NEWS

Home Help: Space-saving storage

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Home Improvements: Make the most of your space

Lack of space is a challenge for many homeowners, and properly using the space you do have is the best solution.

Mervyn Kaufman, author "Store It!" says that before adding or rearranging storage in any room, examine and evaluate. Keep what's needed. Then, begin your space-saving journey.

Entryway

First impressions are lasting ones, so if totes and umbrellas, shoes and boots are cluttering the entrance of your home, make them disappear without becoming inaccessible.

Consider a bench with added storage space under a lift-up seat as a convenient clutter catcher, complete with niches for stashing caps, gloves and scarves yet a handy spot for shoe-boot exchanges.

Splurge on a wall-mounted cabinet or a handsome hardwood storage piece to hide keys, garage door openers, newspapers and mail, keeping them out of sight yet close at hand as needed.

Living room

Don't let the idea of a formal living room dissuade you from making it a storage workhorse. A coffee table with an open shelf or shallow drawers can be more than an elegant surface for coffee service or a floral arrangement.

Corners and wall space between and around windows cry out for hardwood chests and unique built-ins to display collectibles or stash coasters, cocktail napkins and other entertaining essentials.

Kitchen

Add greater functionality to your kitchen by incorporating cabinets with accessories that remove clutter and make neatness second nature - dividers to organize drawers, carousel shelving so nothing gets buried in corner cabinets, deep cabinet drawers to store cookware or stacked dinnerware.

Be creative. Fill unused space between base cabinets with retractable kitchen-towel bars or narrow pull-out spice drawers. Even install a shallow tilt-out drawer in front of your sink for sponges or small-scale cleaning tools.

Dining room

Today's dining rooms double as libraries, music rooms or places to do homework or crafts. If cramped for storage, look for a dining table - new or heirloom - with drawers beneath its top surface.

A hutch, sideboard or breakfront lends practicality, warmth and style as long as it complements the look of your dining table and chairs. A wall of books exploits wall space and adds character.

TV room

Near the TV, stereo or beside the kids' play area, consider freestanding storage - a hutch, entertainment center or a clutch of bookcases.

Use overlooked spaces by adding a low cupboard under a window, building a window seat, or placing a low bookcase against the back of a sofa. Simply organize and store essentials according to where you'll use them.

Bedroom

And finally, end those bedroom blahs by eliminating clutter. Dressers with deep drawers increase storage efficiency. Nightstands with niches or shallow drawers are great for glasses, remote controls and reading material.

Open shelving with pull-out baskets can store socks, hose, scarves and undergarments. And consider adding a window seat to store extra quilts and linens.

True, only you may see the room, but an uncluttered bedroom - yours or your kids' - is the most livable one.

-- ARA

Decorating Tip: Use candles for holiday decor

- On the stairs: Illuminate your staircase with an arrangement of candles in bowls or hurricane vase. To keep the decorations safe, use battery-powered candles or make sure not to leave lit candles unattended.

- Sweet smells: Arrange jelly jars single file on a countertop or shelf. Add a votive candle to each jar, and line the rims with a fragrant wreath of rosemary, thyme or any herb you prefer.

- Fireplace glow: Instead of stocking your fireplace with wood, place a variety of candles complemented by greenery and pinecones.

-- "BHG.com's 100 Days of Holidays," www.bhg.com/holidays

Home-Selling Tip: Assessing market conditions

When you’re making the decision to sell your home, keep in mind that it is worth only what a qualified buyer is willing to pay at the time it’s on the market. Be aware of the current market, including the going price for homes in your area.

-- California Association of Realtors

How To: Make your own glass cleaner

There are a variety of glass cleaners on the market, but if you’re looking to make your own, try the following concoction:

In a 1-gallon container, mix ½ cup sudsy ammonia, 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid, 1 pint rubbing alcohol and enough water to make a gallon.

Pour some of the cleaner into an empty spray bottle, and store the rest in a safe place.

-- Consumer Reports

Did You Know …

Exposure to radon in the home is responsible for an estimated 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year. Visit www.epa.gov/radon to learn more.

Garden Guide: Grooming houseplants

One you get a houseplant growing, it’s hard to decide what to do when a brown leaf shows up.

If a leaf turns brown, has a hole in it or a spot chewed away, it's not going back to its original state. Cut out damaged or diseased leaves and branches.

When you have to face the fact that a plant cannot be saved, throw it away, soil and all, to prevent the problem from spreading to other plants.

Clean your pruning tools after they have contacted a diseased area or an infected plant. Reuse a container only after washing with a disinfectant and letting it dry completely.

-- www.lowes.com

Backyard Buddies: Get started with bird watching

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there are 51.3 million birders in the U.S., and the number is constantly climbing.

It’s easy to get started – all you need are binoculars, a field book, a notebook and patience.

You can start watching wherever you want, whether it’s your backyard, a local park or an area field. Try to identify the birds you spot, matching them to your field guide. It takes time to learn how to identify birds, so stick with it.

-- birdwatchingforyou.com

GateHouse News Service