Posts

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.

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)!

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.

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.

3 Convenient Organization Tips–In the Halloween Season (Trick or Treat Included!)

And here we are…the time of year we suddenly need to switch out our summer stuff for our fall gear.  Although with the sudden spring-like October weather, we may have a little more time! Many people dread the process, but we have another way—with our top tips you’ll have a smooth and easy seasonal transition this year:

(1) Consider Vacuum Sealing Bulky Stuff

Storage Organization Vacuum Quilts off season clothing pillows

Convenient Space Saving Storage

We all know how it feels when we are trying to pack up a whole season worth of clothes, decorations, blankets, throw pillow and more.   We just want to stuff it all into a closet or attic in some plastic bins–but then it’s hard to find what you’re looking for later.    We’ve had great results with vacuum sealing.  Major space saving—and protection from moths, mold or mildew.

(2) Use shelf sized storage bags to organize seasonal clothing

organization blankets off season clothing under bed in closet

Adaptable & protective storage

You can store the foldable clothes of each family member in their own bag.  Where would it go?  Attic, basement or under your beds–or you can add a customized storage system to your closet to truly maximize closet efficiency.  When it’s time to switch over back to spring/summer items just swap everything out and save yourself the headache of separate bins for separate seasons – it’s all about clearing your space to allow for organization and peace of mind!

(3) Holiday Storage Magic

When you put away your Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukkah and New Years decorations this year—be prepared.  Plan to sort through the stuff you didn’t use this holiday, label all the boxes, and consolidate space.  Have the organization tools in place before you take down the decorations—a great example of storage organization is the gift wrap storage bin shown below.   If it doesn’t fit in this, you probably don’t need it!
christmas decorations holiday gift wrap organization

Neat Holiday Gift-Wrap Storage

Halloween Bonus

We were sharing our favorite (creepy) Halloween recipes—and figured we should share them with everyone!   We try to be healthy—and we (arguably) succeeded in two out of three below–Check it out & have a fun & spooky Halloween.

Halloween Zombie Brain — Grrr

Cauliflower Halloween Brain Zombie Recipe

Creepy but Nutritious

Haunted Chocolate Bark — and Bite?

halloween-treat-2

Yummy, and super easy to assemble

Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies — Yummmy

halloween-treat-3
House Magazine, rewards
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.