Fall Weather Brings out the Sweaters – Storage Solutions

FALL 2011 TRENDS

Oversize V-Neck Sweaters

Oversized V-Neck Sweaters are perfect and comfortable for the upcoming brisk fall days, and will continue to be useful well into the winter. The sweaters complete the “borrowed-from-my-boyfriend” look and can be matched with several other fashion essentials. Try the sweater out over a simple shirt, with a pair of leggings and some jewelry. The oversized sweaters are perfect for the days when you just want to throw on a hoodie, but know you should dress it up a bit.

Plaid

The lumberjack look is in for this fall for both men and women! Plaid can be stylized in many different ways, but here are a couple of options: A classic plaid shirt, straight leg jeans, and a pair of boots or a plaid dress, solid pumps, and a blazer. Other cute items found in plaid include: jackets, scarves, rainboots, purses, and more! However, a quick fashion tip is to beware that you are not channeling the school uniform look too much!

Camouflage Print

For all of you college students, camo print is a unique trend for the Fall 2011 fashion scene. The trick is to find articles of clothing that don’t resemble tacky costume pieces. As a rule, stick to only one camouflaged piece per outfit, but there are a variety of items you can choose from. Whether it is a jacket or dress, the camouflage look is very “in” for this fall.

Wide Leg Pants

Return of the 70′s! Wide leg pants and bellbottoms are making a comeback this fall. There are several different types, however two prominent styles are wide leg jeans and palazzo pants. Be sure to purchase wide leg jeans with tighter hips to avoid a shapeless look. Palazzo pants should be paired with a firm fitting top, and tend to look best with heels.

Carolina Engman, Kate Bosworth, Rachel Bilson, and Mary-Kate Olsen via: http://keepcalmgoshopping.onsugar.com/70S-WIDE-LEG-PANTS-17952558

Fashion blogger, Jenny Heller (check out her articles  at www.lauriebstyle.comand www.spoiledlittlelagirls.com), told us about some other trends she is looking forward to this fall. Some of her “favorites include winter capes, fisherman sweaters, print pants, midi length skirts and peplum silhouettes.” Jenny also tells us that “shopping for fall trends couldn’t be easier these days, as lots of chain stores interpret the runway trends at inexpensive prices.”  In  her opinion, “two of the best are Zara (who, to [her] delight, recently launched online commerce) and H&M.”

STORAGE

Once you put together an outfit with a great new look for Fall, the question becomes what to do with it when you’re not wearing it! Sweaters can be bulky and adding new pieces to your already crammed closet is never fun. However, no need to compromise your style for a lack of space. At GreatUsefulStuff.com, we have numerous solutions for storage for all of your clothes. Jenny Heller says that “it’s best to store sweaters folded on shelves, as they can get easily stretched out on hangers, however, that can get a bit messy.” She adds on that “sweater bins are a great solution to this problem.” Our Sweater Bins are the perfect place to keep all of the items you plan to purchase this fall. Instead of trying to find room in a drawer to cram in all of your sweaters, pants, and other articles of clothing, give these bins a try. The front tab even folds down, for easy access to your clothes.

Sweater Bins

Another solution is our Collapsible Open Shelf Storage Box. Not only do the boxes create space and organization for your fall clothing, they also come in a variety of stylish colors.

Collapsible Open Shelf Storage Box

As a final tip for shopping this fall, Jenny Heller advises “taking inventory of your closet before hitting the stores and buying pieces that will seamlessly mix and match with items you already own.  Not only will you be more likely to wear them this way, but you’ll be guaranteed multiple ways to wear them.”

For more information about products and ordering, visit www.greatusefulstuff.com.

Shopping Secrets – Keeping your Spending in Check

Back-to-school shopping season is underway, however sales are limited and new wardrobes are expensive! Here at GUS, we have come up with a few tips on how to save on shopping.

COUPONING

With television shows on air like Extreme Couponing, and tons of blogs such as Couponing 101, couponing has become a fad in today’s society. Whether it be extreme or not, couponing can save lots of money on everything ranging from food to clothing. We know that there is that shirt or pair of shoes that you just need for the upcoming fall, and coupons can help you save money on all of your upcoming purchases. Money saving blogger Brianna Carter (check out her blog at http://bargainbriana.com/) teaches “others to save money while shopping by utilizing effective coupon methods.” Brianna tells GUS that you can find coupons in magazines or online, however “you have to act quickly before the printable coupons are gone.” For thousands of bargains and coupons, go to Brianna’s Coupon Database here: http://bargainbriana.com/coupon-database. Another easy and obvious way to save on shopping is to use the gift cards you received for the holidays or on your birthday. However, we know how hard it is to keep track of these. Who has ever lost a gift card or forgotten about it until it’s expired? Don’t worry; you are not alone. At GUS, our Shopping Organizer for Receipts, Gift Cards and Coupons is great solution for this. Now you will have a place to store and organize all of these items that are commonly misplaced or forgotten about.

Shopping Organizer for Receipts, Gift Cards and Coupons

Also, our Keepsake Keeper is another great product to help you organize your receipts. This item will make tax season much easier and a whole lot less stressful!

STORES TO SAVE

When trying to save on back-to-school shopping, make sure to explore all of your options before making your purchases. Primarily, try discount stores or websites such as http://www.pricegrabber.com/ to discover the best priced items you can possibly find. Additionally, there are more options available to college students. Did you know that as a college student there are stores with discounts designed exclusively for you? For example, at any of the Madewell or J.Crew stores, there is a 15% discount available off of all of your purchases! However, don’t forget to bring your Student ID with you! All you need to do is present your Student ID at checkout and you will receive this discount. With all of the new clothes and accessories you will now be able to afford, you will definitely need somewhere to store them. Our Complete Closet System can hang right on the rod in your closet

Complete Closet System

and will give you plenty of space to organize your new fall wardrobe. If you share a closet with your roommate, or need other organizational tools to store your new purchases, check out any of the items in our Closet storage section.

Here is another quick and easy way to save: 25% off ALL Kangaroom Storage products just by simply “liking” GUS  on Facebook! Visit us here to become a fan: http://www.facebook.com/greatusefulstuff

For more information about products and ordering, visit www.greatusefulstuff.com.

Things You Forgot to Bring to College

After all of the craze of moving into college, everyone is finally settling in. However, living on your own is an adjustment and there are several things everyone overlooks. GUS has great items to solve some of these issues college students are facing. Furthermore, students won’t need to leave their dorms or dig deep into their pockets; solutions are just a click away and these very reasonably priced items can be shipped directly to your school.

LAUNDRY TROUBLES

Making time to do your laundry is difficult enough with all of the work and social events that come along with the college experience. However, even more challenging is trying to sort your darks from lights without laundry baskets or space to create piles. Thomas Frank is a blogger from College Info Geek and an expert on college living (check out his blog at http://collegeinfogeek.com). His solution to this problem is to put all of his clothes into a “hamper, drag it all to the laundry room, and separate [his] whites and colors by throwing them into different machines.” This is a great resolution as long as there are plenty of empty machines. GUS has a great product to help avoid this issue completely!

Mesh Laundry Tote

Our Mesh Laundry Tote has various interior sections intended to ease your laundry troubles. This washable mesh tote has separate compartments for lights and darks, along with two useful pockets for delicates, soap, dryer sheets and more. With the Mesh Laundry Tote, you can eliminate the time and fuss surrounding laundry.

DORM ORGANIZATION

Everyone remembers to bring a backpack or shoulder bag to lug books to and from class. However, what many people forget is that these books need a place to stay within your dorm room. Piling books on your desk can get very disorganized and messy, but not to worry, GUS has an easy fix.

School Wally

The School Wally is a hanging organizer that can easily be hung on the back of a door or the side of a bunk bed and will provide space and organization for books, papers, projects, and more! Now you can keep your work separated by subjects, along with extra storage for writing utensils, pencil sharpeners, electronics, and more. The School Wally comes with sturdy hooks that simply slip over a door or rod, and is a super useful item that will create organization and extra space in your dorm room.

BATHROOM BLUES

Sharing a bathroom in college with lots of people is usually a brand new experience for most Freshman. While most kids probably remembered to pick up a shower caddy before they left for school, a lot of students will find that many models are inconveniently large, hard to navigate, and they trap way too much water which quickly results in mold and mildew. At GUS, our Mesh Bath Tote  is the perfect size for all of your shower and bathroom products and with the mesh material, water does not get trapped at the bottom of the tote. Additionally, in most college communal living, long shower lines mean much shorter showers than everyone is used to. Another tip from Thomas is that the “showers are pretty crowded from around 7:30am to 9:30am,” so try to avoid the bathrooms at these times. Our Mesh Shower Tote can help you get in and out of the shower in a snap with its large pockets to hold all your products and its flexible handle that fits over most showerheads.

Mesh Bath Tote

College life can be stressful enough, so hopefully these products from GUS will make your daily lives just a little bit easier! For more helpful products, check out our back to school collection.

For more information about products and ordering, visit www.greatusefulstuff.com.

Summer Photo Fun

We are sad to report that summer is just about over– no more vacations, days by the pool and carefree thoughts. After all those summer memories you’ve created with your loved ones, we’re sure you have a plethora of photos that need organizing! Follow these tips and tricks on storing and displaying your summer photos for everyone to enjoy.

PHOTO ORGANIZATION

One of the most daunting tasks is organizing your hundreds of summer photos before the beginning of fall. Whether you opt for real photo albums or digital ones, we’ve got both topics covered. When assembling a photo album, it seem the best method of organization is chronologically. Start by grouping photos by year, then month. Make sure you label the photos as you insert them in the album. For some extra help sorting photos, try a keepsake keeperto save precious time. The keeper provides easily accessible folders and tabs for sorting, and custom exterior labels and photos sleeves. Use the 12 roomy sections to sort photos by date or any category you choose!

Keepsake Keeper

For some more photo tips we have an expert from the photography world, Peter Medilek, a San Francisco photographer with a variety of high profile clients (check out his beautiful portfolio here http://www.petermedilek.com/). In terms of organizing photos, Peter says, “I usually create an online folder for each project or event. I rename each digital file with the folder name and assign an individual. After the project is completed, I back up the final files on an external hard drive and burn a DVD.” If you prefer to stay away from online work, simply create the sub-folders according to date or event under a  larger “Pictures” folder on your computer. If you prefer working in the digital world, try Blurb or Shutterfly for an easy experience you can share with friends and family. Peter shares, “For large events with many guests, I like uploading the selected files to www.shutterfly.com. It’s easy to send out invites to the online album, and everybody can order reprints individually. For special occasions, I like printing photo books. My favorite is www.blurb.com; great software and quality.”

If you’re keeping photos in an album after all, there are a couple tips you should remember to keep photos looking great all year round. Peter recommends storing photos on a dry shelf, just as you would books. Avoid storing photos in high heat locations to prevent damage.

6 Section Photo Tray

Coffee tables are also great for showcasing photo albums you want your guests to flip through. For a coffee table display, try a 6 section photo storage tray. The photo compartments can be sorted by date or event, and each compartment has a built-in frame so you can display your favorite image of the bunch for everyone to see.

FUN PHOTO FACTS 

Another common photo question concern is the type of paper used for printing. We wonder which we should use: glossy or matte? We’ve found that semi glossy paper seems best for scrapbooking and displaying photos. The paper won’t stick to surfaces as much as pure glossy paper and will maintain a high color vibrancy. Peter adds, “Most durable is the good old fashioned photo pare ( FUJI, Kodak, Agfa).  For more paper choices select from ink jet paper (Epson, Hahnemuehle), especially the Gallery versions of the ink jet paper, which claim to last for at least 100 years.”

Now that you’ve got all your photos printed, it’s time to choose some extra special ones to display around the house. The key is not to overdo it; no one likes to be surrounded by hundreds of photos in every room! We found that if you treat your photo collections as a large piece of art, they will come together magically. Peter tells us, “Too many small and different picture frame styles can be overwhelming. I like my friend’s idea that all family pictures are displayed on one wall, they are all black and white images, and the frames are all dark wood stained (wenge/ black); looks very artistic. I personally have a few oversize images framlessly mounted to the walls. We mix in a couple of smaller frames and images. If you like to show a lot of pictures, create a grid of frames that match each others dimension and style.”

Stackable Photo Boxes

For smaller displays that you can place on desks or counters, try single stackable photo boxes. The photo boxes allow you to store your prized memories at your fingertips and let you choose your favorite image to display in the built in frame. Create a unique, vibrant display with multiple photo boxes that you can arrange anywhere in any way. So parents, now that you have the tools and tips to organize your photos, make sure you hop to the task before your summer memories end up at the bottom of a drawer yet again!

For more information about products and ordering, visit www.greatusefulstuff.com

Conquering the Messy Room Muddle

Throughout this summer, GUS has been hosting a special Facebook contest for everyone suffering from a messy room. Our messy room makeover contest currently has 22 entries and believe us, some of those rooms are serious disasters and very worthy of our $400 makeover prize! Look at what Charlotte’s six-year-old has done to her room… Is she hiding under there?! In honor of our contest coming to an end on August 31st, we’ve come up with a post with tips and tricks to help you and your family organize those messy rooms once and for all.

THE STORAGE DILEMMA 

Maximizing space in any bedroom is always a tricky problem to solve. Whether you’re moving your child into a new dorm room or just reorganizing your own room, it’s important to use roll out bins for under bed storage. Under bed storage is essential for knick-knacks (sewing supplies, old photos, etc.) or clothing that doesn’t need to be in a closet (bathing suits, scarves, etc.). Try collapsible shoe box storage bins for any item you can think of! The boxes have a clear vinyl front so you can easily see the contents.

Collapsible Shoe Storage

Wall shelving is another easy storage solution that is often overlooked. For example, instead of adding an extra bookshelf and taking up more floor space, try installing two or three decorative shelves.

OFFICE ORGANIZATION 

Filing systems are among the most useful office tools but are often the most difficult to set up. We’re giving you a few organizing ideas for you filing systems so you’ll finally get it right this time! Kids should have their own filing system for school subjects, homework/projects in progress and schedules. Your child should clean out his/her binders every 1-2 weeks and file the older papers. Parents can add to the schedules folder and include to-do tasks and other important information for extracurricular activities. Parents, make sure your filing system has spots for unread/read mail, bills, handouts from school functions, and to-dos. Looking for somewhere to store your smaller papers besides the bottom of a purse or drawer?

Shopping Organizer

Try a shopping organizer perfectly labeled for receipts, coupons and gift cards. The organizer is big enough to hang up and small enough to take with you everywhere! Cord control is also an issue in any room in the house. Cords are unsightly, hazardous to keep out in the open and instantly make a room look tangled up. Nowadays, it’s useful to mark your cords to avoid confusion about which to use when. I personally keep all my cords tangled in a ziplock bag, but i’ve finally found a solution to my problems! A cord box has eight labeled compartments to hold wires and small tech devices. The box has double snap closure so everything stays in place, but the best part is it’s stylishly made out of woven grass cloth with a rich leatherette trim.

Cord Box

 KIDS CATASTROPHE

Parents, we know as soon as you organize a room your little ones run in to mess it up yet again. We’ve got some easy tools that even your kids will love in their newly organized room! Try lightweight chalkboard bins for smaller items like magazines, art supplies and legos. The bins have chalkboard fabric fronts so your kids can have fun decorating their own unique bins and can be stored virtually anywhere because of their size.

Chalkboard Bins

For larger items, get a strong and roomy kids toy box. The Joey and Jane toy box is collapsible and stackable, and made with heavy duty fabric in signature Joey and Jane colors.

Joey & Jane Toy Box

We hope we’ve inspired you to get your messy room back in order, but if you still need some inspiration, check out our contest entries at our Facebook page– we know they’ll get you cleaning! 

For more information about products and ordering, visit www.greatusefulstuff.com

Beating the Back-to-School Blues

Well parents, it’s that time of year again: back-to-school. Every parent knows that means countless shopping trips for new supplies and clothes, and nagging about why summer has to end. But we’ve found some ways to make your life and your child’s life much easier as you both transition into the new school year. Read on to hear our tips and tricks for getting back into the groove of school!

SCHOOL SUPPLIES 101

To get your school supply shopping underway, the first step is to create a list. Usually, teachers will provide families with a list of necessities for the year, but don’t forget the very basics that often don’t show up on the list (pencils, erasers, highlighters, etc). While making your adding on to your list, reorganize the desks your kids will be using. This will give you a better sense of what you have and need, and allow your child to create a better studying space. Eileen Roth, speaker and author of Organizing for Dummies, says parents should “establish a place for excess supplies like pens/pencils, erasers, staples, where everyone can find what they need. Have extra paper, spirals and folders for students. Keep paper supplies on horizontal trays or in clear boxes.” A school wally is a fantastic tool to help keep your kids and your home organized during the school year.

School Wally

The wally conveniently has compartments to fit papers, notebooks and folders for six subjects. It also includes slots for supplies and electronics, and has a handy whiteboard where kids can note their important activities. Carol Frazey from Fit School Inc. encourages parents to “start a family calendar. Have each person write-in his/her activities, meetings, sports and activity practices, and appointments on ONE calendar centrally located in your home” (check out Fit School’s informative site www.TheFitSchool.com). If you have a calendar but still feel like you can’t keep track of the day’s activities (it can be tough, we know), try a 2do Memo Board.

2do Memo Board

The board is divided into four functional sections: a whiteboard for tasks on your mind, a chalkboard for lists, two cork boards with slots to organize your contacts, and quick-hang lines for invitations, cards, and other pleasant “etceteras.” Finally, one of the easiest and most important things to do before school is research. Jane Bailey, Dean of the School of Education at Post University, says, “Take a look at your school or district’s website and hunt for information about your child’s new curriculum. Look for the ‘big picture’ learnings ahead. For example: the big part of first grade is learning to read.”

BACK-TO-SCHOOL EMOTIONS

Parents, don’t think that you’re off the hook once you nail down all those school supplies. The next step is getting your child out of bed at 7 a.m. and in the car on-time. We’ve found some ways to help ease your child back into the school day routine one step at a time. Jane Bailey suggests to “start setting the alarm clock earlier in the morning and ease into an earlier bedtime routine.” She also says, “Buy your child a journal to write about his/her ‘Adventures in 3rd Grade.’ Have him/her start the diary now and write about the end of summer activities, and encourage your child to write how she/he is feeling about the school year ahead.” Give your child a kids desktop organizerto help them keep everything they need for the school day right at hand. Packing up for the day is made simple with this foldable, totable organizer that fits in a backpack. We promise your child will be out the door in no time!

Kids Desktop Organizer

Candi Wingate, President of Nannies4Hire (http://www.nannies4hire.com/index.asp), also tells us that “if your kids are transitioning to a new school building, visit the school building with your kids. If your schedule permits, volunteer to help out in your kids’ classrooms. (Before you volunteer, ask your kids how they’d feel if you did this).” These easy steps will reduce back-to-school anxiety for your child and leave you feeling relieved.

Keepsake Keeper

Finally, take some photos of your little ones growing up and entering a new grade.With a keepsake keeper, you can file, sort and save your most prized memories, like your child’s first day of high school. Keep taking photos throughout the year and look back at them next summer with your child for a treat you’ll both enjoy!

For more information about products and ordering, visit www.greatusefulstuff.com

Direction for the Dorm Room Diva

It’s almost that time of year again– back-to-school is quickly approaching! For all us college students (and our parents) this is an incredibly stressful time. What do I pack? Will all my clothes fit in that tiny closet? Where do I shop for room decor? Because experienced college students know the back-to-school routine best, we’ve asked three college bloggers to help us answer our dorm room questions!

THE CRAMPED CLOSET

For us girls, maximizing our closet space is perhaps the most difficult issue to solve. In most dorm rooms, you’re either forced to share a small walk-in closet or are given your own even smaller closet. So what to do? Alex, a blogger for the popular college site www.hercampus.com (check out her informative personal youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/XelaMakeUp), tells us she makes the most of her closet space by hanging only nice blouses, dress and jackets. She adds, “Along the floor of the closet you can place some small pull out drawers. Then you could either store your shoes on top of those shelves or get a door hanging shoe storage device.”

Ashley, a college student in the Boston area (check out her fun favorite things blog http://gcet.tumblr.com/), says she uses drawer dividers in her dresser where she stores underwear, socks, leggings, sports clothes, t-shirts, and pj’s. For the closet she uses a double expander rod and takes advantage of under-bed storage (if your bed isn’t lofted, you can buy bed risers).

Carly Heitlinger (check out her energetc, preppy blog http://www.thecollegeprepster.com/) has a great suggestion for us East Coast college goers: “The minute the weather starts cooling off in D.C., I have my mom send my pre-packed Fall/Winter wardrobe up to school. I use the boxes she sent me to return my summer wardrobe. Rotating my closet literally doubles my wardrobe space!”

In addition to these great space saving tips and tricks, try hanging accessory organizers.

Hang-Hers Jewelry Organizer

The new Hang-Hers collection has 4 hanging organizers to store and systematize glasses, jewelry, belts, purses, and more. The hanging organizers are perfect for inside your closet, outside the door and even in the bathroom. Each organizer has a bright label on the side so when it’s hanging, it’s even easier to find the perfect accessories for that new outfit!

BATHROOM BLUES

The bathroom is the second most obvious problem for us girls. If we can’t share a bathroom with one girl, how are we expected to do so with four girls?

5-piece Vanity Set

Alex says, “I think it is best to use a shower rack and carry things back and forth from the bathroom in that rack. This prevents any confusion and mix up when it comes to your products.” Try a 5-piece Vanity Setfor carrying your products to and from the bathroom. The set comes with a variety of mesh container sizes so you can store everything from toothbrushes to hair brushes with ease. Looking for a single larger tote? Try a mesh bath tote with various sized pockets to store all of your essentials.

Mesh Bath Tote

Ashley also agrees that keeping cosmetics and hair products in your own room keeps the bathroom cleaner. However, she says, “I would give each person a small section to store shampoo and shower essentials. Make a cleaning schedule because a messy bathroom can cause tension.”

OTHER DORM ROOM IDEAS

Closet and bathroom space is definitely limited and valuable for us college students, so we have a few other tricks up our sleeve to help you out. A hair dryer hanger is a perfect space saver, especially if you share a bathroom. My hair dryer currently sits tangled up in my desk drawer, but a hanger allows you to keep it on a towel bar with the cord stacked neatly.

Hair Dryer Hanger

Nail polish storage is also a tricky one for us, but Alex says, “Try using a container like the one that you would use to store spices in a kitchen cabinet. This way you can see all of your nail polish colors and there is no risk of them breaking since they aren’t stored in one bag.” Finally, GUS has a brand new back-to-school collection that includes everything a college student might need, from laundry totes to file boxes. There you have it, girls. Now go unleash your inner dorm room diva!

For more information about products and ordering, visit www.greatusefulstuff.com