Enjoying an Orderly Pantry

Pantry Organizing The pantry is a catch all for so many types of kitchen equipment, serving implements, packaged food and spices, table linens and more. The purpose of a pantry is to be useful additional space—but just like other types of storage, a well-used space sometimes gets messy. We recommend a seasonal re-organization of the pantry, in the Fall and Spring. Functionally, most of us use different items in the winter and summer. Culturally, we celebrate some different holidays, etc, so your organizational plan can be adapted as needed. Overall: Select a shelf to start.
  • Remove all the cans, containers, spices or dishes and linens.
  • Clean the shelf, and start sorting the dry goods.
  • Many of us tend to cook versions of the same recipe frequently. One organizational technique is to store the ingredients for your muffins with the tin, or to keep the bread flours and flavorings with your bread-maker or baking sheet.
Structurally: Many user-friendly pantries follow these guidelines.
  • Tall stuff (vases) and bulky stuff (lobster pots) go up high.
  • Leave space below the bottom shelf for bulky or heavy items to be stored on the floor, like the recycling bins or pallets of water.
  • More frequently used appliances, like perhaps the blender or food processor, should be more accessible.
  • Spice bottles are small, and have tiny lettering; they need to be easy to read and reach for with ease. These should be at eye level. There are great accessories like slide-out spice racks that make this organization much easier.
  • If space allows, you can include slide-out or swing-out wine racks.
  • Drawers or baskets at child-height makes the grab and go easier for the little ones, and keeps the teenagers out of your dinner supplies; these can also be a great trick to keep the healthier foods easily accessible—or to keep the indulgent ones out of sight.
  • It’s so awkward to store platters flat, struggling to get out the one you need from the bottom. The better method is to utilize dividers or custom sized cubbies to allow your plates and serving bowls to stand upright, perfect for easy use.
Seasonally: These tips will make the seasonal switch simpler.
  • Try to group seasonal items together. Store the seasonal winter table linens, holiday serving items, pretty wine glasses and center-pieces in the same general area. Keep your off-season items in an out of the way place in the pantry.
  • When it’s time to change the seasonal clothes in the closet, it’s time to do the pantry.
  • Take the opportunity to examine everything. If something is stained or chipped, now’s the time to deal with it. If it’s beyond dry cleaning or another fix, there’s the opportunity for off season shopping for a replacement. This way, you’ll never be scrambling when company is coming.
Just using a few of these tips will enhance your pantry experience. You’ll be less likely to buy a spice you didn’t know you already had, and it’ll be easier to unpack the supermarket bags. You’ll feel really together when you open your panty door. Perhaps most important of all, an organized pantry will make it simpler to compose an elegant dinner party or to throw together a quick meal with friends.

Custom Entertainment Centers

Custom built in, custom wall unit, custom entertainment center
Custom Entertainment Centers – What about room for fun, gaming & exercise?
   
 
   

“Symmetry was a pleasure to work with…Exactly what I wanted and even better. I will recommend Symmetry Closets to everyone I know looking for custom furnishings. They are a hard-working and efficient team who are always professional providing their customers with excellent service from order entry to completion.”

Looking for a place to store the fun stuff?

  • Built-in entertainment center storage will hide away your game zone, exercise gear and stereo.
  • You want it nearby—but not all out on display. We can help.
  • Custom built entertainment center storage—in the height and depth you need for your equipment—we can make more space for that brand new tv set.

Does your family love to hang out in the living room?

  • We can work with you, help you optimize your entertainment center storage space. You select the finish and style you love, and we design the functionality.
You’ll love your new entertainment center—get organized today.

Get My FREE Custom Closet Consultation — Get organized today!

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Click here for your FREE entertainment center design consultation.

Community Service

Bonnie received the following letter of appreciation this past week in regards to her commitment to and involvement with the Pay-It-Forward committee of IDS, and their work at the Walkabout Residence for homeless youth.  We are happy (and will continue) to donate our time and resources to such worthy causes.

12/9/14

Family & Children's

To: Board Members and Pay-it-forward Committee of the Long Island Chapter of the Interior Design Society

It is our great pleasure to send you this note of thanks for the amazing transformation you performed on the living room of our Walkabout residence for homeless youth. We appreciate the hard work that went into every detail of this make-over and are overwhelmed by the level of commitment of the entire Long Island Chapter and those who visited the project site. It did not escape our notice that you repurposed those items that were salvageable and obtained donations of high end items, electronics and accessories to give our space the amazing upgrade that it so desperately needed. We learned from staff that the residents, homeless youth between the ages of 16-21, have started using the living room almost exclusively – choosing to relax, read, watch TV and socialize in this space which used to be ignored. Our weekly house meetings can now accommodate the entire household, something that we’ve struggled to achieve in the past. And, expanding the project to improve the lighting in the dining room was a welcomed bonus. We are planning an evening on January 12th at 5:30 p.m. for all chapter members to visit Walkabout to see the fruits of your labor and meet some of the residents and staff. We know you’ll enjoy the architecture of this beautiful old house and the fellowship of the young people who call it home. (The address of Walkabout is 155 Guy Lombardo Avenue, Freeport, NY). Again, thank you very much for fundraising for this project and for turning an uninspired and tired room into an inviting and inspirational space. You helped us demonstrate to our young people that amazing things can happen when individuals combine their talent, training and generous spirit. Warm wishes for a joyful holiday and we’ll see you on January 12th (please RSVP to jamullen@familyandchildrens.org by 1/8/15)!

The Common Reach-In Closet: Can it still Sparkle?

 

Going Vertical Just One Way To Maximize Space

We’ve probably all tried to live with our closets having just a single hanging rod and a shelf above. Most people don’t need a whole closet of long-hanging space, so the area below the hanging clothes ends up full of boxes and bins of stuff that won’t fit elsewhere. The depth is limited and the ceiling height can be high. People hope they can fit bulky items on the top shelf, but with only a narrow space between it and the doorway, they just don’t fit. So, how do you find a way to work with the reach-in closet? Please try these expert tips. We’re certain you’ll have a happier relationship with your space, and find some beautiful sparkle too.
Couples Reach In Closet Space

This reach-in closet is a collaboration with Wendy Interiors. Photo credit: Peter Braune

Use Principal of Verticality

This is the cure for the single rod-and-shelf conundrum. Add a storage system that includes double-hanging rods or shelves above half-hanging. Most clothing fits within half-hanging, and you’ll double your storage space. If you’re using a reach-in closet for off-season storage, consider setting it up with double hanging, long hanging and shelves for sweaters (so they don’t stretch out on hangers).

Drawer placement essential

If you want drawers, pull-out baskets or a hamper, they must be in the center of the swinging doors. This is necessary so the drawers can be opened easily, and so you can reach beyond them into the corners of the reach-in closet. And if there’s only a pair of sliding doors, that’s more limiting. You can have small pull-outs, but be very careful when measuring to make sure they’ll work in the open door opening.

Shelves keep It harmonious

Adding some shelves keeps the whole closet neater. It’s room for shoes, folded clothes, hats and scarves. With a custom-built closet system, the shelves are adjustable to adapt to the changing needs of your family. Ask your contractor to miter back the top shelf, to make it a narrower dimension. This provides a little more space for bulky items to fit through.

Reach in Closet, Brown Cabinets, Closet Storage, Custom shelving

Children’s closets with adjustable features

Ask about having an extra closet rod to add in when your child needs larger sized clothes. With a custom closet system, the adjustable shelves can be removed, transforming a shelving unit into half-hanging, with a little planning ahead. Toy closets are usually reach-in closets as well. Just work with your contractor to make sure the storage system will accommodate the size and weight of the toys. And consider leaving space below the bottom shelves to roll in children’s toy cars and toy carriages. Above all, your space should work for you. A house full of reach-in closets can provide great storage for your family, as long as it’s designed to fulfill your particular needs. A reach-in closet can be beautiful as well as functional, just use some of the tips and you’ll see.

Bonnie Reich Awarded Prestigious “Sub-Contractor Member Of The Year” for 2017

NARI, NYC, Long Island, Award

National Association of the Remodeling Industry NARI Sub-Contractor Contractor NYC Long Island Dash Windows, Boston Cedar

John Hogan, Chairman of the Board, NARI; Bonnie Reich, President Symmetry Closets; Dan Vazquez, President, NARI

Symmetry Closets’ president Bonnie Reich awarded the 2017 “Sub-Contractor Member Of The Year Award” from NYC/LI National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI)

We are honored and so happy to receive this prestigious award; we appreciate the recognition of our hard work and commitment to excellence!  The NYC/LI NARI Sub-Contractor Member of the Year Award recognizes a sub-contractor who has demonstrated a strong commitment to NARI, the professional remodeling industry and the communities in which they do business. NARI is the only not-for-profit trade association dedicated solely to the Remodeling Industry. The Evening of Excellence and The Contractor of the Year (CotY) Awards were held Thursday, November 16, 2017, at Flowerfield in St. James. The CotY Awards are a local competition acknowledging the high quality of work being done locally right here in Long Island and NYC. It’s a showcase for the best projects of our region’s top talent in the remodeling industry. From one-person shops to the largest remodeling firms, companies have reported that winning this award is a major factor in enhancing their image within the industry, and with prospective customers. The judging for The CotY Awards is focused on innovation, craftsmanship and overall quality of work. The Evening of Excellence is an opportunity to recognize exceptional workmanship, as well as to enhance and promote NARI’s mission— Remodeling Done Right. The event was attended by more than 125 of the industry’s elite and was sponsored by Local NARI Members, Trio East Wholesalers, Inc., Kohler Co., and Samsung Electronics America. Symmetry Closet is a two-time recipient of NYC/LI NARI awards: The CotY Award in 2014, and the Sub-Contractor Member of the Year Award this year.
National Association of the Remodeling Industry NARI Sub-Contractor Contractor NYC Long Island Wendy Interiors Symmetry Closets

Wendy Lepkoff, Board of Directors, NARI; Bonnie Reich, President, Symmetry Closets

Back to School Organization

BCustom Desk, Custom Built ins, Custom cabinets, custom storage, working deskack to school can bring lots of clutter in several areas around the home.  As storage professionals, we see all kinds of storage and work space problems develop while school gets into high gear.

Here are a few tips to alleviate the added stress: (1)    Organize the family coat closet. If space allows, consider adding double hanging for the shorter jackets. Adding a shelf or two for a few extra pair of shoes and the kids’ back packs does a lot to clear up the floor space. (2)    This year, don’t let the kids store their books and homework on the kitchen table; find a comfy space where they can do their homework and store their school supplies. This area can be just a small table or desk or even a big comfy reading chair with a bookcase for storage nearby. This way, all the school work and books can be contained in one area instead of overflowing throughout the family space.Back to School Organization (3)    Keep the sports gear all in one dedicated space; an attached garage can be the perfect location. Just add a few hooks and baskets for cleats, helmets and pads and a tall bin or two for lacrosse or hockey sticks and baseball bats. You’re freed from having all this gear stuffed into your front coat closet, or scattered in the entryway or child’s bedroom. (4)    Finally, if you have a mud room area — make the most of it. Using some hooks for the jackets, shelves for shoes, a few baskets for hats or gloves and a couple of bins for book bags can go a long way toward keeping your home clutter free and happy. And remember to include a small bench so the kids can put on their shoes before they dash off to class! Have a happy autumn.

How to Add Style and Function to Your Home Office

Learn how to make your home office look more “home” than “office.”

Not so long ago, when someone wanted a home office, it was envisioned to be in dark wood tones with traditional styling. It was masculine in feeling – heavy and sturdy – and in a separate room of its own. Nowadays, many of us work from home from time to time. When people want a home office now, they want a more modern functionality. The home office is often in the center of the home; close enough to keep an eye on the kids, to listen for the dryer to buzz, or to stir the pot on the stove. Multi-tasking and computers have changed the way we work and live. And the style has changed, too. In many homes, it’s lighter and more streamlined, to blend with the style of the home. Sometimes people ask for help figuring out how to harmonize a new home office space with the rest of the home. We put together the tips below—so house harmony can be easier for everyone to enjoy.
Home Office design, White shaker, white built ins, blue walls, custom home office

Collaboration with Wendy Interiors Inc. Photo by Peter Braune.

Give your home office some style

• Similar colors: The paint throughout the rooms is a soothing light blue. The cabinetry in the kitchen, living area, bathroom, laundry and office are all the same color and similar style. The furniture coordinates as well. No matter where you are in the home, you feel like you’re part of a larger whole space. • Style jives: The lines are simple and clean—from the furniture and lighting to the built-ins, the style in all the rooms is similar enough to feel calm and coordinated. The crown molding wrapping around the home office draws the eye up and around the space and adds a touch of character. • Strategic accents: The smooth-looking woodsy brown floors and the liquid glass sailboat in the office offer a soft contrast to the built-in desk units. The strong vertical and horizontal lines of the desk and cabinets are emphasized by the long door and drawer pulls—distinctive details in a simple palate.

Make your home office work for you

What if you don’t have the opportunity to re-design your entire living space at the same time? Work with what you have—where possible, harmonize colors and styles within your existing furniture and spaces. Add built-ins where you need them—they use your space to maximum efficiency, and can blend easily into multiple rooms in the home. Start one room at a time. Pick a room, budget for your upgrade and recruit the right service providers for the project. Get this room to be what you want the rest to become—and repeat one room at a time. Above all, your space should work for you. If you’re working from home, your home office should reflect your specific needs and personal taste. With style and function, the home office no longer needs to be isolated; if it’s truly customized to your family’s needs, it may just become the most used room in your home.

A Place for Everything

house Magazine,

Originally published in HOUSE magazine By Bonnie Reich, President and Owner at Symmetry Closets

We want our homes to look beautiful, to impress our friends and to feel comfortable—we want to feel truly at home. I am a professional designer of small spaces: a professional closet designer. My goal is to use every inch of usable space and have it function according to my clients’ needs. After all, no two people are the same and everyone should have a closet that works for her/his lifestyle. I recommend so many wonderful and beautiful products and accessories that really make the closet function at the highest level. I show my clients the latest materials and colors available for their cabinets. But that’s where my work ends, and the interior designer takes over. When my clients and I work with an interior designer, the closet really becomes a thrilling space. Every detail beyond the cabinets is considered at another level. Interior designers bring their resources and add details that make it sing. Some examples: *    Benches are covered in cushions coordinated with carpeting and window treatments *    Wall paper and interesting paint finishes add layers of texture, making these relatively small spaces feel incredible *    Additional inlay materials are added to the door panels *    Hand selected handles and knobs are introduced to the design *    Even fun and funky pillows and throw are sometimes added to the design to make it a cozy hide away that reflects the owner’s personality Interior designers add other luxuries as well. Planning for an island in the walk-in closet? The interior designer will bring fun, personal touches and accessories that make that incredible center island a real stand out. I have designed, fabricated and installed hundreds of walk-in closets, but the ones that are memorable have all been as part of a team with an interior designer’s vision leading the way. For your next interior design project, small or large, hire an interior designer. The result will be satisfying, function well, and you’ll enjoy beautiful style for many years to come.

It’s springtime!

The changing of the seasons is a wonderful time of new adventure and growth.  As the weather changes, the flowers grow, the trees leaf out–and suddenly we stop wearing sweaters, winter coats and turtlenecks.  This year, we pulled out shorts and tee shirts in April! Clothing, Tee, Shorts, Summer clothes The Pros advise not to rush into packing away all your cold weather items all at once.   When you feel the weather taking a turn towards the bright side start putting your stuff away slowly.  Take your time to carefully sort through and organize what will go where.
Lavender is a natural alternative to keeping your storage items fresh over the next six months.

Lavender is a natural alternative to keeping your storage items fresh over the next six months.

The idea of course is to make sure you don’t waste space storing stuff that’s out of fashion, doesn’t fit right, or never suited your personal style.   We’re talking about maximizing your storage space, and taking care of your clothing and other cold weather items – and those things need some TLC if you want to get good use out of them again next year.

1) Protect your clothes naturally – with lavender!

Moth balls are stinky, and toxic too. If you really want an effective way to keep your clothing over the off-season you can pick up lavender-scented sachets to place in with the clothes that you’re storing away.  You could also use dried lavender with the clothes that you’re packing away.  Either way, the lavender is a natural insect deterrent & will keep your clothes from smelling musty next season.

2) Find off-season shoe storage – basement or second bedroom?

You don’t want to look at boots in the summer (or sandals in the winter)–they take up prime closet space. And who wants to look at Fleece boots when you’re picking out a sundress?  The Pros recommend to avoid using cardboard boxes for storage – the cardboard is acidic and the glue tends to attract insects and pests. You’re better off with storage specifically designed to store your shoes or boots, like plastic boxes or a protective boot bag.
Boot Butler, Symmetry Closets, Custom Closets Long Island, Custom Closets NYC, Custom Closets Suffolk County, Custom Closets Nassau County

Use a boot butler to hang your off-season boots and don’t forget the shapers to keep the material looking its best.

3) Tall boots need support

Those beautiful tall boots shouldn’t flop over all summer–it’ll cause the leather to crease & crack. Invest in a set of boot shapers.

4) Dry clean

Make sure to dry clean sweaters and other dry-clean-only items even if only worn once (the moths will know)–and take the dry cleaner bags off!  Otherwise your clothing can get stained from the chemical BHT in the plastic itself.

5) Hangers (a two-fer Tip)

Invest in the Huggable Hangers–they’ll actually create more space in the closet.  A great organizer tip, when you hang your clothing for the season, turn all the hangers away from you–when you wear something, turn the hanger toward you. You’ll know what you wore & what you never wore all season!

5 Great Garage Storage Tips

Custom garage storage, ski storage options

Custom Garage with Slat Wall, Hooks and Weather-Resistant Cabinets

The garage is a wonderful multi-purpose space in the home.  It can be used for so much more than storing your car in theory, but in reality, many of us can only dream of storing the car in the garage…

Let’s start with organization—so we can finish with the fun stuff: More Space!

(1) On a nice sunny spring morning, start working in zones by season.

  • Place the winter equipment in one corner (shovels, snow blower, salt)
  • Move the spring planting gear to another corner.
  • Summer items, including furniture, cushions, pool gear, beach gear can go into a corner or on the driveway for now.
  • Fall tools, rakes, mulch, covers go in the final corner.
  • Miscellaneous items—can go on the driveway for now.
  • From now on, when you put things away, they go into their zone.

(2) Sort with the goal of getting rid of things—plan to fill up your curb or call a junk removal company.

  • Anything that’s broken, torn, rusted or “might be useful someday” gets thrown away.
  • Anything that’s ugly (yes, it’s still ugly) or never worked well (rickety ladder, collapsible lawn chair) can be given away or thrown away.
  • The goal is to purge the old stuff—to make space for your new more useful garage space.

(3) Dream a little—what’s missing that you’d love to have?

  • A Kid’s Activity Center: the whole family could work on projects in the garage.
  • A “Mudroom” Area: A designated area to store coats and jackets, muddy boots, and dog leashes.
  • A Workbench: A place for the home projects to live.
  • Parking Space
  • An Entertainment Refrigerator

(4) Think it through, and decide what will fit in the garage with a little organization.

  • Garage Storage Systems have two goals: (1) to get your stuff off the floor into cabinets, onto shelves, or in a loft; and (2) to get your stuff off the floor to hang on installed slat wall.
  • Slat wall systems can take care of everything from skis to golf bags, sports equipment, ladders and shovels, beach chairs and umbrellas, poles and posts, the list goes on….
  • Smaller items are stashed on shelving, freeing up floor space and counter space.

(5)  You can have the space you always wanted in your garage…for the stuff you actually want to keep. With proper sorting and a great storage system, you’ll find floor space for your car, your kids, and maybe even for a Mudroom, Workbench, or Kid’s Activity Center.