Northside SF  

Around the House
Get organized in the new year!
By Julia Strzesieski

Create a hanging collage of your purses
and totes while keeping them organized and
visible with a decorative drapery rod

Along with reactivating that gym membership, shedding a few pounds, and kicking the nicotine habit, getting organized is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions made annually – and probably the most broken too! But who can blame the City dweller? The lack of sufficient closet and cabinet space is often a problem in apartments and older buildings, so creating storage solutions is a challenge familiar to many San Franciscans. Utilizing creative storage solutions can help to maximize your living space and give you a sense of organization. You’ll be surprised how much easier your other resolutions will fall into place when you feel organized.

Survey your space
Assess your living area by looking for storage potential that has escaped your notice. You probably won’t find hidden doors to undiscovered closets, but an objective look at spaces “between, behind, above, and below” can reveal possibilities for storage.

Maximize your areas
Any empty area is a candidate for storage. Install shelf brackets and standards for adjustable shelves in a hallway to hold books and CDs. Take advantage of the high ceilings found in many older buildings: use decorative wooden brackets to put shelves over windows and doors (see my column from November 2010 at Or try a long run of shelving about 12 inches under the ceiling line to display collectibles – just don’t forget Museum Wax to hold your treasures in place.
Organize stored items by making use of the many decorative storage trays, bins and boxes now available.

Kitchen and bath. Create more cabinet space by hanging pots on ceiling racks in the kitchen. Mount under-cabinet glass holders to organize stemware. Tiered wire hanging baskets can be used for produce in the kitchen and for toiletries in the bathroom. Use spinning turntable organizers in both rooms to make items in the back of cabinets easily accessible. Consider converting stationary shelves into rollout drawers for better visibility and access, or installing pullout wire shelving.

If you have a wall-hung sink, a sink skirt can combine style as well as function. You may think a sink skirt is dated, but if you have an older apartment with a lot of character, exploit the kitsch factor by choosing a fun, wild fabric pattern that will liven up your space. Simply attach the skirt to the sink base with Velcro so it will be detachable for laundering. Use plastic or wire baskets to store items under the sink.

Closets. Increase hanging space in your closets by adding an extra rod. Short items like jackets, skirts and pants can be hung above and below. A hanging rod can be made easily: cut a closet dowel to size, screw eyebolts into the ends, and attach chains with S-hooks. Use large S-hooks on the other end of the chain to hang the dowel from the existing rod.

Shoe racks are a necessity, and they are available in myriad styles and sizes. Racks, shoe bags, and other storage accessories can be mounted on or hung over hinged doors.

Besides shoes, some of us may be a little obsessive with the pocketbooks and tote bags. This is an easy fix: hang a decorative drapery rod along a wall or inside a closet door for an easy way to organize all those fabulous purses. 

Bedroom. Make the most of the space that too often becomes the black hole of every home: under the bed. There are many boxes, drawers and wheeled containers designed especially to fit under beds. If necessary, you can raise your bed a few inches to accommodate the containers with ready-made risers or plumbing parts: use a threaded base piece to sit on the floor and short threaded pipes to hold the caster pin on the bed frame. (Note: Plan ahead and consider that your bedspread or bed skirt will be readjusted up off of the floor.)

The less space you have, the more creative you need to be, but the more organized your living area, the more spacious it will feel. And, an organized space helps create an organized, less stressful life.

Julia Strzesieski is marketing coordinator at Cole Hardware and can be reached at

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September 2011 Issue


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