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Way Basics Blog

  • 7 Ideas to Create Your Own Outdoor Oasis

    By Steven Athea Image

    Living in Miami has given me a greater understanding of how to blur the lines of traditional gathering spaces.

    South Florida has a unique way of bringing indoor activities outside. These days, it seems like I spend more time outside than I do in my own living room! I entertain friends, family and even clients in my patio area, so I know that keeping up with outdoor décor can be just as important as the look of my foyer.

    Just because winter weather is upon much of the U.S., that doesn't mean that you need to bring your party indoors. Adding just a few new décor pieces and creative flare to your patio will transform it into an extended living space.

    Here are seven tips for how to maximize your space, from layouts to accessorizing, giving your space an added design touch that will maximize your home's square footage:

    1. Don't Be Afraid of Plastic

    Usually the first thing that pops into people's minds when they think of a patio set is wicker furniture. Ditch the grandma décor and update with the times!

    Outdoor décor has come so far in the last 20 years. Plastic furniture pieces have made a comeback and provide modern and sleek lines for a fraction of the cost. These pieces also are easy to maintain and clean even through harsh weather conditions, including snow and colder temperatures.

    2. Consider the Alternatives

    Many designers have also incorporated materials such as outdoor leather, rattan and Sunbrella fabric when creating their outdoor lines. I always recommend looking to see what types of materials were used to create your furniture, in order to be sure you can maintain the up-keep of the pieces.

    3. Think like a Swiss Army Knife

    When purchasing a new set, invest in multi-purpose pieces. For example:

    • An outdoor bar area can double up as a buffet table when you have extra family and friends over.
    • Small seat ottomans also come with built in storage, perfect for hiding your beach balls, paddleboards and floats.
    • You can add pops of color by accessorizing your furniture with throw pillows that are interchangeable or hanging décor, such as festive lanterns or chic chandeliers.

    4. Be Deliberate About Layout

    When formulating the layout of your backyard space, remember that even the smallest of spaces needs a focal point. Create an inviting space by placing your furniture in a semi-circle for a good flow of conversation. Don't place your pieces so far from one another that your guests need to yell to speak to each other; rather, focus on finding unique settings for an easy flow.

    Keep furniture around the perimeter of your outdoor space to maximize walkway room and always make sure there is adequate seating for guests. Mix and match by bringing in odd chairs and adding benches for additional seating. Another great accessory can be outdoor floor pillows. Place them around the coffee table for a laid back Mediterranean feel.

    5. Plan For Your Purpose

    One thing I love to do is have dinner parties under my gazebo. Great food and conversation can keep us outdoors all night long. When preparing for such an event it seems as though people tend to forget sizes when picking out furniture appropriate for their space.

    Place dining tables diagonally to fit as many guests as needed. Keep in mind the size of your furniture: the bigger the furniture the less walking space there will be for guests.

    Play with shapes and sizes of tables; they do not all need to be the same. Another great tip for outdoor gatherings is the use of stackable chairs. These can be put away in a pinch to create more space depending on the occasion.

    6. Create a Central Space

    A fire pit is a fun focal piece to add to your new outdoor living space. On extra chilly nights it is great to gather around and relax by the flames. Fire pits are easy to maintain and the glow provides a natural source of light. Whether it is a built-in pit within the ground or a movable one, the fire pit provides warmth to any area. It is even a great feature to entertain children, allowing them to roast marshmallows outside, letting their imaginations run free and feel like they are camping. The fire pit is a great investment that can be used throughout the year.

    7. Take Advantage of Surroundings

    You have natural elements all around you; you should use this to your advantage. Purchasing tree lights and hanging them throughout your gazebo and through your trees enhances the focal point and makes any space seem bigger. Tree lights aren't only for the holidays; you can change them out for colored lights during Christmas time or keep it simple with silver and white throughout the year.

    There are many simple solutions to update your outdoor living space and make it one-of-a-kind. Work with what you currently have in your patio and add your unique sense of style. This holiday season, take advantage of the fresh air and entertain your guests outdoors by showing off all that your new and improved patio has to offer.

    Steven Athea is the co-founder of Modani, a contemporary furniture store with locations across the U.S. Steven has a degree in Design and Architecture from The Architecture School of Antibes in France. He has designed and decorated several high-end night clubs and restaurants in Miami Beach. Steven's eye for design has helped launch Modani into a national success, attracting the attention of celebrities such as Sean Combs, the Kardashians and Lady Gaga.

  • Bookshelf Décor Ideas

    collectionBookshelves are a great way to store and display items. You may move into a house with built-in bookshelves, and you do not know how to use them to really accentuate your room. You may also be in a situation where you have several books and items that you want to display, but you want to create a unique focal point for your room. There are several different approaches you can take to make your bookshelves become more than just a place to hold books.


    Use the Bookshelf to Hold Your Collections

    Bookshelves are a great place to display things that you have collected or items that are important to you. In fact using them to store your collections can prevent clutter collecting in the shelves. Look at the number of items you want to store and then determine the best way to display the different items. You may want to mix the collection in between books or alternate shelves to help create a clean look. If you have deep shelves, you can put the collection in front of the books you are storing.

    Use Floating Shelves to Make a Statement

    Floating shelves that you attach to the wall can create a beautiful display for the den, reading room, or library of your home. With this option, you can choose a pattern that creates a design and focal point for the walls.  floating shelves

    This also allows you to choose just the right amount of shelving for the room. You will need bookends and items to put on the ends of the shelves including photos or other items. Sketch out the different patterns you like before you start hanging the shelves.

    Make the Most of Built-Ins

    Built-in bookshelves can be tricky to deal with because you cannot move them around or determine the depth of the shelves. You can paint the interior of the bookshelves a different color than the room to emphasize the shelves. If you have deep shelves, you can use them to store and display your china or other important items. A room with all of the walls covered in built-ins can be overwhelming, but you can break up the monotony by using some of the shelves to display items instead.

    Think Colorful

    Many bookshelves are traditionally stained wood or painted white or black. You can change the mood of the room, and brighten up the space by adding color to your bookshelf. You may choose to paint the entire shelf one color, or you can paint the interior of the shelves a few different complementary colors. This works well in a large bookshelf with several different square compartments. Test the colors out together, and be sure that they complement the rest of the room.

    Create a Kid Friendly Space

    tumblr_mbemuvLO011qe59oao1_500Bookshelves can create a kid friendly space in a family room, playroom or a child’s bedroom. Choosing long shelves that are low to the ground will make the items easily accessible. You can also mix the items on the shelves between toys and books. If you want your children to interact with books on a regular basis, this is a great way to do this. Choose light or bright colors for the shelf. You can also find bins to store some items on the shelves. This can be a great option to really bring a room to life while keeping the toys easy to access and the room mess free.




    Author bio: Tiffany Faming is a passionate writer and proud mom of two kids. She loves to share family, fashion, travel, home décor and gardening tips. Please visit her Google+ and blog to see more useful posts.

  • Is LEED© Certification Effective: A Case Study of Destiny USA

    At Destiny USA there's always a lot of buzz generated around our LEED© certification. When we began the expansion, we wanted to continue the commitment to the environment we began when first building Carousel Center in 1990. Now, having just celebrated our one-year anniversary as Destiny USA, we are proud to be recognized not only as a premier shopping center, but as the largest LEED© Gold commercial retail building in the world. Yet with all the talk around LEED©, many are left wondering what it really means and whether it's actually beneficial.

    LEED© stands for “Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design” and is a program run by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to provide a universal framework for implementing green building design and construction. In addition to the LEED© program, the USGBC offers educational resources, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates and serves as the host of the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo.  Furthermore, they’re driving the green movement within all levels of local and national government.

    LEED© & Destiny USA

    So that is what LEED© is at a high level, but what does it mean for Destiny USA? Destiny USA was rated Gold for "Core & Shell," which focuses on constructing an eco-conscious, sustainable build-out that will ultimately be filled with tenants. The rating system goes Certified > Silver > Gold > Platinum, and is further broken down into a points system. As you can see in the report card below, out of the 62 total points available, Destiny USA earned 36 to qualify for the Gold rating. Here's a quick break down of what the scoring system actually entails: Sustainable sites: Choose a site where there is minimal disruption of green space and where public services and transportation are readily available. During site construction pollution is reduced by preventing waterway sedimentation, airborne dust, and soil erosion. Water Efficiency: Reduce reliance and taxation on local water supply and wastewater systems by implementing water efficiency efforts. Energy & Atmosphere: Reduce energy use through correct installation and calibration of energy systems, set a minimum level of energy efficiency to reduce environmental impact, and ultimately reduce stratospheric ozone depletion. Material & Resources: Collect and recycle as much waste as possible to prevent hauling and disposal of waste in landfills. Indoor Environmental Quality: Enhance indoor air quality by setting minimum thresholds and preventing and/or minimalizing exposure to tobacco smoke. Innovation in Design: Go above and beyond what’s already outlined in previous categories by addressing local environmental concerns, and by employing a LEED© accredited professional. As it specifically applies to Destiny USA, here are a few highlights: To address a local environmental issue, we chose to transform an environmental wasteland dubbed "Oil City." The land was a former Brownfield Site, meaning it was severely environmentally damaged, and dozens of hazardous oil drums were removed before the site was cleaned and construction began. Destiny USA scored a 5/5 in the water efficiency category. Part of this included the implementation of innovative wastewater technologies. For example, each of the facility's bathrooms are equipped with low flow sink and toilet fixtures that contribute to the overall water efficiency. We also installed water efficient landscaping, meaning we planted indigenous plants that don’t need potable water brought to them. Finally, we implemented a rainwater harvesting system on the new roof that translates into a 78% reduction in the building's baseline usage.

    The Impact of LEED© Gold Certification

    Additionally, Destiny USA requires all retailers opening within its expansion to obtain LEED© certification, aiming to exponentially increase the impact we’re having. To help, Destiny USA built a unique partnership with the USGBC which provides new retailers with a base set of points to work toward their certification. Since most tenants had never worked with LEED© before, our hope was that the initiative would open their eyes to green building and encourage them to start thinking sustainably. To date, 33 venues, including our new restaurants and entertainment locations, have obtained LEED© certification, with another 30 pending approval. Even more encouraging, seeing the rewards, many tenants have gone above and beyond simply getting certified, and have set their sights on a Silver or Gold rating.

    A Call to Action for Business Leaders

    Rick Fedrizzi, Co-Founder of the USGBC, recently said, "I can point to Destiny USA as a world-class example of sustainability for commercial retail space for its commitment to LEED© certification. And checking the green building box when you are talking about more than a million square feet is a very big deal. This is a very impressive project in terms of energy saved, water saved, resources saved, waste diverted and indoor environmental quality improved." Ghandi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." While Rick's words are certainly flattering and we're proud of our accomplishments, it's our hope that they become a source of motivation for other retail centers and businesses alike. We not only wanted to become stewards of the environment, but we want to show and encourage other businesses to follow our example. At a time when many businesses are still turning their back on the environment, I'm hoping Destiny USA is challenging the conventional norms, and that through LEED© certification, we're able to show that businesses can find success while still improving the environment and the world around them.
  • Bring your man cave out of the Stone Age

    Designed to reduce the stresses of every day life, the man cave (or male sanctuary) is a dedicated area of the home where a man can relax and enjoy his favorite wb-3sc-eo_av1pastimes, away from the influences of his domestic goddess; an adult version of the boys’ clubhouse, complete with the ‘no girls allowed’ sign, if you will.

    A haven for all things manly, as well as housing the belongings that have no other place within the home, a man cave is a safe place for a man to unwind; be it alone or with friends.

    Making plans

    As with any conversion, it’s important to make plans before carrying out any work. These will make the creation of a man cave much easier, and prevent any nasty surprises from ruining the process. Creating a man cave could be as easy as redecorating, as many homes already have an area suitable for conversion; perhaps a spare room, basement, loft, shed or garage space. In fact, areas away from the general living space are often preferred as they give extra privacy and can be more easily soundproofed.

    For those thinking about creating a purpose-built space suitable for use as a man cave, the process may not be so smooth. Issues such as damp proofing, insulation and wiring must be considered, ensuring that the man cave is safe, cozy and fully equipped for any technology. Careful planning also makes sure that all the right tools are close at hand, and allows licensed professionals to be contacted should wiring, plumbing or HVAC work need to be undertaken.

    One more thing; BUDGET! Having an awesome man cave is all well and good, but it is important to ensure that all work is carried out within an allotted budget. Debt, not to mention unfinished work, is no friend of the man cave.

    Making it home: Decorating and furnishing a man cave

    You’d think that decorating and furnishing a man cave is as easy as loading it up with a few cans of beer, a stack of computer games and a big chair. Not so! Picking a theme for the space, be it a dream bar, shrine to a sports team, or home movie theater, helps to bring cohesiveness; it is important to design each aspect carefully.

    When it comes to decorating, think low-maintenance flooring, dark hues and subtle lighting, perfect for turning a man cave into a home movie theater or ultimate gaming den, as well as making it more homely. Furnish it with a beer fridge, television and sound system, pool table, games consoles, comfy recliners, giant beanbags and corner sofas; black sofas are ideal for hiding any stains! Of course, the sky’s the limit when it comes to man caves. Fans of music or television memorabilia could just as easily convert their cave into a veritable museum, while techno-geeks could stock theirs with gadgets galore.

    AND FINALLY… Remember, to keep a man cave sacred: don’t forget to put a lock on the door!

  • Interior Design Decoration Tips and Tricks

    If you have just completed a move or you simply want to do a small addition or change to the layout and decoration of your home, then you can use a few simple design tips to get things done with less effort and at a fraction of their original cost. In many cases the simplest of all solutions can be the ones that yield the best results. In many situations you could bring about a great deal of change with the introduction of a simple thing like mirrors, lamps or paintings in the right spots. These can serve to soften up the colors of a room, add up some warmth and to refresh the space you have to work with.Interior-title

    • Softer colors for expanded space

    If you have limited space to work with, but you want it to look bigger and better, then it could all come down to the importance of colors. Small rooms can look and feel cramped and crowded, however you can go one step beyond that with the introduction of light, soft colors, larger windows and mirrors to fool the mind into believing the room is actually much larger. Optical illusions are your friend when it comes to limited space. Darker colors can create the opposite effect, stifling the larger spaces and creating an illusion of reduction.

    • Using decorative mirrors

    As we mentioned in our previous example, we can use mirrors to create the illusion of space. When you're dealing with larger, spacious rooms however that have less natural light streaming in, we can use mirrors for added effect. Place them right across the windows and the reflected light will dissipate across the room evenly. You can also use mirrors instead of art for a an interesting effect. Regardless of what size mirrors you want to use, they will definitely expand your rooms and bring light to a darker place.

    • Pattern mixing

    DecorationIf you have various objects worth displaying, such as old family heirlooms or something similar, then don't be afraid of using them in your decorations. These old objects are parts of your past and they perfectly express where you're coming from, so expanding your home's decorations with such items can create a truly beautiful experience for all who inhabit that space in the future. Combine and create the other decorations around your heirloom and create a theme for it. After all, you don't want things to look out of place and patched-on if your combinations are wildly varied.

    • Using Slip Covers

    You could use slip covers to completely change the way your furniture looks. You could use different ones for each season, reflecting the changes happening outside your home or your office. These covers will also work wonders at protecting your furniture. You could use them to protect your furniture from children and pets and they are also a wonderful solution to bring about elegance and style while covering damaged parts of the furniture pieces.

    • Baskets

    Whether they are made of wicker or cloth, they are an excellent and easy solution for storage for any room or office. You could store magazines, toys, blankets, towels and pretty much almost anything, making sure there is no wasted space around your home or office.

    Grace is a an expert in the field of home organizing, green living and relocation. You can take advantage of her tips by visiting W6 storage website.

    Interior trends

  • How to Organize Your Living Room & Never Trip Over Another Toy Again!

    If you’ve ever walked into your living room and immediately tripped over a pile of toys, lost your newspaper under a school bag or struggled to find your car keys because of a mountain of other debris then it’s time for you to get organized. The living room is the heart of the home, and with the right storage solutions in place you can turn it from a chaotic clutter den into a tranquil and calming environment. Once you’ve got your organizational systems in place you’ll be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy spending time on your sofa watching movies or even the sports channel in peace. Organizing your living room is easy, and will take no time at all if you have the right tools. But where do you start? 130820_Organizing your Living Room

    A Place for Everything

    The phrase "a place for everything and everything in its place" has never been more apt than when you’re organizing your living room. And this is doubly true if you have kids! The main areas you need to tackle if you want to reorganize your living room are organizing your multimedia, clearing the miscellaneous clutter, and making sure you have enough storage available to hide away everything that accumulates in your living room over the course of a normal week. Organizing all of the essentials your kids tend to leave lying around is an important step in reclaiming your living room from the clutches of organizational chaos. Start by investing in a book case or other shelving unit, then buy storage boxes or storage baskets to place on it. Allocate one basket to each child (either by assigning them their own basket color or even by putting labels on the baskets) and ask that they place their school books, toys, and any other clutter they leave lying around in their basket before they go to bed every night.

    The Multimedia Headache

    For most people the living room is a place to relax and unwind; watch a movie, listen to music and play computer games. With all this fun activity comes a host of expensive equipment and a small mountain of DVDs, CDs and even records too. Storing these properly will immediately make your living room look cleaner, more streamlined and more spacious too. Invest in a CD tower and record storage system for your music collections. Shelves full of storage boxes are perfect for keeping DVDs tidy and organized. And don’t forget to buy a TV unit to keep your television, DVD player and games consoles out of harm’s way too; remember that if this is a cupboard system that hides this equipment from view then this will prove a deterrent to any opportunistic thief. It might be wise to consider how you will protect this equipment from theft or even accidental damage: if you add up the value of your multimedia center you’re likely to be surprised by just how much it would cost to replace!

    Do you Really Need it?

    Quite often people are reluctant to throw away things once they’ve come into their home. But if you don’t regularly purge your home of clutter you will find you have so much stuff in your living room even adding an extra storage unit won’t contain it! At least every six months you should have a deep clean in your living room and throw away anything you don’t like, don’t need, or no longer have a use for. Remember to buy a waste paper bin and put it in your living room too: your family will be more likely to throw away any rubbish in your living room if the bin is close to hand.  Finally, why not consider zoning your living room? Creating separate areas for reading, watching TV or simply relaxing will ensure your living room works for every member of the family and you can all focus on your individual interests whilst spending time together. Having a quiet reading area in the living room, for example, means your children could study or enjoy a book whilst you are close by playing a computer game, which in turn will help encourage family time. Once your living room has been well organized you’ll find you enjoy spending time in it much more, and your family will be enriched as a result.

    Written by: Julie Clifford

  • The 5 C's for Decorating Your Child's Room

    5 rules for organizing your kid's roomWhile organizing a kid's bedroom or toy area may sound like child's play, many parents become overwhelmed when trying to create a well-planned playroom that goes beyond fun to include buckets of functionality. But carving out a space that works hard while your little ones play needn't be complicated -- all it takes is a smart container system, a good game plan, and a splash of imagination. Here, I'll share my foolproof "Five Cs" strategy for decorating any children's room.

    1. Color: Children's interests change so quickly that dedicating an entire space to a single theme may have you soon redecorating. So rather than a theme (i.e., dinosaurs or princesses) dictating bedroom or playroom plans, allow a bright color scheme to guide your décor and then include hints of hobbies and heroes throughout. To keep your romper room from becoming a rainbow room, let your kids pick their favorite hue for 60 percent of the décor (such as slipcovers, wall paint, and rugs), utilize a neutral for 30 percent (on painted furniture items, for instance), and choose a bold accent color for the remaining 10 (try a spray painted light fixture or playful curtains).

    2. Comfort: Include lots of soft surfaces for kids to land on (literally). Don't be afraid to layer rugs, and tuck several pieces of kid-friendly furniture such as beanbag chairs and slip-covered armchairs into cozy nooks. Just be careful not to crowd the space with too much furniture -- you want there to be plenty of room for free play.

    3. Cubbies: To help corral the chaos of toys and trinkets, offer loads of cubbies and containers in which goods can be piled and put away. Maximize closet storage space by installing a wire shelving system and wall space by anchoring low bookcases to the wall, then outfit the shelves with canvas or plastic bins. Modular shelving systems also do double-duty as room dividers if your playroom serves a second purpose such as an office.

    4. Categories: Make the most of all those cubbies by grouping items into categories like art supplies, music makers, puzzles, books, stuffed animals, and dress-up clothes. Be sure to label your containers with easy-to-understand words or pictures. Finally, organize your containers according to common denominators -- perhaps there's a "playhouse" corner that includes food, dolls, and a toy kitchen and another corner dedicated to quiet activities such as reading, snuggling with stuffed animals, and puzzles.

    5. Creative Outlets: Give your kids a place to exercise their imaginations, such as a chalkboard wall or easel and a drawing table to which they can pull up stools for coloring and crafting. And find a place to display your petite Picassos' creations. I like to make a gallery wall using glass-free frames topped with clothespins or a cable system outfitted with clips to showcase artwork on a rotating basis.


    What big ideas do you have for your little ones' spaces?

    Chris Long has been a Home Depot store associate in the Chicago area since 2000. Chris also contributes on furniture topics to Home Depot's Home website. His home-décor interests include providing home decor closet tips to adding decorative touches to home offices.

  • Meet S.W. Basics!

    We were first introduced to Adina, the amazing woman behind the organic, small batch skin care company, S.W. Basics of Brooklyn on Instagram. They gave us a bit of virtual love and we are so glad they did! Adina started making skin products for herself because she didn't want to "cross [her] fingers and hope that the stuff [she] put on [her] body is safe because it smells like wildflowers or claims to reverse aging." She wanted to create skin care products that actually are safe for your skin. She realized that people "want[ed] great skin, but [didn't] want to hurt yourself or the planet to get it." We found that we completely aligned with the message of S.W. Basics which is why we had to interview her and introduce her to you all! Ps. Contest to win some of their amazing products below!

    Question: When did you first become interested in skin care? Screen Shot 2013-08-02 at 12.28.51 PM

     Adina: I have had extremely sensitive skin my whole life. Beyond sensitive. I can't use anything, even the things claiming to be all-natural. Even the things that ARE all-natural! I had to find a solution (as I was losing my mind). I did lots of research and realized that simple, whole ingredients were best for me. And that they happened to also be mostly in my kitchen cabinet.
    Q: Have you always been a Brooklyn gal? 

    A: No way! I'm from South Florida originally. Not that I'm super proud of that, especially these days. But the beaches!! Then I struggled in Manhattan for years before realizing Brooklyn was like a secret perfect place right next to an even more perfect Manhattan. I've been so happy here, it's more my speed. People who hate on Brooklyn are really hating on how awesome our lives seem. They're not wrong.

    Q: What is your favorite S.W. Basics product and why? 

    A: The cream for sure. It's the entire reason I started the company. There is zero reason to moisturize your skin with five thousand different products and ingredients. Shea butter, coconut oil, and olive oil are all great on their own, and they're even better together. The simpler the better. It's incredibly healing and soothing and rich.

    Q: What inspires you in nature? 

    A: Everything! I mean it's just so ridiculous how much we've created synthetically with no need to. And I'm not even that big of a hippie. I understand we need medicine and durable materials and whatever. But we definitely don't need all these chemicals. Not in our homes, not in our bodies, and not on our bodies!

    Q: Where did you learn about how to make these products?

    A: It was a long, painful process. Lots and lots of bad batches. Lots and lots of research. Our cream took me two years to perfect.

    Q: Favorite ice-cream flavor? (just because!)

    A: Well I have a very public obsession with Steve's Ice Cream. Their salty caramel should be made illegal.

    Love Adina as much as us?! Enter to win a Bestseller Mini Kit & Organic Lip Balm Flight along with two set Way Basics Box set (over $100 value)! Enter by liking them on Facebook, following on Instagram or Twitter. More ways you show them love, the more chance you have to win! Be sure to also tell us what you love about them in a comment below so we know you entered!

    Contest ends August 10th. 

  • 501 Uses for a Cardboard Box (abridged)

    We love our friends over at Movearoo and we got a real kick out of their latest post about 501 different unique ways to re-use a cardboard box. Here are our 10 favorites! uses

    1) Create a cardboard lap desk for the car with a box, tape, some glue, and scissors. (Great for kids!)

    2) Cut out alphabet shapes for spelling words around the house.

    3) Create a fun Chinese parade dragon with a box, some paper, and other miscellaneous decorations.

    4) Cut small squares from a box (decorate them if you’d like) to create cardboard drink coasters.

    5) Use a large box (or multiple boxes cut open and taped together) to create a cardboard igloo for the backyard, for kids to sleep and play in.

    6) Create a puppet theater complete with a stage and paper bags for puppets.

    7) Small boxes can be filled with dry beans and taped closed, then decorated to make maracas

    8) Decorate a single box to create a stuffed animal house for kids.

    9) Even use a box or two as your own recycling bin for managing recyclables.

    10) Use a propped-up box as a simple painting easel.

    Check out the rest of the article here. What other uses do you like?

  • Where Did I Put That File? Why Your Home Office Needs To Be Organized

    Written by: Julie Clifford Office Organization

    Who Needs a Home Office?

    Anyone who has tried to claim a corner of the kitchen table to fill in a tax return, or found themselves pushing aside a teenager’s homework in order to get a seat on the couch, will understand the value of setting aside a corner of the house as a quiet workspace. A properly organized home office can also be a comfortable space that is welcoming enough to be used as a reading room if you have a lot of books, or a relaxing place where you can enjoy your record collection in peace. You might think that once you have set up your desk with a comfortable chair you will be ready to start working from home, sorting out your bills or writing that great novel, but taking a little more care in organizing your home office can ensure that you spend more time working and less time looking for missing files.

    Creating a Space

    Although the desk and chair are important, the key to creating a good working environment is to be organized. Distraction and procrastination are the main threats to getting your work done, so you need to create a space that will help you stay focused. The ideal option is to set aside a separate room as a workspace, but this will often mean having to make use of one of those small and unusually shaped rooms that are available only because there didn’t seem to be any other way of using them. Organization takes a little more imagination in these rooms. The key is to think about how you can make the most of the space, rather than trying to find ways of cramming conventionally shaped furniture into it. Why should your bookcases have to stop at the lowest end of a sloping ceiling when you can build storage cubes up into an asymmetric shape that uses the whole space? In other cases, the problem may not be the shape of the space, but rather the fact that an office has to be fitted into just one corner of a larger room. Rather than place shelving against the walls, you can shield your workspace by using a bookcase as a room divider, helping to block any distractions.

    Knowing Where Everything Is

    The best intentions in the world will not keep you working if you can’t find the file that you need, or if the mess on your desk keeps giving you an excuse to procrastinate by tidying up. Including several different types of storage in your office can allow you to keep everything in its own place:

    • Use jars or containers to keep small items like paperclips tidy, and storage baskets to hold larger ones like printer ink cartridges
    • Storage boxes with closed backs and doors will prevent small items accidentally falling down the back of the unit and conceal any clutter
    • Storage cubes can be used to create a filing system or to separate books alphabetically
    • Electronic items like wireless routers can be kept on open-backed bookcases so that the cables can pass behind the case, out of sight

    Investing in Your Home Office

    Setting up a workspace that works can take a lot of organization, but once it is ready you will find that the effort was worth it. You should be able to work without any irritating distractions and anything you need should be easy to locate in its place in the storage cubes and boxes. Many people find that working at home enriches their lives, by cutting their commute and allowing them to spend more time with their families. Such benefits are clearly worth the organizational effort, but it is sensible to remember that you gain new responsibilities as well as the chance to shape your own working environment when you choose to work from home. It can be surprising how much equipment, including expensive electronics and computers, you might need to use in your home office. You may need to consider how you will protect this equipment against accidental damage or breakage, as well as thinking about what equipment you really need before you plan how to organize it all.

    A Space for More than Work

    If you set up an office that is comfortable and well organized, you will find that it can become much more than a place to work. Nothing inspires reading more than a wall lined with books, so finding a place for a comfortable chair and some cushions can allow you the luxury of having your own private library. If you are hoping that your home office will provide your kids with a space to study, then a reading corner will be particularly useful. Children who are encouraged to read at home are at a big advantage, so setting aside a few storage cubes for kids’ books and providing a storage bench for them to sit on while you read together could be educational as well as enjoyable.

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I like to get organized. I like things simple.
I like to build possibilities.

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