From the June/July 2010 Issue:

32 Ways to Get Organized

This is a great time of year to get organized. Throw open the windows to let in fresh air, donate clothes and anything else you haven’t used in more than a year, and organize what’s left using some of the fun, convenient, innovative products available today.

Family Spaces

1. Bright ideas

Storage bins, cabinets, shelves, and hooks from MOBOS come in 13 colors and various shapes so you can customize them to your needs. They are made in South Amboy from recycled steel with non-toxic coatings. The hexagon shape in shady teal is $32.99; the square in orange is $29.99. MOBOS in Asbury Park, 877-696-6267 or

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enlarge | Courtesy of California Closets
2. Premium Space

A wall dominated by a fireplace left few storage options in the room. But Kevin Speicher of California Closets in Fairfield designed a media center that fills the remaining space side to side and floor to ceiling. Entertainment components, books, and decorative accessories now have a home in the media center, made of the company’s Bellissima White Lago™ with paneled doors and drawers, oil-rubbed bronze hardware, crown molding, and Black Galaxy granite counters. 973-882-3800 or

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enlarge | Courtesy of L.D. Burke Designs
3. Message Master

Black, white, and cork boards surround a shelf with key hooks in a message center that Laurie Burke of L.D. Burke Designs in Monmouth Beach created for the back hall of her clients’ home. Family members drop the mail and school papers here as well as charge electronic devices inside the upper cabinets. Below, file drawers keep household information organized. 732-229-8200.

4. Organize Online

Declutter your media cabinet by letting YesVideo Inc. organize your old VHS and 8mm home movies on professional-style DVDs and — for the day when DVDs go the way of the dinosaur — online through the new MemorySafe™ program. MemorySafe allows secure online viewing and sharing of videos and photos. A 30-day trial is free; a one-year subscription is $9.99 per video. 877-817-5375 or

5. Mudroom Master

The goal was to make the most of mudroom space with a locker/bench combination by Town & Country Kitchen and Bath in Red Bank. Each locker has room to hang coats and a shelf for hats and gloves, with cubbies underneath for shoes and boots. The bench is a convenient spot to put on and take off shoes and also has two drawers for extra storage. Shown in cherry with a champagne stain and black glaze. Prices start at $5,000, based on design, door style, finish, and wood species. 732-345-1441 or

6. Delicious Fun

OK, so organizing your candy may not be at the top of your to-do list. But you might want to move it up a few notches just to have fun with vintage-inspired glass containers on cast iron bases. Each measures 131/2 inches high and 10 inches deep and sells for $68 at Nest Interieurs in Marlboro. 732-536-6378.

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enlarge | Courtesy of the homeowner
7. Meeting Needs

One goal of a renovation in Colts Neck was to include a mudroom wall unit that was rugged yet attractive. The homeowner wanted each family member to have his or her own hooks and drawers. Now backpacks, baseball caps, and winter gear all have a place. Each family member uses the slim top drawers differently — the wife for sunglasses and gloves; the kids for electronic gaming systems and pens and pencils for school. The homeowner mandated that one of the five units have a door with power strips for a behind-the-scenes place to charge phones, iPods, and cameras. The same area holds an electric pencil sharpener, batteries, and flashlights. “I can’t say that everything makes it back to where it belongs,” the homeowner says. “The backpacks still end up on the floor, but at least there’s a place for them.” If she had it to do over again? “I would have included an electrical outlet in each cubby — each family member seems to accumulate all kinds of chargers and electronic gadgets, and having power in each cubby would have been an easy add-on when we were building,” she says. “But I’m still thankful we have it — every single day.” It was designed by Jill Ryan of Morrissey & Thompson-Ryan Interior Design in Little Silver (732-576-1515, and built by RHI Professional Contractors in Freehold (732-625-8188,


8. Useful Utensils

How much time do you waste digging through the gaggle of gadgets in your kitchen drawers? Rich Maid Kabinetry teamed with Hafele, a European manufacturer of kitchen organization systems, to offer a drawer insert that comes complete with utensils. $450. Smaller sizes with fewer accessories are $350 and $250. Other accessories and inserts are available, all in a go-with-anything Champagne metal finish and non-slip surface coating.
800-295-2912 or

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enlarge | Courtesy of Coffee Talk Kitchens/Dynamic Contracting
9. Small-Space Function

A small corner gets a big dose of functionality from Coffee Talk Kitchens/Dynamic Contracting in Ledgewood. A floor-to-ceiling cabinet (21 inches wide, 101 inches high, 24 inches deep) displays creamy ironware on top and folded table linens in pullout drawers below, eliminating the need to dig through deep drawers. A window seat also serves as storage space and a perch where pets can look outside. $3,740 for the cabinet and seat (seat fabric and installation not included). 973-598-1414,, or

10. Hidden Convenience

With today’s every-growing range of kitchen accessories, a convenient combination of pullout drawers and tray partitions provides ample storage regardless of size and shape. Wood-Mode Fine Custom Cabinetry offers a variety of storage options for the kitchen, bath, home office, and other rooms. For a Wood-Mode showroom in your neighborhood, go to or call T.O. Gronlund Co. at 212-679-3535.

11. Narrow opportunities

Take advantage of narrow spaces with a pull-out pantry like this one from the Inovae series by Plato Woodwork. The pantry and the three drawers below it all glide on full-extension, soft-close slides for easy access. 800-328-5924 or

Home Bars

12. Behind Closed Doors

Open the doors to this home bar cabinet from Zaksons Fine Furniture and you’ll find plenty of space for glasses, dishware, wine and water bottles and everything else you’ll need to serve your guests in style. It’s available with different exterior and interior options, starting at $6,240. Zaksons in Brick at 732-477-8400 and Red Bank at 732-383-5890,

13. For Smokers Too

This custom wine cooler by Affordable Closets Plus features a humidor drawer with a see-through glass top for cigar aficionados. The back wall holds a display shelf, while a full-length pull-out unit to the right (not shown) stores barware for convenient serving. The cabinetry is maple with a cinnamon stain. 800-823-4227 or

14. True Cocktail Table

The Dark Wellington Cottage cocktail table from Maitland-Smith features a multistone inlay on top, brass tack accent and — surprise — storage drawers with slots for wine bottles on one side and a lift-out tray and more storage on the other. $10,197. For a source, 336-812-2400 or


15. Advance Planning

Don’t want to disturb the household while rummaging through your closet for something to wear each morning? Choose your outfit before going to bed and hang it on the Double, a wall-mounted clothes rack by Eurotrend Furniture LLC in New York City to make dressing a snap in the morning. The hanging bar is ash, the frame is metal. $385. A freestanding version is called the Clip. 212-343-1043 or

16. New Heights

The Wardrobe Lift System from Architectural Products by Outwater in Bogota allows you to organize clothing using vertical closet space without the aid of a chair, ladder, or stool. The lift features a hydraulic pull-down clothing rod. The deluxe model has a soft-close mechanism that slowly draws the bar back to the upright position. It accommodates closets from 18 to 48 inches wide and retails for $75.98 to $82.88. An economy model without the soft-close feature for closets from 32 to 46 inches wide is $41.75 ($34.82 each for six or more units). Architectural Products by Outwater, 800-835-4400 or

17. Flip Top

Under-bed storage isn’t new, but BoConcept raises the bar with a queen-size bed featuring a mattress that rises to reveal storage space underneath. Black-stained oak veneer. $1,499 for queen size, not including the mattress. Perfect for apartments, condos, and vacation homes. BoConcept in Edgewater, Paramus, and Princeton.

18. Coming Together

A custom closet designed by Aparna Vijayan of Ulrich Inc. in Ridgewood addresses structural issues as well as a long list of customer needs. The project combined two walk-in closets, one of which had access to pull-down attic stairs. Vijayan designed a coffered ceiling and incorporated the pull-down into the grid to camouflage it. The homeowners wanted a traditional English look as well as room for ties, belts, scarves, sweaters, trousers, dresses, suits, shoes, lingerie, handbags, and luggage. Included are secure jewelry storage, a hamper and, on the wall not shown, a window seat and full-length mirrors. The closets are cherry with a burgundy finish, the floors are Brazilian cherry, and the chandelier is by Schonbek.
201-445-1260 or

19. Easy Access

An island by The Closet Gallery in Medford features multiple rows of drawers so the homeowners don’t have to dig to reach clothing at the bottom. The expansive top provides ample space to fold clothing. Floor-to-ceiling closets, an attractive alternative to walk-in closets, take advantage of the daylight streaming in the room. The firm’s standard amenities include 2mm edge banding on all shelves and vertical panels, a choice of hardware, and full-extension, heavy-duty drawer slides. Thermofoil drawer and door styles include traditional raised panel, contemporary flat panel, cottage bead board, and frosted glass. Projects similar to the one shown range from $7,500 to $15,000. 609-714-8282 or

20. A Place for Everything

The handcrafted Louis XV Normandy Chateau Armoire by The Devon Shop in New York City was designed with specific storage solutions in mind, including spaces for shirts, sweaters, handbags, scarves, shoes, hats, and lingerie. Shown in white maple and white oak with a French cherry finish. A four-door version is available. Interiors, wood, finishes, and size are to the client’s specifications and priced accordingly. The Devon Shop, 212-686-1760 or


21. Give it a Whirl

Storage carousels move from the kitchen to the bathroom in this Venetian-inspired cabinetry by Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry. The cabinetry features the company’s Vogue door style with ogee cope edge in maple with a standard black finish. Other features include a divided drawer and hidden hamper. Cranbury Design Center in Hightstown, Distinctive Kitchens & Baths in Cedar Knolls, Hasco Building Supply in West Orange, J.M. Custom Kitchens in Middletown, Kitchens of Distinction in Randolph, Morgan House Interiors in Clinton, Robinwood Kitchens in Berkeley Heights, Turano Design Studio in Upper Montclair, Universal Builders in Manasquan, and U.S. Kitchens & Baths in East Hanover. For other sources, 800-447-9006 or

22. Cabinetry Cube

The Lb3 bathroom trolley by Laufen features one main drawer and an inner drawer for additional organizational options, all in a small cabinet you can tuck out of the way when not in use. The unit weighs just under 45 pounds and has wheel locks for stability. $1,470. For a source, 866-696-2493 or

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enlarge | Photo by Paul S. Bartholomew Photography
Kids’ Rooms

23. Decorative Solution

Linda McGuirl of Totten-McGuirl Interiors in Basking Ridge solved a storage dilemma in her teenaged son’s room by designing an entire wall of cabinetry around a window. Cubbies above the window hold books and helmets, while long cabinets on both sides of the window and drawers with soft-close hinges help keep his clothing organized. The new cabinetry allowed space for a window seat where his friends can sit when they visit. “It’s a friendlier and more decorative space as well as being more organized,” McGuirl says. The curtain rods and rings are hand-forged iron. Totten-McGuirl Interiors, 908-580-9572 or

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enlarge | Courtesy of the Homeowner
24. Book Lover

Books double as works of art in this Manalapan bedroom. Homeowner Regina Carroll came up with the idea to consolidate her 6-year-old son Jordan’s books, which had been stored in the library, playroom, and bedroom. She bought 12 picture ledges from Pottery Barn and created a British Kenya Library in the room. “In addition to being thrilled with a library of his own, the best feature is that the covers of the books are visible, not just the spines as with traditional book storage,” she says. This enables Jordan to quickly locate the book he wants to read.

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enlarge | Courtesy of the Homeowner
25. Taking Action

When Joan Gifas’ two boys were young, they loved to play with action hero toys. They didn’t even mind helping with the cleanup, except it was hard to keep the different sets separate and organized. The Montvale mom found a solution in plastic tubs (one for each set of characters, such as Ninja Turtles and Rescue Heroes) and 81/2-by-11-inch mailing labels. She found pictures of each game online, printed them on the labels, and placed one on each plastic bin. “It kept the playroom organized and enabled the kids — mine and friends’ — to clean up so we can find everything again when we need it,” she says.

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enlarge | Courtesy of European Country Kitchens
26. Fantasy Armoire

The female form with outstretched arms inspired this custom armoire designed and crafted by European Country Kitchens, headquartered in Bloomsbury with design studios in Millburn and a retail location in Long Branch. Not only does the armoire feature ample storage behind the upper doors and lower drawer, but the desk top slides forward to reveal additional space. Available in any color. 908-479-6000 or

27. Rack ’em Up

Slat Racks from Wallter are a cool way for kids to keep their rooms organized. The powder-coated steel rack is 22 by 18 inches and comes in green white, chocolate, and orange. $145. Inmod in Haworth, JaZams in Pennington, Morgan House Interiors in Clinton, and Reinboth Home & Garden in Lambertville. 510-232-5018 or


28. Toy Central

Corral your pet’s favorite belongings with the Chatham Toybox by Up Country. Designed by a Rhode Island School of Design graduate, it’s made of interlocking pieces so it can be broken down for easy storage. $96 and available in four finishes. 800-541-5909 or

29. Meal Time

Never wonder again whether you’re feeding your pet the right food. Harry Barker’s dog and cat food storage cans are FDA-approved for food safety and come in three sizes and four colors (white, galvanized silver, Windsor blue, Windsor beige) with a handy aluminum scoop. Small, $44; medium, $48; larger, $52. 800-444-2779 or


30. Multifunctional Space

A custom garage features Deco-style drawers and cabinets (some with glass inserts), a slat wall and hanging accessory racks for storing tools and gardening supplies, durable butcher block countertops, and low-maintenance flooring, all from Closets by Design servicing Northern and Central New Jersey. For pricing and options, 800-293-3744 or

31. Looking Up

If the floor space in your garage is already filled, look up. Overhead storage units from Premier Garage of Central New Jersey in East Windsor are made of 14-gauge steel and come in customizable heights, three shelf depths, 11 sizes, several accessory types, and four main ways to use them. They hold up to 600 pounds. 609-443-7590, 732-409-7707, or

32. Convenient Cabinets

Aldo Design Group carries organizing products ranging from bike racks to storage for tools and gardening supplies. Showrooms in Bayonne or Carteret showcase organization products for use throughout the home. 888-265-2536 or

Additional Tips From Readers

- To keep bills organized, Maureen Bartoli of Montvale labels each section of an accordion folder with the companies that send an invoice each month. Each time she receives an invoice, she files it in the appropriate section and puts the folder back on the kitchen closet shelf. At the end of the year, she transfers each section into a filing cabinet.

- Every six months or so, Kathleen Mendes of Sparta picks one room and cleans it thoroughly, including moving furniture and organizing closets and doors. The next day or next weekend, she moves on to another room. “At the end of the process, each room has had a great cleaning, and things are organized and weeded out in the process,” she says.

- To keep everything safe and secure, Cherie Leanza of Bernardsville had a slot cut in a bookcase in her home office. As the mail arrives, she and her husband drop bills and other private documents through the slot and into a locked drawer. When it’s time to pay bills, they know that no one else has seen their private information lying around and that it is in a secure spot.