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Way Basics Blog

  • Box Photoshoot

    When we were looking for the perfect location to shoot our new Box, we could not have found a better location than Hotel Seven4one. This local boutique hotel in Laguna Beach has transformed their quaint location into a must-see location for weddings, private parties and other events. Just steps from the beach, their staff were incredible to work with, and best of all, they care about the environment and do everything they can to make their space Eco-conscious! What a perfect partnership.

    We arrived early in the morning, lattes in hand, to meet our photographer Nanci Kassel and mold Seven4One into a picturesque backdrop. Their Euro-chic lobby lounge, urban courtyard, and breathtaking sun deck didn't need much molding but the Box added a perfect organizational touch. The Box easily stacked to create closet organization in one room, and simple cube storage in another. Wheels on, door off, we had a blast thinking of all the different ways we could organize a room with the Box storage. We had an amazing day and we can't wait to share the pictures with you all!

     

    The Box showing up for their debut!
  • Thinking Outside the Box About Spring Cleaning

    Thanks to the amazing people at Sylvane, we have some awesome tips about Spring Cleaning! 

    Spring cleaning is a time of year that many people dread – after all, nobody likes cleaning! But this year will be different. This year you'll have some new cleaning techniques that will make things easier, faster, and even reduce the need to clean again anytime soon! This seems too good to be true, we know, but let's take a look at some of the unique methods being used by some creative household owners that have been proven to work.

     

    Scrub-Free Toilet Cleaner

    Although not something that many people keep handy, denture cleaner works wonders as a toilet cleaner. It makes sense that denture cleaner would be good at removing stains and sanitizing toilets because it was created to clean porcelain dentures, which is the same material that your toilet is made from. Just drop a few tablets into the bowl and let it go to work for you!

    Robo Vacuum

    The modern world runs on technology, so shouldn't your cleaning techniques keep up with the times? Using a robotic vacuum can save you hours of vacuuming, and they are quite nifty at getting Neato Vacuum and Catsinto small areas and completely cleaning your carpet. Some robotic vacuum cleaners are even pet friendly, so they will steer clear of any curious animals coming around to investigate. Neato Robotics is a well-known maker of intelligent robot vacuums that are capable of this.

    Easy Microwave Cleaning

    Microwaves can be difficult to clean when you have to scrub all the hard, crusty buildup that has accumulated over time. You might be surprised to learn that you can clean your microwave in almost the same way that made it messy in the first place. Fill a microwave-safe bowl with about two cups of water and half a cup of white vinegar. Place it in your microwave and heat it for 3-4 minutes. When the bowl is cool enough to touch, remove it and give the inside of the microwave one good wipe. Voila!

    Newspaper Your Cabinet Tops

    Lots of apartments, condos, and townhouses have prefab kitchen cabinets installed that don’t quite touch the ceiling. The tops of these cabinets need to be dusted and cleaned regularly, but they can be very difficult to reach. To make the result of your cleaning efforts last as long as possible, line the tops of your kitchen cabinets with newspapers to prevent dust from collecting directly on the cabinets themselves. The next time you’re cleaning, all you will have to do is carefully remove the old, dusty newspapers and replace them with fresh ones.

    Organize Your Clutter

    "For every minute spent in organization, an hour is earned." That quote by Benjamin Franklin couldn't be more true. If you want to take your organizational level up a notch, it’s time for some creative solutions! Clear some extra space in your home by looking for functional furniture pieces that allow you to organize within them. One example would be a chair bookshelf, which allows you to store your books and magazines inside your reading chair. You could always start with something simple, such as using a stylish storage chest as your coffee table. Even easier still, you could use these stackable storage cubes to create a completely custom clutter solution. Add a set of wheels to your creation and roll it around the house as needed.

    Couch Cushions and Upholstery

    If you don't want to pay a king’s ransom to have your couch professionally cleaned (and who does?), you can do it yourself using a steam cleaner. Most common household cleaning products release harmful chemicals into the air you breathe, which can cause serious health problems. But steam cleaning your home will actually improve your indoor air quality because steam cleaners use hot water vapor (not chemicals) to clean almost any surface, and to kill germs and bacteria.

    Countertops

    A mixture of vinegar and water will be enough to remove most tough stains and grease from your kitchen countertops. For those hard food or make-up stains that won't come off easily, create a baking soda paste by mixing baking soda with water. Use the paste on a hard scrubber to clean the stubborn areas. They should come up rather easily, and again you’ve avoided using toxic chemicals!

    Kitchen Cabinet Tops

    Wax Your Shower Walls

    After cleaning your shower walls initially, a little car wax can go a long way. Waxing the inside of your shower makes it harder for soapscum, limescale, and other objects to stick to your shower walls. Never wax the floor of your shower though, as this could pose a threat because it will make the floor really slippery. There are several manufacturers that produce eco-friendly car waxes that do not contain harsh chemicals or VOCs.

  • Easy "how to" organize your spices!

    Guest post from the amazing Natalie Wright, creator of Natalme and Organized Mom!

    It's no secret I love to be organized, but I often forget the correlation between health and organization. I recently just cleaned out my fridge, and yeah... I was definitely hoarding some unhealthy expired food! So I decided to take some time during my week to look through other areas of my kitchen, and not only organize them, but promote healthy eating. My goals are to organize my canned goods, baking necessities, and spices.

    Here's a simple and affordable way to organize your spices. I love this project because not only does it make my seasonings easier to find, but it also forced me to throw out old and expired spices I never use.

    All of my baking and cooking spices I keep in a drawer near my stove. Since the bottles are all difference sizes, they often get jumbled around and the one I need ends up being difficult to find.

    I purchased about twenty of these glass jars at Ikea; four jars for under $4. I also used chalkboard vinyl to create labels or each jar. The great thing about these little babies is that you can adhere your labels to the top or the front of the jars.

    I created scalloped labels with a scrapbook paper punch, but you could easily cut circles or squares by hand.

    After emptying my drawer and throwing away expired spices and seasoning, I inserted a layer of decorative gift wrap, and added a clear plastic drawer liner on top.

    My jars fit perfectly side by side! I was able to fit twenty jars in all.

    With a white chalk marker I labeled all of my seasonings. (Note: A chalk marker is easier to write with versus regular chalk. It does not smear when touched, but easily wipes off with a damp cloth.)  If I ever run out of a spice or decide to try a different seasoning, I can easily erase the chalk and write a new label.

    This is such an easy and quick project that took me less than an hour from start to finish. And I love that it's a much prettier, functional, and healthier way of organizing my seasonings!

    To follow me as I continue to organize other areas of my kitchen and home, be sure to check out my blog at www.natalme.com!

  • Mommy Greenest's - Importance of seeing the big picture

    Rachel Sarnoff is the brilliant mind behind both Eco Stiletto and Mommy Greenest. Both blogs focus on maintaining a happy and sustainable lifestyle and we are such huge fans of her work.  We were overjoyed when she agreed to write a little something about how she stays happy even when the mess gets too much! What do you do to maintain your sanity when the mess becomes overwhelming? 130226_Mommy Greenest

    "Quote: ""I am an obsessive organizer. I keep a calendar synced to my phone, and a daily paper list as well. But sometimes I feel like my focus on being organized stops me from being truly happy. Yes, I like opening drawers and seeing things neat and tidy. But should it ruin my day if they're not? My husband and kids help me see the big picture. They're totally comfortable with dishes in the sink and towels on the floor, and with the occasional tardy slip. When I get obsessed with something, sometimes I just need to take a deep breath and step back for a moment. The dishes will get done. The towels will just get used again tomorrow. And taking time to talk with my daughter as we walk to school is far more valuable than rushing her through the door in order to get to kindergarten on time.

    --Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, www.MommyGreenest.com""

  • Montessori High School & their X-terms

    Intrigued yet? What's an X-term you may be asking? X-terms two week experiential learning intensives which take place in January and in May/June. The program in May/June is student led and students must raise the funds, plan the curriculum, and design the entire program. X-terms are based on Maria Montessori's views, and they provide a unique learning experience that cannot be matched. Every year the students choose something different Way Basics donates to X-Termsthat is sure to change their lives for the better. Two years ago, they ventured out to New York City, and spent a week immersed in the startup culture. They worked with Union Square Ventures, Stack Overflow, Stack Exchange, and Coco Foods International.  Cool, huh?

    We love supporting our future generation, especially brilliant go-getters like these kids, so we were thrilled when they contacted us to be apart of their fundraising for this years X-terms! They have some pretty cool prizes including a Nook, Jambox, and Way Basics Cubby Organizer! Be sure to check it out and help them reach their $10,000 goal! After all, all students deserve to be supported and helped to reach their dreams!

  • Let's Accessorize!

    We are starting to drop pictures and information about our awesome new organizational cube, the Box. It is our traditional storage cube on steroids! Especially good for someone who wants something a little bit special and different! WB-BOX-BE_6C_AV3

    Each Box comes with a matching door that you can use to hide your goodies and you can purchase wheels to make the Box more portable (if you wish!) Just like our cubes, you can combine them to create a larger piece, but the Box has been especially designed to connect and align for a sturdier fit!

    That isn't really what we are here to talk about today. Not necessarily the mechanics of the Box, but the awesome ways you can decorate it to make it your own!

    Have you heard of IKEA hacks? Lots of people take their IKEA furniture and "hack" it (modify it) to make it perfect for their home. We think our products are just as good (and more eco friendly) than IKEA so we have written a Way Basics hack for your new Box!

    WB-BOX-BE_AV21) Love the color, but want to make one wall different, or the inside different than the outside? Look at craft stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby for awesome contact paper!

    2) Flip through the contact paper to your heart's content and find something that suits

    3) Make sure you have enough contact paper to cover as many walls as you wish!

    4) Measure the walls, cut, and stick!

    5) Stand back and admire your handiwork!

    What patterns would you like to add to your Box?

  • Eco Child's Play - Green Home

    Our home is our sanctuary.  It is where we return to again and again for comfort, solace, rest, nourishment, etc.  Whether you have children or not, your home should be a healthy place.  You may not spend the majority of your woken hours there, but toxins, even while you sleep, contribute to both physical and mental health problems.

     

    If you are building a new home, it is pretty simple to go green.  Many alternatives now exist.  From safer paints to wool carpeting, you don't have to rely on synthetic, toxic materials.  Although it may cost more to go the eco-friendly route, it is worth it in the long run for both your health and the planet's

     

    Remodeling an existing home can be a bit trickier than new construction, as extra precaution should be used when removing toxic building materials like asbestos tiles and fiberglass insulation.  Most of us are not going to go to this extent and you don't have to tear apart your home or install an alternative energy system to build a safer home for your family.  Start with small, simple steps.  Eventually you will get to the bigger stuff.

     

    My own home is a mixture of eco-friendly and more traditional elements.   We did build our home from salvage timber.  We did use only eco-friendly paints on the interior walls.  Some of our insulation is made from recycled cotton.   We do live off-the-grid.  What I think matters more than these green architectural features is how you fill your home.

     

    One of the most basic places to start building a safer home for your family are your cleaning supplies.  When my house is clean, I feel good.  Unfortunately, most products used to clean our homes are highly toxic, perhaps the most dangerous chemicals in your house.  That pine fresh scent isn't a good thing!

     

    It's pretty simple to make your own cleaning supplies.  Healthy Child Healthy World has great recipes making your own cleaners. All you really need is vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice, although I find plain water works great too.  If you feel you need some soap, Dr. Bronner's is a safe, good multi-purpose cleaner.   If you feel you need specific products, like for cleaning toilets or windows, there are a lot of eco-friendly products available now at health food stores and many mainstream grocery stores from brands such as Seventh Generation.  Of course, don't forget the laundry.  Choosing an eco-friendly, natural laundry detergent is also essential in keeping your home safe.

     

    Beyond the products you use to clean your home, the interior of your home is another place to consider.  Only use paint that is non-toxic and low in VOCs  Typical household paint may contain upwards of 300 known toxic chemicals.

     

    Consider purchasing eco-friendly furniture, especially mattresses.   Think of how much time you spend in your bed, then consider that each mattress has at least five pounds of chemicals!  The Wool Bed Company explains:

     

    These nasty chemicals you’ll find in your traditional, mass produced mattress include Boric Acid (also known as roach killer), Antimony (similar to arsenic), and Decabromodiphenyl Oxide, or DBDPO. These chemicals have been known to cause reproductive and developmental issues, heart, lung, and kidney damage, and even cancer. Inhaling these chemicals on a regular basis is extremely toxic to our bodies and will cause health issues until we resolve the problem.

     

    Just last fall, the mainstream media featured stories on toxic chemicals found in couches  From your couch to your bed, toxic flame retardants enter our bloodstream.  They are even present in breast milk.

     

    In my home, all of our mattresses are eco-friendly, but our couches are not.  I don't advise families throw out all of their furniture. That would not be very eco-friendly.  I do advise that when you are purchasing new furniture, you use chemical-free as a criteria.  New carpeting and couches are notorious for making people ill.  Anything with a "new" smell should be avoided.

     

    Finally, you cannot build a safer, eco-friendly home for your family without considering the kitchen.   Non-stick cookware should be tossed out immediately.  A majority of the food in your cupboards and refrigerator should be organically grown.  Less chemicals means a greener home and  a healthier family.

     

    It can feel overwhelming at times when you start to look around your home at all of the toxins.  There are simple steps you can take immediately, such as using houseplants to improve indoor air quality and switching to green cleaning products.  You don't need to take out a second mortgage and completely gut your home to create a safer environment, just seek out greener products when replacing your old ones.  Step by step this will lead you to a healthier home.

    This guest post was written by the founder & editor of ecochildsplay, Jennifer Lance. Thanks for your amazing advice Jennifer! Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 7.13.07 AM

  • Kitchen Makeover!

    We saw this amazing shelf makeover DIY on Design Sponge and we thought it would be the perfect way to introduce our NEW floating shelves (and all the amazing things you can do with them!

    Way Basics zBoard floating shelves NEW Espresso zBoard floating shelves

    Don't have enough room in your kitchen for full shelves but want more organizational space?

    Way Basic's new floating shelves are the perfect way to give you that extra space without all the hassle. If you want to mix it up and decorate them DIY style, follow the tutorial below (tutorial from here).

    Shelf Makeover

    here’s what you’ll need:
    -Way Basics zBoard floating shelves (any size!)
    -woven grass cloth (you can also use paper, fabric, vinyl, etc.)
    -tape measure
    -scissors
    -staple gun
    -pencil
    -polycrylic clear sealant
    -wood stain in color of your choosing
    -paint brush
    -rubber gloves
    -spray paint/primer

    Shelf Complete! (Image source: http://www.designsponge.com/2008/03/diy-wednesdays-shelf-makeover.html)

    how-to:
    1. prime or spray paint shelves
    2. lay shelf on top of a piece of grass cloth. wrap cloth around shelf until it overlaps 1/2″ and trim to size. staple cloth to back edge of shelf.
    3. wrap short ends like a present and staple, tucking in all raw edges.
    4. mix 3 parts polycrylic to 1 part stain and brush over cloth covered shelf. wearing your gloves, rub stain into cloth fibers with your hands.
    5. let dry and finish with a coat of clear polycrylic.
    6. hang shelves (tip: you can camouflage the hanging hardware and screws with acrylic paint.)

     

    Thanks for the amazing inspiration Design Sponge!

  • Organizing Keeps You Eating Healthy!

     

    It is so easy to let your healthy eating go when you are busy with school, kids, house, pets, etc! Here are some tips from two amazing bloggers about how they eat healthy and stay organized!

    Brittany  (from Eating Bird Food) "Keep a food and exercise journal. It's extremely helpful to Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 11.18.20 AMtrack how much you’re eating –- sometimes you don’t realize how many small bites here and there add up. You can keep a hand-written food and exercise journal or go digital and log your food/fitness from your computer or smartphone. MyFitnessPal is a great tool for this. "

     

    Darya From "Summer Tomato"Darya (from Summer Tomato) "Keeping a clean and orderly fridge can help you eat healthier by making cooking at home more appealing. Research has shown that the easier and more enjoyable the healthy habit, the more likely you are to stick with it."

     

     

     

    What do YOU do to stay healthy and organized? Be sure to check out their blogs for more amazing tips, recipes etc!

  • Improve Your Air Quality!

    Let's make this short and sweet. For ways to get rid of those nasty toxins and breathe in clean air, follow some of the tips below! 130206_Improving Air Quality

    1. Suck, Wipe and Prevent! - In general terms: vacuum it up, Mop what is left, and put a mat by all entrances so people don't track in allergen-causing dirt!

    2. Open windows! (Enough said)

    3. Bring plants indoors! It is amazing what these little suckers can do for air quality.

    4. Ditch the air fresheners - Air fresheners usually contain petroleum products which are no good for the lungs (or any other part of your body).

    5. Kill the mildew - Keep your home at a good level of humidity. Science terms are between 30-50% but some good pointers are: open a window after/ during showering, use air conditioners in the summer and humidifiers during the winter.

    6. NO smoking indoors

    7. Animals - love the little furry guys but be sure to clean up their fur on a regular basis.

    8. Test your home for radon - new or old, your home could contain radon which is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause lung cancer. Check out this website for how to test: http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/citguide.html

    9. Cut down on the fertilizer in your garden. Try compost instead! Much better smelling and better to inhale!

    10. Smile. Not really an air quality improver but it does improve the mood of a home!

    Any tips to add to the bunch?

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

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