Put everything away

Spring is usually considered the season of cleaning up and organization, but this fall is bringing a lot of guidance about how to get -- and stay -- organized, saving time as well as money.

IKEA's 2003 catalog centers on the concept of thinking "cubic," which it defines as "using the entire width, depth and height of your home." The key to this concept seems to be making use of storage in unexpected places with multi-functional pieces.

There's the Bangsund twin bed frame (right, $199), which is slightly lofted to make way for a sliding-door cabinet underneath.

Another hint the catalog gives is to maximize the use of as much space as possible from floor to ceiling -- for example, purchasing the tallest wardrobes that will fit in a room and installing shelves above a desk.

The 2003 IKEA catalog is available in stores or by visiting www.ikea-us.com.

But get organized first

While it's nice to have a place to put everything, hiding clutter isn't the same as getting organized. That's where Organizing Plain & Simple, a new reference guide, steps in.

Working under the adage "time is money," the suggestions here aim to help people make changes in their lives that save a few minutes here and there, as well as decrease their stress levels.

The "Getting Started" section walks readers through the creation of a plan, setting a goal date, general de-cluttering guidelines and examining their priorities of organization. The next section takes a step-by-step approach to each room in the house. (To organize a bedroom, for example, first clean out old clothes and accessories, organize drawers by category, sort through jewelry and create an area for off-season storage.)

And once your home is organized, there are tips for arranging finances and family schedules, preparing for a new baby and just about anything else you can think of.

Organizing Plain & Simple (Storey Books, 2002) costs $16.95 and is available at amazon.com and www.bn.com or by calling 800-441-5700.

Hot and cool ideas

GE Appliances has turned its attention toward helping customers save time and energy, with a new line of products designed with efficiency in mind.

For availability and purchasing information, visit www.geappliances.com or call 800-626-2000.


* Decatur House, one of the oldest homes in Washington and one of only three remaining residential buildings in the country designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe (architect of Baltimore's Basilica of the Assumption), opens its first exhibit Wednesday. Marie Beale: Antiquarian, Ambassadress and Adventuress examines the life of the home's last private resident and one of the leaders of Washington society in the first half of the 20th century. Visit www.decaturhouse.org or call 202-842-0920 for more information. The house is at 1600 H St. N.W.

* C. Colston Burrell will discuss the design of his former garden in the Midwest and his current garden in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in "Provocative Pictures: Reflections on an Urban Prairie and Mountain Woodland" Thursday at Ladew Topiary Gardens, 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton. Lecture is $20 for members and $25 for nonmembers and begins at 10:30 a.m. Visit www.ladewgardens.com or call 410-557-9570 for more information.

Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Liz Atwood, Home Front, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278, or fax to 410-783-2519. Information must be received at least four weeks in advance to be considered.

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