Make your Garage Something Special

design center 7It’s easy to end up with a garage that’s a catch-all. When you first move in you may find that extra boxes and other items you don’t know what to do with end up in the garage. Then add in the kids sports equipment, yard supplies and tools, and then other odds and ends. Before you know it, the whole space is a mess.

If you find yourself cringing every time you open your garage door, think about choosing some of these garage options when you design your new Fulton Home. Just a few organizing elements could make a big difference in the look and functionality of your new garage. Let’s take a look at some of these choices.

Cabinetry: Garage cabinetry has a heavy-duty structure designed to hold up to power tools, yard equipment and other larger items. This is perfect storage for the home handyman, and it keeps everything under control. The countertop area is great for small assembly projects or organizing outdoor plantings.

Storage racks: Everything is so much more under control if it stays off the floor. With coordinated storage racks designed to hold yard tools and sports supplies you can easily put your hands on whatever you need whenever you need it. And when you are finished you have just the place for it to go back. And when not in use everything stays in place, out of the way and clean until the next time.

A garage can be a messy catch-all or it can be a great resource for storing things that fit well in that space, well beyond a place to keep your cars. Take advantage of options such as these to make it into a functional addition to your new Fulton Home.

A Fresh Start on Organizing your Home: The Laundry Room

From the Fulton Homes La Quinta model

From the Fulton Homes La Quinta model

We use the laundry room a lot, but it is often the most thrown together and ignored room in the house. How about taking an afternoon to really turn this space into a functional and valued place in your home?

Start by thinking about what you would like to use your laundry room for besides laundry. With this Fulton Homes laundry room, you have many more cupboards than you need to store laundry supplies. Here are a few suggestions.

Store household staples. Light bulbs, paper towels, tools, sewing essentials, and office supplies all fit well in a laundry room. Assign cabinets for each category. If you want to keep things in place, you may want to label the shelves.

Store extra supplies. If you are a warehouse shopper, you may be buying dishwasher detergent and toilet paper in bulk. The laundry room provides a handy go-to place for those extras.

Store your craft supplies. If you enjoy scrapbooking, beading or other craft activities, this is a great space to devote to your craft hobbies. It’s easy to reach and yet out-of-the way when other things beckon.

Store projects for your children. These cabinets can hold various games, coloring books or other supplies you can pull out when your children complain that they’re bored. Shop sales at hobby and discount stores for little surprises you can use to entertain little ones on road trips or for sick days.

Use for gifts. If you are a year-round shopper for the holidays, these cabinets can store presents until it’s time to wrap them. It’s even a fairly safe space to hide your children’s presents since they spend very little time in this room.

Of course, you will also want to store detergent and stain-fighting sprays and anything else you use to keep your clothes looking nice. But with a bit of imagination, your laundry room can hold so much more.

A Fresh Start on Organizing Your Home: The Kitchen

One of the kitchens on display at the Fulton Design Center

One of the kitchens on display at the Fulton Design Center

At first glance, getting your kitchen organized may seem like a daunting task. Chances are that when you moved in your goal was simply to get unpacked and able to make meals. Even if you had some plan of organization at the time, actually using your kitchen can help you discover that some items need to be rearranged. You have at least two ways to tackle your kitchen. See which one appeals to you.

Complete do-over. This is a full-day project, preferably with at least one other person to help as well. To make this work, try the following steps:

  • Clear off counters, placing any decorative items in another room for the day.
  • Have a bag ready for garbage and a box for giveaways.
  • Empty every shelf onto the counters and dining table.
  • Dispose of anything you don’t want or use in either the discard bag or giveaway box.
  • Wipe down counters and add or change shelf paper if desired.
  • Place the “sure things,” those items you already have a good place for, in their cupboards.
  • Thinking of function and utility, rearrange the other cabinets & drawers.
  • Determine if you need baskets or other containers for some items, and measure the space to know the size. Make a list for an upcoming shopping trip.
  • Measure your drawers for appropriate drawer dividers – these help keep drawers in shape once organized.
  • Compare the space left to the items left. Can you make them work? If not, consider more discards.
  • Put your kitchen counter accessories back, or not. Analyze what you actually want back in your kitchen.
  • Celebrate by going out to eat – you don’t want to mess up your newly-organized kitchen right away!

In our next organizing blog, look for advice on the second suggested method of kitchen organization. It takes longer but is less overwhelming.

A Fresh Start on Organizing Your Home: Your Calendar

22422960_SSo, as we move into 2014 and the holiday decorations are down, it’s time to dive into all those plans to organize your life. How about starting with your calendar?

With just a little effort up front, your calendar, whether tangible or online, can be the central planning tool for just you or for your entire family. Here’s how to start.

Select your calendar. If you choose a paper calendar, it should be one that breaks everything down at least by the week, so you have plenty of room for appointment locations and directions if needed. This is where an online calendar comes in handy. Many of them have plenty of space for whatever notes you need to make, as well as the option for reminder emails.

Fill in all family birthdays and special holidays such as anniversaries. Then run through and add all of the standard appointments such as kid sports practices or Monday morning meetings at the office. If there are a number of family members, you might want to assign each one a color so everyone can see their events at a glance.

Place a paper calendar in a good central location, possibly connecting it to a desk drawer with string so it can’t walk away. The kitchen is the best place because everyone walks through there at least once a day. If you keep your calendar on the computer, choose a program such as Google calendar that everyone can log into, so that access is easy.

Finally, make it clear that any appointments or events that are not on the calendar are not part of your responsibility. If a child needs a ride or a spouse wants you to attend a company party, there had better be a note about it on the calendar, after they’ve cleared your part of the task with you, of course. You can also set ground rules, such as that in case of conflicts; the first event posted on the calendar takes precedence, with exceptions to be negotiated individually.

While this is only the beginning of what you have to do to get organized, this small step is an important one in the right direction.

Set Resolutions for your Home in the New Year

10254941_SWhen you consider resolutions for the New Year, how about making some for your home?

Most people have things that they want to fix, change or add to their homes, so you could make 2014 the year that some of those dreams turn into reality. Here are a few examples.

Small maintenance tasks: A dripping faucet, weeds in the yard or even light bulbs that are burned out are easy to ignore but can be a constant irritant. Plan a day to fix those little frustrations that always seem to be postponed. Getting those done will make your home more relaxing.

Safety checks: Have you replaced the batteries in your smoke alarms? Do you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen? How about a complete first-aid kit? Are some rugs or cords tripping hazards? It won’t take long to make sure your home is as safe as you can make it. You can find tips for keeping your home hazard free on the Internet.

Organization: Don’t feel obliged to get the entire house whipped into shape. Instead focus on a few areas that are particularly challenging. Maybe you empty and sort-out your junk drawer, or get your gardening tools organized in the garage. It could be time to dispose of all of those old cleansers and unsatisfactory cleaning products under the sink that you never use. Every place you make more functional will add to your pleasure in your home.

Special touches: Have you wanted to add scented candles to your guest bathroom? Maybe one wall is begging for some art. Pick out one or two areas that feel unfinished in your home and resolve to add those items that will make it look and feel the way you want.

If you include your home in your resolutions for 2014, your home will see improvement and you will find yourself happier living there.

Organizing your New Home – Recruiting Others

12057397_SYou may have included your family when visiting your Fulton Home during construction, and they may have helped pack and unpack their own rooms, but now that you’ve moved into your new home, how about recruiting them to help you organize it?

You know that they contribute to the disorganization, so your spouse and children can be a terrific resource when figuring out how to create organizational systems that will last.

Start with one space in your home, such as the front or garage entryway. Do these spaces end up as catchalls for shoes, books, purses, keys and other things? If you chose the Fulton Drop Center built-in for your home, bring your family together to assign spaces, drawers and shelves to some of this clutter. You may even want to label some of it.

Could a drawer be assigned to each child to hold homework as well as notes to or from the teacher, and your spouse’s car keys? Would a bench with slots for shoes under it in the hallway help?

The kitchen is another space that begs for group organization. Setting up a breakfast center with various cereals, an area for making lunches with bags and containers, and placing a selection of afternoon snacks in a specific spot might help contain potential messes. Add in a few rules such as everyone bringing their dishes to the sink, rinsing them off and putting them in the dishwasher and you are on your way to a kitchen that keeps itself under control with only minor reminders from you.

Once you move on to coordinating homework, laundry and any other regular organizational challenges, you’re on your way to a more organized home. One final suggestion: provide regular prizes or little treats as a reward for maintaining the organizational system – for you as well as your family.

Organizing your New Home – A Place for Everything…

18055461_SSo, did you envision your new Fulton home as an organized paradise? With all the extra space, closets and storage, maybe you had hopes that you would finally be able to create order.

Well, if that hasn’t happened, don’t blame the house or yourself for that matter. Organizational experts use a selection of tools and tricks to get and stay organized. Here are a few of their ideas to help you reach your goals.

Use the right kind of storage: Is it easy to get things out when you need them and put them away when you’re done? For frequently-used items, make sure they’re one-step away. For example, pens and scissors can be in an open container on a desk or counter rather than in a drawer that has to be opened and closed. Laundry hampers should be open so dirty clothes can just be chucked in without bothering with a lid. The easier the system, the more likely it will work.

17461493_SDuplicate: Do you need scissors regularly in the kitchen and your office? Have two pair so they don’t have to travel back and forth, increasing the likelihood of their disappearance.

Use containers and dividers: Baskets and boxes will hold underwear or socks if you can’t get your children to fold things. Drawers with dividers are more likely to stay tidy. Peg boards and hooks separate different tools without hiding them.

Keep experimenting: If one system doesn’t work, try another and another until you discover what works best for you.

Getting organized is not a one-time effort. It’s a constant, steady plan to head in a better direction. You won’t reach organizational nirvana in a week, or possibly ever. Just work toward a better level of organization over time, and you may be surprised at the results.

Make the Most of your Closets

When people use their closet space, it’s common to focus on the linear space, but to use a closet to its full potential, it’s smart to take advantage of the vertical space also. The simplest approach involves putting in double hanging rods so that you have extra room for shirts, skirts and pants draped on hangers.

Thanks to today’s closet organizing options, you don’t have to limit your thinking. Fulton Homes selected Rubbermaid® options for closet organizing. For some examples, visit the Fulton website or the Fulton Homes Design Center for ideas to make your closets more functional and organized.

One of the smartest places to create space and organization is on a closet floor. Often that ends up as wasted space, or just a place to throw shoes in a heap. Instead you can use that space to set shoes in order, provide a hamper for dirty laundry or add a set of drawers.

The space above your clothing racks can also become more functional through the use of dividers and other organization tools. Rubbermaid® closet options vary with your needs and help your closets look more appealing and hold more without becoming scary disasters. This can be especially helpful with adolescents, who are often not enthusiastic about keeping their closets in shape.

For smaller children, combine drawers and lower shelves and hanging areas set so they can easily reach to hang up and put away their own clothes. You can use the space above their heads for out-of-season clothing or other storage. Also consider adding some hooks to enable the smallest child to hang up sweaters and other clothing easily.

If you take the time to think about what you and your family need in closet storage, your storage spaces will be much more functional. For additional suggestions, talk to your designer at the Fulton Homes Design Center.