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Entries from the ‘Closets’ Category

10 Things to Stop Hoarding

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Every collector knows that there's a fine line between curating an assemblage of treasures and hoarding them, something that happens when a collector loses control (or count) of his treasure trove. Even if you've found yourself close to the latter—it happens so easily with beautiful things especially—be comforted that the season of purging is upon us.

In the spirit of spring cleaning, I've detailed below the clutter-culprits that sneak up most easily in my life.  I also reached out to my friend and organizing expert Anduin Havens to see what she recommends cleaning out. Let me know in the comments below what items you love to collect and the ones you find yourself accidentally hoarding.

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My Top 5

1. Unless you re-use them, eliminate that stash of once-used paper and plastic shopping bags. Paper ones can go right into a recycling bin, and plastic ones can be donated to farmers and flea markets (or even animal shelters) for re-use.

2. Same goes for boxes. Truly beautiful boxes worth keeping are actually rare, so though my Achilles heel is a well-made box, I've limited myself to keeping Hermes and Marc Jacobs boxes.

3. As much as it pains me to say it, get rid of some of your magazines. Rip out the things you're interested in and file them. In the industry we call this "swipe." Martha calls me The Tear-orist because I'm ruthless about ripping things out.

4. Beauty and cleaning products. I don't know what it is, but everyone wants to open that new bottle of product before finishing the last. Toss forgotten half-used bottles or commit to using them up before puncturing a new seal.

5. Mugs. Break them all! Novelty mugs are the bane of my existence. Buy one nice set and leave it at that.

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Anduin's Top 5
1. Get rid of clothing! If you haven't worn it in 7 years, it's wasting space. That size 4 you haven't fit into since the 90's is a pipe dream. More and more re-sell boutiques are cropping up, if it pains you to give away something beautiful.

2. Go through jewelry and accessories regularly. Unless it's a classic piece, be ruthless.

3. Kids toys, books and games. Keep the absolute favorites for posterity but toss the junky plastic that has seen better days. Teach your children about charity by donating gently used items.

4. Electronics that you've replaced with updated technology – bring it to an electronic recycling center.

5. CDs! They take up so much space and can be easily uploaded into a digital computer file. If you must keep the actual CD, get binders so that they store smaller and no matter what, ditch the cases.

Putnam Rolling Ladder Co.

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If you’re a book lover like me, you’ve dreamed of having a room dedicated to your library, with floor to ceiling shelves. One necessary component to that room would be an old-world rolling ladder, to access those hard-to-reach leather bounds on the top shelf. Unfortunately, there aren’t many companies that continue to make these ladders. However, one company, Putnam Rolling Ladder Co., has survived due to top-quality craftsmanship and custom options. I recently visited the company’s headquarters in Manhattan, and sat down to talk with Operations Manager Lloyd Javois.

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Putnam is located in Soho, amidst glitzy fashion houses. It’s a reminder of what the neighborhood used to be before the designers moved in. The company was founded in 1905 and was located on Water St. before moving to the Howard St. address in the 1930s.

And like it’s headquarters, the ladders Putnam churns out are just as enduring. As we tour the Putnam facilities, Lloyd shows me ladders that are 80 years old.

“These things last forever,” he says. “It’s very seldom that we have a ladder that’s less than 10 years old that something gets broken.”

Lloyd says that customers often call in about old ladders found in basements; ladders that can be 60 to 70 years old. These ladders may have lost a fixture or have a worn-out wheel, but these problems are relatively easy to fix. The great thing about Putnam ladders is that they haven’t changed much.

“Over the years very little has changed on the ladder. Maybe the tires might be a little different than they were 20 years ago but it’s still universal as far as the fit. So it may be made out of a different material now, but it still fits an older fixture,’” says Lloyd.

Putnam ladders are not antiques though. With their variety of fixtures and finishes, each customer can make a ladder personalized to their home design. Updated fixtures are what have kept the ladders relevant over the years.

“Sometimes it gets very trendy,” Lloyd tells me. “Right now everyone wants bronze or antique bronze [fixtures]. That kind of stuff is very common now as opposed to ten years ago it was mostly polished brass or polished chrome.”

And in the age of the digital e-readers like the iPad, Kindle and NOOK, libraries are no longer an essential room in the house. This has changed who the Putnam customer is.

“The purpose has expanded. When I first started working here, it was mainly libraries. Also, a lot of stores use them in their stock room. One of our biggest customers is Foot Locker,” Lloyd says. “We can take the same ladder and dress it up and dress it down. The function is the same but in one case the appeal is not as important as the function. When, with most libraries the appeal is most of the job. Function is secondary.”

There’s really no end to the spaces that could use rolling ladders. And if you buy from Putnam, you’ll get a ladder that will last a lifetime. Just take a look at some of the photos I took of the Putnam headquarters, and inspirational images of rooms with rolling ladders.

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Lloyd said this ladder was probably 80 years old. That's amazing!

1 Lloyd said this ladder was probably 80 years old. That's amazing!

A small ladder is on display in the Putnam offices on Howard St. in Soho.

2 A small ladder is on display in the Putnam offices on Howard St. in Soho.

On the far right you can see a picture of founder Samuel Putnam.

3 On the far right you can see a picture of founder Samuel Putnam.

These racks are where they dry finished fixtures. The racks look like dripping, silvery ice.

4 These racks are where they dry finished fixtures. The racks look like dripping, silvery ice.

Putnam also sells standard ladders.

5 Putnam also sells standard ladders.

The metal scraps look like tiny metallic crumbs.

6 The metal scraps look like tiny metallic crumbs.

A collection of old ladders. Putnam keeps old ladders if they are structurally sound, and resells them. It's good to see that no ladders are trashed unnecessarily.

7 A collection of old ladders. Putnam keeps old ladders if they are structurally sound, and resells them. It's good to see that no ladders are trashed unnecessarily.

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Lloyd shows me one of the ladder wheels.

9 Lloyd shows me one of the ladder wheels.

I love the design. It has so much old-world character.

10 I love the design. It has so much old-world character.

Putnam ladders are assembled at their Soho location, as well as at a satellite facility in Brooklyn.

11 Putnam ladders are assembled at their Soho location, as well as at a satellite facility in Brooklyn.

Barrels and buckets organize screws and bolts.

12 Barrels and buckets organize screws and bolts.

My favorite part of this rolling ladder is the brass metal fixtures. (Pinterest)

13 My favorite part of this rolling ladder is the brass metal fixtures. (Pinterest)

Another great kitchen ladder. (Pinterest)

14 Another great kitchen ladder. (Pinterest)

Even smaller libraries look great with ladders. (Martha Stewart Living, September 2005)

15 Even smaller libraries look great with ladders. (Martha Stewart Living, September 2005)

This ladder is great because it hugs the wall. It saves on space and is very subtle. (Pinterest)

16 This ladder is great because it hugs the wall. It saves on space and is very subtle. (Pinterest)

This fun and bright kitchen is actually our Decorating Editor Rebecca's house. We love her inventive use of the rolling ladder. No more standing on counters to reach for tableware. (September 2008)

17 This fun and bright kitchen is actually our Decorating Editor Rebecca's house. We love her inventive use of the rolling ladder. No more standing on counters to reach for tableware. (September 2008)

I like how the ladder is offset with it's dark color against the bright white of the library shelves. (Pinterest)

18 I like how the ladder is offset with it's dark color against the bright white of the library shelves. (Pinterest)

An impressive library with an equally impressive rolling ladder. (Pinterest)

19 An impressive library with an equally impressive rolling ladder. (Pinterest)

Making Room For Guests For This Thanksgiving

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The holidays are definitely a hectic time -- especially if you are the host. Get ready for this Thanksgiving by planning ahead and organize your entryway, closets, mudroom, kitchen and guest room. With less clutter and a few simple organizational tips you won't feel overwhelmed -- Senior Home Editor Anthony Santelli shows readers in this year's November issue how to prep for guests, now it's actually time to get to it!

When guests arrive they will either come in through the front door or your mudroom. Organize either your foyer closet or mudroom to be ready for the impending loads of coats, scarves, boots, gloves, hats and umbrellas. Here are a few useful ideas to help organize your entry way...

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This entry way has a a Double Hang Closet Rod ($9.99 from The Container Store) -- it provides the perfect extra space to hang double the amount of coats your closet usually can store. Extra hooks on the door come in handy for hand-bags and hanging scarves.

1 This entry way has a a Double Hang Closet Rod ($9.99 from The Container Store) -- it provides the perfect extra space to hang double the amount of coats your closet usually can store. Extra hooks on the door come in handy for hand-bags and hanging scarves.

Organize your personal gloves and scarves in drawers or storeage boxes so they are out of the way when guests arrive, that way your belongings won't get mixed in with theirs.

2 Organize your personal gloves and scarves in drawers or storeage boxes so they are out of the way when guests arrive, that way your belongings won't get mixed in with theirs.

Wherever you keep your maintenance closet, be sure to organize it properly before guests arrive -- that way, when you need supplies to clean up an accident everything will be easy to get to.

3 Wherever you keep your maintenance closet, be sure to organize it properly before guests arrive -- that way, when you need supplies to clean up an accident everything will be easy to get to.

Keep wires organized so they do not get wet near any entryways.

4 Keep wires organized so they do not get wet near any entryways.

I love these rolling bins, they are perfect to go under an entryway bench and they are easy to rinse out and clean -- so putting shoes and boots in them would be a wonderful idea!

5 I love these rolling bins, they are perfect to go under an entryway bench and they are easy to rinse out and clean -- so putting shoes and boots in them would be a wonderful idea!

These bins are perfect for linen closets or foyer closets (bins for scarves, gloves, etc.). The labels are simple to change so they are not perminant. You can find great bins like these at Home Depot in the Martha Stewart line.

6 These bins are perfect for linen closets or foyer closets (bins for scarves, gloves, etc.). The labels are simple to change so they are not perminant. You can find great bins like these at Home Depot in the Martha Stewart line.

Get dry umbrellas out the way by putting them on door hooks.

7 Get dry umbrellas out the way by putting them on door hooks.

I love the different layers of shelving at the bottom of the closet, you can store so much!

8 I love the different layers of shelving at the bottom of the closet, you can store so much!

If you don't have a boot tray handy, just use an old baking sheet to put wet boots on.

9 If you don't have a boot tray handy, just use an old baking sheet to put wet boots on.

Make an average boot tray beautiful by adding some white rocks to the bottom.

10 Make an average boot tray beautiful by adding some white rocks to the bottom.

This rack is perfect to dry hats, scarves and gloves on.

11 This rack is perfect to dry hats, scarves and gloves on.

Here's a great product from the Martha Stewart line at Home Depot -- it's the perfect bench to put in a mudroom, and the bins below are great for storing items.

12 Here's a great product from the Martha Stewart line at Home Depot -- it's the perfect bench to put in a mudroom, and the bins below are great for storing items.

This is the perfect bin to use for storage, they will slide into the compartments in the bench pictured before.

13 This is the perfect bin to use for storage, they will slide into the compartments in the bench pictured before.

This Commercial Grade Garment Rack from Bed Bath and Beyond is the perfect addition to a mudroom when you are expecting many visitors.

14 This Commercial Grade Garment Rack from Bed Bath and Beyond is the perfect addition to a mudroom when you are expecting many visitors.

The Container Store has Command Adhesive Brushed Nickel Hooks -- very useful to have on the back of closet doors to hang handbags, scarves and other accessories.

15 The Container Store has Command Adhesive Brushed Nickel Hooks -- very useful to have on the back of closet doors to hang handbags, scarves and other accessories.

Here is a helpful and simple check list for you to follow for your guests' bedroom:

  • Allot adequate closet and drawer space & provide hangers.
  • Have a full-length mirror in the bedroom.
  • Having a working alarm clock in the bedroom.
  • Invest in a few small touches in the room, such as bottled water, chocolate or fresh flowers.
  • If able to, provide a sitting area with a pillow and throw, an adjacent table, and a good adjustable-brightness lamp in the room your guests will be staying in.
  • Provide extra blankets for temperature control in the bedroom.
  • Provide reading material, including several magazines and a daily newspaper.
  • Stock enough towels, washcloths and hand towels for all guests.
  • Stock up on toilet paper and other necessities and make sure they know where to locate extras.

Having everything your visitors will need already in their reach will allow them the freedom to enjoy the wonderful visit that you are providing. Here are some other great ideas to include in your guests' bathroom...

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Having plenty of towel racks will keep wet towels off the floor and your guests will have dry towels the next time they take a shower.

1 Having plenty of towel racks will keep wet towels off the floor and your guests will have dry towels the next time they take a shower.

Having a few every day toiletries in sight in your guests' bathroom will help them come time to shower and get dressed. I love these stacked cubes used as shelves and the clear jars are perfect for cotton balls and swabs.

2 Having a few every day toiletries in sight in your guests' bathroom will help them come time to shower and get dressed. I love these stacked cubes used as shelves and the clear jars are perfect for cotton balls and swabs.

Buying a few clear, empty bottles and labeling them according to what you fill them will is perfect for a guest bathroom. You can always keep them filled for the next guest that visits.

3 Buying a few clear, empty bottles and labeling them according to what you fill them will is perfect for a guest bathroom. You can always keep them filled for the next guest that visits.

This hair dryer is similar to the ones you may see in hotels -- adding one to your guest bathroom will come in handy!

4 This hair dryer is similar to the ones you may see in hotels -- adding one to your guest bathroom will come in handy!

I love this idea of different color tags on towels, everyone will know which towel is theirs.

5 I love this idea of different color tags on towels, everyone will know which towel is theirs.

Take a clear umbrella stand and turn it into a tube to hold toiletpaper.

6 Take a clear umbrella stand and turn it into a tube to hold toiletpaper.

Again, these bottles were bought empty and items like aloe, lotion and hairspray were poured in to provide guests with the bathroom essentials.

7 Again, these bottles were bought empty and items like aloe, lotion and hairspray were poured in to provide guests with the bathroom essentials.

From The Container Store, these Clear Droplet Bath Accessories are perfect for a guest bathroom. You can keep soap dispensers filled and extra toothbrushes available.

8 From The Container Store, these Clear Droplet Bath Accessories are perfect for a guest bathroom. You can keep soap dispensers filled and extra toothbrushes available.

These Nalgene Wide-Mouthed Leakproof Bottles from The Container Store are great to fill with shampoo and conditioner for guest bathrooms.

9 These Nalgene Wide-Mouthed Leakproof Bottles from The Container Store are great to fill with shampoo and conditioner for guest bathrooms.

Prepare for your company and the guaranteed of leftovers by organizing your kitchen so that you have plenty of space to store food. Its also a good idea to get your cabinets and drawers in tip-top shape, giving you easy access to platters, bowls, knives and other cooking accessories.

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This is the dream refrigerator! The Container Store, Bed Bath and Beyond, Martha Stewart Collection For Macy's, and Snapware have some wonderful storeage pieces for your refrigerator -- like clear leftover containers, soda holders, wine racks, and shelf risers.

1 This is the dream refrigerator! The Container Store, Bed Bath and Beyond, Martha Stewart Collection For Macy's, and Snapware have some wonderful storeage pieces for your refrigerator -- like clear leftover containers, soda holders, wine racks, and shelf risers.

A simple and easy way to label glasses during a cocktail hour or after your Thanksgiving feast -- it will also help you from doing more dishes and running out of drinking glasses.

2 A simple and easy way to label glasses during a cocktail hour or after your Thanksgiving feast -- it will also help you from doing more dishes and running out of drinking glasses.

These clear containers are perfect for dried foods -- you can see easily what is in them and they are easy to stack.

3 These clear containers are perfect for dried foods -- you can see easily what is in them and they are easy to stack.

Having a rack to organize pots' and pans' lids will save you a lot of time from digging through your cabinets when you are cooking.

4 Having a rack to organize pots' and pans' lids will save you a lot of time from digging through your cabinets when you are cooking.

Having a no-slip drawer will help you keep sharp items organized and easy to get to. They will also let you keep dangerous items out of reach from younger houseguests.

5 Having a no-slip drawer will help you keep sharp items organized and easy to get to. They will also let you keep dangerous items out of reach from younger houseguests.

This is a wonderful way to organize your recipes! Slide them into a clear protectant and clip them in a binder -- you won't have to worry about spilling over your recipes.

6 This is a wonderful way to organize your recipes! Slide them into a clear protectant and clip them in a binder -- you won't have to worry about spilling over your recipes.

Just like the pots' and pans' lids, this is a great way to organize cutting boards and platters. Why stack platters and have to dig through them when you need them right away -- instead keep them stacked on their sides.

7 Just like the pots' and pans' lids, this is a great way to organize cutting boards and platters. Why stack platters and have to dig through them when you need them right away -- instead keep them stacked on their sides.

If you do not have a wired rack to stack glasses, you can use a simple tray instead.

8 If you do not have a wired rack to stack glasses, you can use a simple tray instead.

With all of your Thanksgiving leftovers, be sure to store them properly. These freezer bags allow you to label and mark the date of when you put them in your freezer.

9 With all of your Thanksgiving leftovers, be sure to store them properly. These freezer bags allow you to label and mark the date of when you put them in your freezer.

Keep your cleaning supplies below the sink and away from the food! These door hooks are perfect to help organize your kitchen's cleaning cabinet.

10 Keep your cleaning supplies below the sink and away from the food! These door hooks are perfect to help organize your kitchen's cleaning cabinet.

Make taking home leftovers for your guests playful by placing them in Chinese take-out boxes (containerstore.com).

11 Make taking home leftovers for your guests playful by placing them in Chinese take-out boxes (containerstore.com).

From the Martha Stewart Collection, this 16-piece Food Storage Container set ($29.99) is a perfect way to keep leftovers in your refrigerator (the airtight containers keeps your food fresh).

12 From the Martha Stewart Collection, this 16-piece Food Storage Container set ($29.99) is a perfect way to keep leftovers in your refrigerator (the airtight containers keeps your food fresh).

I love this spice rack -- it's easy to keep your spices organized while cooking for the holidays.

13 I love this spice rack -- it's easy to keep your spices organized while cooking for the holidays.

In addition to organizing your kitchen cabinets and closets -- having folding chairs and tables in your home is essential if you are going to be the host for many people. Below are a few tables that would be perfect to use for the children to eat at, they would even be great places to arrange desserts or beverages. The folding chairs are also important, you don't want to have uncomfortable plastic chairs for your guests -- take a look at these gorgeous and comfortable pieces of furniture...

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This Target Bamboo Folding Chair has a elegant look, unlike plastic folding chairs.

1 This Target Bamboo Folding Chair has a elegant look, unlike plastic folding chairs.

I love this Louis Folding Chair from Ballard Designs.

2 I love this Louis Folding Chair from Ballard Designs.

Another Ballard Designs folding chair that has two beautiful colors pictured above.

3 Another Ballard Designs folding chair that has two beautiful colors pictured above.

Ikea's Terje Folding Chair is simple and just what you will want to have in case you need more chairs.

4 Ikea's Terje Folding Chair is simple and just what you will want to have in case you need more chairs.

This is a really unique design for a folding chair -- Ikea's Arvinn Folding Chair.

5 This is a really unique design for a folding chair -- Ikea's Arvinn Folding Chair.

Yes, this is a folding chair! It looks like it could be part of a dining room set. From homedecorators.com -- a Cherry Lattice Folding Chair.

6 Yes, this is a folding chair! It looks like it could be part of a dining room set. From homedecorators.com -- a Cherry Lattice Folding Chair.

This folding table from Bed Bath and Beyond would be perfect for the childrens' table for Thanksgiving dinner.

7 This folding table from Bed Bath and Beyond would be perfect for the childrens' table for Thanksgiving dinner.

Here is a great table from Bed Bath and Beyond to put against a living room or dining room wall to arrange desserts on.

8 Here is a great table from Bed Bath and Beyond to put against a living room or dining room wall to arrange desserts on.

This folding table from the Home Decorators Collection is a great size to stack wine or water glasses on and place different beverages on as well.

9 This folding table from the Home Decorators Collection is a great size to stack wine or water glasses on and place different beverages on as well.