This is the time of year when most of us are hanging outside and regularly throwing hot dogs or burgers on the grill. How organized is your backyard grill or BBQ space? You might want to check out these simple ideas to guarantee an easy and organized grilling experience. Click on any of the product images shared in this article to find out where to get them for yourself!
1) Consolidate those grilling utensils - Use a hanging system, bucket or nearby drawer to contain all utensils in one place.
2) Containerize your spices – Channel your inner pitmaster by using a caddy, basket or plastic container to keep all necessary rubs and grilling spices at close range.
3) Holster the covers – A large hanging organizer, like the options shown below, is perfect for rolling up and storing grill covers while not in use. Mount one in the garage or on the side of the grill somewhere away from the heat for easy access.
4) Have a flat surface handy – If your grill doesn’t come with built-in prep surfaces, stage a prep station or pull a small table close to where you are working to more easily manage plates, meats and veggies while cooking.
5) Always keep an extra propane tank filled to prevent mid-cooking outages. There's nothing that will kill your backyard bash quicker than half cooked burgers!
Taking the time to think through your grill's organizing needs and carefully stage solutions for greater functionality will make you less captive to your grill and help to ensure that your next BBQ leaves you with plenty of time for relaxing and enjoying the experience.
Getting ready to move? There are a lot of different packing supplies out there, especially if you start looking into specialized boxes and containers. If you are moving to the other side of the country, you might want to forego the hassle and leave the packing and moving to the experts who will bring all the needed supplies along. If you are moving across town and opt to rent a truck or transport your things using the help of family and friends, you are likely looking for fool-proof and budget conscious solutions to assist. Aside from those always-critical cardboard moving boxes, these are my go-to supplies that will help you get the job done like a pro:
Liquor store boxes – The boxes that you can get for free at your local liquor store come already equipped with dividers, which you will find are perfect for wrapping and packing mugs, glassware and breakable tchotchkes that would not fair as well in an open container. Roll them in packing paper and stack within each divider to make everything snug as a bug for your journey.
Contractor grade outdoor trash bags – Contractor grade bags are triple the thickness and strength as regular outdoor trash bags and can easily contain just about anything. Use these upside-down over groups of hanging clothing in place of a garment bag to transport your wrinkle-prone and fancy garb from one closet to the next with ease. Use them to protect and contain bedding, throw pillows, hangers and stuffed animals. Just make sure you label them with a bright piece of duct tape, so they don’t get mistaken for trash!
Plastic zip / cable ties – Purchase a package of 10”-12” long ties to use for bundling folding lawn and beach chairs, containing all parts of a dismantled wire shelf or baker’s rack, or anchoring all your vacuum cleaner parts to the vacuum so you can easily find things when you are ready to unpack. The use for these little buggers is only limited by your imagination when it comes to moving!
Bubble wrap – Completely underrated as a moving supply, bubble wrap is critical for adding an extra layer of protection to breakables, especially those that are larger and/or irregular shapes. Bubble wrap can also be used to cover pictures and smaller framed art that can be placed side-by-side into a standard moving box for safe transport over short distance moves.
Packing paper (or newspaper if in a pinch) – Not everything needs bubble wrap, but it’s probably obvious that you will need to put some sort of other cushioning in between breakables as you pack them. Wrapping most everything in a sheet or 2 of packing paper usually keeps them safe. You can buy a big box for less than $10 at most home improvement stores. Newspaper is also an option, but I would avoid this for porous or light-colored items, since the ink from the paper could be transferred to them permanently during the moving process.
Grab plenty of good quality packing tape, a box cutter and a few wide Sharpies, and you should be all set to conquer your move. With a bit of elbow grease, and maybe a lot of help from friends, you will be moved and unpacked in your new home in no time.
People ask me all the time about my favorite organizing products, and my list of go-to's seems to be so large that I usually struggle to give them a quick answer. If we are talking about organizing in the kitchen, I love to use products like lazy Susans, cabinet drawers and clear decanters. In the bedroom, I am a huge fan of organizing with under-bed bags, felt hangers, dresser drawer dividers and decorative baskets. I use a ton of large contractor grade garbage bags to assist with sorting, downsizing and moving, and there are literally a million organizing uses for small zip ties.
My “favorite” products really depend on the scenario and space that we are organizing in the moment. What I can share though are the tried and true brands that I keep revisiting again and again. These brands make products for use in many different areas of the home and are some that I seem to be reaching for or suggesting repeatedly.
3M Command – 3M has greatly expanded their Command line in recent years, and now offers a large variety of hooks, picture hangars, ledges, mirrors, racks, caddies, grippers, cord bundlers and more. I love their grippers for neatly hanging brooms, mops and other cleaning tools. Their picture hangers can be used for an endless number of projects that have nothing to do with pictures, and their key racks, dry erase message centers and hanging knobs are just plain cute. Their products can be used virtually anywhere, and the adhesive strips allow them to be moved around with little to no marks left behind. I probably don’t need to tell you where to get these since they are sold everywhere from your local supermarket to big box retailers like Target and Home Depot.
youCopia – I think I have mentioned this brand before and they are one of my faves. Their products are not super aesthetically pleasing since most are simple white and clear plastic or metal, but this brand makes high quality products at a very reasonable price. They offer shelf risers, lazy Susans, racks and organizers that are perfect for corralling pot lids, spices, coffee, tea, vitamins, beauty supplies, office supplies and more. This brand can be purchased at The Container Store and online at places like Amazon.com.
Room Essentials – This brand makes bins, baskets, cubbies and a variety of housewares and décor. What I use most often are the cubby systems and bins that help to organize everything from a cluttered toy room to the overflow in the laundry room. They make cubby shelves in a range of sizes, shapes and finishes to fit anyone’s taste and budget. Their products are widely available, so replacing bins or shelves is easy, and they can be assembled in a reasonable amount of time. These products can be purchased at retailers like Target and Walmart.
Real Simple – This is another great brand that produces a ton of useful organizing and home décor products. They make bins, bags, flocked hangars, drawer dividers and closet organizers. These are good looking products that stand up to even the most aggressive of clients and are also very budget friendly. You can view all their product options at Bed, Bath & Beyond.
PlanetSafe Calendars – This vendor makes great wall calendars and self-stick white board mats to track projects, ideas, family activities and events. They offer an extensive selection of sticky note organizing systems, which really simplify the to-do process and paper clutter for people who need to visually see everything daily. Check them out at www.planetsafecalendars.com.
Urban Legacy – I am really obsessed with this vendor’s selection of shelves and brackets lately. They are based local to me in Lancaster, PA and use reclaimed barnwood to craft beautiful, one of a kind shelving, racks and bins. I currently have these hanging in my laundry room with rose gold brackets! View their craftsmanship on Etsy or at www.urbanlegacy.us.
Folex Company – This is more of a cleaning product than an organizing tool, but is essential for removing spots, stains and smells from just about anything. I buy their Instant Carpet Spot Remover by the gallon and use it everywhere. It neutralizes pet and mildew smells very quickly and has proven to remove stains better than any other product that I have tried. I buy this at Lowes, but there are many other retailers who distribute it.
These are just some of the brands that I find myself recommending to customers and using in my own home on a regular basis. There are a ton of other great options out there, and the fun thing about the organizing process, is that it is truly unique and personal to the individual who is getting organized. There is no one-size-fits-all, so my favorite might not be yours. Thanks to retail establishments like The Container Store, Home Goods and Target, we can always be sure to find the right tools and supplies that fit our taste, lifestyle and budget while having a bit of fun in the process!
I have always fantasized about a glamorous closet. Maybe one of those huge, custom built dreamers, with a fancy ottoman in the middle and a chandelier. I could sit there on my ottoman, sipping coffee in the morning and contemplating which of my 300 pairs of shoes I would wear. Sadly, I must make do for now with my humble walk-in, lined with wire shelving and a mismatched array of Ikea cubbies and plastic storage drawers. I don’t have 300 pair of shoes but am grateful to have a lot. My closet may not be ready for a magazine shoot any time soon, but it is organized, accessible and neat.
Regardless of which version of closet you own, I have found that every style can be perfectly organized with the right products. If you’ve read many of my other posts, you know that I don’t usually share details on the most expensive and lush products. Like most of you, I have had to get creative over the years. I have had to get very good at striking the perfect balance between, say Ethan Allen and Walmart. Here are 6 of my favorite must-have organizing products for any closet:
If you use the right storage systems and commit to keeping shoes off of the floor, you will find that it is very easy to maintain a well-organized and enjoyable space within your closet. Even if an ottoman won't fit, there will still be room to sip that cup of coffee in the morning while you decide what to wear!
Want to sound like a pro next time you peruse the isles of the Container Store? This quick glossary will get you up to speed on our industry's lingo in no time!