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March 8 is going to be a big day in King of Prussia, PA, when The Container Store opens its doors on a whole new building. Yeah! We in the NAPO community (National Association of a Professional Organizers) are thrilled, especially since The Container Store has been an association member and partner for years.
But before I give you the sneak peek into this gorgeous, highly anticipated opening, and tell you all the lovely things about the store, remember to breathe. Maybe have a Snickers (You know, you’re not you when you’re hungry). Put your credit cards on ice, literally if you have to.
I hear the siren song, too. But let me give you the top reasons you don’t want to buy up the store on day one.
1. I’ll just put the biggest reason out there: clutter. Not the kind of dusty, old-fashioned clutter that you are thinking about, but the shiny, jingly, new-in-the-box sort of clutter that I see every day. I can not tell you how many times the organizing gadgets have become the clutter that I’ve been called in to organize!
2. Before you head to the Container Store, remember the 5 steps of organizing. We just covered them back in January: S-P-A-C-E. Sort and purge FIRST, then analyze and plan where and how you really want to organize your stuff, project by project. THEN containerize. Buying stuff is STEP 4, not step one.
3. Let’s key in on a very important fact about design, what the human eye finds pleasing, and marketing. We design-types call it “form” and “repetition of form”. If you notice the magazine articles, catalogs, and Pinterest spreads that catch your eye, it’s usually because an organized space has lots of the same form, shape, or color repeated. That works to a retailer’s advantage, because to get an organized cabinet, you don’t want to buy just one cute new basket, you’ll want a dozen of them. Now, in some cases, you may really need a dozen new baskets. But sometimes you don’t. Think about what you can make do or how you can create order and repetition without buying a dozen new things.
4. Materials matter. I should probably do a whole workshop on this at some point. But before you buy, think about what it’s made of and where it comes from. The colorful, shiny plastics will be calling to you from the aisles, but I urge you to resist. Glass, metal, and bamboo containers often have advantages over their plastic counterparts. They are usually more durable, more fire resistant, more likely to be re-purposed, better able to fit into a new design scheme because they are color neutral, and more likely to be recyclable at the end of their useful life. The Container Store, of course, has a great selection of durable, renewable materials.
5. While we’re on the subject of materials, consider where that shiny new bauble comes from. Whenever possible, flip it over, and see if the object of your desire was made here in the USA. Sometimes you have a choice between products, where one or more item might be made here. It’s worth checking.
6. Measurements matter, just as much, if not more, than everything I’ve mentioned already. If you follow the five steps I mentioned above (S-P-A-C-E), you’ll know what problem you are trying to solve, and where you are trying to solve it. That means you’ll be able to measure the space and buy a product that will actually fit. Are those drawers 2″, 3.5″, or deeper? Are those baskets you are looking for going to go on a 12″ or 16″ shelf? The nice thing about The Container Store is that they do a good job of staffing their stores with “neat” people, who are often very good at answering questions. But they can only help you solve space problems if they know what size the space is.
7. Last, and this is kind of a biggie, consider whether you have the “tools” to install your new organizing gadget once you get it home. If it needs to be screwed in, hung, or assembled, you might just want to think about that a moment longer. Do you have the saw, drill, and hardware needed? Are you able to find the studs, or otherwise successfully fasten things to your walls? Are you pretty sure this is a DIY project you can handle, or do you have a handyman you trust already lined up? If this is something you’ll only ever do once, you might not have the experience, tools, or patience to install it well.
I’m trying to save you from spending $50, $100, or more on pretty junk that will end up, still wrapped in the store bag, possibly missing its receipt, hiding in your car trunk.
Did you consider all of these tips? Have your shopping list and plan ready? Then by all means, go shop at the new Container Store in King of Prussia! Especially since they’ll be donating 10% of their grand opening sales to the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House.
Having the Container Store right in my backyard is certainly going to make my life easier, and maybe yours, too! I will now have ready access to large quantities of uniform, high-quality products for you, my favorite client. This is one more store among many where I will happily meet you for a shopping trip, to help avoid all of the traps laid out above. Rather than wandering the aisles starry-eyed, I can shop with you and get you in and out, with just the right products that you’ll be loving for years.
Just in case you are wondering, this is obviously not a sponsored post, nor do I receive any benefit from this. Yes, I do love the Container Store. But just like I love strawberry daiquiris, I want to enjoy them, and not deal with a hangover
Getting your desk drawer organized is more simple than you think. I showed you how to wrap a shoebox a while back when we were organizing the sock drawer. I wasn’t kidding that my recycling bin has a lot less in it now, because I keep finding places to use this trick.
The real key is to keep your eye out for things to recycle into something pretty. Like this cream cheese box.
After wrapping it with standard wrapping paper…
What recycles have you found that are good for organizing?
Faux Granite film from Ez Instant Makeover is still high on my list of best problem solvers ever. You know when you find a thing that looks too good to be true, and you think, “It’s probably only that good on the internet, not in my home”? Yeah, I’m here crowing again about a product that is so great, I wish I had invented it!
The first time I showed you the faux granite, it looked like this:
I was so smitten with the product, I asked the company to let me create some installation videos for them. I KNOW this is such a great product, and more people would tackle it if they knew the tricks that I know. So I installed it in my own kitchen, and got these results from the before…
to the after:
We had to install a new dishwasher about 6 months after I put the faux granite film on, and the dishwasher installer was so surprised and confused that it wasn’t real granite, even after he saw it up close.
We’ve lived with it for over 6 months now, and with two kids under 7 who eat constantly, our counters get as much use as anyone’s. But they still look great! Everyone says so. I’ve gotten comments on my blog about how great it looks, but I’m telling you, even visitors to my home, and even my mother-in-law, think that we got new counters installed.
So, the ugly cracks, edge band, and metal seams are gone…
Seriously, how pretty is that????
I’m having a bit of a chuckle here because these pictures were taken with my sad little point and shoot camera, so you know there is no fancy photography helping out here. It actually looks that good. And the green splotch you see here on the lower right of this photo? That is the TREE reflecting from outside!!!!! You can see how shiny and sharp the surface is, highlighting the sunlight streaming through the grids in the window. This film is a beautiful glossy surface.
Ez Instant Makeover sent me the product so I could demo it for you, but the cost would have been about $200 to makeover my kitchen, which is a far cry from the $3K+ that real granite would have set me back.
I was sooooooo happy with the product that I wanted to show you how to DIY it. Here are the 4 videos that show you how.
Before you watch these, let me say that I know it’s a bit dark in some places. I am SUPER grateful to Jo-Lynne from Musings of a Housewife for lending her extra hands to this project. This is not meant to be a TV audition, but 20 minutes of nitty-gritty detail that you’ll need if you want to add this product to your own kitchen or bath. All that to say, I hate watching myself on video. I’ll be hiding behind my hands while you watch.
If you are ready to order, just click Ez Instant Makeover (affiliate link) to purchase your new countertop or order samples of all the granite colors. (Remember, they offer faux chalkboard and stainless steel, too!!!)
I hope these videos help you understand the process and how easy it is to update your counters the EZ way.
As I do these articles, I’m coming to appreciate my home more and more because of spaces like my hard working pantry. I showed you how to organize any pantry in a recent post. Now I’ll give you a peek at mine. I’ll warn you head of time that it does get a little ugly.
My pantry is nearly 4′x4′. Not huge, but generous. It has four built-in shelves that run all the way around, 7″ deep on the sides, and 12″ deep in the back. We use the space on the floor for the vacuum and a step stool. This, in my opinion, is the perfect layout.
And although this unsightly painted-then-peeled wallpaper almost doesn’t bother me hardly at all in real life, I knew it was going to drive me crazy in these pictures.
So I unloaded everything, took the easy way out, and tacked up some cute wrapping paper from Target using…wait for it…poster putty. How cute! Lining the shelves would be a waste here, so I just did the back walls.
The muffin cups hang out with the other baking supplies. You can see in the background the tall rolls of parchment paper that don’t fit where the other wraps are stored.
We put straws in a flower vase. I think this might actually be a crystal, or at least high-end glass vase, but who cares? This is the phase of life I’m in, it works well, and makes the pantry prettier.
Most people store their bag clips in a drawer, but we just clip them to the top of a basket, right next to where the chips are. Saves us from having to leave the pantry to look for a clip.
I have a small shopping bag perched on the top shelf to catch dead batteries, so they can be recycled later.
The little basket you see here is a dollar store Easter basket from a few years ago, but it works wonderfully to catch small mommy snacks (chocolate) high up on the shelf.
I have been known to leave little notes like this one on certain foods, so hubby doesn’t foil some grand plan that I am hatching.
My pantry has been set up roughly this way since 2011. Here’s a shot I took for a class I was teaching back then. You can just see the case of baby food hanging under the shelf, above the slow cooker, which has since gone to slow cooker heaven.
I’ve started to spray paint the tops on the recycled mason jars for a cleaner look. I have a new Crock-Pot. But mostly, it’s pretty much the same, just a tad bit cuter on the back wall.
That’s the nickel tour of my organized pantry. Did you take away any ideas that you could use to organize your own pantry?
Does your family room need a lift? Sometimes, you just need a new angle, like the approach we took with this family room makeover, done in just a day.
Family Room Makeover Before
Family Room Makeover After
Family Room Redesign Before
Family Room Redesign After
Family Room Entrance Before
Family Room Entrance After: Welcome to the room!
Don’t assume your sofa has to go on the longest wall, or along any wall at all…
Nothing new purchased. Just a lovely remix.
Are you ready for a family room makeover?
Schedule yours now by calling 856-905-3202.