Thanksgiving recipes: Use a ricer for the best mashed potatoes

Yes, the turkey is the star of the Thanksgiving Day dinner, but there are many key players. My favorite every year is the creamy, buttery mashed potatoes — no one can make them like my mother. This year, I finally asked: what's the secret?

Using a ricer instead of whipping or hand mashing potatoes creates smooth, lump-free spuds fit for melted butter, gravy or both. Cook's Illustrated recently put a few model to the test and picked two models on our site as their top two favorites.

  • RSVP International Potato Ricer: This food press features a sturdy handle and pot hook so it stays in place while you process your potatoes. The rectangular shape makes it easy to fit spuds of all sizes, plus the interchangeable disks allow you to master a range of different textures. It's also a great model for making your own baby food or removing extra moisture from cooked greens. Plus, it's dis-mountable and dishwasher safe!
    Cleaning: ∗∗∗  Ease of Use: ∗∗∗  Performance: ∗∗∗
  • OXO Three in One Adjustable Potato Ricer: This ricer from OXO is made for more than one job. The adjustable grates are great for ricing potatoes, but can also be used to cube veggies for soups and other recipes. This model also features a pot hook so it can be rested on the side of your pan while you process potatoes. Made from stainless steel and BPA-free plastic, plus it is safe to use in the dishwasher.
    Cleaning: ∗∗∗  Ease of Use: ∗∗1/2  Performance: ∗∗∗

Tips for the best mashed potatoes:

  • Season the cooking water: potatoes can be bland and the best way to season them is to salt the water you cook them in.
  • Get butter and cream warm before adding: Using cold cream or butter can cause potatoes to get gummy. Heat up the butter and cream beforehand.
  • Infuse: Steep crushed garlic and your favorite herbs in your warm butter before adding to your potatoes. This way you get flavor without lumps or chunks.
  • Use a ricer: Obviously, using a ricer will give you the smoothest potatoes, but make sure you do it while the spuds are still hot.

Prepping for Thanksgiving Day dinner

Ready or not, here comes Turkey Day — AND your hungry family. If you have been honored with the chore of making dinner for the fam, make it easy on yourself with the proper tools.

 Must-have kitchen gadgets for a Thanksgiving feast

  • Electric knife: I know it seems goofy, but this Electric Knife from Cuisinart will make it super simple to cleanly slice up your bird or ham come the big day. Carving a turkey can be a real chore, but this handy blade takes the guess work and grunt work out. It comes with a solid hardwood stand and handle storage so you can keep it properly stored and it will be like-new every year. Switch between the two stainless steel blades, designed for carving meat and bread respectively. A safety button and a four foot cord makes this electric knife user-friendly and safe for everyone.
  • Immersion blender: Whether you're looking to perfect your gravy, mashed spuds or whip up a great soup with that leftover turkey, an immersion blender is a must have. This particular model from Cuisinart comes with three different attachments to do the work of a food processor, a power whisk or drink mixer plus a blender. Two speeds and a 200 watt motor allow you to chop, puree, blend, whip and process.
  • Food chopper: Chop veggies for your stuffing, pecans for pie, garlic to spice up your potatoes and much more with this easy hand chopper. The plastic base allows you to chop without the addition of a cutting board. The covered design also keeps you hands out of the way, so you can cut and dice without worrying about slicing your fingers. This safe, easy to clean (throw it in the dishwasher!) and user-friendly chopper is a great addition year-round.
  • Food processor: Cut your prep time in half with a food processor. This one has a three cup bowl and convenient handle that allows you to easily measure ingredients. This counter top appliance is perfect for chopping veggies and making sauces like cranberry relish.

Holiday baking with fresh spices


The holiday season is fast approaching and with it comes loads of cleaning, shopping, decorating and of course — baking! While you're prepping for your holiday feasts, consider using fresh herbs and spices instead of the market shelf dried variety. Storing and preserving these fresh goodies is simple with the right tools and using them can add that extra oomph to your recipes.

Whether you have left over homegrown goods from your summer garden or want to preserve fresh items from a local market, there are plenty of options to get the job done.

Many spices are sensitive to direct sunlight and intense heat, so they should be stored in a cool, dark area that is still within easy reach of your prep area. The best places to store your spices are inside cabinets and drawers, which keeps spices within easy reach. You can also store spices on a counter top away from any windows.

Fresh herbs

herbkeeperKeep all your excess fresh herbs stored away until you can use them with the Progressive fresh herb keeper. The water reservoir offers hydration for stored herbs, ensuring they stay fresh for several days in the refrigerator. Now you can keep fresh herbs readily available so you can enjoy fresh basil, rosemary and other spices in your signature dishes. These savory choices are a perfect addition to Thanksgiving Day turkey and more.

Spice mixtures

If you like to create your own spice mixtures and meat rubs, you need a convenient place to store your concoctions. Our spice balls provide tons of storage space to store large amounts of spice mixtures so you can keep a large quantity of herbs on hand. You can store smaller spice mixtures in our spice shakers, which allows you to sprinkle your favorite mixture over steaming plates of food.spiceshaker

It's easy to get overwhelmed by spices, especially blends. But it's really as simple as trial and error. Mix your favorite spices, see what you like and what you don't.

Here's one to try this holiday season:

Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

  • 3 tbs cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves

Mary Joesten contributed to this story.

Boot trays are the best wet shoe storage



Autumn showers are coming our way and soon enough — snow! Prepare your foyer now for muddy rain boots and wet snow boots. Boot trays are an inexpensive, manageable way to combat wet floors and salty stains.

Our friends at Bungalow Flooring have these awesome boot trays that have had me waiting for fall all summer long. We offer a few different styles but all Bungalow Boot Mats are:

  • Available in 18 UV resistant colors to blend into any household.
  • Constructed from heavy-duty, premium-grade polypropylene fibers.
  • Excellent at absorbing excess moisture and trapping dirt particles.
  • Designed with a rubber bottom to prevent the mat from sliding around on the floor.
  • Made with materials that are highly resistant to mold, mildew, cracks and crushing.
  • Complete with a wide border that ensures water and dirt are kept on the rug and off the floor.
  • Keept clean by washing in the machine and hanging out to dry.
  • Wonderful for use in the foyer, mudroom, hallway, porch or garage.
  • Made in the United States.

Choose from attractive square, diamond, leaves or fall patterns.


Fall storage: Patio furniture covers

The leaves are starting to turn in my neighbor. I keep thinking it's too early, but then I remember we are at the tail end of September. Then I also remember — with a sigh — that autumn doesn't just mean bonfires, hot apple cider and warm sweaters. It means raking leaves, sealing windows and — ugh — storing patio furniture.

While it is ideal to store patio furniture in the shed or garage, if you're like me,  it's not always possible. My sad little one car garage can only do so much. That's why furniture covers are such a blessing. These durable protective guards protect against wind, snow, sleet, rain and whatever else Mother Nature has to throw at you.

We're all familiar with the standard table, chair and even grill covers that protect our belongings all winter long, but what else are you forgetting to cover? A quick search brought me to these unique covers that I had never though of before. I know what I'm doing this weekend:

Heater covers

Patio heaters are an awesome thing to have on cool summer nights and brisk fall evenings. They make it possible to use your patio through spring, summer and fall so you can get the most out of your outdoor space before the snow falls. Once cold weather hits, how do you store it if you do not have the indoor space?

These covers are designed to fit your patio heater snug and tight. A full-length zipper makes it super easy to cover and remove this protective guard. The polyester blend is perfect for all extreme temperatures and is sure to protect as well as preserve the quality of your fixture. PVC undercoating provides a waterproof seal with a splash guard to keep off moisture and salt associated with northern winters. They even feature air vents to reduce moisture and condensation on the inside.

Window air conditioner covers

If you live in an apartment or have an extra window unit in the bedroom, you know that air conditioner sits unused all winter and needs to be cleaned before turning it back on in the spring. But have you thought about covering it during the winter? A waterproof guard keeps your air conditioner dry and clean during the off-season. The easy-to-use design features an elastic hem that keeps the cover in place throughout all weather conditions. You can choose from both square and rounded versions, sure to fit which ever style unit you have.

Swing covers

Patio swings are also difficult to store. They're large, hard to move and it is a real pain to take them apart just to reassemble in the spring. They too can be covered to protect against moisture, wind and debris. Buckles hold this cover closed and allows it to protect your outdoor swing with PVC coating and a splash guard to create a moisture-safe, waterproof seal. The elastic bottom with cord allows you to fit this cover perfectly to what ever style swing you have.

Aside from these clever covers, you always want to make sure you protecting any chairs or tables you have remaining outside.

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Wind chimes create a soothing outdoor escape

The delicate sound of garden wind chimes creates the perfect at-home escape from the busy world.

wind-chimes-2We are constantly adding new collections to our site and recently we found this excellent wind chime manufacturer, Woodstock Chimes. This family-owned business is based out of Hudson Valley, New York. Woodstock Chimes creates and produces high quality, unique pieces that are sure to provide a sense of calm and joy to any age with their world-famous sounds.

When the catalog of wind chimes hit my desk, my first thought was, "but summer is over!"

How wrong I was. Gentle autumn breezes create the perfect environment for these timeless melodies. Crisp air and the traveling twinkle of wind chimes is the perfect setting for carving pumpkins, picking apples, and enjoying warm cider and donuts.

Here are of my favorites:


  • Plays the notes found in the patriotic song, America the Beautiful.
  • Playful, light melody will have your soul soaring on the breeze.
  • Named to honor the role nature's habitats play on the eco-system.
  • A lifetime tuning guarantee is offered through the manufacturer.
  • Hang the wind chimes out in the yard using the ring at the top.
  • Creates a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere – perfect for relaxation.
  • The wind catcher displays a carved dragonfly, butterfly, or owl.
  • Antique copper finish and steel plated constructed wind catcher.
  • Chime tubes are crafted from bronze-finished, recycled aluminum.
  • Top piece and clapper are made from Bubinga-finished ash wood.


  • Offers a relaxing atmosphere to your backyard garden or seating space.
  • The chimes move with the breeze to create random patterns of sound.
  • Hand-tuned to a universal five-note pentatonic scale for rich notes.
  • Rich and deep musical notes are created as the wind ruffles the chimes.
  • A lifetime tuning guarantee is offered through the manufacturer.
  • Use the top ring to hang the wind chimes from any outdoor hook.
  • Tubes are crafted from durable, recycled aluminum material.
  • Clapper, wind catcher, and top piece are made from ash wood.
  • Comes in several color combinations to blend into any space.
  • Makes a unique gift for the music lover on your holiday list.
  • Named for the third planet in our system we call home; Earth.

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Pet food storage ideas that will save you time

Pet food storage ideas that will save you time


Is this photo too familiar?

Proper storage for your pet's food is a must, not only for your convenience, but for your friends health too! A few staple pieces will make this task an easy one to keep up:

The basics

The most important pieces you need are a plastic bin and a scoop. That's it! When looking for a plastic bin, find one large enough to hold at least an entire bag of your preferred dry kibble. You also want to make sure there is some space left so you can easily scoop. Also look for a bin that has at least two latches on the side — you want an airtight seal that is going to promote freshness and longevity.

The Airtight Storage Tote has SIX latches and a clear finish that makes it easy to tell at a glance when you need to stock up on food. You can also use a garbage can if the space you have is vertical. Just make sure you use something with a secure lid like this Sterilite Plastic Kitchen Trash Can.

Next, the scoop. This is one is easier, I promise. You want to search for something that is constructed from a food-safe, durable material. It's a real plus if you can find that has a loop or hole for hanging too. This BPA-free plastic scoop is great find with a half cup capacity.


If you'd rather just skip the searching and find a system that is ready to go, there are plenty of complete pet food storage bins out there! This model from our friends at Iris comes complete with a latching lid and four rolling casters. It's super easy to move around the house and holds more than enough with a 33 quart capacity.


Looking for something different? Consider these food storage ideas that easily transition to food storage for our furry friends:

  • Cereal dispenser: The under counter cereal dispenser is a great way to save time. Simply place you buddy's food bowl underneath, pull the lever and watch the kibble fill.
  • Bulk Food Dispenser: This is a great idea for cat food. This pitcher-like bin holds food, bag and all. The handle makes it super easy to pour and a tight-latching top keeps contents fresh.

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Labor Day weekend 2015

2560x1600 Sunset Camp HDR HD Wallpaper For many, Labor Day is the last chance at a weekend getaway before summer fades into fall.

If you're packing up the family car for one more camping trip, you want to make sure you have everything you need to make it count. By this point in the summer, you should have you gear ready to go, but here are a few essentials that will make you review your checklist: laborday1

  • Food is an important part of any vacation, and when you're planning a camping trip grilling is top of the list. I usually recommend packing at least two coolers – one for food and one for drinks, but I just came across this great organizer and I think it's perfect for camping. The Trunk Organizer with Cooler is ideal for a family get away. The cooler is perfect for hot dogs, burgers and more while the multitude of pockets and cubbies house any shelf stable snacks like fresh fruit, chips and bottles. It's an organizers dream come true, honestly. It fits perfect in any hatch or trunk and doesn't need to be removed once you've set up camp. Keep foods in the trunk and there's no need to worry about pesky animals snacking on your dinner. Even add jumper cables and other travel necessities. If you need more room for drinks, add another cooler.
  • When you have the whole family at one camp site, it is important to create usable space. Pop up canopies are a huge help in this area. Canopies help create shelter without getting in your tent or camper. Set up a table and chairs, maybe keep your coolers under it – whatever you want to do. Just make sure you have it anchored down!
  • One of the biggest realizations I have had while camping over the years is the simplest: trash. Sometimes you end up with food waste or empty wrappers, but it's not terribly convenient to dispose of properly. Plus, you don't want to keep it out or just in a trash bag because then you invite animals to your site. The best solution I have found is utilizing a plastic storage bin. Find one that seals real tight and use it to keep empty cans or bottles, trash, food and more until you can get to a garbage can.

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Simple, realistic steps towards a paperless kitchen

The thought of creating a paperless kitchen may seem like a daunting task, but with the help of the right organizational pieces it can be easily done. Any home – small or large, contemporary or traditional – can be reorganized to limit paper products.

instagram_paperlessFirst, it is important to consider your household, the people around you and what level of change is appropriate for your lifestyle. Going paperless doesn’t have to be a black and white choice – any move in the right direction has its impact. It is important to communicate with your family and agree on a plan of action before implementing any large changes in your home.

Before you begin

There are lots of easy ways to make your own kitchen towels on the cheap. For specifics, check our Pinterest board on the same subject. If you’re not the hands-on type, start stocking up on towels when you find them on sale. It’s important to start loading up on towels before riding your home of paper products. You want to be ready to tackle life’s messes sans-paper before you run out of paper towels, napkins, etc. This way you can seamlessly transition from one lifestyle to the next.


Once you have stocked up on dish and hand towels as well as fabric napkins, it is time to find a storage solution that works for you. A lot of organizers love utilizing glass candy jars to keep clean towels at the ready. This allows you to keep towels near the sink or on the counter top without compromising neatness or décor. paperless_rags

For dish towels or other rags that may not be as pretty to display, consider re-purposing a plastic bag recycler. These handy bins are hidden under kitchen counters to create out-of-sight storage. Fill them with clean kitchen rags and easily access a towel whenever you need it.

Use and cleaning

Once it is time to throw towels in the dirty laundry, it’s necessary to have a receptacle in the kitchen. Utilize an over the cabinet waste bin to collect dirty towels. This small, stylish trash bin hangs over cabinet doors; you can hang them to sit either inside or outside the door. Doing this limits the need to do laundry more frequently, and keeping it tucked under the counter keeps any odors or stains out of sight.

Not all towels are ready to toss in the laundry after one use though. To allow them to dry properly and keep them at hand for another use, add extra areas to hang them. Over the door towel racks are the perfect way to create more storage without compromising wall space or creating permanent structures. These handy rods simply slid over kitchen cabinet doors without hardware or tools – plus, they’re padded to protect wood from scratches and signs of wear. These racks are also perfect for the bathroom!

Once you have these simple organizational hacks conquered, a paperless kitchen will be just another aspect of your everyday life. And then you can work to utilize it throughout the rest of the house!

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Make laundry easier on yourself

Laundry doesn't have to be a chore. Well, not a begrudging one at least. Proper storage and organization can cut down the time you spend in the laundry room.


laundry2Create a proper home for cleaning supplies with a storage cart. This model fits perfectly between the washer and dryer, creating a convenient and out-of-eye-sight solution. This three tier laundry cart takes up just eight inches of space in width. Store softener sheets, detergent, an iron, bleach and more safely.laundry1

Keep the ironing board tucked out of sight too with a holder or hanger. This wall mounted hanger holds your ironing board upright when folded. This piece features a top basket too, perfect for storing your iron, spray starch and more.


This contemporary laundry sorter includes four canvas bags that hang from a solid metal frame. Wire handles make it super simple to add and remove bags when transporting laundry throughout the home. Rolling and locking casters make it so easy to load clothes in the wash straight from the bags. This piece is a must-have for family homes with piles of laundry.laundry3


Cut down the time you spending folding clothes, too. Thanks to this shirt folder, you can quicken the process of getting clean clothes back in their rightful place. This folder is made from durable plastic, so it is sure to work for years. The non-slip surface is easy to use for big and small hands alike. Utilizing this folder helps reduce wrinkles too!laundry4


If you're looking to save money on supplies, consider making your own detergent.

What you need:

  • Fels Naptha Bar Soap
  • Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
  • Borax
  • Essential oils if desired

What you do:

  • Grate bar soap with microplane
  • Add one cup borax
  • Add one cupsoda
  • Mix in food processor until combined as one powder
  • Add essential oils if desired; not necessary
  • Add two tablespoons to each load of laundry

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Create the perfect home study nook

Our preparation for the new school year continues. This week, we’re focusing on creating the best home study space. Creating a comfortable place to hit the books not only increases the likelihood of homework getting done, but it encourages excellent organizing skills in other parts of life.study2

When creating your home study nook, keep two things in mind: schedule and time management. Creating a weekly schedule of when you plan to sit down, disconnect from the world and study is super important. Plan ahead and schedule time to get studying done so you can tackle it slowly throughout the week — instead of having to power through it all at once come the weekend.

Time management is just as important. When studying, it is ideal to allow yourself time to rest. Break up your studies into smaller pieces and reward yourself when you hit a checkpoint. Try to clear your mind for a few minutes without resorting to social media, television or conversations — and then get back to the books!

Of course, creating and outfitting your study place is the most important part.

Create the perfect home study space

  • Student planner: To start, you need to organize your responsibilities. Keep track of classes, homework, tests and more with this student agenda. This daily agenda has lots of room to jot down every day to-do’s. Dated for the 2015-16 school year, this planner has both monthly and daily calendars. Choose from multiple colors.
  • Dry erase calendar decal: Having a separate calendar for life’s commitments allows you to focus on homework within your planner, making it easier to keep track of assignments. A calendar for all of life’s activities is a must as well. This cool decal can be placed right above your desk. This way you can keep track of doctor’s appointments, family commitments and other things that don’t fit in your agenda.study1
  • Bulletin board: This contemporary bulletin board is the perfect mix of fun and efficiency. Pin up photos and ticket stubs as well as assignment outlines and more. This board comes with both 12 magnets and 12 pushpins.
  • Desktop organizer: Keep papers filed and organized. This cheeky desktop organizer is perfect for sorting files, important documents, even pencils or pens. The lighthearted “JUNK” text across the front adds fun to efficiency.
  • Wrist support note pad: Jot down last minute notes and reminders with this fun notepad. Designed to double as a keyboard wrist pad, this paper notepad includes 60 sheets. Like the desktop organizer, this pad has a sense of humor as displayed by its header: “Things I’ll forget to remember.”

study4 study3

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Go back to school with healthy packed lunches

Ready or not, here comes another school year. As the homework piles up, it’s important to keep your attention to detail. There’s no denying it, some days it is just easier to have the kids grab lunch in the cafeteria, but today’s lunchrooms are chock full of sugary drinks and salty snacks that begin a lifetime of unhealthy habits.

Utilize these handy pieces to create quick, easy and healthy lunches every day:

lunch1Japanese style lunch box

Let lunch get creative with this Bento Box style lunch box. Bento Boxes are a traditional boxed meal in Japanese culture. They typically have separate containers for rice, protein and veggies. Modern twists on this style create an easy way to pack a well-balanced, healthy lunch for work or school. This specific design features a nesting container with three cubbies and a lid – perfect for packing and separating items without using disposable plastic bags.

Reusable lunch wrap

lunch2If you or your kids or more of just the plain ol’ sandwich type, this reusable wrap is for you. You can pack any kind of sandwich without using plastic wrap.

Snack dipperlunch4lunch3

Snacking doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Packing healthy snacks is super easy thanks to this cool double compartment container. This piece is designed to accommodate your favorite dips and sides, like hummus with carrots, celery with peanut butter and more. This case is awesome for lunches but is great for a quick study break snack you can throw in your purse, backpack, briefcase and more.

Salad container with dressing holder

The ultimate in healthy lunches: a simple salad. Not so simple to pack though.  Well that has changed. This handy container is made to pack your favorite salad, complete with a side of salad dressing. The leak proof container is also ideal for stir-f
ry, pasta and other dishes. It comes with a detachable ice pack so it’s super easy to keep foods cool during the day – this container can sit in your locker before lunch and stay fresh.

Feeling inspired? Check us out on Pinterest for lunch ideas. 
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Go back to school with cool locker accessories

Go back to school with cool locker accessories

It still feels like summer has just joined us, but the beginning of another school year is drawing near. Every year we pile up the supplies, but it’s easy to overlook the details. As kids get older, maintaining storage and organization at school becomes more important. Help kids keep their lockers clean and their academics up with some of our customer favorites:

  • Adjustable locker shelf: Add storage and efficiently to any locker with this plastic shelf. Built to fit standard sized lockers, this unit features two shelves and a pull out drawer for smaller supplies. Available in black, blue or pink this shelf unit is perfect for all ages. Organize books and binders while maintain space for backpacks and lunchboxes with this handy shelf.backtoschool-1
  • Locker liner: Add personality to school lockers with this cool wallpaper. This decorative paper applies completely adhesive free – the magnetic sheets come in four pre-cut panels. Choose from a multitude of patterns: classic damask, blue polka dots, green stripes, leopard, zebra, teal paisley, pink chevron or purple scrolls.
  • backtoschool-2Magnetic pencil cup: Keep pencils, pens and other writing tools handy with this magnetic pencil cup. The brushed stainless steel finish is the perfect style to satisfy any age or gender. This simple piece the easiest way to stay organized at school.
  • Locker pockets: This hanging organizer is perfect for the locker. The fabric unit features five pockets to help sort all kinds of supplies. This piece even includes a mirror so kids can check their appearance between classes. The design includes a top hook to hang the piece and is available in either pink or blue colors.backtoschool-3
  • Designer locker white board: This handy little white board is the perfect way to remember homework assignments, important dates and more. Featuring a magnetic back, this white board holds on tight to inner out outer locker surfaces. It even comes with an included dry erase pen with a built in eraser. Choose from different patterns: purple damask, black polka dot, pink polka dot, blue flowers, blue scroll or leopard print.

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Enjoy this summer's herbs all year long

One of my favorite things about summer is fresh herbs. Even when I was in an apartment, I had all my pots lined up on the deck, boasting fresh bunches of oregano, basil, cilantro, rosemary and more.

Towards the end of the summer, when a distinct chill starts to creep through the air, I always debate what to do with my remaining herbs. I never have the space to bring the pots inside and keep them going – beside, I’m pretty sure my cat would just dig them up.

This year is different. I am prepared with loads of ideas to preserve and utilize all my leftover herbs.



Photo courtesy

herbs-1Yes, you can freeze fresh herbs. They actually last way longer this way and the flavors are so well preserved. There are lots of ways to go about this, but my favorite so far is freezing them in olive oil with an ice cube tray. I love this tray from CasaBella the best. The cubes are small and square so you can get good oil to herb ratio, plus the silicone makes it super easy to pop out the cubes without breaking them.

To do this, roughly chop up herbs and place them in the cube tray using equal amounts in each mold. Fill the molds with olive oil (or a different oil of your preference — coconut oil works well too, but I prefer the flavor of olive for cooking.) Freeze the trays and add a cube to recipes as you cook. You can remove the cubes from the trays after a day and throw them all in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag to free up the molds for other projects.


herbs-6Skip the freezing all together and create your own oil infusions. Glass oil bottles are inexpensive and easy to store. Slide bunches of your favorite fresh herbs into the bottles – maybe one with basil, another with rosemary or get creative and mix different flavors in one bottle – fill them with oil and leave them in a cabinet to infuse for no more than three months. Just like the cubes, this oil can be added to cooking and baking – or better yet, mopped up with some nice, crusty bread.

Butter me up

Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy

If you prefer to enjoy those fresh herbs sooner rather than later, compound butter is a great, inexpensive and almost effortless way to utilize them.

I’ve yet to meet a compound butter I will turn my nose up at. There are tons of recipes online, but the idea is so simple you can do whatever you want.

Throw two sticks of very, very soft butter in a bowl and set aside. Mince one tablespoon each of your favorite herbs — I love mincing up some fresh garlic as well. Throw in your herbs and mix with the soft butter until completely combined. Roll out some plastic wrap and scoop the butter on top. From there, form a long roll with the butter and roll the warp around it, twisting the ends. Let you fresh butter set in the fridge before using. Now you can add this tasty butter to baking and cooking – or snacking.

Outside to in

herbs-2If you do want to keep you herbs inside for the colder months, there are a couple easy transitions you can make.


Photo courtesy

Bring the outside in by utilizing a cool window box indoors. The great thing about window boxes is that they allow you to maintain multiple plants in one pot, limiting clutter and mess. Even better, they typically come with mounting hardware and can easily be anchored to a kitchen wall, staircase railing, windowsill and other spaces.  Doing this allows you to tend to your herbs without hording space with multiple pots.

If you’re feeling a little more DIY creative, consider mason jar planters. These adorable alternative planters can make a great display piece for your kitchen. Mount a few to an empty wall or the side of your cabinets to create a playful spot for your herbs. The clear glass presents an opportunity to get creative too. Place rocks or cool glass stones in the bottom of the jars to accent your kitchen décor or color scheme.

Utilize these easy steps to enjoy your fresh herbs throughout the entire year.

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Ideas for innovative kitchen storage

Ideas for innovative kitchen storage

The kitchen is the hub of activity in your house. Even though it’s great to have a central gathering place and something in common that brings you and your family together every day (food), it can get chaotic pretty easily. Usually it’s not just home to pots, pans, appliances, and food, but also a catch-all for things like mail, keys, and purses–not to mention the infamous junk drawer. Even if you have a spacious kitchen with plenty of storage, keeping it organized is vital for everyone’s sanity. Here are a few tricks to keeping your kitchen neat and orderly no matter what the day brings.

Rolling cabinet trays and vertical drawers


Photo courtesy

Ever just pile things on top of each other in the lower kitchen cabinets simply because you don’t feel like crouching down to put it in its proper place? Ever lose track a cleaning supply or a spice bottle because it was shoved behind 20 other items? One of the simplest kitchen hacks is installing rolling wooden or metal storage trays for your cabinets. Don’t forget about hanging racks on the insides of the doors that will allow extra storage space for smaller items. Vertical drawers are also a great solution because they allow you to save that precious horizontal space for bigger items.

Create this kind of storage space quickly and for less with the Slide Out Storage Tower. This three shelf storage shelf is perfect for storing dry goods, spices and more in the kitchen. The five inch wide shelf fits perfectly between stoves and counter tops – or even slides into the pantry.

Hanging utensils

In a small kitchen, the best thing you can do is take advantage of unused vertical space. While you could run out of counter space easily, you probably won’t run out of wall space. Hang vintage-chic baskets to store things like spatulas, ladles, and whisks. Not only will this save you counter space, it will also save you time while you’re busy cooking dinner.kitchen2

The Three Tier Seagrass basket is a great way to get this look. This sturdy basket lays flat against the wall and has a strong wooden handle to hang from. Each basket is large enough to accommodate large kitchen utensils, but is also perfect for storing napkins, take-out menus and more.

Coffee corner


Photo courtesy

If you’re a coffee fan, you probably have a whole section of counter or an entire cabinet dedicated to coffee paraphernalia. Keep everything organized by building a shelf or two for your most-used (or favorite, or most decorative) mugs and other supplies. Not only will this probably save you time and space, it will also make a decorative statement if you want it to be one.

Create more shelf space with the Sliding Cup Rack. Install it to the underside of a cabinet or shelf above your coffee maker to create a perfect java spot in the kitchen. This rack holds 10 mugs while keeping them accessible and on display.

Magnetic strips 

Instead of having a clunky countertop knife holder, opt for magnetic strips on the wall. This can also help keep your kids safe from sharp knives and scissors–without the hassle of baby-proofing the drawers.

kitchen-4Available in both 18.5 and 10 inch sizes, the Stainless Magnetic Knife Wall Rack will help keep kitchen knives at your fingertips without compromising counter space. Perfect for smaller kitchens, this magnetic strip is made from long lasting stainless steel and is easy to clean. Knives stay accessible but out of the reach of children – and you have more counter space to get some creative cooking done.

Dividers for pans 

Pans are pretty easy to store without taking up too much space. But stacking them just makes it so hard to find the exact one you need when you need it. Save yourself the time and stop clanking around loud enough to wake the dead every time you want to make cookies by buying pan dividers. Don’t forget that cutting boards and cooling trays can easily slide in too.


Photo courtesy

The 12-Inch Tray Divider in nickel finish is the easy way to add dividers to existing cabinet space. This divider is constructed from strong steel wire and comes with included hardware to install in any cabinet. Use it to easily organize cutting boards, baking sheets, muffin tins and more.

Fold-down table for two 

Even if you don’t have a breakfast nook, there’s still a solution for a quiet meal for two in the mornings. Fold-down tables can pull double duty by giving you a place to eat and also giving you more counter or work space when you require. And the best part is that it won’t take up a permanent spot in your kitchen.

The Fold-A-Way Kitchen Table is the perfect piece for a small kitchen – or small family. Designed to seat two, this table folds up to tuck away when not in use. This hardwood table can be used with both leafs up or just one if you need added prep space during a get together. Folded up and against the wall, this table takes up only about 10 inches.

Innovative shelving 

This homeowner opted for a metal bar, somewhat like a clothes rack, and hooks that hold a hanging shelf conveniently near the stove. There’s also a creative wine glass rack. Don’t be afraid to do whatever works best for you. There are no rules to follow for making your kitchen easier to navigate and organize. Do it according to your needs.

Find more ideas at Find these products and more at

 Hannah West is a soon-to-be published Young Adult author based in Dallas, TX. She specializes in fiction but enjoys dabbling in diverse writing projects and currently writes for

Five steps for a clean and organized garage

Did you know that there’s a day dedicated solely to cleaning your garage? National Clean Your Garage Day takes place on the first Saturday after Labor Day every year, but it’s not too soon to get a jump on the mess. If there’s no room to park your car in the garage, it might be time for a good old fashioned throw and stow.

1. Declutter

Cleaning your garage takes a whole lot of elbow grease and some serious determination. Set aside at a full day, or even a weekend to get the job done. Get friends and family to pitch in to make the job both quick and entertaining.

Go through absolutely everything – boxes, bags and storage tubs – all of it! Sort items into three categories: keep, donate and toss. Sort the keepers into broad categories to be stored later. Anything you wish to donate should be taken where it needs to go as soon as possible. Don’t let it sit around and clutter things up!

garage12. Contain

Once you have your belongings sorted, you’ll need to contain them. Stackable clear-plastic bins with lids are your best option for larger items. Clear jars, painted soup cans or even kitchen food canisters are all handy for sorting hardware and small items.

Keep your kids’ toys contained in a safe corner of the garage away from any potential dangers (sharp tools, flammable liquids, chemicals, etc.) Make sure they are easily accessible and labeled with large print and graphics so little ones know what items belong to them.

3. Store

The best thing you can do to keep your garage clean is to store items off the floor whenever possible. You'll free up room for your car and avoid large areas of clutter.

The garage ceiling is the perfect spot for hanging long, flat items you don't use every day, such as ladders, lumber, skis and snowboards. Be sure to check clearance when hanging shelves from the ceiling so as not to interfere with your garage door's operation or scrape the roof of your car.garage2

Pegboards are a great way to keep things off the floor. They are easy to install, can be cut to size, and painted to match your garage decor. They also keep things visible; you can draw the outline of the tools on the pegboard to easily tell at a glance if one is missing.

Use tool racks to keep garden tools, brooms and mops out from underfoot.

4. Secure

Chemicals are a common household danger for children and pets. Keep pesticides, paints, antifreeze, and other chemical substances in their original containers and in a locked cabinet. Teach kids what is and is not safe to touch and consider getting a sheet of Mr. Yuk stickers to warn children of poisons.


5. Maintain

Rain, leaves, bugs and dirt will find their way inside your garage if the doors aren’t sealed well.

John Morris of Gold Label Door explains, “Weather seals keep the weather out. This keeps the garage clean and dry.”

If the bottom of your garage door doesn't sit flush with the floor, create a snug fit by attaching a rubberized threshold seal where the door lands to save some cleanup time.garage5

To keep seasonal insects at bay, use a pesticide perimeter treatment to stop them before they get it.

As for general maintenance:

  • Keep a bag of kitty litter for absorbing oil and grease spills.
  • Sweep and hose down the floor regularly.
  • Go through your belongings and donate or toss what you don't need at least once a year.
  • Cleaning out your garage may seem like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little bit of help and a touch of organization, you’ll find yourself parking your car where it belongs before you know it.

Liz Greene hails from the beautiful city of trees, Boise, Idaho. She’s a lover of all things geek and is happiest when cuddling with her dogs and catching up on the latest Marvel movies. You can follow her on Twitter @LizVGreene.

Tending: Photo-realistic rugs start a conversation

The search is never ending for that perfect rug. The size, shape, color, design, especially the price – all these factors go into, what is typically, a focal point of a room. Now that detail can be an explosion of personality and comfort in your home. The FoFloor rugs from Bungalow Flooring are the coolest new way to soften hard floors and create depth.

These rugs have been selling – pardon the cliché – but like hot cakes. And it’s not hard to see why.bungalow-4

These lively floor mats are made with woven polyester faces that capture near photo-realistic images and graphics, adding a distinguishable element of depth to any space. With a wide selection of a variety of images and sizes, you are sure to find something to bring out your personal style.

The image quality is what really makes these mats stand out. With a choice of anything from tile mosaics and cozy cabin wood, to stone walkways and graffiti walls – the choices are endless.

These rugs are built to last too. They’re manufactured from 4-mil neoprene, which offers low profile construction that also creates comfort when standing on hard surfaces. These mats are designed to eliminate bunching under doors, tripping hazards and the skid resistant backing will not curl or crack. These one-of-a-kind rugs stay in place on hard surfaces like wood, concrete or tile – although they are just at home atop carpeting in your living room or bedrooms.

Each pattern comes in at least three sizes, including: area ( 66 X 46 inches), runner (60 X 25 inches) and large (36 X 23 inches.)

If you love color, the Big Bloom is perfect for you. This vibrant, floral rug is the spitting image of a full garden bouquet. Pink and yellow daises as well as mums sit together to create a striking image, perfect for the bathroom, bedroom or craft space.


If you have more of a classic style, either the Cottage print or Herringstone Path will blend in seamlessly with your décor. The cozy log cabin print of the Cottage rug is the perfect addition to any cabin, vacation home or just any décor of those who would rather be up-north.  The stone path print offers the same classic, charming characteristic.


Crafters will love the Basket Weave print. This rug features an up close image of a standard bamboo basket weave. The large print is sure to pop out alongside any home décor.

And for those who dream of the beach, the Nautical print is ideal. An up close image of starfish and seashells on a clean, sandy beach adds the calming effect of lounging at your favorite water-side spot. Highlight nautical themes in the bathroom, master bedroom and more.

bungalow-5Finally, as if you need more reason, these rugs are American made. Strong, quality craftsmanship is a guarantee and Bungalow Flooring FoFloor mats are machine washable. So use them anywhere in the home and don’t worry about messes – simply throw them in the wash when needed.

Add style, comfort and what is sure to be a conversation starter to any area of your home with one of these fabulous photo-realistic rugs.

As always, find these products and more like them at

Celebrating all things made in America

In the United States, a lot of holidays hold significant meaning for different people. We all incorporate our own family traditions to create a personal memory. But there are a select few days that — despite whatever labels you choose to adorn yourself with — produce the same shinning pride and gratitude within all of us.fireworks

Independence Day, July 4th, the Fourth of July – this day is one, small 24-hour time period to admire and cherish this beautiful land we call home.

With that pride comes a desire to produce and consume items with the sought after “Made in America” label. This year, as we gather to celebrate our independence, let’s show our gratitude for the hardworking men and women who continue the tradition of quality American craftsmanship.

Stacks and Stacks is proud to offer a variety of products made in the USA. Here are a few notable ones:


Sterilite products have helped simplify and organize our lives for more than 75 years. Manufactured in the U.S., their storage solutions are found in homes, schools and offices. You may even be surprised to find out how many of their products are already in your home.

steriliteOne of their most common products is the Plastic Storage Basket. This basket, complete with handles and ventilation holes, is available in three different sizes. This storage piece is perfect for putting away kid’s toys, stashing cleaning products under the sink, transporting small items throughout the home and more.  Anything you can think of, this handy little basket can handle it.

While Sterilite is great for the classic storage pieces we love, they are always creating new items as well. A newer piece from them is the Stackable Containers. Made from durable clear plastic, this container is made from two interlocking bins with a top lid. Side latches keep the two containers and lid securely together. Perfect for craft items, small tools, school or art supplies and more, this portable organizer is ideal for the home or office – or traveling between the two.


Another American made brand that is quite popular on our site is Buddeez – their entire product line is manufactured here in the states. Buddeez made their debut on the market with their keep-fresh Bread Dispenser. This handy item remains the only bread dispenser on the market. Designed to store an entire loaf of sandwich bread in the bag, this tube-like container allows you to easily access every slice.buddeez

Buddeez is also known for their Bag-In Dispenser for Bulk Foods. This food-safe plastic container is designed to store and dispense bagged bulk items – like sugar, rice, cereal and more – right in the bag. The side handle and top flip-open lid both make pouring easy.

This piece is a popular one, and the reviews prove it: “I use these containers to store cereal. It helps dry cereal from going stale in the box. The containers fit nicely in my cupboard. I highly recommend them. They'd also be great for rice!”

This year, celebrate our great country by supporting local manufacturers.

Find these products and more like them at

Out of sight, but not out of mind: the miracle of deck boxes

Summer invites so many occasions that require organizing — and most of them are outdoors. But there are numerous ways to simplify, sort and move on to the next project.

If you have a lot of patio pieces or even gardening supplies you don’t want tucked too deeply into the unreachable depths of the garage, consider deck boxes. These sturdy, weather-proof storage pieces are an excellent alternative to over-filling your garage or shed.

These outdoor organizers are moisture-safe and fade resistant, perfect for harsh winters and brutal summers. The uses for these convenient chests are limitless:

  • Store patio furniture cushions or covers
  • Stow away garden tools and flower potsdeck-box-1
  • Store the weed whacker, lawn waste bags or other lawn maintenance tools
  • Dry off and protect pool noodles, toys and other summer water accessories
  • Keep charcoal and BBQ accessories dry
  • Create an outdoor toy chest for those kid favorites that spend summer in the elements
  • Create extra seating for outdoor get-togethers

The options are limitless with different styles, sizes and color. Here are a few of our favorites, by size:

Small: Outdoor Storage Seat (Rated 4.8 out of 5)

This 22-gallon storage bin is designed to create space and seating. Stow away garden tools and other outdoor necessities within its water-proof, moisture safe interior. When closed, this storage box turns into a secure and comfy seat to add around the patio table or just to rest during your outdoor work. This bin comes in a fade-proof beige color that accents any patio décor with ease and is protected all year long from sun bleaching. Constructed from heavy duty resin, this outdoor piece is sure to power through year after year of hot summers and biting winters.

Medium: Deck Box with Wheels (Rated 4 out of 5)

deck-box-2If you’re doing a lot of work or entertaining throughout the yard, this rolling deck box is the perfect solution. This larger storage piece has a 73 gallon capacity, perfect for furniture covers or pads. In addition to the convenient casters, this box has side handles to make transporting a cinch. This storage container is made out of a durable poly-resin that is perfect for standing up to the weather.

Large: Outdoor Storage Box (Rated 4.1 out of 5)

The classic – this outdoor deck chest is the king of deck boxes. Its 99 gallon capacity easily accommodates patio cushions, lawn tools, garden necessities and more. Also weather-proof and moisture safe, this box is top of the line. The lid even has a spot to attach a lock so contents can be kept safe from any would-be intruders. Store it alongside the shed, on the patio and tucked beside the house – your belongings will always be safe in this durable storage piece.deck-box-3

Add any one of these backyard beauties to your organized outdoors and enjoy the satisfaction of organizing yet another part of your life.

As always, find these products and more like them at

Father's Day gift ideas: king of the grill

There are few places in life where dad has claimed his thrown. We won’t mention the obvious others, but the grill is for sure the one spot dads everywhere lay claim to every summer.

As Father’s Day falls on the first day of this awaited season, it is only fair to celebrate with his favorite summertime activity.

Our line of Barbeque Accessories is the perfect place to start for Father’s Day gift ideas. Here are just a few of our favorites:

grill_set18 Piece BBQ Set

Give the man the tools for the job. This outstanding barbecue tool set is filled to the brim with everything you need for a five-star cookout. The set includes:

  • Spatula
  • Tongs
  • Large fork
  • Large knife
  • Baster brush
  • Grill brush/scraper
  • Metal skewers (4)
  • Corn-on-the-cob holders (4 sets)

Charcoal Dispenser

If your pops prefers charcoal over propane, this plastic charcoal container and dispenser is ideal. The American-made container can hold up to 25 pounds of charcoal in or out of the bag. The entire piece is completely waterproof and features a side handle for easy carrying and pouring.

pizza_pan14 Inch Pizza Pan

You may think this cast iron pan is made for the oven, but this thing is right at home on your grill. It’s even heating creates an excellent, golden pie every time. You can also utilize it to roasted veggies or potatoes on the BBQ. It even comes pre-seasoned for quick and easy use.

Grill Coversgrill_cover

Finally, a sure Father’s Day win is gifting dad the best to protect his baby. Grill covers are an excellent way to prolong the life and quality of any grill. We have loads to choose from, but our favorites are the Casco Black Polyester Grill Cover and Deluxe Vinyl Barbecue Cover. Both covers are rain, snow and humidity safe as well as crack resistant in temperatures as low as negative 20 degrees. The Polyester comes in four different sizes while the Deluxe is available in six; all come with a five-year limited warranty.

Add the sizzle of summer to Father’s Day this year with these products and more like them at

What You Will Need This School Year: Check List!

Back to school shopping has begun and we have the complete back to school check list for your children, whether they're in elementary school or college. Organize-It and StacksandStacks also offers hundreds of products to get your kids off to the right start this school year! Start here with our Grade School List. We also have a College Check List! Find them on Organize-It!

Essentials to Keep Your Locker Organized

The longer the school year goes on, the more unorganized your locker becomes. Whether you have the locker yourself, or you are helping your son or daughter find the right locker organizers for this school year, you probably have the same goal: stay neat, organized, and don't lose your homework!

Between the books, folders, notebooks, and loose papers, your locker can easily become a mess. Most locker space is limited, so you need to find items to organize your locker but also make it look fun and different from all the other lockers. Here are some items we recommend to do both!



Magnetic Pencil Bins- Perfect for keeping your pens and pencils in order. These bins come in many colors and patterns to fit your unique style!



Magnets! – Colorful magnets are perfect for holing any important papers, notes, or reminders on your locker door to keep you on your toes throughout the day!




Locker Shelves – Add more layers to your space and seperate books and folders by different school subjects or put folders on one level and books on the other.




Here is another item that you would normally find in your closet. Give this a shot and repurpose the classic Closet Divder. This item is perfect for dividing in you locker and seperating papers from books. The transparent acrylic makes it perfect to see exactly what youre grabbing from all angles so there is no mix up before classes.



Dress it up and make it fun! Here are some new products that are sure to add a little personality to your school locker: LED Chandelier, Magnetic Mirror, and Locker Rug.

For more locker organizers or back to school essentials, check them out here!




ROCHESTER HILLS, MI – Organize-It, a retailer for storage and organizational products, purchased specific assets only from on-line competitor The assets acquired include the domain name along with associated blogs, website code database and email list. Organize-It already operates and, making the Michigan-based company’s third website in the storage and organization genre. Organize-It will be taking the website concept to a whole new level with a new design, better service, and eventually an expansion of both the Organize-It and Stacks product mix.
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Spruce Up Your Garden!

Happy Spring! Preparation for your garden should begin with cleaning up the space, eliminating old leaves and and debris, and checking the soil, then let the planting begin! Once your gardening has begun, here are some ideas to make the rest of this season a little bit easier on you and to make your garden space a little more fun!


Read more

Great Deals for the Garden from Griffith Creek

With Spring just around the corner, do you have that urge to get out in the garden like I do? We have gathered some great promotional items (and promotional prices!) from Griffith Creek to get you started on the path towards a healthy, productive and organized garden this year. Sale lasts thru May 31st.

Raised Garden Bed
With a planting depth of 15", this Raised Garden Bed is perfect for growing flowers and plants, but also vegetables. The elevated design means no bending over and allows for storage underneath, a great choice for apartment patios and small backyards. Includes a coconut fiber insert, as shown. $175 with free shipping.* Read more

Smarter Hangers… for an Organized Closet

clutterfree-cascade-hangers.jpgWe are always looking for smart organizing tools for the home, and everyone's favorite topic this time of year is the closet. Instead of looking for ways to add more storage to your closet this year, why not look for ways to use your closet more wisely? Enter these smarter hangers, the ClutterFREE Cascade Hangers. Available in packs of 50 or 100, these clothes hangers have thought of everything for you, truly one of the best closet hangers around.
Read more

Garage Ceiling Storage – Organizer's Best Friend

Telescoping Ceiling StorageWe all have our go-to tricks when it comes to finding extra storage space in the home. Maybe it is as simple as looking at the back of your door, or under the bed. Well it just so happens that one of my favorites also tends be one of the most overlooked. Maybe it is because it is because of its location: the garage.

Closets and shoes are fun to organize, as are bathrooms. Those areas bring instant gratification when organizing the home. But the garage? Not so much. We don't hang out in the garage, and we certainly don't expect it to be a place of calm organization. So why the focus on this boring, dingy space? Read more

Ironing Board and Step Ladder, All in One Package

Ironing Board & Step Ladder ComboYou heard me right, this week's featured product is two common household helpers packed into one design: the Ironing Board & Step Ladder Combo. It is great inventions like these that keep our homes tidy and clutter free. Whether you live in a studio apartment or a larger home but you simply want the laundry room to be tidier, this unique ironing board and step ladder combination helper is a wonderful tool you can have at your disposal. And the great design naturally takes space efficiency even further. Thanks to the extra weight from the step ladder, the ironing board can rest vertically against the wall when not needed, instead of leaning out into the room and taking up extra floor space.

What will they think of next?

Not Your Grandma's Basket

While baskets may be one of the most versatile storage tools in your arsenal, you shouldn't have to sacrifice your modern style to reap the benefits! Neu Home has a wide selection of baskets that provide the same catch-all storage effect you are looking for around the home, but each boasts an updated style to match your contemporary lifestyle.

Modernize your home with one of these trend-forward storage baskets:

Riviere Trapezoid Basket
The Riviere Trapezoid Basket is ideal for rolled up hand towels, magazines and more. Made of wood and canvas. Read more

Product of the Week: Over the Door Baskets for EVERYTHING

Over the Door 6 Basket UnitWell, almost everything anyway! This week's featured product is a new take on an old favorite: The Over the Door 6 Basket Unit by Neu Home – A simple over the door rack with baskets! We've all seen over the door shoe racks, accessory racks, pockets and coat racks, but it has been a while since I have come across one of the most versatile styles of OTD organizers: the type that simply offers baskets for storage on the back of the door. This handy helper (also available as a 4 basket unit) is a wonderful storage solution for pretty much any space. Here are some great ideas for putting this Over the Door Basket System to work around your home: Read more