give your closet a makeover

The closet you’ve always wanted may be only 10 steps away.Professional organizer Monica Friel has seen it all–from closets so full you can’t open the door to closets blocked by all the clothes and belongings filling the floor. We thought if she could handle those messes, your closet should be easy. And according to Friel, who has appeared as an organizational expert on popular television shows, your dream closet is only 10 steps away. Let’s get started:

Purge, purge & purge some more

“You wear 20 percent of your clothes, 80 percent of the time,” Friel said, who owns Chaos to Order. “The more you get rid of, the simpler it is to find things. If you keep too much, you can’t find what’s important.” What should go? Clothing that doesn’t fit, hasn’t been worn in the last year, and is not in season or needs mending or cleaning. Sentimental or keepsake items should also be moved elsewhere.

United we stand

There’s no need to invest in a pricey organizational system to give your closet a crisp, uniform look. Instead, invest in a collection of the same hangers. Friel prefers thin clear plastic hangers rather than tubular plastic ones (”they take up too much room,” she said) or popular felt-covered slim hangers (“they’re cumbersome; you have to peel clothes off them,” she noted).

Clients, she said, are surprised by the impact. “It makes a big difference,” she said of the hangers, which should face the same direction. “It’s a little more like a store. They love that.”

Then donate hangers that don’t match and recycle those from the dry cleaner, except the pant hangers, which Friel uses in her closet.

Create order

Then begin to gather and hang like items. Place skirts, dress pants, jeans, sweaters and jackets together. Don’t forget about shoes, handbags and scarves. Then group by color, light to dark, and by length, so that long pieces and short pieces hang together, respectively.

Divide and conquer

If you have drawers in your closet, Friel recommends Dream Drawer Organizers to arrange socks. Because they’re spring-loaded, the dividers can adjust to whether you’re storing thin trouser socks or thick wool socks.

Think outside the box

Not everything has to go inside your closet, Friel said. For shoes, consider under-the-bed shoe dividers or display your shoes on shelves or ladders.

Let there be light

“If your closet is dark and dreary, you won’t want to be in there,” she said. “Lighting is huge. It perks up all clothes and they look better.”

Recessed can lighting brightens closets without taking up too much space, Friel said. Or for serious closet lovers, install a chandelier.

Get creative

Think beyond hangers or drawers and use vertical space to display jewelry in a shadow box or picture frame. Friel also suggests placing small plastic adhesive hooks on an empty wall to hold jewelry or scarves. Rows of larger hooks can be especially useful in children’s closets because they’re easier on little hands. “It’s little less likely it’ll end up on the floor,” Friel said, joking, “but there’s no guarantee.”

Friel also has used foam pool noodles and rolled magazines and newspapers to keep boots in shape.

Purge again

Be critical of what takes center stage in your closet. Friel said, ask yourself, “Can those jackets and blazers go in a front hall closet?” or “Do I need those special occasion shoes or dresses to be front and center?”

Any pieces collecting dust? “If they’re in there long enough to get dusty, they shouldn’t be in your closet,” Friel remarked.

Moving up

Make the most of high spaces by using baskets marked with big labels or old luggage tags, “but never put a basket up high without a label,” she warned. High shelves are the perfect place to store out-of-season gear or rarely used pieces like ski pants. Friel recommends using Ziploc®brand Flexible Totes to store off-season clothes or shoes on higher shelves because the totes are lighter and more flexible than plastic bins.

Keep it going

Don’t think all the work stops here. Predict your needs so your closet won’t get cluttered again. Friel recommends placing a basket or bin within arm’s reach for out-going clothes, such as those to be donated or stored away for the season.

Then take a moment to enjoy the fruits of your labor. “People are so excited,” Friel said about a clutter-free, organized closet. “People just love to have that sense of peace and calm of having everything in order.”

How To Choose The Best Style For Your Home Or Business

Before choosing a mail slot it is important to understand the basic functioning behind it. During the early days of mail delivery the postman would deliver mail to each home and needed to wait for residents to answer the door to receive letters. The amount of time this took would significantly slow down the postman’s ability to reach multiple houses in a timely fashion during the day and thus slow down the overall efficiency of the mail delivery. The mail slot was created as a means for delivery to still occur even when residents were not home or simply unable to answer the door.

Mail slots vary widely however and selecting a mail slot that is not only architecturally consistent with the style of your home but also meets your needs for mail delivery is important. There are many factors to consider when selecting a new mail slot that will be covered in this article.

Size Matters!

Think that any size slot will work? Think again. Review the type of mail you receive and consider the condition you would like to receive it in. Magazines and large envelopes can be particularly problematic if they need to be shoved into a small mail slot- they can be torn or damaged by the force required to fit them through a small mail slot.

Standard mail slots range in size but a good choice (depending on the type of mail you receive) is anywhere from 9 to 13 inches. Larger mail slots are more appropriate in homes and businesses that receive large envelopes and magazines frequently.

Single or Double Flap?

Many mail slots have a single or double flap option available and this can seem slightly confusing. Most mail slots will have a front flap and an interior back plate – this means when the flap is lifted there will be a hole in the door leading directly through to the entryway with no barrier to cover it.

A double flap mail slot means there is a flap on both sides of the door. This option is a good choice when a door is frequently exposed weather elements such as rain or snow or as simply a way to ensure privacy.

What’s a good Height?

Mail slots are traditionally installed on the lower half of the door but installing a mail slot too close to the base of the door can be problematic for the mail carrier to delivery items easily. Take into account that your mail carrier has a long route and needs to be able to find your mail slot quickly. Installing the slot about waist height or higher is a good rule of thumb for most mail slots.

What is a Sleeve?

A sleeve is used most frequently in hollow doors or to cover the cut out in a solid door. It is a thin piece of metal that is the size of the hole and fits between the front and rear plates of the mail slot inside the door. Not all sleeves are the same size so choose carefully.

Mounting Questions?

Depending on the mail slot it may use front mounting wood screws or longer rear mounting screws. Thicker or thinner screws may require special or custom length screws for proper installation. Ask a contractor to assist you if you are unsure about cutting the hole for your door.

Review

Choose a high quality mail slot (solid brass construction is best) and pay attention to key factors such as size and installation height. If you are replacing an older mail slot it is especially important to choose a mail slot that will be compatible in size with the original hole. Overall size and hole size are two separate measurements and should be taken into account when selecting a new mail slot.

Coordinate your new mail slot with your existing hardware or create a new entryway set with compatible designs. A mail slot can be plain or extremely ornate – the choice is entirely up to you! Select a finish that is the same or similar to any existing hardware to ensure to complete look for your front door.

Although the use of mail slots has significantly decreased over the past century it can still be seen in many historical and smaller towns. It is a convenient way to receive mail if door to door service is still used in that area or simply a wonderful decorative touch for the front door in general.

Need more advice? Check out LookInTheAttic & Company for more great tips, information and a wide selection of mail slots for any home or business.

5 Ways to Create a Cozy Home

Think you have to sacrifice comfort for sophistication? Think again. Plush, inviting furniture paired with eclectic accents lets you stretch out in style.

Play With Color

Color connects a riot of items: Deep magenta travels from the rug to the basket to the pillow pile. Ankara Soumak jute rug, $590 (five by eight feet), burkedecor.com. Polywood side tables (similar to shown), $149 each, serenityhealth.com. Terrarium, $85, adorenyc.com for info. Large lidded basket, $175, calypsostbarth.com. Orange mohair pillow (left), $139, roomandboard.com. Striped pillow (front), $225, johnderian.com for info. Sumba antique pillow (behind striped pillow), $285, andriannashamarisinc.com for info. Large ivory cotton pillows, $128 each, ochrestore.com. Gray linen pillows (stacked at right), $74 each, canvashomestore.com.

Mix and Match Materials

Create Your Own Work of Art

A composed display feels friendly and charming against a casual (and marked-up) chalkboard wall. The recipe? Something high and curvy, something low and wide, and a natural element that offers a burst of color.

Soft materials—rich velvet upholstery and a luxe alpaca throw—clustered with hard, shiny surfaces create intriguing tactile interplay (sort of makes you want to pet the furniture). Don’t be afraid to tuck a big, generous chair into a snug nook for an intimate reading spot. Bellington chair, $2,195, jaysonhomeandgarden.com for info. Baby-alpaca throw, $385, mgbwhome.com for stores. Enzo Articulated lamp by Roost, $465, asraigarden.com for info. Lacquered document chest, $900,

Invite Nature Inside

A terrarium, like a bowl of fish, adds life to a room. It also reflects light, so it’s nice for brightening dark walls. Delicate greenery feels calming and homey—and sophisticated when contrasted in a sleek, modern orb

Embrace Spontaneity

Quirky vignettes are perfect for drawing visitors away from the main seating area toward intimate corners. Unexpected juxtapositions, like a low-riding chandelier above a tufted ottoman, spark curiosity and add delight.

10 Home Renovations That Offer the Best return on Investment

If you are planning of reselling your Pennsylvania home, it is time to start sprucing it up. It might seem like a costly venture, but a recent report by National Association of Realtors® (NAR) shows this is one of the best real estate investment opportunities for homeowners with an average ROI of 60%. To get the highest value for your property, you need to identify the top remodeling projects that will give you the best ROI.

Here are some ideas:

Kitchen Rules

Most people spend time in the kitchen and it is a focal area that a homebuyer will be looking at. During an open house, most buyers make a beeline for the cooking space. You need to have nice stainless steel appliances, modern cabinetry, energy efficient appliances and smart kitchen tops to win a bargaining hand during negotiations.

Flooring

When an investor comes to your home, they will instantly look at the floor and if it is chipped and faded you will not get a good deal. There are myriad flooring options to choose from, but always stay away from the cheap laminate products because keen buyers will smell this out. Real-wood floors are big winners but you can also go for high quality engineered products.

Baths

This is a no-brainer for every homeowner; people love to spend a relaxing moment in their baths and no one wants to immediately start refurbishing after moving in.Consider lighting, marble tops, custom showers, décor and the floors to spruce up the room.

Attic Bedrooms

If you have this space at your home, make sure you spruce it because NAR® reckons you will recoup 72% on the project costs.

Wall Siding

For older homes, this is one of the most suave remodeling projects for a home resale. There are myriad wall siding products to choose from including vinyl, fiber-cement and wood among others.

Energy Efficient Windows and Doors

The modern real estate investor is very conscious and if you have invested in green living solutions such as these they will be ready to deal. They know there are savings to enjoy and many more benefits when they buy.

Deck and Patios Additions

Remodeling magazine reports that these additions can easily recoup 72% on investment, which is a big win for you. They give your home a touch of grandeur that buyers crave.

HVAC Replacement

This is a unique way of priming your property for a quick resale and high ROI. You will not only be looking at rebates, but also energy savings after the project.

Lighting

You don’t have to flood your home with new lights but creative lighting including sunroom additions, recessed kitchen lights and dimmer switches will make your indoor quite arresting.

Basement Remodel

This neglected space can be turned into an alluring space through simple waterproofing and planning techniques. If buyers realize they have one more finished room with an egress window for natural light, you can bet you will get good ROI on your renovation.