Files, binders and some organizational tips can bring order out of home-office chaos.
Q: My husband keeps a lot of magazines in his home office. Do you have any suggestions for how to organize them?
A: With the help of some basic tools, you can turn your husband’s collection into a working reference library. For starters, you’ll want to invest in some magazine files and three-ring binders. Files are great for storing magazines encyclopedia-style so that they can be referenced easily. You can group the issues by date, topic, season or however else he wishes to categorize them. Many files have a label holder, so they can be easily marked. You can also place them on shelves or desktops so that the label side is forward, or turned around so the spines of the magazines are showing.
If he’s holding onto a magazine for only one article, it makes sense to remove it, store it in a binder and recycle the rest of the magazine. Linen-covered or patterned binders come in a variety of styles that will complement his office’s color scheme and aesthetic. To cut an article out neatly, drag a craft knife along the page close to the spine. Then place the article in a sheet protector, so it can be filed later.
Next, figure out an appropriate way to organize the binders; they can be grouped by subject, date or however he’d like.
Whatever way you choose to display them, the magazine collection will be neat, contained and easily accessible.
Two basic and durable options:
• Made of untreated wood, Ikea’s Knuff magazine file ($10 for a set of two, www.ikea.com or at its Bloomington store) can be personalized with paint.
• With their colored linen spines, Russell+Hazel Signature three-ring binders look neat on shelves ($24, www.russellandhazel.com or at the company’s flagship store, 4388 France Av. S., Minnneapolis).
Pretty and patterned choices:
• Stockholm magazine files come in classic colors or retro designs, with graphic blooms and geometric shapes ($10 to $11, www.containerstore.com, 3825 Gallagher Dr., Edina).
• The nature-inspired designs of Greenroom recycled binders (from $6, at Target stores) are great for mixing and matching.
Q: Is there a way to dehumidify the basement so that it can be used for clothing storage?
A: A damp basement is commonly caused by moisture migrating through a concrete foundation, so even a finished basement can be one of the most humid spaces in a house. A moist environment is bad news for clothing because it promotes mold and mildew growth. One simple way to decrease humidity is to get rid of any excess cellulose materials such as paper or cardboard boxes, which attract moisture. If your heating system has a duct into the basement, running the heat during the winter should help dry out the place. During the summer, when humidity is at its peak, you’ll want to use a dehumidifier.
Keep in mind that fabric absorbs moisture if left in the open air, so to protect the clothing itself, use airtight plastic containers to store dry items, and include some desiccant packets in each one. And it’s a good idea to raise items in the basement, in case of flooding — concrete blocks or wooden or plastic pallets will work to keep your things dry.