Category Archives: Tips

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

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

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

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

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

Goodwill®

goodwill store door and sign
Flickr/Mike Mozart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salvation Army

salvation-army-family-store-donation-center-sign
Flickr/Mike Mozart

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

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

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

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

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

Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)

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

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

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

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

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

Habitat ReStores

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

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

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

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

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

The Junkluggers

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donation Town

yellow and black ford capri

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

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

Items it does not accept: It varies by charity.

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

Soles4Souls

converse chuck taylor sneakers for donation

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

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

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

Dress for Success

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

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

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

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

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

Books for Soldiers

Flickr/U.S. Army

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

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

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

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

Operation Paperback

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

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

Items it does not accept: Romance novels.

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

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

Books for Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

BetterWorld Books

kids mug atop a stack of children's books

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

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

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

Secure the Call

nokia 6020 phone
Flickr/Rodrigo Senna

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

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

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

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)

virgin mobile lg phone emergency call
Flickr/Keera Russell

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

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

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

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

HopeLine

android phone with charger

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

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

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

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

Thrift Stores and Public Libraries

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

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

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

Schedule a MakeSpace pickup.

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

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

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

Take a look:

7 Surprising Space-Saving Lessons From Presidential Homes

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

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

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

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

Here’s what we discovered:

Lesson #1: You can stick a bookshelf anywhere.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take a look at FDR’s living room:

Flickr/Janine

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

Can’t fit something along your doorway like FDR?

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

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

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

Lesson 2: Alcoves are your friend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An unassuming white alcove.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lesson 4: Hang family photos on the wall.

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

 

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

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

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

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

The main takeaway from this promo?

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

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

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

Lesson 5: Levitate pots and pans on the wall.

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

president bill clinton's birthplace home in hope, arkansas
Wikimedia/JW1805

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Lesson 6: Be strategic about your house plants.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lesson 7: Invest in extendable furniture.

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

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

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

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

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

What made the place so magical?

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

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

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

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

Home: Your own

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

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

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

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

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

But that’s not all.

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

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

Top image via Wikimedia/Scewing

15 Amazing Multi-Purpose Entryway Storage Hacks And Ideas That You’ll Love

Considering the fact that an entryway offers the first glimpse inside a home, it’s a seriously overlooked and undervalued area. Sure, your entryway might be small, sparse, dark, or narrow, but hey — it’s got major style and storage potential.

After all, what do you get when you remove the piles of shoes and coats behind your front door?

Glorious, wide open space.

Or maybe just space — space perfect for storing and organizing everything you drop off or pick up on your way in and out of your home.

Here are 15 amazing multi-purpose entryway storage hacks, solutions, and ideas that will keep your home’s first and last impression on-point.

1. Turn a bookcase into entryway storage lockers.

ikea mudroom lockers storing backpacks, bags, shoes, jackets, vests, notebooks, clothes, and other school accessories
Polka Dot Chair

This option is ideal if you live with multiple people (and especially if some of those people are children).

You can check out the full tutorial at Polka Dot Chair, but the concept is simple: Purchase a few slim IKEA bookcases, stand them alongside one another, adjust the height of the shelves according to your needs, and voilà!

You have DIY lockers with room for coats, backpacks, shoes, sports equipment, and everything in between.

Free Bonus: Here are 10 more DIY storage and furniture projects you can make in less than one hour.

2. Store shoes, bags, and accessories in baskets on a console.

diy entryway table with wicker baskets
A Beautiful Mess

For style and function, store everything from purses and gloves to stacks of mail and shoes in matching baskets.

Easy, obvious, and yet totally impactful.

3. Build a DIY wooden boot rack.

diy boot rack made of wood
By Stephanie Lynn

If you want to keep your winter boots (or summer sneakers, for that matter) organized and easy to grab when you’re rushing out the door for an impromptu snowball fight, this DIY wooden boot rack is exactly what you need.

Stephanie Lynn features her boot rack outside, but you can easily display it below your coat rack or next to a storage bench.

If you decide to keep the boot rack inside, remember to place a tray beneath the rack to collect melted snow, dirt, and dust so your entryway floor stays clean.

Free Bonus: Here are 15 more smart ways to store shoes, boots, and sneakers.

4. Label your coat rack.

entryway shelf with hooks, chalkboards, and a bench
Just A Girl and Her Blog

A classic wall-mounted coat rack in an entryway is always a good idea. It’s easy to install, saves floor space, and adds a welcome dose of personality to an otherwise bland part of the home.

This particular coat rack, however, kicks functionality up a notch. How? With chalkboard labels.

You can label your hooks by type of outerwear (like in the photo above) or by person if you have a big household. It’s a simple detail that’ll make your stuff even more organized (and — let’s be honest — a little cuter, too).

Free Bonus: Here are 13 easy DIY storage ideas that’ll organize your entire home.

5. Make smart use of a nearby closet.

organized entryway closet
Just A Girl and Her Blog

If you’re lucky enough to have an entryway closet in your, ahem, entryway, take advantage of it.

Even the world’s smallest, most poorly designed entryway closet has room for growth — and plenty of coats.

With a smart layout (and some major decluttering), you can easily maximize the space in your entryway closet to fit everything you need.

Install spice racks to hold notebooks and mail. Use wall hooks to store bags, purses, and umbrellas. Store shoes in plastic drawers. And use baskets to store accessories like hats, gloves and scarves.

Free Bonus: Here are 12 super creative storage ideas for small spaces.

6. Use a storage bench to hold bags and shoes.

white entry bench with storage and hooks
Imperfect Homemaking

If you have room for a bench in your entryway (you know, to sit on while tying your shoes, resting after a long day, or pondering hygge), make it a storage bench.

You can stash shoes, baskets full of cozy gloves and hats, blankets, or even your collection of dog toys inside of the storage bench.

7. Display plants on DIY floating shelves.

entryway makeover consisting of copper floating shelves, potted plants, and a console with drawers
Vintage Revivals

We’re all for practicality, but why not add some happiness-inducing greenery to spruce up your entryway?

We even put together this list of the best houseplants and planters to make doing so as easy as possible.

You can also install a couple floating shelves (here are 15 breathtaking shelves you don’t have to DIY) above your console table or coat rack to display potted plants or vases of flowers. Just like DIY extraordinaire Mandi Gubler from Vintage Revivals did in this video:

 

If, however, you discover you’re not a very capable plant owner (it happens to the best of us), you can always swap the succulents for books, mail organizers, or — surprise, surprise — storage baskets.

8. Turn your hall closet into a giant coat rack.

hall closet makeover with wall hooks, a bench, and a storage crate
My Love 2 Create

If the single tension rod in your hall closet doesn’t cut it when it comes to storing your collection of jackets and coats, get rid of it.

Take advantage of that precious vertical wall space by installing as many hooks as you want. You’ll be able to store at least twice as many coats and bags as before, and you won’t have to rely on mismatched hangers to do it.

And in case you’re wondering, here’s how to easily organize everything in your closet.

9. Hang a shelf above your coat rack for extra storage.

entryway bench with numbered coat hooks, a shelf, and baskets for storage
Home Remedies

This entryway storage tip sounds obvious, but it’s worth repeating:

A single shelf (above a coat rack or on its own) does wonders for an entryway. Use the self to store mail, sunglasses, purses, or baskets full of winter gear.

10. Turn a closet into a storage nook.

entryway closet makeover with a storage nook, bench with drawers, a shelf with hooks and storage, and baskets
The House of Smiths

The House of Smiths breaks down this minor renovation process in full. The basic idea is this:

With some resourcefulness and patience, you can transform a small, dingy closet that doesn’t meet your needs into a cool, functional storage nook.

Did we mention this little nook has coat hooks, mail organizers, wooden shoe crates, and a comfy seat? What more could you want?

11. Put hooks on the side of your console to hang bags.

entryway dresser with storage hooks, a cell phone organizer, receipt scanner, and answering machine
Organizing Made Fun

If you’re lacking space on your coat rack (or want to nix it altogether), install stylish hooks on the side of your console or entryway table.

They’re perfect for hanging purses, briefcases, backpacks, and even reusable grocery bags.

12. Turn an IKEA shelving unit into a cubby holder.

upholstered diy ikea banquette bench with storage boxes, cubbies, a back, and pillows hack
Melodrama

You know those tall, narrow IKEA shelving units perfect for storing books, CDs, and DVDs? Yep, we’re talking about KALLAX shelf units.

It turns out the same shelving units — when laid horizontally — also make ideal cubbies for storing shoes and other small to medium-sized items.

Melodrama details this fantastic discovery and provides the full tutorial (complete with a banquet seat) here.

If you’re not up for the full project, though, you can always stack a couple shelving units against the wall to make a taller cubby system. Or just tuck a singular unit below a long bench.

Free Bonus: Learn how to DIY the 12 best IKEA hacks and ideas for every room in your home.

13. Create a space-saving mail organizer using magazine holders.

wall-mounted mail rack ikea hack made from knuff magazine files
Instructables/Kazmataz

If you like to keep your surfaces clutter-free, use this genius IKEA mail organizer hack from Instructables.

Here’s the gist: Find a few sturdy magazine holders, screw them upside down on the bottom of a shelf or tabletop, and bam! You have instant folders to organize your mail.

14. Store shoes in a vintage mail organizer.

vintage mail sorter shoe cubby with a chalkboard calendar that reads "let today be the day"
Sincerely, Sara D

Disclaimer: Finding a gorgeous and intact antique mail organizer isn’t exactly easy. But we can still draw inspiration from the idea.

If you can’t score your very own vintage mail sorter like Sincerely, Sara D, build one by following these instructions from Remodelaholic.

Another option is to find another equally functional cubby shelf system (or wall hutch like the one that Abbi from Broad City uses in her bedroom) to store shoes and baskets of accessories.

The best part?

Not only is it the pinnacle of functional storage, it also looks really cool.

15. Let MakeSpace store everything else.

 

Don’t have enough room in your entryway to store everything?

Let go of the stuff you don’t need. Then let MakeSpace store your off-season clothes, shoes, bike, surfboard, luggage, A/C unit, and more.

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

And when you want something back from storage, simply browse the convenient online photo catalog of your stuff, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it straight to you.

Until then, make your place even more spacious by learning these brilliant storage hacks for every room in your home:

53 Insanely Clever Bedroom Storage Hacks And Solutions

48 Easy Kitchen Storage Hacks And Solutions That Will Instantly Upgrade Your Life

42 Bathroom Storage Hacks That Will Help You Get Ready So Much Faster

Coming Soon: 21 Living Room Storage Hacks That Your Apartment Wishes You’d Try

Top image via Artazum/Shutterstock

This article was written by Paige Smith, a freelance writer from Orange County, California who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics.

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

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

But the Danes? The Danes say you need hygge.

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

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

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

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

Hygge Definition

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

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

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

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

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

Hygge Origin

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

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

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

Hygge Pronunciation

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

Why Is Hygge So Popular?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Hygge Your Life

1. Spend quality time with friends and family.

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

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

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

2. Avoid multi-tasking.

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

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

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

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

3. Remove stressors.

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

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

Sounds nice.

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

4. Leave work at a reasonable time.

empty workspace with an apple imac

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

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

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

Get out and get cozy instead.

5. Eat well.

 

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

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

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

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

6. Ride your bike.

 

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

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

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

7. Wear comfortable clothing.

hygge clothing hanging on a clothes rack in an apartment

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

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

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

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

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

How To Hygge Your Home

1. Curate a hygge candle collection.

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

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

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

2. Don’t forget about hygge lamps.

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

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

3. Bring the great outdoors indoors with plants.

hygge plants, including a fern and red berries

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

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

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

4. Build a fire — or stream one.

 

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

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

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

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

5. Soften and simplify your home with hygge decor.

cat sleeping on a hygge rug

What do we mean by “soften and simplify”?

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

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

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

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

6. Designate a hygge nook.

hygge window nook in a home

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

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

7. Achieve hygge with MakeSpace.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

mottled brown wallpaper that resembles natural stone
Merri Cvetan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

booking a wallpaper strip on a table
Merri Cvetan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12 Next-Level Ways To Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets, Drawers, And Pantry

A kitchen, much like a closet, is one of the more under-appreciated spaces in a home — you use it every day, but don’t often give much thought to how you organize it.

You probably know a few general kitchen organization ideas by now, but what about the nitty gritty rules for how to organize the different areas of your kitchen to maximize space and simplify your cooking routine?

After all, good kitchen organization isn’t just about stacking dishes neatly. It’s about creating a smart system that makes your life as easy as possible.

That’s why we put together this handy list of 12 simple and brilliant tips to perfectly organize your kitchen cabinets, drawers, and pantry.

Click any of the below links to jump to a specific section:
Kitchen Pantry
Kitchen Cabinets
Kitchen Drawers

Kitchen Pantry

1. Use baskets to corral similar items.

pantry baskets with labels
Honey We’re Home

Baskets and bins are the best and easiest way to organize food in your pantry. Organize your baskets by category, like snacks, baked goods, pasta, bread products, and so on.

To make things even more straightforward (and more aesthetically pleasing), slap a few labels on your baskets so you know what to look for when you’re cooking dinner or assembling lunch in a rush.

2. Put everyday items at eye-level.

eye level pantry organization
Paige Smith

Again, the goal here is to make your life easier. Put the food you reach for every day in the middle of your pantry at eye-level. Then store lesser-used items on the top or bottom shelves.

3. Store baking ingredients and grains in containers.

pantry storage containers with labels
Just A Girl and Her Blog

A set of matching containers goes a long way in limiting pantry chaos. Not only do containers hold more than store-bought boxes, but they also keep your food fresh and help prevent spills and messes.

Invest in a set of sleek glass or plastic containers (even Mason jars will do the trick) and fill them with everything from dried elbow noodles to brown sugar. If you’re not much of a baker or cook, use them to store snack mixes, cereal, or nuts.

Want more clever kitchen tips?

Learn how to cook in your small kitchen with ease.

Kitchen Cabinets

4. Keep Tupperware lids in their own box.

organize tupperware lids in a kitchen drawer with acrylic organizers
Organizing Made Fun

If you already do this, we give you major props — it’s a game-changing organization trick.

Instead of letting Tupperware lids float around your cabinet wherever they can fit — a risky move that almost guarantees you’ll never be able to find the exact size you’re looking for — stack them from largest to smallest in a separate box.

5. Put things you use every day in the most accessible cabinets.

glasses standing up on shelves in kitchen cabinets
Paige Smith

Like the trusty eye-level pantry rule, this organization strategy seems obvious, but its effectiveness cannot be overstated.

Keeping your dishes and cooking tools in cabinets where you can easily reach them is key to staying sane as you navigate your kitchen.

If you reach for the Tupperware after dinner every night to store your leftovers, don’t keep it in a lower cabinet — store it front and center. Same goes for anything else you use with frequency, whether it’s a giant Crock-Pot or a set of Moscow Mule mugs.

6. Hang hooks or a corkboard on the inside of a cabinet door to maximize space.

Cork boards, peg boards, adhesive hooks — whatever works. The point here is to create extra space to store things like dish towels, serving tools, measuring cups, or even just recipes and grocery lists as demonstrated in this photo:

cork board kitchen cabinet door
Young House Love

7. Put shelf risers in your cabinets.

kitchen cabinet shelf risers above microwave
Just A Girl and Her Blog

Shelf risers are the secret to doubling your cabinet space in two seconds flat. You can use them to store twice as many baking pans, casserole dishes, mugs, plates, or whatever else you need.

8. Store spices on a Lazy Susan.

spice rack lazy susan
Jaime Brooks of A Nurtured Nest

No more digging through a disorganized cluster of spice bottles to find the paprika nestled at the back of your kitchen cabinet.

If your drawer space is limited, store spices on a Lazy Susan you can stash in a cabinet near the stove. The genius of a Lazy Susan is that it keeps everything organized, visible, and easy to grab.

What more could you want?

Free Bonus: Read our list of 7 smart ways to save space in your small kitchen.

Kitchen Drawers

9. Organize kitchen tools by type of cooking.

kitchen tools in a drawer organized by type of cooking
Paige Smith

Not all kitchen tools are created equal. You might think you can store all your spatulas in the same drawer, but it’s actually easier and more efficient to separate your tools — even if they’re the same kind — by the type of cooking they’re created for.

For example, the massive metal spatula you use for grilling should be kept with other grilling tools like tongs, a basting brush, and a meat thermometer.

Same goes with baking necessities. Put all your silicone spatulas, measuring cups, whisks, wooden spoons, and rolling pins together in one drawer.

Free Bonus: See our complete list of 48 easy kitchen storage hacks and solutions that will upgrade your life.

10. Use dividers or small bins to organize kitchen drawers.

diy kitchen utsensil drawer organizer
Flickr/Dan Malec

Dividers are to drawers what baskets are to pantries. In other words, they’re absolutely necessary for keeping everything neat.

Use dividers to organize things like flatware and serving utensils. Then use small boxes and bins to organize everything else, including random junk drawer items like candles, batteries, and rubber bands.

cooking tools organizer in a kitchen drawer
Jaime Brooks of A Nurtured Nest

11. Use a tension rod to store pot lids upright.

tension rod pot lit holder installed inside a kitchen drawer
Imperfect Homemaking

If you’re lucky enough to have a deep drawer, install a tension rod inside it to store pot lids upright. It does double-duty by keeping your lids organized and creating more space to stack your pots and pans.

12. Let MakeSpace store everything else for you.

 

For everything you can’t fit in your kitchen, use MakeSpace.

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

And when you need something back, just browse your convenient online photo catalog of your stuff, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it back to you.

The result: Less time wasted rummaging through your drawers, cabinets, and pantry. And more time for you to enjoy hosting Thanksgiving in your home.

This article was written by Paige Smith, a freelance writer from Orange County, California who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics.

19 Awesome Winter Moving Tips That Will Save You Tons Of Money, Stress, AND Time

Moving in the winter is not ideal for the obvious reason: Depending on where you live, it’s probably going to be freezing. Perhaps even rainy, snowy, or icy. Which means not only can the experience not be fun, it can also potentially be slippery and unsafe.

If you don’t really have the option to move during a different time of year, don’t worry. An upside to moving in the winter is that you could end up saving a lot of money during the moving slow season. Plus, you’ll probably be able to get more options for which services you can get and when you can use them because there’s less demand.

Here are 19 of our best winter moving tips for making the best of a not-so-ideal situation that’ll save you tons of money, stress, and time:

1. Check the weather for heavy snow, and plan accordingly.

check the weather before moving in the winter, especially if it's snowing outside

Maybe this is obvious, but it’s pretty important: Keep tabs on the weather throughout the week. If conditions get bad, consider rescheduling.

Moving your stuff is not worth risking your safety! And as mentioned above, moving companies are likely to have more flexibility in their schedules during the winter.

2. Check in with your movers a week before your moving day.

moving day circled in red on a calendar
Flickr/Guy Kilroy

Whether you’re renting a truck, hiring movers, or a combination of the two, check in with them about a week ahead of the moving date. This is always good to do as a rule of thumb, but it’s especially good to do in the winter, just to make sure you’re on the same page.

It would stink to have them show up when you’re not ready, or to start turning off your heat and electricity and have the movers simply not show up.

3. Hire a babysitter to watch your kids and pet.

A photo posted by MakeSpace (@makespace) on

Moving with children and animals is hard. Moving children and animals in the winter is even harder. Consider trying to move boxes in the snow while also being responsible for smaller bodies that aren’t able to help move stuff.

If you can hire a babysitter for the day, or move during the school day, that’s ideal. As for animals, see if a friend can take them for the day, or drop them off at a pet day care center.

If none of those options are available, see if someone you’re moving with can stay with them (kids and/or pets) at the new place you’re moving into.

And ICYWI, we can’t store pets, but we can store pet toys.

4. Organize your stuff and label your boxes ahead of time.

labeled meathead movers moving boxes
Flickr/Meathead Movers

Make it so that you’re spending the least amount of time as possible scrambling last minute. You want your move to be fast and strategic, and organizing ahead of time will save you a ton of stress.

You don’t want to get stuck making a million trips in the cold, so make sure you know what you’re loading in first and roughly where it should all fit.

5. Transfer utilities from your old home to your new home.

netgear prosafe router model gs108tv2

This step happens any time you move, but it’s even more important when moving during winter months. Call all your utility service providers (here’s how to transfer utilities when moving) and double check that your services are transferring on the correct day.

You might even want to have them turn the heat on in your new place a few days ahead of time. Because who wants to move into their new place if it’s absolutely freezing?

No one, that’s who.

6. Save money by asking your friends to help you move.

v-shaped cash art

Save some cash, skip the movers, and enlist your friends. They probably won’t be tired of helping people move, like they might be during the summer, which is great for you.

7. Save A TON of money by using the train to move your stuff.

 

Self-storage is stupid. Self-moving is smart when you’re a packing genius who only pays $2.75.

8. Start moving early.

sunrise over the east river in nyc
Flickr/Global Jet

Another lovely part of winter is it feels like our days are cut in half. So get your move started early, so that if any hiccups occur, you’ll get them straightened out before it gets dark.

For your safety, and because it gets even more cold at night, don’t move when it’s dark!

9. Prep your car and walkways.

snow on the driver's side sideview mirror and window

This rule really only applies for snow or excessive leaves, but it’s an important one:

Clear snow or leaves from your driveway and the street ahead of time, and throw salt on any ice you see around.

Lay tarps down so that if anything gets soggy or gross, your car won’t suffer too badly. You might also want to lay tarps down in both your old place and new place, just so you don’t need to do extra cleanup.

Finding cleaning supplies during a move should be the last of your worries.

10. Dress in layers, and wear water- and slip-proof boots.

dress in layers (including a warm winter coat) when moving during the winter months

Even though it’ll be cold out, you will work up a sweat. So dress in layers so you can peel them off and drop them at your new home if it starts to get too hot.

And wear your best waterproof and slip-proof boots to combat snow, hail, rain, black ice, or whatever else winter throws at you at the eleventh hour.

11. Turn off the heat in both homes…

nest thermostat turned off
Flickr/Bit Boy

With so many people going in and out of your place, there’s really no point in trying to keep it warm. Save yourself a little money on heating and keep the heat off in both homes.

You’ll be bundled up and sweating beneath those layers, so you won’t even notice how cold it is.

12. …But do create a warm room.

makespace storage bin storing the winter hats, gloves, jackets, and space heater of LA professional organizer beth penn from bneato bar
MakeSpace

Here’s a smart tip for moving in the winter from imove:

Leave a space heater on Low in the bathroom or in another small room. It’ll give you and the movers/your friends a space to catch their breath and warm up in between trips.

If you’re finding it hard to chug through the move, taking a moment to warm up can make a big difference.

13. Protect fragile items with bubble wrap.

bubble wrap glasses and other fragile items
Flickr/aprilandrandy

Glassware and other fragile items become more frigid and prone to breaking in the cold, so wrap them with bubble wrap. And because things are bound to be more slippery in the winter, double-wrapping fragile items is a good idea in case of a fall.

Electronics are also not fond of the cold. They also hate water, so you might want to even wrap a box full of electronics in a tarp if you have to move in the rain or snow.

14. Do not pack away your winter gear.

 

Obvious tip #2, but moving is stressful, and when we get stressed our brains often don’t work the way they should. Make sure to set aside your winter gear, like boots, jackets, hats, gloves, and scarves so that you have those to wear on moving day.

And while we’re at it, keep clean sheets and pillows handy and accessible. After a long day of moving in the cold, you don’t want to go rummaging through boxes before you can sleep.

15. Keep spare winter gear in your car.

red leather mens gloves

If you’re moving in snow or rain, your hands are bound to get wet. Keep an extra pair of gloves and stash an extra jacket somewhere in your car so that you can swap wet clothing items out if need be.

16. Have towels on deck.

stacked towels and a rubber ducky on a bathroom stand

Much like keeping tarps around is a good idea to minimize cleanup, keeping towels around is an A+ idea as well. Keep some in your car in case you need to wipe down your boots, wipe down wet boxes, or clean up a spill (because hey, accidents happen).

17. Make a Crock-Pot of warm wintry goodness.

3 glasses of non-dairy latte, chai, and mocha with marshmallows and cinnamon sticks
A Beautiful Mess

This isn’t a necessity as much as it is a great idea if you want to win the award for best mover: If you have a Crock-Pot, plug it in and have some congratulatory cider or hot chocolate going for when your team is finally done moving.

Or treat everybody to Starbucks if you don’t feel like making a vat of winter cheer. Either way, your friends/movers will thank you.

18. Leave moving to the moving experts.

moving truck with a ramp extended onto the snow
Flickr/Sarah

Odds are, moving company expenses will be lower now than during peak months, so you’ll still save money, stress, and time even if you hire professional movers to do everything for you.

Use an online service like Unpakt or imove to easily book a reputable, insured, and licensed professional moving company.

19. Leave storage to the storage experts.

makespace full-service storage with pickup and delivery
MakeSpace

Who else has your back while you’re moving during the most difficult season?

MakeSpace.

While you’re busy switching over utility services and calling a babysitter, we’ll pick up and store anything you don’t plan on bringing to your new home.

We can also create an online catalog of everything you have in storage, so you don’t have to worry about where you left your summertime clothing. Because as we mentioned before, moving stress can do crazy things to your brain.

Schedule a MakeSpace pickup today, and cross off “storage” from your winter moving checklist.

 

This article was written by Hannah Van Arsdale, a freelance writer and dog person based in Portland, OR.

14 Easy New Year’s Resolutions That’ll Keep Your Home Clean All Year

Unless you’re Marie Kondo or someone who, ahem, writes organizational articles for a living, you’re probably overwhelmed by the idea of decluttering your entire home.

It’s totally normal to want to sink into the pile of sweaters on your chair and resign yourself to living in chaos — but you don’t have to.

Rather than thinking of decluttering as one giant task to check off your to-do list, think of it as a series of simple habit changes.

Today, we’re sharing a fool-proof list of easy, no-nonsense New Year’s resolutions for your home that will keep your place clean all year. Marie Kondo would be proud.

Pro Tip: Use this KonMari cheat sheet to easily declutter your home like Marie Kondo.

1. Declutter your most used space at the start of the year.

clean bedroom, desk, table, chair, new york pillow, and cowhide rug

You can’t develop smart decluttering habits without doing some actual decluttering. To kick off your clutter-free year, pick the most lived-in area of your home to tackle first.

It might be your kitchen, living room, or bedroom — whatever it is, get to work gathering every item in that space and asking yourself two important questions:

  1. Do I love this item?
  2. Do I use it regularly?

If the word “no” pops into your head, set the item aside to trash or donate.

For more advice on how to get started decluttering, check out these 15 tips from Certified Professional Organizers.

2. Use what you have before buying more.

squeezing toothpaste onto a toothbrush

Before you start filling your cabinets and drawers with multiples of the same item, make a point to finish everything you have first.

Use the last few pumps of lotion, the last drops of olive oil, the last inch of your pine-scented candle, the last five envelopes you own, the last bit of toothpaste — you get the idea.

With just this one habit change, you’ll waste less, consume less, and bring less clutter to your home.

Free Bonus: Check out these 8 minimalist living tips to learn how to live with less stuff.

3. Clear your surfaces.

clean home office desk with a notebook, glasses, coffee mug, and imac on top

If your head is spinning just thinking about organizing your closet, start with something smaller. Specifically, start with the flat surfaces in your home. Coffee tables, nightstands, dressers, desks, and kitchen countertops are all breeding grounds for clutter.

Pick one surface first — the one that makes you stressed just looking at it — and clear everything off. Before you start adding items back to it, pick up each one and determine whether or not you want to keep it.

Free Bonus: Use this handy decluttering flowchart to decide what to keep or get rid off.

4. Put your clothes away every night.

clothes hanging in a closet with a vintage trunk on the floor

Before your crawl into bed, put your clothes away instead of tossing them on the nearest chair to “deal with in the morning” (let’s be real: you won’t deal with it in the morning).

And don’t just put your pants and shirt on a random shelf — take the extra 20 seconds to fold them (here’s how to easily fold a shirt like Marie Kondo or hang them back up neatly (use this awesome compact clothes hanger for your tiny closet).

The more frequently you do this, the quicker it will become second-nature.

Don’t have a closet to put your clothes away?

No problem — here’s how to live without a closet.

5. Throw away your trash.

green trash can

This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised to learn how much of your clutter is actually stuff meant for the trash bin. Don’t let things like shopping bags, gift boxes, flyers, and tags pile up — toss them out or recycle them immediately.

6. Give every new item a home.

organized entryway with wall cubes storing headphones, and boots and a messenger bag on the floor

It’s easy to let new purchases wallow in your entryway, on your bathroom counter, or in front of your closet (especially if you have minor buyer’s remorse and can’t decide if you want to keep something), but this creates tons of totally unnecessary clutter.

As soon as you bring a new item into your space, give it a proper (and permanent) home. And no, the storage closet or junk drawer doesn’t count.

7. Don’t buy storage bins.

Clarification: Don’t buy storage bins until you figure out exactly what you need to store.

Stockpiling all the latest space-saving gadgets and storage bins just creates more clutter in your home and gives you an excuse to keep things you might not even need.

Free Bonus: Why letting go of your stuff is hard, plus what to do about it.

8. Spend five minutes tidying every night.

decluttered bathroom with a clean mirror
Flickr/Christine Warner Hawks

Before you get ready for bed, set a timer and see how much you can accomplish in five minutes.

If you hustle, you can probably hang up your clothes, pick up trash, wipe down your bathroom mirror, and put things away — all in the same amount of time it would take you to check your email or scroll through your Facebook news feed.

9. If an area of your home drives you nuts, put it on your decluttering to-do list.

planner binder that reads "planning my day"
Just a Girl and Her Blog

If the level of chaos in your kitchen cabinets or desk drawers makes your skin crawl, but you don’t have two hours to take care of it right away, add it to your decluttering to-do list.

Keep the list somewhere visible (like your fridge or computer desktop) and set a date with yourself to declutter your problem zone within a week.

10. Tidy a room before you leave it.

decluttered and clean home office

Fold your throw blanket and fluff the pillows on your sofa before you leave the living room. Stow away your beauty products after you finish getting ready in the bathroom. Toss your papers and take your coffee mug to the sink when you stop working at your desk.

Basically, always leave a room cleaner than when you walked into it.

11. Use the “one in, one out” rule.

mary helen rowell's bookcase
MakeSpace

Take a cue from 90-square-foot-apartment dweller Mary Helen Rowell and use the one in, one out rule. For every new item you add to your space, get rid of something similar.

Got a new pair of running shoes? Donate your old ones.

Bought a new novel? Give an old paperback to the library (here’s how to decide what books to keep or get rid of).

12. Clean during commercial breaks.

scrubbing a white kitchen sink with an hdx easy eraser
Honey We’re Home

Or during Hulu ads. Or while you’re waiting for hot water to boil or your Uber to arrive.

The point is: There are so many small tasks you can take care of when you have a couple minutes to spare.

Free Bonus: Take a look at these 10 smart cleaning tips from your favorite movies (including Mrs. Doubtfire)

13. Keep a donation box in your closet.

cardboard box for packing and moving globe, wooden figurine, poster, and more
Flickr/Guy Kilroy

Whenever you come across something you no longer want or use, toss it in the donation box.

When the box is full (make it a small box so it fills up fast), give it to your local Goodwill. Or let MakeSpace pick up and drop off your donation to a local Goodwill.

14. Use MakeSpace to effortlessly store everything else.

 

When you’ve already decluttered but still need to store stuff (hey — it happens), use MakeSpace.

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

And when you want your collection of CDs and DVDs back, just browse the convenient online photo catalog of your stuff, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it straight to you.

This article was written by Paige Smith, a freelance writer from Orange County, California who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Research the Christmas tree market.

christmas trees for sale in nyc
Flickr/Jazz Guy

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

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

Still struggling?

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

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

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

2. Consider different tree sizes.

small christmas tree for small apartment
Flickr/Stacie

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

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

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

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

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

3. Get a Christmas tree stand.

christmas tree stand
Flickr/Anthony Crider

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

red and gold christmas ornaments
Flickr/Paul VanDerWerf

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

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

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

Bake clay snowflakes. And sew together felt Santas:

 

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

 

6. Hunt for cheap holiday decorations.

manchester christmas market
Flickr/Phil Long

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

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

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

7. DIY holiday decorations for your apartment.

diy candy cane pine wreath
Flickr/ProFlowers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can’t eat them.

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

 

8. Make Christmas tree potpourri.

christmas tree close-up
Flickr/Oregon State University

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

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

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

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

Think again.

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

9. Line your windows with paper snowflakes.

stick paper snowflakes on windows
Flickr/suzette.nu

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

 

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

10. Display your holiday cards.

things organized neatly holiday cards
Flickr/Lauren Manning

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

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

11. DIY a menorah.

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

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

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

12. Wrap your cabinet doors like presents.

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

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

13. Transform your fridge into Frosty the Snowman.

 

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

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

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

14. MakeSpace for Santa’s sleigh

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

a makespace bin used for holiday decoration storage

6 Easy DIY Fixes For Common Household Problems

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

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

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

how to repair baseboards

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

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

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

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

how to fix clogged sink in bathroom

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

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

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

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

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

caulking windows to stop wind from coming through

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Silence squeaky boards with this baby product…

fix squeaky floors with baby powder

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

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

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

fix loose drawer handle with wood glue or fingernail polish

Got a drawer knob with a mind of its own?

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

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

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

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

12 Best IKEA Hacks And Ideas For Every Room In Your Home

If you read our blog, you already know we’re fans of taking cheap and plain furniture from IKEA and turning it into masterpieces.

We’re also fans of kicking things up a notch. So we’ve compiled a list of the most stylish and best IKEA hacks and ideas we could find, categorized by room. You’ll find you don’t need to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars to have chic furniture pieces like the ones you can find at Williams & Sonoma or other high-end stores.

Nope, you just need a little time to plan, some power tools, gold paint, and a way to get furniture from IKEA to your home.

Even better, you may already have some of the IKEA furniture and materials floating around your home, saving you even more of your hard-earned money.

Click any of the below links to jump to IKEA hacks and ideas for a specific room:
IKEA Bedroom Hacks
IKEA Living Room Hacks
IKEA Kitchen Hacks
IKEA Bathroom Hacks

IKEA Bedroom Hacks

1. MALM Bed Frame Hack: Stikwood Headboard

malm headboard hack using stikwood
Sugar and Cloth

It’s very likely that you, dear reader, are the owner of a MALM bed frame, like I am. Want to take it to the next level?

Add some reclaimed wood, like Ashley from Sugar and Cloth did with their bedframe and a case of Stikwood. She measured everything out, then stuck the strips of reclaimed wood onto the headboard, covered it with a coat of polyurethane, and that was that.

It’s a simple way to add more dimension to a classic piece of furniture.

IKEA Living Room Hacks

2. SIGNE Rug Hack: Floor Pouf

ikea signe rug hack floor pouf
Retropolitan

Erika from Retropolitan created her own poufs out of rugs from IKEA and we think it’s genius. They look like some expensive ones you might get at West Elm or a similar furniture store, except these only cost around $3 to make.

You just need a few SIGNE rugs, a sewing machine, basic sewing skills, and something to stuff inside, like cotton or beans.

3. EKBY BJÄRNUM Bracket Hack: Gold Accent Wall Shelves

ikea ekby bjarnum hack spray painted in gold
Design Manifest

This is probably one of the easiest IKEA hacks you’ll come across, and it can make a huge difference in the look of your home. Spray EKBY BJÄRNUM brackets with gold spray paint for a pop of class.

Why stop there?

Go crazy and add gold accents to a bunch of different things in your living room. Just not everything.

4. HEMNES Coffee Table Hack: Farmhouse Coffee Table

ikea hemnes coffee table hack that looks like a farmhouse table
The Creative Mom

This IKEA HEMNES coffee table hack is elegant yet easy, and the included shelf will increase storage space too. Just stain 2x4s, cut them to size, glue them onto your coffee table, and there you have it.

That’s The Creative Mom’s DIY farmhouse coffee table tutorial in a nutshell. So grab a HEMNES coffee table, take a trip to Home Depot, and get to DIY-ing.

IKEA Kitchen Hacks

5. KALLAX Shelving Unit Hack: Kitchen Island/Dining Table

ikea kallax kitchen island hack
IKEA Hackers/1brto_O

This one is less of a hack and more of a good idea to make the most of a small space. Read this tutorial over on IKEA Hackers. You pretty much combine a small KALLAX shelf unit, add a tall LACK table to the side, and voilà.

You’ve just created your new favorite space to prepare food, read a book, or entertain friends with Chipotle … because to us, this dining setup resembles Chipotle’s decor. And thanks to the added storage area, you’re able to store pots, pans, cookbooks, and more.

6. FINNVARD Trestle Hack: Kitchen Island/Dining Table/Wine Racks

ikea finnvard trestle hack kitchen island
Ikea Hackers/Sofia Clara

IKEA Hackers, once again, have come up with a great IKEA furniture hack. Surprise, surprise. This one takes two FINNVARD trestles with shelves, two slabs of wood, and a wood sealant that’s food-safe.

By cutting a few holes and situating the slabs of wood properly, you’ll create a kitchen island that has plenty of storage for plates, towels, produce, and wine bottles. Plus a work surface for chopping food or enjoying a glass of wine.

7. BEKVÄM Kitchen Cart Hack: Faux $695 Kitchen Cart With Marble Top

ikea bekvam kitchen cart hack
Oliver and Rust

Want an island in your kitchen that looks like this $695 one from Williams and Sonoma, but doesn’t cost half your rent?

Then check out Oliver and Rust’s tutorial on how to make your own out of a BEKVÄM kitchen cart (only $59), some pipe, a few fancy accents, and a fresh coat of paint.

Oh, and a beautiful slab of marble for the top. Not only does that kitchen cart/island look amazing, but you can use it to store fruit, veggies, pots, and pans underneath, too.

8. GRUNDTAL Towel Rail Hack: Wine Rack

ikea grundtal towel rail hack wine rack
IKEA Hackers/Jules Yap

Jules from IKEA Hackers came up with this great idea for a DIY wine rack. Simply stack up a bunch of these GRUNDTAL towel rails. Use as many or as little as you need, depending on the vastness of your wine collection.

9. TARVA Dresser Hack: Kitchen Sideboard

ikea tarva dresser hack
Lucy Jane

Okay, we know it’s kind of weird to put a dresser in your kitchen, but your guests probably won’t even be able to tell. Lucy Jane has a great DIY tutorial on how to spruce up a 6-drawer TARVA.

All you have to do is slap on a nice coat of white paint and add some decorative knobs.  No one will ever have to know your greatest storage secret.

IKEA Bathroom Hacks

10. LACK Wall Shelf Hack: Industrial Floating Bathroom Shelves

ikea lack wall shelf hack floating bathroom shelves
Simplified Building/Selber Machen

This floating industrial bathroom shelf from Simplified Building is pretty dope. It’s a little involved, and the instructions are in German, but it’s pretty easy to get the jist of the project by looking at the pictures.

You’ll need a good amount of pipe, different pipe elbows, and five 43 1/4″ x 10 1/4″ LACK wall shelves and two 11 3/4″ x 10 1/4″ LACK wall shelves. Once you’re done putting everything together, you’ll have a minimal, rustic modern shelving unit for your bathroom that pretty much no one else will have.

11. SNIGLAR Crib Hack: Retractable Drying Rack

ikea sniglar crib hack retractable drying rack
IKEA Hackers/Jules Yap

If you’ve got delicates that you can’t put in the dryer, but also can’t spare space to hang around, IKEA Hackers have just the thing:

Use a SNIGLAR crib to create a Murphy-style drying rack that swings up to dry clothes and stows away against the wall when it’s not in use.

What you’ll need: a few extra hinges, hooks, and a cord.

What you won’t need: a few extra breaks because this tutorial isn’t too labor intensive.

12. RUNNEN Floor Decking Hack: Spa Bath Mat

ikea runnin floor decking hack spa bathmat
House Of Hepworths

Have a less-than-attractive linoleum floor in your bathroom?

Cover it up with this outdoor RUNNEN floor decking. It’s available in three different colors and comes with zero disappointment.

This article was written by Hannah Van Arsdale, a freelance writer and dog person based in Portland, OR.

6 Reasons Letting Go Of Stuff Is Hard (And What To Do About It)

Picture this: You decide to declutter your home, but despite your best intentions, 30 minutes into the project you’re surrounded by a pile of old college T-shirts, wearing a fedora you forgot you had, and sifting through your dresser drawer contents like they’re relics.

We’ve all been there before. Decluttering is difficult, and can often be emotionally draining, anxiety-inducing, or even painful.

Why is letting go of stuff hard?

Because — thanks to a few well-worn excuses — it’s insanely easy to justify why you might need to keep something.

But here’s the good news: The first step to letting go of clutter is learning to understand the fear you have about parting with a particular item.

Here are the six main reasons letting go of possessions is hard, plus tips for how to move past the fear and make more space in your home — and your life — for the things that really matter.

1. Our stuff has sentimental value.

wall bookshelves, ottoman, coffee table, sofa, and chair

The most common reason we hold onto things is because we’re sentimental creatures.

The tiny bottle of white sand from your trip to Oahu. Your grandmother’s ottoman. Your concert T-shirt from a first date. Many things we own remind us of a loved one, special trip, or happy period in our lives, making them difficult to part with.

Chicago-based Certified Professional Organizer Amy Trager advises asking yourself if you’ll remember the occasion or person in question without the item attached to it. “If you can say yes, you can donate that item. Someone else will love it,” says Trager.

If you’re tempted to keep the item for nostalgia’s sake, take a photo of it instead and jot down a few sentences about its importance.

Free Bonus: Learn how to start decluttering your home with 15 more actionable tips from certified professional organizers.

2. We worry we might need something again.

garage storage bins
Just A Girl and Her Blog

This is one of the most dangerous excuses out there. It’s why we hold onto everything from instruction manuals and broken colored pencils to untouched snowboards (here’s how to store surfboards) and old chemistry textbooks.

But as Monica Friel, owner of Chicago-based Chaos to Order, says, “There’s a difference between needing something and possibly needing something.”

Storing stuff we don’t use or like just because we think we might need it again someday isn’t productive or healthy.

Trager advises getting real and asking yourself when you last used the item in question. If it’s been a year or longer, you can let it go.

“You will sometimes get rid of something you may want again. That’s okay. You can borrow it, rent it, or repurchase it, if you must,” says Trager.

Free Bonus: Use this cheat sheet to declutter your home like Marie Kondo.

3. We feel guilty about getting rid of something from someone we love.

diy epoxy jewelry box
A Beautiful Mess

Guilt can play a big role in our resistance to decluttering.

“We often feel guilty if we’re getting rid of something from someone we love,” says Trager. “It’s hard to remind ourselves that a person will still love us, and us them, even if we no longer own this item they gave us.”

So instead of shoving the framed cat painting your friend bought for you into a closet to collect dust, let it go.

“Make arrangements to get it into the hands of someone who will appreciate it,” says Friel. “It’s the best way to honor your loved one.”

4. We feel guilty about the money we spent.

 

vitamix professional series 200
Flickr/Mike Mozart

Decluttering guilt 2.0 happens when we’re reluctant to let something go because we’ve spent a significant amount of money on it.

Maybe it’s the pricey and bulky blender you realize you’ll never use (here’s a small and powerful alternative), the non-refundable winter coat that makes you itch, or the fancy bookcase you splurged on only to discover it clashes with your decor.

Whatever the item, it’s tempting to want to keep it simply because of its perceived monetary value.

But, as Trager says, “Just because we spent money on something at one point doesn’t mean it still has that dollar value. Ask yourself if that dollar value is worth the space it takes up in your home. What is that space and calm worth to you?”

Free Bonus: Check out these 53 insanely clever bedroom storage hacks and solutions.

5. We attach our dreams and hopes to our possessions.

craft storage box
Flickr/m01229

Sometimes, when we say goodbye to an item, we’re also saying goodbye to the hope that that item represents for us.

“We keep boxes full of craft supplies because someday we’ll build that dollhouse and sew those quilts. We keep stacks of magazines because we’ll start gourmet cooking any day now,” says Trager.

The list goes on: You save the complete set of Jane Austen novels because you’re determined to develop a reading habit. You keep a pair of too-small skinny jeans because you want to lose 15 pounds. You let your acoustic guitar gather dust in the closet (here’s how to store music instruments and equipment in a cramped apartment) because you think maybe one day you’ll learn to play.

Letting go of these things might feel like a failure or an embarrassment. It might feel like giving up on a dream. But as tough as it is to let go, it’s much harder to hold onto something that doesn’t bring tangible joy to your life.

Be honest with yourself and let the item go so you can create more space for something that better suits your habits and lifestyle.

Additionally, getting rid of clutter may even improve your health.

Free Bonus: Want more more purpose and peace in your life? Learn these 8 awesome minimalist living tips.

6. We don’t make time.

quartz watch with blue and red strap

Time is precious, and the last thing most of us want to spend it on is cleaning or decluttering.

That’s why our stuff accumulates so quickly — we often don’t take the time to consider the things we own and the value (or lack thereof) they bring to our lives.

According to Friel, “Clutter amounts to postponed decisions,” whether it’s the decision to delay your big closet purge or to leave the stack of mail on your desk for tomorrow (here’s how to organize your desk in under 4 minutes).

Instead of waiting until you have an entire weekend to sort through your stuff, make small decisions as they come up. Designate one bin for trash and one for items to donate (MakeSpace offers free Goodwill pickups in NYC, DC, and Chicago). Then toss things in right when you realize you no longer need them.

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

For everything you don’t have space for but can’t let go of quite yet (like your out-of-season clothes, book collections, or furniture), use 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.

And when you finally find the perfect corner spot for your collection of vintage DVDs, log into your MakeSpace account, select the bin storing your DVDs , and we’ll deliver it to you.

 

This article was written by Paige Smith, a freelance writer from Orange County, California who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics.