Fall is filled with shorter and shorter days and before you know it, it's the holidays. Stay organized in less time with storage ideas for everything, including seeds and scarves.
The last time you had a locker, it may have held your algebra book and pictures of Shaun Cassidy ripped from Tiger Beat. These days, though, lockers can serve as catchalls at home for your kids' mountains of stuff -- shoes, sports equipment, and more.
If sports equipment, bags, and shoes are constantly underfoot in your home, give everybody a separate space for such gear. Assign a sturdy metal storage bin to each member of the household. Slide the bins underneath a bench in the front hall or line them up in a mudroom. Use magnets and a photo to mark who each one belongs to -- don't forget one for the family dog.
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Metal mailboxes offer a stylish way to organize a front hall or a mudroom. Magazine hooks provide a perfect perch for raincoats, scarves, and umbrellas; hats, gloves, and mittens fit nicely inside the box. Available inexpensively through online auction sites, these boxes get a crisp look when spray-painted white. A bonus: They're magnetic, so you can easily adhere favorite images and notes to them.
Don't wait for a clogged drain or power failure to figure out your house's inner workings. Make a rough sketch of the floor plans and indicate the shutoff valve, fuse, or power source for everything in your home that uses water, gas, or electricity. Apply color-coded stickers for each utility. Keep this map handy and be sure to leave a copy for any housesitter.
To ensure that smaller terra-cotta pots emerge from winter storage intact and ready for spring planting, take the time to put them away properly in fall. First, thoroughly clean and dry the pots to prevent the growth of fungus. Then, lay them on their sides, one tucked inside another, in a shallow wooden crate; store the crate out of the freezing cold. Never stack pots vertically -- changes in temperature and humidity will make them swell, causing them to stick together and practically guaranteeing breakage when you try to pull them apart.
Once flowers fade and bulbs and tubers are dug up for winter storage, they pretty much all look alike. To ensure that you'll replant them in the right location next spring, write the variety or color of the plant directly on each bulb with a permanent marker. Then store the bulbs in peat moss or newspaper in a cool, dark place.
Whether you're hiking in the hills or to the office, this mix makes a delicious and convenient seasonal snack. Bursting with contrasting textures and flavors -- salty pumpkin seeds, spicy ginger, crunchy almonds, chewy cranberries, rich coconut -- the blend will dazzle your taste buds. It makes a great gift, too.
Good-looking garden planters don't have to hibernate all winter. Arranged along a hearth, the containers take their turn as eye-catching elements indoors. In glazed terra-cotta or another heat-resistant material, the pots provide a perfect place to stow split logs, kindling, and aromatic enhancements, such as dried lavender and pinecones.
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