Monthly Archives: May 2016

Re-thinking What It Means to Buy Used

The term “used” has such a negative connotation attached to it, and it just doesn’t make sense. Sure, there are certain things that just don’t sound all that appealing if you add “used” to it (underwear, food – that’s just icky). But there are so many things that you could be buying used that will give you the same quality, aesthetic, durability – whatever – as any new counterpart.  

Plus, unless we’re talking a valuable antique or collectable, used pretty much always means cheaper, and who among us doesn’t like having to spend less money?  

Of course, to get you to leave behind all of the negative things you’ve surrounded “used” with, you’re probably going to have to see some examples. In that case, you’ve come to the perfect place, as here we’ll go over some of the best things you can buy used and feel super proud about.

College Is Expensive Enough:

Have you seen the cost of tuition these days, even at average universities? Yes, college costs enough as it is, without uselessly spending more, and one thing that you definitely don’t need to buy new is a textbook. A textbook that was just used last semester has nothing less to offer than a brand new textbook that just showed up at the campus bookstore or online.  

As long as the professor is still using the same edition, you can even buy a used textbook that’s a couple of years old. Then again, it would be smart to talk to your professor and see how drastic the changes are in editions, as you might still be able to buy an older edition even if a new one is being used in class. Buy used items while in college and you’ll see the savings add up.

They’ll Outgrow It Anyways:

Constantly buying brand new clothes for your kids is a habit you can certainly cut back on. Save costs and buy used items for younger kids! Young children, especially infants and toddlers, will grow out of their clothes so quickly that you can easily end up spending a small fortune buying them new clothes every few months. It makes more sense to use hand-me-downs or clothes purchased at a thrift store/consignment shop.  

A lot of retailers for children’s clothes will sell quality used clothing – something that’s a double bonus for you, because unless you have another child you’re planning on passing them down to, you can go ahead and get rid of the old clothes by donating them rather than tossing them in the trash. For older kids, buying used is still an option. After all, vintage used clothes are highly fashionable these days.

It’s Just for Storage, After All:

For both businesses and households, purchasing used storage solutions is a no-brainer. You can find quality retailers, like Container Exchanger, that buy and sell used containers, bins, wire baskets, etc. which are perfect for commercial and even residential applications. If you’re needing products for a warehouse or stockroom, or you need some better storage in a garage or workshop, then purchase some used stackable bins or containers.  

A lot of these things typically still look close to new anyways, but, for even better deals, consider buying ones that might look a little scratched or scuffed. You can purchase spray paint that’s made especially for painting plastic surfaces, and then paint them whatever color you want, even creating designs or logos using stencils. Buy used items, and before you know it, you’ll have something that looks brand new for a fraction of the cost.

Vintage Can Be Chic:

Buying secondhand furniture doesn’t have to be as shabby as it sounds. A lot of things look absolutely amazing with just a little TLC – so much so, that plenty of people make a living out of buying secondhand furniture and sprucing it up, reselling it for way more than they have invested in it.  

Don’t walk past a sofa or chair that has a hideous fabric. Stop and ignore the fabric for a moment, paying attention instead to the furniture’s overall design. If the lines are pleasing and it offers the seating you’re looking for, then haggle a price down and just have it reupholstered.  

See a wooden table, bureau, or desk that’s seen better days? Buy and refinish it: You’ll be thrilled at how great it looks after a little sanding and a new coat of stain. Of course, painting furniture can go a long way toward throwing life back into an old piece without having to spend a lot of money.  

In the end, that’s got to be your overall outlook on everything: Think of what something can be, rather than what it currently is.

Running a Green Business

Life on this planet may have existed for eons, enduring one catastrophe after another, but it’s nevertheless a fragile and precious thing.  Subsequently, the pollution and harmful practices we take part in can cause major damage to the natural world.  

However, we have it within our means to change things for the better, creating a world that’s healthier for us as well as more amenable to all of the wonderful species that inhabit this planet.  Business and industrial practices have a lot to do with the environmental problems facing our world, so here we’ll discuss a variety of ways that businesses can make a more positive impact on the environment.

Businesses Going Green – Designing Them Right:

Humans are extraordinarily adept when it comes to innovation and creativity.  We’re constantly creating new and better ways of doing things, or more advanced technology that completely opens up opportunities for creating things we never thought possible.  

This innovation has been rigorously applied to commercial and industrial construction, allowing us bigger and better opportunities to design eco-friendly spaces.  One rather surprising feature of green building is to feature … well … something green.  More and more commercial buildings are creating green zones on roofs as well as walls.  These living components of the building help to provide a natural insulation that reduces heating and cooling costs.  

What’s more, they also help to cut down on urban heat.  Urban areas tend to be so much hotter because of all of the building materials that either absorb heat or reflect it down to the streets below.  Vegetation transpires, or lets out evaporated moisture, which in turn helps to cool the surrounding area, meaning that urban spaces can seem a little less like heat traps.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the term “graywater,” and, if not, that’s fine: You’re about to learn a thing or two about it.  Graywater is a term applied to the water garnered from a rainwater catchment system. Businesses going green should consider this option as graywater can be used for sprinkler systems, cooling systems, and even toilets.  

For a commercial building, the amount of water that can be collected can be vast (the larger the roof space, the more gallons collected).  This is water that can be used in lieu of that contained within reservoirs or in groundwater.  

When we take more water out of natural systems (think waterways, the water cycle, etc.), then we cause more of a strain on the ecosystems that require the presence of water.  We even make it harder on ourselves, as we use up water that could otherwise be used for more essential things, such as consumption.

Also, think of using recycled or salvaged products when building a space, no matter how state-of-the-art it’s meant to be.  Nowadays you can easily purchase insulation that features recycled materials and which still provides a high insulation rating.  Tons of materials can be salvaged and reused, from steel and other metal products to flooring, lumber, and beams.  

You can even use building products that feature organic material that’s sturdy and lasts just as long as other material.  Everything from straw to hemp is being used in modern construction, and people love it because it means fewer chemicals used to create products and fewer possible health hazards for the people exposed to them.

Running a Successful Business – Actions Create Impact:

The everyday practices that businesses employ can have major environmental repercussions.  We live in the digital age, so this would really be the best time to start using way less paper.  If you’re sending out documents or adverts to people, change from paper to virtual and send these things via email.  Most people these days pay bills, make purchases, and handle personal affairs online rather than through the mail.  Going digital is inevitably more convenient and efficient, anyways.

If you network a lot with other companies or work closely with various suppliers and vendors, start to look for ones that are also taking a more eco-friendly approach.  This creates more of an incentive for other businesses to follow suit, lest they find themselves out of the commercial loop.  It also means that you’re more likely to come into contact with other eco-friendly ideas that can help reduce your impact on the environment as well as save you money.

The products you use to conduct business are also key.  If you’re buying a lot of storage products, such as bins and containers to hold goods, tools, etc. then start to look for recycled or recyclable options.  Also, rather than buy something new, look for used plastic containers and other storage options. In the long run, you’ll end up spending less money which will help you in running a successful business. Reusing a product is more eco-friendly than having more things created to end up in landfills.

Creating a Better World – Eco-Friendly Ideas and Solutions for Your Home

We live in an age where topics like pollution and climate change are part of our everyday lives. We worry about water and air quality, whether or not the household or yard products we’re using are putting toxins into the environment or our living spaces, and what our actions today will mean for future generations.

Becoming more environmentally aware is a good thing, though, and implementing practices that make the world a healthier and more vibrant place for us and the life around us is a lot easier than you might think. It’s time to start nurturing our world, so get ready to learn and to become inspired with these go green ideas for homes!

Green Building:

Taking a more eco-friendly approach can start before you even have a home. Whether you’re building from scratch or you’re remodeling, take the opportunity to go with an approach that reflects the concepts of sustainability and environmental protection. Purchase lumber or go with a contractor that uses lumber from sustainable forestry programs. These programs help to reduce clear-cutting practices and help to keep our forests intact, thus maintaining key habitat areas and nurturing vital ecosystems.  

Look for high-efficiency appliances when you’re putting together your kitchen or laundry space. Such appliances do their work while drawing on less energy – something that’s not only good for the environmental but also really great for your wallet.

Insulation is pretty big when it comes to creating a home that has a more positive impact on the environment. The amount of energy you use to heat and cool your home is translated directly to how much pollution gets put into the atmosphere and our waterways, and how many ecosystems are disturbed in the search for energy resources.

Even if you use natural gas, remember that even though they say it burns cleaner, it’s still not 100% clean, and it’s definitely not renewable or sustainable: Natural gas is a finite fossil fuel – we won’t always have it. With all of this in mind, make sure that your home is well insulated and that you use environmentally friendly products as well. Replace old windows for newer ones that are better insulated and which feature UV protection – something really important for areas that get a lot of sunlight and, therefore, heat.

Installing eco-friendly systems for your home is also a smart idea. Solar panels create clean, renewable energy that doesn’t harm the environment and which can help reduce or even eliminate your electric bill (small wind turbines can do the same).  

Water catchment systems are spectacular eco-friendly solutions, especially for areas where water shortages can be a big problem. You can create a system that uses rainwater to feed your toilets, with your home’s standard water supply acting as backup. If this doesn’t seem like an option for you, you can still set up a water catchment system outside using a rain barrel that collects water from your roof via the gutters. This provides you with a supply of water for your garden/yard and helps reduce the amount of groundwater pulled out of aquifers.

Eco-Friendly Solutions – Home Practices:

The things we do in our homes often have an impact on the environment, even if we don’t realize it. Take a moment and really think about how much you might waste in your home regarding water, electricity, and various materials. Do you leave the water running while scrubbing dishes or brushing your teeth? Are you leaving lights on or standing with the fridge open all of the time?  

Even how many paper towels, toilet paper, and other disposable items we use ends up having some impact on the environment. Just take a look at your household cleaning products, and you’re sure to find a bevy of chemicals that would certainly be harmful to any ecosystem, and probably aren’t that great for you and your family. Make the switch to cleaning products that don’t use the same harsh chemicals, and find cleaning solutions you can make yourself at home from trustworthy products.

Go green ideas for home can start with storage solutions. They can even have a positive or negative environmental effect. Start paying attention to where products are manufactured, as the greater the distance between the manufacture point and your local store, the more pollution that’s going to be involved.  

Purchase used plastic storage containers for your basement, attic, and garage, rather than going out and buying something new. You can find great used plastic containers online: a purchase that means you’re reusing a product and reducing the amount of energy used to create something new, as well as reducing the amount of material likely to end up in a landfill or floating around out in the ocean.

Business Essentials – Setting Up Your Commercial Space

So you’re about to open up your own business or set up a new location – congratulations!  Getting things up and going for a commercial venture can be tiring and stressful, but, don’t worry: You’re in luck.  Rather than have to deal with trial and error situations or have to deal with a bunch of research and run-around, here you’ll get an all-inclusive look at some of the top business organization methods to help make your business venture a success.

From sales floors, business stockrooms, warehouse organization, to setting up industrial facilities, we’ll cover a wide range of easy storage solutions. These will help you set up your space and get it ready for efficient, quality-driven productivity.

Sales Floor:

How you set up and organize your sales floor will obviously have a lot to do with the sort of products that you’re selling.  If you’re going to be focusing more on apparel, then you definitely want plenty of racks that you can hang clothes on and a bulk supply of clothes hangers.  Instead of relying completely on clothing racks, though, consider creating sections that feature shelving units for folded clothes, as this helps to give more dimension to a space and keep it from feeling monotonous.  

If you can create various zones where you display merchandise in multiple ways, then this can help create a sense of “product plenty,” where customers go through your store and leave with the feeling that you offer a lot of varied products, even if you actually don’t.  

Pay particular attention to key sightline areas, such as endcaps (the areas at the end of aisles), areas near windows, and zones where people may tend to congregate, such as waiting in line to check out or to use a fitting room.  These areas should display your hot-ticket items (the things you really want to call attention to and sell). 

Stockrooms and Warehouses:

While displays are extremely important on the sales floor, stockrooms and warehouse organization are absolutely vital for day to day efficiency. Even if you’re running a warehouse that acts as a transport or storage facility for different products, having a space that’s organized will increase productivity and reduce costs.  

When you have a space that’s poorly organized, time is inevitably wasted looking for things, while inventory, tools, and equipment are more likely to get lost, damaged, or even stolen.  In these spaces, you’ll want to invest in some industrial grade storage.  Plastic pallets that are also stackable are great options for storing bulk supplies, and they tend to last longer than wooden pallets.  

Plastic storage bins – also stackable – and nesting totes are also great options.  These allow you to keep items separated and labeled, providing you the ability to quickly find what you’re looking for and to keep track of inventory.  When purchasing easy storage solutions for these spaces, focus on things that feature vertical elements, as it’s more advisable to go up with your storage in order to free up as much floor space as possible, in turn allowing you to store more merchandise or equipment. Large wire baskets would be perfect for these spaces, even out on the sales floor, as they allow for bulk storage and usually feature wheels that make it easy to move them from location to location.

Industrial Facilities:

Like warehouse organization, factories and other industrial or mass production facilities require a great deal of careful setup.  You’re going to want to make sure that your processes flow in an efficient manner, and that equipment is placed in areas that are ideal for their operation purposes.  Try to keep equipment that requires cooling or access to specific sources of power close to where these elements are supplied, as this cuts down on how much you have to spend to run piping, ductwork, etc.  

Consider purchasing some stack racks, as these provide great storage and work stations ,while also maintaining neatness, through their ability to stack or nest on top of one another when not in use.  

Depending on the types of materials you’re working with, you may consider metal or plastic storage bins and other easy storage solutions for your space.  Metal is a great option if you’re looking for something that’s durable, especially for operations or storage needs where plastic may not hold up to the job.  

If you’re dealing with a lot of tools and equipment that won’t be a worry for plastic – unlike chemicals that could damage them – then plastic would probably be a good bet, due to it being lighter and often cheaper.  Plastic storage containers tend to be a little easier to move and require less upkeep (no worries about rust).

Kiss Your Clutter Goodbye – Fantastic Storage Solutions for Every Home

Big or small, our homes seem to be constantly on the verge of spilling over with stuff.  This isn’t necessarily a problem with materialism, but rather one with a lack of adequate storage.  Small home are notorious for lacking in closet space and other usable storage zones, but even large homes can feature definite areas where stuff just seems to spill over, somehow consistently multiplying in the night – or so it seems.  Clutter isn’t something anyone should have to deal with, so get ready to see the last of your disorganized days and say hello to the storage solutions of your dreams.  No matter what space you need to tackle, here you’ll find a bevy of storage solutions for your home to turn around even the most cluttered, aggravating spaces.

Love at First Sight:

When you first walk into your home, the first thing you should feel is love for the space you’ve just entered.  A home is a sanctuary of sorts, so the last thing that you, your family, or guests should encounter is a nightmarish catastrophe as soon as you walk in.  Of all of the clutter issues in a home, the front entry is probably at the top of the list.  Finding a space for coats, shoes, book-bags, and all kinds of miscellaneous items like keys, phones, and the like, can be fairly overwhelming.  To surmount this feeling, let’s check out a few things that can be implemented in practically every home.

BookcasesThese may seem like odd storage solutions for your home, but it really works. You can purchase or even make a bookcase, painting it a light color to help it recede and the entry space feel more spacious.  Rather than put in all of the shelves, consider leaving a larger opening at the top where you can screw in hangers for coats and book-bags, while leaving the bottom open for shoes and stacked storage, such as plastic containers.  You could get a couple of plastic organizer bins or even wire baskets, and then spray paint them a fun color.  Even consider painting on a stencil to the plastic containers to give them a more personal, customized look while creating a clutter free home.

Small ClosetsRethink a small closet for a more efficient use of space.  Take off the door and give the inside of the closet a fresh coat of paint.  Install shelving, hooks, and even sliding drawers, along with storage containers.  Rather than have to look at shoes, fit them into containers that can slide out or have small doors placed on the bottom portion of the closet to keep shoes neatly tucked away.

A Chef-Worthy Pantry:

Pantries can become a complete mess in any home, where finding just what you’re looking for can turn into a nerve-wracking scavenger hunt.  Some pantries feature cabinets, but open shelving may be a more practical solution.  You may think here that this just means all of the clutter will be more visible, but having open shelving creates a little psychological effect: Since you have to look at it, you’ll tend to feel more inclined to keep it organized.  

Plus, this eliminates the hassle of looking through cabinets for things, since you can see precisely what’s sitting where. For a clutter free home, use clear plastic containers, or glass that’s clear or colorful, to store dried goods, and then use plastic bins or wire baskets to keep other essentials in.  Baskets may look cute in magazines, but they’re harder to clean, whereas plastic bins feature smooth surfaces that are easy to wipe down, and wire baskets could just be dipped in the sink.  Plus, with plastic containers and wire baskets, you can easily attach labels that help you remain organized.

Garages and Workshops:

Having a clutter free home doesn’t mean just piling items in the garage! Keeping tools and gardening utensils, as well as all of the odds and ends for home and auto organized is a true must in any home.  You never want to find yourself in a situation where you need to tackle a project, and you end up spending most of your time looking for the things you’ll need to do it.  

Stacking totes and insulated plastic containers are great options for garage and workshop spaces, especially if these zones aren’t climate controlled.  Stacking totes are great options simply for the fact that you can create vertical storage zones that help to free up valuable floor space, leaving you with more usable square footage.  For these areas, consider looking for some industrial quality containers, especially those that are used and in good condition, as you’ll save a good deal of money this way.