When you look out into your backyard, do you see an unorganized mess with toys strewn about the yard, leaf rakes propped against the side of the house, and your patio furniture tucked under a tarp for the winter months? If your yard seems cluttered or you feel like you have more outdoor items that you know what to do with, consider building a lawn and garden shed. Most are attractive and fit neatly into a backyard. Furthermore, they are extremely functional. These versatile designs can accommodate a variety of needs. Some common uses include:
- Storage for lawn and garden tools such as the lawn mower, leaf blower, and sprinkler
- Potting shed for gardening enthusiasts offering a place to store pots, potting mix and shovels while providing a place to care for and pot plants
- Storage for lawn an patio furniture throughout the winter months
- Ideal for parking the family bikes and storing other outdoor toys like baseball bats and gloves, Frisbees, etc.
- Tool storage for the family handyman
- Outdoor workshop
- Art studio
- Storage space for the recycling bins
- Playhouse for the kids/grandkids
There are many more ways you can use a backyard or lawn and garden shed. Your imagination is the limit. If you’d like to view backyard shed plans, please visit The Garage Plan Shop’s outstanding collection of storage shed designs.
If doing laundry seems like too much of a chore and you have to talk yourself in to it every week, consider updating your laundry room. Below are some simple tips to help you improve your laundry room and make it a more enjoyable space in which to work. Additionally, some ideas will help you make your laundry room more efficient saving you time so you can do something else that you better prefer.
- Repurpose your Entertainment Center – With flat screen TVs, entertainment centers are becoming a thing of the past. Repurpose your entertainment center and move it to the laundry room. Rearrange or remove shelves to accommodate laundry baskets and laundry supplies such as stain removers, an iron and a jug of bleach. Add a hanging rod to one section so you have a place to hang clothes after you iron them. If you don’t have and old entertainment center, consider a baby changing table. It is the right height for folding and has storage shelves below. No matter what piece furniture you add to your laundry room, paint it with a high-gloss paint to give it a durable and washable finish.
- Create and Entertaining Laundry Center – Speaking of flat screen TVs…..Mount a small flat screen on your laundry room wall or buy a simple radio and place it on a laundry room shelf. Your laundry chores will be more bearable if you can watch part of a favorite TV show or listen to your favorite tunes while you sort, fold and iron your laundry.
- Brighten your Space – If you have a laundry room in the basement, chances are you’re looking at concrete walls while you’re working in the laundry room. Brighten the space by adding a fresh coat of white paint to the ceiling and walls.
- Gather Cleaning Supplies – If you don’t have a lot of room, add a lazy Suzan to a nearby shelf. It will keep all of your detergents, stain removers, etc., in a easy-to-access place. Just spin the wheel to find what you need.
- Get Ready to Iron – Mount a wire iron holder to the side of a cabinet or laundry room wall so the iron is always at your fingertips. Also, mount a pull-down/fold-down ironing board to the wall. It saves space and is easy to “put away” when you’re finished.
- Get Creative with a Drying Rack – If floor space is limited, repurposed an accordion-style drying rack by mounting it to the wall to air dry delicate items. When it is not in use, simply collapse it back against the wall.
With these quick tips, your laundry chores won’t seem like chores as much anymore. For more ideas about updating your laundry room, please review, “Update Your Laundry Room for Easier Wash Days”.
If wash day seems like a drag to you, consider some of these laundry room updates to make laundry chores easier. Creating a smart, efficient and resourceful space will make the burden of wash day disappear. Better yet, you don’t need a large space to improve your boring, inefficient laundry room.
Makeover the Basement Laundry Room
- Brighten up your drab, basement laundry room with a fresh coat of white or light colored paint on the walls and ceilings.
- Paint the floor as well and add mats or rugs for safety and traction. Make sure they can be cleaned easily incase of unexpected spills or plumbing problems.
- Add a folding station where it is a small cabinet or other piece of furniture to serve as a counter. Folding laundry items as you pull them out of the dryer saves time and minimizes wrinkles.
- Give your laundry room a “first floor” feel by hanging long, light colored draperies or curtains to create the look and feel of a large window. Chose fabric intended for outdoor use. They will resist moisture and mildew that often builds up in basements.
- Install good lighting in/over your laundry station to make it feel bright and cheerful.
- If room allows add a small cabinet or counter top for folding and mending clothing items.
Other Budget Updates
- Increase the convenience of your laundry room by adding a row or two of old-fashioned coat hooks. As you pull items out of the dryer, hang them on their own individual coat hook to minimize wrinkles, then take them straight to the closet to hang.
- Install plastic-coated wire shelving. It will put your wall space to good use and provide room to keep laundry supplies organized. Additionally, the wire and clothing rod are perfectly spaced/positioned for those laundry items that drip-dry.
- Create an instant laundry station by combining a wall hung cabinet with a laundry cart or similar cart on wheels. This handy combo will turn a small space into a convenient and efficiently laundry center. Store cleaning supplies in the cabinet and attached an inexpensive iron holder to the side of the cabinet. Hang a pull-out ironing board on the wall to save floor space. Use the cart for sorting laundry, storing clothing baskets, mending seams and sewing buttons.
After the winter holidays have passed you’ll face the enormous task of packing and storing all of your holiday decorations for next year. Below are eight tips that will make the task go more smoothly than before and make it easier to decorate your home next Christmas.
- Christmas tree – The box your artificial tree came in seems like the most logical storage box, but repacking your tree in that box will seem like an impossible task. You’ll have to smash and bend all the branches in order to squeeze the tree back inside it. Also, the cardboard box can deteriorate if subjected to moisture and could also be prone to insect infestation. Instead of using the Christmas tree box, try a Christmas tree bag or a commercially available plastic Christmas tree storage box.
- Christmas lights – Get rid of the tangled mess of light strands you deal with every year. Dispose of any strands of lights that no longer work properly. Then, roll each good strand of lights into a ball and place each ball in a separate plastic bag or empty coffee can. Another option is to wrap each strand of lights around an empty wrapping paper roll or a sturdy piece of cardboard. Then place all of the bags, cans or wrapping paper rolls together in a plastic storage container to prevent moisture damage.
- Decorations that you’ll have to reassemble next year – Before taking down decorations that you had to assemble, take pictures of them the way you set them up so you can remember how to do it next year. Then take everything down in the reverse order of the way you set it all up.
- Christmas candles – Wrap each candle in an old sock, tissue paper or a plastic shopping bag to prevent scratching. Be sure to store away from heat sources such as an attic where heat could melt the candles.
- Holiday wreaths – Most department and home stores sell Christmas wreath storage boxes of various sizes. However, boot boxes often work well for small and medium-sized wreaths. Just remember, whatever you use to store your wreaths must be able to maintain the shape of the wreath until next year.
- Christmas ornaments – Many ornaments come in individual boxes that work well for repacking and storage until next year. Try using other small boxes for homemade ornaments or wrap them in tissue paper and store in a larger box. For small ornaments, use an egg carton.
- Holiday linens – Store each Christmas linen in an individual Zip Lock bag if possible, and then put all of them in a plastic storage container together to prevent moisture damage. Or you might consider dedicating the top shelf of your linen closet to holiday linens, towels, blankets, pillows etc. Place a few dryer sheets in between your items to keep them smelling fresh until next year.
- Label the storage boxes – Tape a detailed list of what is inside each box to the outside of the box so you can quickly determine what is inside when it is time to decorate next year. Clearly number the boxes so you know how many you have (for example, Box 2 of 9). Use the number order to identify which boxes should be unpacked first next winter. Box 1 should be prominently labeled and contain all the things you’ll need at the beginning of the holiday season like your advent calendar and the holiday greeting cards that you’ll be sending to family and friends if you bought them on clearance this year.
With a little planning and effort, you can organize and store your holiday decorations in an efficient manner that will be easy to find and display next year.
Is your garage a piled mess of items you need to store but don’t have a designated space for them? Do you wish you could one day park the car in the garage again? If so, it is time to organize your garage. The best way to do this is to clean out the entire garage and install storage cabinets and other accessories to help you stay organized.
Once you clean out the garage, sort items into two piles – the items you want to keep and the items you no longer need. Now determine if the things you are getting rid of can be recycled, donated or just thrown away. Next take a look at your “keep” pile. Assess how much storage space you’ll need and what types of storage accessories will best accommodate your belongings. Garage storage cabinets are available in a wide variety of choices so it should be easy to find just the right ones to fit in your garage and accommodate all of your belongings. In addition to cabinets, there are other storage accessories available like shelving units, workbenches and counters that provide extra storage space and even work space.
Install storage cabinets and shelves according to your needs. Be sure to consider locking cabinets for items that you need to keep out of reach of small children such as power tools or harmful chemicals like pesticides. Remember to give the kids some storage space, too. Floor cabinets and shelves at the bottom of the shelving unit are easy-to-access for children allowing them to have a place to story outdoor toys, skateboards and soccer balls. Do you need a workbench for small home repair projects or a lighted counter space for hobbies? Consider all the reasons you’ll use your garage and install all the proper garage furniture and storage accessories.
Once cabinets, shelving units and other storage accessories are installed, store all your belongings in their designated spaces. Each time you use a particular item, return it to the place you got it from. This will help keep the garage floor clear and leave room for you to park the family car.
The House Plan Shop hopes you’ll have a tidy garage in no time. For more information about getting organized, check out our home organization blogs.