Category: Storage


Weekend Projects: 5 Bike Racks to DIY on the Cheap

A simple, sturdy bike rack can help you clear up that jumble of two-wheelers in your garage or scattered around your yard. Try one of these DIY bike racks, and you'll have everything stored and tidied up this weekend.

Depending on where you live, you may be completely surprised or utterly unimpressed by this fact: Worldwide, bicycles outnumber automobiles. America’s love affair with bikes began in the 1800s, and that relationship continues to evolve today. Bikes are no longer solely recreational. In urban areas in particular, they are fast becoming a common mode of everyday transportation. But while most home designs include space for an owner’s car, one rarely sees similar accommodation made for pedal-pushed two-wheelers. No matter: You can create your own storage solution. For inspiration, check out these five favorite DIY bike rack projects.

 

1. PVC PIPING

DIY Bike Rack - PVC

Photo: singletrackworld.com

For less than $50 in PVC—and armed only with pipe cement and a handsaw—you can build a DIY bike rack identical to the one shown above. Though large enough to hold the bicycle collection of an entire family, this easily completed assembly is also lightweight enough to be moved from one location to another in the home.

 

2. OFF THE RACK

DIY Bike Rack - Storebought

Photo: bikeforums.net

Browse the aisles of a sporting goods store, and you’re destined to find a selection of ready-made bicycle storage products. In many instances, it’s possible to build your own approximation of these designs with off-the-shelf items sold at your local home center. The DIY bike rack shown here cost less than $100 to put together.

 

3. SCRAP WOOD

DIY Bike Rack - Scrap Wood

Photo: singletracks.com

To make this rack, you won’t have to look any further than your basement or garage workshop, if you keep a stash of scrap wood in either locale. Only straight cuts are needed, at least in the examples pictured, so woodworking expertise is not a prerequisite. If you choose, paint or stain your creation once complete, or leave it unfinished.

 

4. HANDLEBARS

DIY Bike Rack - Handlebars

Photo: hiconsumption.com

Where floor space is limited, here’s a compact and cool-looking—and yes, somewhat quirky—DIY bike rack idea, perfect for those who love, love, love bikes. Detach the curved handlebars from a vintage racing bike (available online, in thrift stores, or from repair shops) and mount them to the wall with a metal flange.

 

5. PALLETS

DIY Bike Rack - Pallets

Photo: worldwidecyclingatlas.com

A shipping pallet needs no alteration to function as a DIY bike rack. The slats are spaced far enough apart—but not too far apart—to hold a bicycle wheel. Lean the pallet against a wall, whether in your garage or in the garden, and poof—problem solved. Best of all, pallets are readily available, if not for free, then for very little.


Bob Vila Radio: Preventing Moths

During the rush to stow away winter clothes and blankets and welcome the arrival of spring, don't forget to moth-proof them. Follow these precautions to make sure these pesky insects stay out of your winter wardrobe.

This is the time of year when we shed our winter wardrobes and slip into warm-weather fabrics. To be sure that your clothes and blankets come out of storage in one piece next fall, take a few moments now to moth-proof them.

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Preventing Moths

Photo: columbiashelving.com

One important step before packing up woolens is getting them cleaned. Those telltale holes in moth-eaten sweaters are the work of the larvae, which can cling to clothing invisibly and wreak havoc while they’re stored. Wash or dry-clean your items first to be sure they are free of larvae before you store them away.

Store anything made of wool, fur, or cashmere in an airtight container—you don’t want adult moths getting in to lay eggs and create new larvae. Plastic tubs with airtight lids will do the trick, as will Ziploc bags.

The smell of cedar repels adult moths, but it takes a lot of the scent to be effective, and you’ll need to replace or sand cedar blocks or balls to maintain the intensity of the smell.

The one thing you probably don’t want to use is the old-fashioned mothball. Not only do mothballs smell bad, but they can be toxic when inhaled. You would not only have to keep them in an airtight container, but you’d have to clean all those clothes again in the fall to get rid of the fumes and the smell.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


Bob Vila Radio: Save Your Appliance Manuals

Upon purchasing a new appliance, store its documentation in a central location for quick and easy access when and if necessary.

When you buy a new appliance, it’s a good idea to hold onto your original documentation, including the owner’s manual, any warranties, and your purchase receipt. If you misplace the manual, you can usually track down a copy online. But it does you no good to have it if you can’t find it when you need it. Consider setting up an easy-to-maintain, accessible filing system to keep your manuals handy.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON APPLIANCE MANUALS or read the text below:

Appliance Manuals

Photo: darkroomanddearly.com

Filing cabinets are handy for this sort of thing, of course, but when the alarm system starts chirping at three in the morning, or the oven broiler won’t ignite when you have a dining room filled with guests, you don’t want to start fumbling around upstairs in the file drawers.

A handier option is to put your manuals in three-hole-punched sheet protectors or pocket folders, and store them in large binder kept in a central location. You can separate the binder into divisions, such as “Appliances,” “AV Components,” or “Outdoor Equipment.”

Another approach is to keep a separate folder in each room in the house that contains manuals for all of the appliances in that room. The truly organized may choose to separate out manuals for stoves, boilers, and other fixtures that stay with the house when it’s sold, so they can be passed to a new owner.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


Bob Vila Radio: Junk Drawer Clutter

The start of a new year is perhaps the best time to tackle household clutter—but it’s impossible to do it all at once. Set modest, achievable goals and tackle them one at a time.

The coming of a new year is a good time to tackle some of that household clutter, but it’s impossible to do it all at once. It’s best to set yourself small goals and tackle them one at a time.

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Junk Drawer

Photo: shutterstock.com

One of the easiest, most rewarding places to start is with the junk drawer. Every home seems to have one—it’s that place where batteries, scissors, paperclips, twine, small tools, and other oddball items gather in a tangled heap. Getting your junk drawer organized can make your life much more efficient, as you’ll spend far less time rummaging for that screwdriver or safety pin when you need it.

Start by pulling out the things you truly don’t need, like the chargers for cameras and phones you don’t own anymore. Set those aside for electronics recycling day. Items that are rarely used should go into deeper storage—keep handy only what you use regularly. Then sort things into categories—tools, stationery items, fasteners, whatever you need near at hand. Use a utensil drawer divider to organize your items by category as you put them away. With one drawer taken care of, you’ll be ready to start thinking about organizing the garage!

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


Bob Vila Radio: Clutter Control for New Stuff

During the season of giving (and receiving), take some time out to re-evaluate what to keep, what to get rid of, and where to store it all.

It’s great to get holiday gifts from family and friends, but it’s not so great figuring out what to do with all that new stuff. This is the perfect time to re-evaluate how much you really need, and where to put it.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON CLUTTER CONTROL FOR NEW STUFF or read the text below:

Clutter Control

Photo: shutterstock

One easy way to handle incoming gifts is to think of each item as a replacement for something you already own. If someone gives you a beautiful set of candlesticks, for example, take a look at what candlesticks you already have and choose an older pair to give away. This works especially well with kids’ toys—for every new toy or game that came into your home this holiday season, choose one to pass on to another family or a charity.

If you find it hard to part with sentimental items from your past, consider starting a special photo album for them—take a picture of the item, even write a few lines about where it came from and why it was important to you. Then donate the item and keep the photo. You’ll still have the memory and the sentiment, but those don’t take up much storage space!

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


Bob Vila Radio: Closet Lighting

Good lighting is crucial everywhere in your home— but especially in the closet, where small or seasonal apparel could get lost in the dark.

If you’re lucky enough to have large walk-in closets in your home, you probably already know the importance of good lighting. After all, there’s no use having the luxury of a great storage space if you can’t tell your blacks from your navies when you’re in there!

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Listen to BOB VILA ON CLOSET LIGHTING or read the text below:

Closet Lighting

Photo: blocklighting.com

Even if your closets are a bit more modest in size, you still need good light. Whether it’s picking out matching shoes or finding the right cleaning product, you need adequate light when you reach into a closet. That used to mean a single naked light bulb or a battery-powered stick-on light. New high-tech choices provide better light, use less energy, and don’t require an endless supply of fresh batteries.

Ribbons of stick-on lighting strips, like those commonly found under kitchen cabinets today, also work great in small closets. Installed under the edge of a shelf, or on the ceiling just above the hanging rod, these ribbons provide nice, even light and don’t use much energy or generate much heat. You can even have the ribbon wired to a jamb switch, so it turns on when you open the door and off when you close it.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


Weekend Projects: 5 DIY Closet Organizers

Make the most of tight closet space with these storage-smart DIY projects.

Many new homes boast spacious walk-in closets, but apartment renters and old-house dwellers must often contend with closets that are diminutive by comparison. Those who survive with so little storage are all too familiar with the fact that using every inch is essential. So if you are looking for clever ways to pack more into less space, begin your journey toward clutter-free living with these five favorite DIY closet organizer ideas from around the Web.

 

1. BUILD A SINGLE-SHEET PLYWOOD ORGANIZER

DIY Closet Organizer - Plywood

Photo: ana-white.com

With a handful of dowels, a quartet of closet rods, and a single sheet of plywood, Ana White created this DIY closet organizer—and you can, too, using the woodworking plans she provides free. A versatile solution, the setup includes ample room not only for clothing, but also for miscellaneous personal items.

 

2. INSTALL A SLIDING PANTS RACK

DIY Closet Organizer - Sliding Pants Rack

Photo: bunnings.com

Do you own more pairs of pants than you know what to do with? Consider a sliding pants rack. Either build your own or, if you prefer, purchase one ready-made. There are two great advantages to storing pants in this way: one, it prevents creases, and two, it gives you more real estate on the closet rod.

 

3. HANG A SECOND CLOSET ROD

DIY Closet Organizer - Double Rod

Photo: marthastewart.com

For those poor in closets, additional closet rods promise rich rewards. Over at the blog 320 Sycamore, Melissa imposed tidiness on an unruly closet in one strategic stroke: By installing more rods, she brought the dead zones in her closet to life.

 

4. ADD A CLOSET DOOR SHELF

DIY Closet Organizer - Door Shelf

Photo: ana-white.com

A closet door can do more than simply open and close—it can provide storage for those sundry items that, if not corralled, create clutter and chaos. Even novice woodworkers can succeed in building this tiered array of shallow shelves specially designed to fit the back of the door panel.

 

5. PUT UP A PEGBOARD

DIY Closet Organizer - Pegboard

Photo: lookiewhatidid.blogspot.com

Typically, pegboard organizes tools and heavy-duty accessories in our basements and garages. But Missy of Lookie What I Did ingeniously affixed pegboard to the back wall of a closet, disguised it under a veil of neutral-color fabric, and arranged it to serve as a catchall for ties, socks, belts, and other small items.


Bob Vila Radio: Small Closet Solutions

Starved for storage? You can make the most of every inch in your small closets with these simple yet smart solutions.

A big walk-in closet is a luxury that some people can only dream of, especially if they live in an older home. Homes built more than 50 years or so ago tend to have modest closets and short of a major remodeling project, you may be stuck with what you’ve got. But there are ways to make the most of every square inch.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON SMALL CLOSET SOLUTIONS or read the text below:

Small Closet Solutions

Photo: locoboy.com

Your first task is to clear out items you don’t use regularly—you may be surprised at how much space that creates. Then start hunting for extra space.

The back of the door is a great place to start. Instead of just a hook or two, consider installing a shoe rack or other organizer on the back of your closet door. Use the whole height of the door, top to bottom. Then turn your attention to the shelf—most shelves have three or four inches of unused space below them, where you can slip in an under-shelf wire basket. Finally, check the floor. If yours is a jumble of shoes, clothes, and clutter, you’re wasting precious space. Once those shoes are in a rack and the clutter moved into new baskets, you may be able to fit more shelves or even a small chest of drawers in there.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


Storage Starved? 6 Tips and Tricks Anyone Can Use

Author Janet Lee reveals six small space storage solutions as valuable to apartment renters as they are to homeowners.

Small Space Storage Solutions

Photo: Aimee Herring

Over the past 20 years, author, blogger, and television producer Janet Lee has lived in a dozen small apartments, none of them larger than 750 square feet. Small wonder that she’s earned a wealth of knowledge about making the most out of less-than-spacious spaces.

Through her blog, Living in a Nutshell, and her book, Living in a Nutshell: Posh and Portable Decorating Ideas for Small Spaces, Lee offers advice on maximizing the real estate you’ve got, however limited it may be. Her small space storage solutions reveal your home’s hidden storage potential.

Small Space Storage Solutions - Living in a Nutshell

Photo: amazon.com

1. Outer Edges of Bookcases
Increase the storage capacity of a bookcase, armoire, or any wall-mounted cabinet by simply attaching racks, hooks, or shelving to the outer sides of the unit. Lee points out, “The trick is to keep the color or materials of the add-on shelving consistent with the style of the bookcase itself.”

2. Over the Fridge
The storage-starved among us typically leverage the space above the refrigerator. Lee suggests organizing items you keep here into coordinating boxes. Or if the appliance occupies an unusually tight space, install a curtain that extends down only low enough to conceal the loose collection of items the top of your fridge holds.

3. A Folding Screen’s Flipside
Capitalize on the fact that guests so rarely see the back of your folding screen: Add over-the-door shoe bags or hang a laundry bag from a small hook. Of course, the room divider must be sturdy enough to support the weight of whatever you choose to hide behind the panel; wood-framed designs are ideal.

Related: 11 Sneaky Storage Ideas

Small Space Storage Solution - Rubber Boating Straps

Photo: Aimee Herring

4. Underneath Sofas and Living Room Chairs
We all know what a godsend a storage bin under the bed can be. So why stop there? Lee asks. Stow baskets and bins beneath furniture beyond the bedroom. A good place to start is the living room sofa. For easy access (and to prevent floor damage), enhance your bins with caster wheels. Lee advises, ”Choose sliders you can attach with screws or nuts for a secure fit.”

5.  Hallway Walls
Transform tiny hallways and foyers into stylish catchalls with this inexpensive trick: Stretched across a wall or frame, rubber boating straps can support mail, keys, small toys and shoes—any possession you want to keep within arm’s reach, ready to be grabbed at a moment’s notice.

6. Closet Doorknobs
Here’s another great small space storage solution: “When you are trying to maximize your closet’s full storage potential, don’t forget the doorknobs,” says Lee. Hang coordinating tote bags printed with decorative designs to keep stockings, scarves, and socks neatly contained and instantly accessible.


Closet Organization 101

So many closet storage conundrums are solved, not by adding space, but rather by using space more effectively.

How to Organize Your Closet

Photo: ClosetMaid

Though many of us would rather keep the door closed on the subject of closet organization, cleaning up your act storage-wise can yield abundant daily and long-term benefits.

For starters, well-organized closets are time-savers: It’s much easier and faster to get out of the house in the morning when you can put your hands on exactly what you need. And you can dig into a new project more quickly when you don’t have to search the house to find all the necessary tools and supplies.

Ideally, “You should be able to stand in front of your closet and take everything in at a glance, to see which jacket goes with which pants and which blouse,” says Diana Augspurger, a 30-year veteran of the organization and installation business, and the owner of Creative Storage in Buffalo, NY. Having everything at your fingertips “looks good, feels clean, and is energizing,” she says.

While great storage systems could make it easier to sell a house, they could also make it unnecessary to move: The amount of square footage you have doesn’t matter nearly as much as how well you use it. A small house with well-organized closets has room to accommodate more stuff than a larger home with jumbled storage, according to Augspurger.

How to Organize Your Closet - Storage SystemLike many home improvement projects, planning is the most important step in getting your closets shipshape. It’s helpful to have an overview of the way you’d like to use each space eventually, perhaps earmarking future sites for crafts and hobby supplies, sporting gear, or out-of-season clothing. But the good news is that you don’t have to revamp everything at once. This is a project you can tackle over time, spreading out the emotional and budgetary stress.

Pick one specific closet as a starting point and set a goal of what you aim to accomplish. Make a list of what you want to store there and consider how the closet is letting you down now. For example, do you need more shoe space? Among the many options are keeping them in boxes on shelves, hanging shoe bags, or floor-standing racks or cubbies. Not enough room for hanging clothing? Lots of closets can easily accommodate multi-level bars; consider leveraging the full height of available space with a pull-down clothing rod.

Want more places for folded items like sweaters, pajamas, and underwear? Shelves, drawers, cubbies and even hanging bags can do the job.

Big box stores, storage specialty shops, catalogs and the web all offer a huge spectrum of storage options, from the strictly functional to the highly decorative, from wire systems and clean-looking laminates to wooden cabinetry that would be at home in a kitchen or bathroom. Personal preference, available space, and how much you want to spend will influence your choices. With regard to budget, it’s a good idea to keep your budget in proportion with the overall value of the house, Augspurger says.

Depending on the size of the job and your skills, you may feel comfortable doing all or some of the job yourself. A simple solution might consist of weeding out items you don’t use, then organizing what remains by adding a shelf or two, a shoe rack, or a simple freestanding drawer system tucked beneath hanging clothing.

Get ready to measure—not just the space, but also the items you’ll store. Measure clothing while it’s on the hanger, as garments are longer and wider on a hanger than on the body. If you store your shoes in boxes, measure those too, since large boxes for tall boots may require deeper-than-average shelves.

While you’re measuring, take into consideration allowances for drawers and doors that open, or racks that pull down.

How to Organize Your Closet - Wire ShelvingMake use of overlooked space, adding hooks or shoe bags (the pockets are also great for small items like socks, gloves, and scarves) to the backs of doors. Installing high shelves creates a stash for out-of-season items; as weather demands, you can simply swap out the box of bathing suits, shorts, and tank tops for the box of wooly scarves, hats, and sweatshirts. Use transparent bins, or clearly label each container, so you can find what you need at a glance. And make room in the closet for a folding step stool to enable safe and easy access to the high-up storage.

Professional closet organizers will come to your home to talk over your needs, goals, and preferences; take measurements; draw up plans and make recommendations. “I like to see what people are dealing with,” says Augspurger. Before signing on with a pro, ask about their experience, how they learned the trade, and if they’re certified. Some design-assistance employees may be more experienced offering advice as to what will simply fit versus devising a system to best utilize every bit of space.

If you’re truly “stufficating” in possessions you can’t seem to part with, some closet-org pros are clutter coaches who can help you shed belongings.

It may be easier to let go of things if you feel they’re going to a good home. Consider charitable organizations such as Dressed for Success, which provides business-appropriate clothing to women entering the workforce, or DonateMyDress.org, which offers prom and attire for other special occasions to those in need. Check out local coat drives; church or community organizations that need usable items for fund-raising sales; and schools and assisted-living centers that will accept books, magazines, and art and hobby supplies. If you’re able to sell some of your items at a yard sale, on Craigslist, eBay, or through consignment stores, you may even be able to recoup some of the cost of your spiffy new closet organizers!