As is true with interior spaces, rugs really help to ground a furniture setting and there are many rugs now available in tons of fun colors and patterns that are specially-made for outdoors.

33. Beware of the glare

Be aware that in very sunny spots, white tables can be ultra reflective and actually make it hard to sit and enjoy. Consider opting for matte finishes.

34. Spray it all down

Keep a power washer handy (especially in the city) to wash down outdoor furniture from time to time.

Laura Hildebrandt, Interiors by LH

laura hildebrandt of interiors by lh

35. A room outside

Creating an outdoor space is just like creating a room indoors, except with different walls! The sky or tree canopies are your ceiling, and beautiful views are your walls.

36. Show off your exterior style

Gone are the days of wicker and wrought iron sets. You can get entire sofas that look like they belong indoors for outdoor settings, truly making it a comfortable room outside.

Arranging the furniture outside is the same as arranging it inside: You want people to feel welcome and at ease with plenty of weatherproof seating, pillows, and throws for all, plus tables to put snacks and drinks on.

37. Light it up

If you are lucky enough to have trees or overhead structures, twinkle lights and a chandelier are great ways to set the mood. Of course, candles are always a welcome addition. The newest candles can be bug repellent and smell beautiful without the noxious fumes.

38. Don’t forget the flora

Who could forget adding in natural elements? Lots of potted flowers, plants, and herbs not only look beautiful, but can also add to the aroma of the evening. Adding a fountain or small water feature also helps to make the space feel special.

Erica Smith, Erica Gail Inc.

erica gail of erica gail inc.

39. Use this infallible design formula

Whether your taste is ultra-contemporary or more traditional, a foolproof outdoor approach is to stick with one neutral (or white) main color and one bold accent color for your seating.

If your seat cushions are white, accent with throw pillows in a bold hue that resonates with you. This simple color scheme reads as upscale and deliberate rather than piecemeal.

40. Seated in style

A matching painted wood bench in a bold color can lend a dash of sculptural interest.

41. Add some pizzazz with pattern

erica gail's multi-colored and patterned outdoor decor from grandin road
Grandin Road

To punch things up, mix in pattern with a striped umbrella that echoes your accent color, a patterned pillow, or even your pool towels. Everything in your space offers a chance to tie into your design vision.

42. Step outside your color comfort zone

Outdoor furnishings are the perfect opportunity to experiment with color that might be intimidating indoors. A super-bright orange or yellow won’t stand out as strongly in the great outdoors where it’s surrounded by bushes, trees, and a bright blue sky.

So, go big and bold outside even if it scares you inside. Completely neutral furnishings can’t compete with nature and can sometimes seem boring or washed out in the bright sunlight.

Renae Cohen, Renae Cohen Interiors

renae cohen of renae cohen interiors

43. Determine the space’s identity

Consider how the space will be used. Is it used for dining, relaxation, or will it be used for entertaining? Your furniture choices should facilitate the intended use of your outdoor room.

44. Plan ahead

backyard stone walkway and pool by renae cohen

Start by creating a floorplan. Approach designing your outdoor room just as you would any other room. Plan the arrangement of your space so that you know how the furnishings will fit.

45. Don’t skimp on the accessories

backyard deck decor and accessories by renae cohen

Accessories give the finishing touches to the space. Include throw pillows, lanterns, blankets, or anything that is appropriate for the use of your outdoor room. If you have a fireplace, a stylish set of fireplace tools is essential.

Anne Carr, Anne Carr Design

anne carr design logo

46. Design around your needs

I really try to find out what my clients will truly use the space for by asking the following questions:

  • Will you entertain there?
  • Do you want to be able to have a sitdown dinner outside?
  • Will it be for lounging by the pool?
  • Do you need play space for kids and dogs?

47. Ensure everything is top notch

Good landscaping is key in creating the desired space. Make sure your furnishings enhance it, not detract from it.

Invest in a good quality seating area and lounge chairs so you don’t have to replace them often.

Also, pay the extra money for seat covers. Even in areas that are warm year round, smog and pollution build up on cushions and need a gentle rinse.

Paola McDonald, Olamar Interiors

paola mcdonald of olamar interiors

48. Get comfy

2 outdoor lounge chairs with cushions, patterned throw pillows, and an oval-shaped coffee table - designed by paola mcdonald

Add soft elements like colorful and cushy outdoor pillows, cushions, even throws. And don’t ignore what’s underfoot: an indoor/outdoor rug can add color and texture, and it feels great over a hard surface like a patio or deck.

49. Show off your artsy side

outdoor dining table, chairs, wall-mounted art, and hanging candles designed by paola mcdonald

Many manufacturers are now offering outdoor-safe art that looks like it could be the centerpiece in your living room.

Add color, texture, style, pattern, and a conversation piece by adding outdoor art to your exterior walls.

Weather-safe metal sculptures can also help create an indoor feeling outdoors.

50. Paint on outdoor protection

outdoor seating with cushions, an accent table, and a lamp designed by paola mcdonald

Don’t be afraid to pick up inexpensive furniture pieces that could be converted into outdoor pieces with some heavy duty weather-resistant paint.

Buffets, credenzas, accent tables, and mirrors could help create unique, indoor-esque settings. It is suggested that you store them inside in the off-season, and expect that they may not last more than a couple of seasons before needing to be replaced.

Marisa Moore, Interior Style by Marisa Moore

marisa moore of interior style by marisa moore

51. Pop some color on a pouf

Generally, I keep upholstery to a neutral white or light gray and then add in accent colors around it. I love to use poufs to add seating and color that can just be thrown anywhere.

Usually, we pick two or three colors that the client likes and then use varying shades of those colors throughout the space.

52. Mix and match

furnished deck room by marisa moore

To add texture, use a combo of wood, metal, and upholstery for tables or chairs. Most of the wood I use is a weathered teak with a lot of gray undertones or anything more gray than brown.

The neutral colors for the patio tend to be white and gray with color added in. Shades of blue seem to be the most popular accent color these days.

Amber Freda, Amber Freda Landscape Design

amber freda of amber freda landscape design

53. Clear the clutter

A small space will feel larger the less clutter there is. Having lots of individual, freestanding planters that don’t match can make the space feel smaller, chaotic, and hodgepodge.

Free Infographic: 12 Surprising Ways Clutter Is Ruining Your Life

54. Cluster your planters

Consider having groups of planters that match or complement each other in some way. Clusters of three or five usually look nice for round shapes, or arrange a row of three square or rectangular ones.

Planters with staggered heights also look more interesting in a group than planters of all the same height.

55. Divide large spaces into smaller areas

Long spaces can be broken up into separate outdoor “rooms” to help create a cozier, more intimate feeling. Patios and decks can easily be divided by having part of the space used for one task, like dining, and another part for something else, like comfortable lounge seating.

A long outdoor space might have a cozy conversational seating area with a sofa, lounge chairs, and a coffee table, and a separate area for curling up on your own with a good book using a daybed or chaise lounge.

Furniture, planters, and rugs can separate the different spaces to create multiple areas connected through passageways between planters, for instance.

56. Pick a color, any color

It’s generally helpful to design an outdoor space with one dominant color in mind, along with one secondary color and a third accent color. Avoid color combinations that clash or seem out of place in the context — orange and black, for instance, reminds people too much of Halloween.

If there is any existing furniture, choose colors that already exist in the largest patterns of the furniture and reinforce those colors throughout the garden, even in the flower colors you choose.

57. Be different

Contrast is one of the most important features of good design. Square and rectangular shapes often look more interesting when paired with one or two round shapes.

Contrast can also be created by pairing high contrast colors together (blue and white, for instance), or by using textures that are quite different (like planting an informal, graceful ornamental grass in a more structured looking square planter).

58. Include a wow factor

Every well-designed space should have something that draws the eye to it right away. It might be a fireplace, a piece of art, a paint color, an exquisite deck or planter, a great view, or a piece of furniture.

Whatever it is, it has star power and people can’t help but gaze at it. The focal point will also set the mood of the room as playful, formal, traditional, contemporary, artsy, rustic, etc.

Vanessa Rome, Vanessa Rome Interiors

vanessa rome of vanessa rome interiors

59. Keep your environment in mind

My philosophy for outdoor decor is to make sure the design is in keeping with the environment; decorating the exterior of a Hamptons home looks different than a NYC terrace.

I always try to respect the surroundings so the design fits in rather than fights with the natural setting.

60. Choose the right materials

Not all outdoor furniture is suitable for all environments. For example, if your home is near the ocean, be sure to use marine-grade materials.

61. Serenity and fun in Southampton

My favorite outdoor project to date is a house I just completed in Southampton. We used neutral tones, creamy whites, and shades of charcoal to create a serene and sophisticated look.

The client wanted his home to accommodate his grown children and tons of their friends, so we made sure to have many seating areas and lots of comfortable lounge seating.

We added whimsical elements like a giant yellow ducky sculpture and hand stools that double as towel holders. Outdoor foosball and ping pong tables make this house the perfect funhouse!

Toni Korby, Antonia Korby Design

toni korby of antonia korby design

62. Show your personality

My philosophy for outdoor living is that your pool, patio, or deck should feel like an extension of the indoor spaces of your home. The same degree of personality that you’ve expressed inside can also be used in an outdoor room.

63. Have fun with fabric

One of the easiest ways I know to liven up your outdoor space is with fabric.

Performance fabric, which used to be known as “indoor/outdoor” fabric, has come a long way. It’s now available in bright colors and crisp patterns, and it can take intense sunlight, extreme heat, rain, and even a wet, chlorine water-soaked bathing suit in stride.

Update your cushions or add new throw pillows to make your furniture comfortable, durable, and more inviting.

Outdoor curtains hung on weatherproof rods can also create an outdoor room effect. Fabric awnings are great for sun protection and cooling shade.

Imagine the stylish addition of a poolside cabana in cheerful wide stripes and a floral umbrella with scallops or ruffles!

Kelley Proxmire, Kelley Proxmire Inc.

kelley proxmire of kelley proxmire inc.

64. Give each space a different feel

outdoor dining table and chairs with cushions on a backyard patio designed by kelley proxmire

Establish different “feels” in different outdoor spaces. For instance, I have two back patios, a sunken garden, and a side patio. We accomplished something unique in each one by using different types of materials and furniture.

It is a great idea to “mix” styles and materials. We have wrought iron and an iron/glass table and chairs in one area.

In the second back patio, I have outdoor club chairs and a stone/glass table.

On the side patio, I have a stone console table used for serving drinks and a glass/aluminum Brown Jordan table and chairs.

65. Throw some pillows around

backyard patio with 2 outdoor chairs with cushions and throw pillows, designed by kelley proxmire

Different colors/styles of accent pillows can make a big impact. These accent pillows are stored near the exits of the house to have easy access to them.

Although indoor/outdoor fabrics are resilient, I still bring them indoors after use. (On a covered patio or porch, however, the pillows do not need such care.)

66. Don’t neglect the vertical spaces

Another way to bring style to your outdoor space is to use walls or fences as places on which to hang decorative items.

I have a trio of architectural remnants hung on my back patio brick wall.

On the side fence, I’ve hung a mirror and a pair of candleholders that are made to go onto a wall.

67. Nothing will hold a candle to your space

lantern, small stone statue, and a planter on top of a stone table in a backyard designed by kelley proxmire

Incorporating different types of candleholders is a way in which to add style to outdoor spaces. They may be regular candlesticks with glass hurricanes or some style of lantern.

With the battery operated candles now available, you no longer need to worry about wind or fire!

Lori Dennis, Lori Dennis

lori dennis

68. Add a rug

lori dennis' outdoor leaf-patterned rug

Outdoor rugs that are super durable are a great way to tie a patio space together and a fun way to add a pop of color.

69. All of the lights

tiled patio with outdoor seating with cushions and pillows, designed by lori dennis

String lights strung above the patio might seem cliché at this point, but they are classic for a reason!

70. Channel earth, wind, and fire

backyard patio with a stylish sofa, coffee table, side tables, a wall-mounted painting, and hanging lanterns, designed by lori dennis

Water features, like fountains or waterfalls, or fire features, like candles and fire pits, create great ambiance when entertaining in an outdoor space.

Sallie Finney Kjos, Grey Hunt Interiors

sallie finney kjos of grey hunt interiors

71. Paint a “rug”

Add interest to your wood decking by painting it! You can achieve a simple stripe by alternating paints, like a cream and muted gray, between planks.

If you’re looking for something even more unique, use a stencil. This eliminates the need for an area rug, giving you a fun and unique way to use your space.

72. The sleeping spot

Need a nap-worthy space? Try creating a swing bed on a covered porch by taking a sturdy support system and tying it up using thick, natural roping.

Top it off with lots of decorative pillows and voilà! Turn your daydreaming into real dreaming.

73. Turn on the romance

Add romantic ambiance by hanging different sized solar powered/electric lanterns on tree branches. Get cozy and watch the night come alive!

Nina Seirafi, Nina Seirafi Interior Design

nina seirafi of nina seirafi interior design

74. Satisfy your senses

An outdoor space should always act as a reward and an escape from this everyday existence. The key to achieving this is to satisfy and entice all the senses in your designs.

75. Herbs are the word

Fill your outdoor space with the pleasing aromas of budding flower plants and herbs, including lavender, roses, jasmine, mint, and basil.

Herbs not only indulge the sense of smell, they also play to the sense of taste. Nothing is more satisfying than cutting fresh herbs from your own backyard to cook with and enjoy.

76. Right in the feels

Sense of touch is equally important and can be utilized by supplying soft and comfortable seating. Using sand or gravel for the ground material adds a tactile and a sonic element that feels good on your feet as you walk across it.

77. Water works

Be sure to include a water feature in your outdoor space. It adds a soothing and cooling effect and is pleasing to the eye.

However, if you cannot afford a substantial and desirable water feature, do not compromise. It’s always better to exclude something rather than to try to fake it.

78. Eat outside

Dining al fresco is a great way to enliven a beautiful outdoor space for your guests during parties and gatherings. So, try to include a grill and a dining area in your outdoor space.

Brooke Henton Lang, Brooke Lang Design

brooke henton lang photo by jennifer catherine photography

79. Make city life lush

City living often means living in a multi-unit building, with your balcony overlooking the busy streets. Adding some greenery to your balcony will bring the concrete jungle to life.

Having a green thumb may not come naturally to everyone, but doing a little research up front can save lots of money and headaches.

First, determine which direction your balcony faces — North, South, East or West. This is important when selecting a plant species, so you can ensure it will grow in direct or indirect lighting!

Be creative with your plant placements. Hang planter boxes on the balcony railing. Create a cluster of planters on pedestals of varying heights. Start an herb garden in the window sill.

80. Find multifunctional furniture

Just like your living room, the outdoor space often has many uses during the summer, so you want your furniture to be multifunctional.

First, seating should be able to transition depending on your needs. Higher, metal bistro-style seating is comfortable for working on a laptop during the day.

At night, you may want to have lower seating, perhaps in wood Adirondack chairs, that are preferable for lounging.

Ed Ball, Exquisite Exteriors

ed ball of exquisite exteriors

81. Sit this one out

Some must-have outdoor decor elements are sectional sofas or big, cushy chairs. Hammocks are also a great way to find solitude but still be part of all the activities!

82. When being shady is a good thing

Dappled shade helps reduce the ambient temperature by up to 10 degrees on hot summer days. The shade also helps slow down runoff so water has more time to enter into the groundwater system.

The cooler the outdoor space, the more likely you will be to use it.

83. Awesome entertainment space

A young couple living on 11 acres in Aldie, Virginia, wanted to give themselves and their three children a place to play and entertain throughout the year.

They asked us to create a versatile backyard space that could be used year-round; the place where all the neighborhood children would want to gather.

The toughest challenge was incorporating one of the couple’s last-minute requests: a slide.

Most slides are blue plastic eyesores, but they don’t need to be. We engineered a tubular slide that goes from the pool house rooftop down through the pool house, then shoots out into the pool.

84. Always down for a good time

No matter what your style, keep it warm, cozy, and comfortable for any time of day or any type of event.

Shazalynn Cavin Winfrey, SCW Interiors

shazalynn cavin winfrey of scw interiors photo by moshe zusman

85. All-natural entertainment in PA

One of my favorite outdoor projects was my porch in Pennsylvania. The furniture was grouped for large or small gatherings, and I used chaise lounges for afternoon reading and naps.

A wonderful all-wood outdoor coffee table was in the center of my porch. My guests and I gathered around it in the evenings and listened to the owls and frogs make music.

The cushions were a soft pale green to match the shingle siding of the house and the lichen in the surrounding woods. Throw pillows featured a wonderful fern motif to mimic the natural ferns that grew outside.

86. Take it easy

My outdoor decorating philosophy is to keep it simple so that maintenance is not a burden. Most of all, make sure it is comfortable for entertaining, and bring in special elements that make it unique to the natural surroundings.

Lena Lalvani, Lena Lalvani

lena lalvani

87. Built-in brilliance

lena lalvani's blueprint of an outdoor deck with a cooking zone, seating zone, and dining zone

For a recent outdoor deck project, I suggested to the owner to build in benches around her dining table to really maximize her enclosed deck space.

Her contractor built benches with seats that lift up for storage underneath. I think it’s a brilliant way to store your cushions in the winter (when you are not using your deck as much) as well as a way to maximize seating.

It makes every inch of your outdoor space usable (which is a big deal in Tribeca — it’s a luxury to have any sort of outdoor space!).

Alison Giese, Alison Giese Interiors

alison giese of alison giese interiors

88. Revamp an existing outdoor space

alison giese designed this backyard fire pit decor with a garden screen, outdoor chairs, cushions, pillows, plants, bamboo torches, and a small bbq grill

We recently expanded on a backyard project, turning a fire pit area we put in a couple of years ago into more of an outdoor “room.” We set out to build a garden screen that would act as a physical barrier to the forest that borders our property (pretty and private, but full of poison ivy!).

We didn’t want to forgo ambiance, so we used lumber and rabbit wire for the screen and planted jasmine vine along the front. Soon, the screen will be covered with jasmine, and when the vine blooms, the fragrant screen will contribute to an overall environmental and sensory experience.

2 outdoor pillows on a fire pit chair designed by alison giese

Our home decor consists mainly of neutral colors, with natural and textural elements, so we carried that into the exterior design with the style of furniture and outdoor pillows. The overall vibe is slightly tailored, but totally unpretentious!

Brett Helsham, Brett Helsham Designs

brett helsham of brett helsham designs

89. Food and drinks come first

Make sure you have lots of surfaces to put a drink down or place trays of chips or food on. This can be a coffee table or lots of little side tables. Easy access to food is always appreciated!

90. Protect yourself from the sun

If you are lucky enough to have an expansive outdoor area, provide some sun cover like an umbrella or awning, and always keep a little basket of various types of sunscreen and bug spray.

91. Unexpected elements in Ontario

One of my favorite outdoor spaces we did was in Ontario. We harvested fallen redwood trees from Big Sur, which gives a rich, never-been-seen color to the exterior.

We added a wood burning pizza oven and a wood burning hot tub, complete with a shower — perfect for most of the year when it is cold! We layered the deck with steps to have various areas to hang out in, culminating down on the patio with a dining area under a pergola.


Having some extra space outside is clutch in the summertime. But just like pitchers of sangria and an ooh-and-ahh-inspiring fireworks display, all good things must come to an end.

When the citronella candles have burned out and you no longer need shade from an umbrella, don’t cramp your indoor style with a pile of outdoor decor.

Schedule a MakeSpace Pickup
 

We’ll pick up your patio furniture, extra cushions, lawn ornaments, outdoor art (no grills, though. Sorry!).

Then, we’ll transport your items 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.

Next summer, when you’re ready for another season of luxe outdoor living, simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the items’ photos, and we’ll deliver them to you.

The great outdoors are even greater with MakeSpace.

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Top image via Ghislaine Viñas