Decorating for the Holidays

Shadra Bruce

christmas tree

To be honest, I’m not much of an interior designer. My furniture would stay in the same place forever if we weren’t making room for extra people. But this time of year, it’s fun to bring a little holiday spirit into every room, and even I get into the spirit. Try these ideas –

Light Up Your Home with Candles

christmas candlesCandles are one of the easiest ways to make your home cozier for the holidays. While scented candles are ideal for use in bathrooms and guest rooms, unscented candles should be used in kitchen and dining areas so that they don’t compete with the delicious smells of food. Create the perfect look by grouping several candles together, or create an eye-catching centerpiece with a large, multi-wick candle on a mirrored plate or tray.

Chase Away Chills with Throw Blankets

cozy blanketsBlankets and throws in rich colors and soft, inviting fabrics are essential accessories for this time of year. From burgundy to forest green, from velvet to flannel, you can create a welcoming and warm space with these simple additions of color and texture. Flannel or fleece sheets on the guest room bed can be a welcome touch, too.

Go Top Shelf

 If you do not have a bar cart, this is certainly the time of year to add one to your entry way or living room. A bar cart welcomes everyone with an always-ready-to-entertain style. Use cut crystal decanters and offer a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic options for guests to help themselves. Decorate with live fruit and sprigs of mint. Don’t forget to put out fresh ice when guests arrive. Chris Bowman and Benjamin Harrison of Let’s Drink About It provided HuffPost a fabulous guide to the well-stocked bar cart.

Dress Up the Guest Room

guest roomIf your guest room has become your craft space, workout space, or additional storage, now is a great time to create a welcoming space for holiday guests. While a comfortable mattress and luxury bedding should be standard for any guest room, it’s the details that make all the difference. To make your guests feel like they are in a home away from home, provide a sitting area with a comfortable chair and throw blanket. Leave a card on the nightstand with your Wi-Fi username and password. Consider a mini fridge stocked with bottled water and juice. Provide towels, washcloths, shampoo and soap in a basket with a candle.

Christmas Up the Fireplace Mantle

christmas fireplace mantleNo home’s holiday look is complete without the right décor for the holiday mantel. Fresh pine branches, red ribbons, cinnamon scented pine cones, and stockings hung with care create a Rockwell scene straight from the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. You can also use the mantel to carry your holiday color scheme through the home by placing extra ornaments in glass jars on the mantel and decorating with garlands or ribbons in complementary colors. Lights, candles, miniature trees, or an all-white winter wonderland can also create a cozy, holiday feeling.

Designing a Creative Home Office Study Space for Kids

As a work-from-home mom, I understand the value of having a dedicated space that allows me to concentrate and work productively. Wanting to provide the same for my kids, who are reaching the age where homework and projects are prioritized, I reached out to Richard Campen at Archway Press to give us some design ideas to help create great work spaces for the kids.

MomsGetReal Guest Contributor Richard Campen

Your home is designed to bring joy and accommodate the needs of the family. As your children get older, you will have to make changes to your home to accommodate their specific needs. One of the changes that you may ultimately have to make is creating a workspace or study room for your kids. This is vital to facilitating their academic demands and the challenges that are associated with them.

3539918529_5ca39d903cThe studying dynamic for youth today has changed. There used to be a time in which children simply studied in their room, but that has changed drastically as we are now living in the age of internet.

  • Children are exposed to computers and other technologically advanced devices at a much earlier age, allowing them to have access to the expansive information that is at their fingertips via the web.

  • Building a workspace for your kids will create an environment that will foster their ability to research, organize and learn.

You may be thinking that you can simply send the kids into your office to use your computer and study, but the idea of a workspace for the kids is to create an environment that is kid friendly and some place they can call their own.

Height Relative Furniture and Shelving

If your children are not yet as tall as the adults in the house, their ability to reach items or sit comfortably at a full size desk may be limited. You will want to create shelving that they can access easily without having to climb or use a chair. You will also want to fill this space with furniture that is suitable for children of their age and size.

Some ideas for furniture and shelving are:

  • Waist-high to chest-high shelving

  • Age- and height-appropriate seating

  • Work stations that are easily accessible

  • Storage benches that are easily accessible

Color Coding

Colors play a major role in impacting human moods and personalities. How you use colors in this workspace will have a massive impact on the effectiveness of the room. Colors also play a major role in the learning process. Color coding is used quite often to distinguish different types of subjects and tasks.Take the time to familiarize yourself with colors so that you can create color coded work stations for your kids.Having multiple workstations that are conducive for learning in a particular academic discipline can be fun and effective for your child.

Regardless of the gender of your child, there are certain colors that you will want to avoid such as black and red. Colors that work well are lighter shades of blue, as well as yellow and green. Take the time to learn if your child is using a specific color coding system at school and then attempt to facilitate the system in the work station.

Multiple Children

If you have more than one child you will also want to consider creating work stations that are specific to each child, as they will give your child a sense of identity in creating a work and study environment that supports their strengths and preferences. The more you personalize the areas, the more your children will identify with the space and the more they will be willing to head into their study time.


Consider how you will decorate the walls of your kid’s study room. Considerable research has been done in this area that reveals that the type of artwork that is on the wall can play a major role in stimulating your child’s mind as they study. You may also want to consider placing school and learning relating items, such as chalk boards and math charts, onthe wall as well. Another idea for the walls would be wall cubbies for the storage of certain items or materials. It will have an exceptional aesthetic appeal while maintaining the practical theme of the space being built.

Lounge Areas

Most experts have different views on the effectiveness of a lounge area in a kid’s workspace environment. Some believe it creates a sense of comfort while giving the children a new area to hang out and relax, while others believe that having a lounge in a study area does not support focus. If you decide to add a lounge setting, make the effort to ensure that it is consistent with the theme of the workspace.

You know your kids better than anyone, making you the perfect person to determine the best route to take in converting a particular part of your home into their personal workspace.


Image source: Flickr

Richard Campen has over 30 years of experience helping people create their dream homes. At Archway Press, Inc. you’ll find a premium collection of house plans and custom made garage plans created by country’s leading designers.

Preparing The Backyard for a Safe Winter

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

While the trees and plants in your yard might turn brown during the harsh winter months, you still can enjoy your backyard with some prep work. Prepare your yard for the season by ridding it of hazards that await your family, pets and neighbors. Enjoy your backyard while keeping it safe for romping and snowball fights with these winter preparation tips.

Clean Up is the First Step

Winter patio and gardenPick up all of the tools and toys that might be lying in the yard. Rakes, shovels and hoes all have sharp edges that could injure someone if they tripped and fell on them. Small plastic toys could become brittle in the cold and break into splinters and injure a child or pet playing in the yard.

Rake up all of the leaves and fallen limbs and twigs. Not only is this healthier for your yard, says HGTV, but it removes hiding places for objects that could be unsafe. Piles of leaves can also trap water and freeze causing slick conditions in the yard.

Cut up any large piles of sticks or limbs in the yard and dispose of them. Wildlife may find refuge in these areas to get out of the cold and pose a problem if they are disturbed later. If you have a wood pile for fireplace wood, make sure it’s located away from the house and always use gloves when removing wood to use in a fire.

Clean the leaves, twigs and moss out of the gutters. Make sure that the water runoff is moving freely and not being stopped by anything. In freezing temperatures, water in the gutter can freeze and if there are any drips over the edge, icicles can form. If they get long enough, they could break off and hurt someone when they fall.

You should also cut down any tree branches that are dead and at risk of falling, notes F&F Industrial Equipment Corp. Snow and ice can add weight to a branch that is already weak. Someone could be hurt should it fall on them in the yard.

Securing Hazards in the Yard

Any chemicals, fertilizers or toxic substances should be locked up away from visitors to your backyard, especially small children. If these materials must remain outdoors, then fence off the area and let your children know that they are not allowed near those areas, suggests Healthy Children.

Petroleum products such as gas and oil should be removed entirely from the yard because of the fire hazard. If you have a fire pit in the yard, such substances should be removed from the area.

If you have a concrete or stone pathway in the yard, have sand or some other ice melt material available to sprinkle on it in freezing conditions. Use this liberally on your patio as well. Someone could slip and fall just walking out to the yard from your house.

Winter Pool Maintenance

Make sure your pool is covered and inaccessible to little ones. Use a cover for swimming pools that will hold the weight of snow and ice that you can expect in your region. You may need to periodically sweep off the cover to keep the weight from breaking it. The cover should be secure around all of the edges so that someone can’t crawl into the pool under the cover.

Remove or lock up any chemicals kept in the pool area. If you keep a pool or hot tub filter running all winter then you should do maintenance in the fall. Clean the pool or hot tub and all of the filter components. Replace the filter with a fresh one. This will keep you from needing to do any mid-winter maintenance.

Benefits of a Water Filtration System

If you’ve purchased a water filter to get rid of contaminants, you’ve most likely done so for your drinking water, but not for the water in other areas of your home such as your bathroom, kitchen or laundry room. Can less-than-pure water possibly harm us not only through direct ingestion, but also through contact to our body and belongings? There are many areas of your home that can benefit from a water filtration system.

Drinking Water

waterNot only will filtering your drinking water prevent chemicals from entering your body but it will also make the water taste better. Not to mention, you’ll be saving money on bottled water while helping out the environment by not using all that plastic.


If you wash your dishes with potentially contaminated or less-than-ideal well water, the chemicals or ‘well funk’ will be on your plates and utensils and will therefore end up on your food. Filtered water in the kitchen won’t only give you a cleaner meal, but also a better tasting one. Using uncontaminated water improves the flavor of pasta, soup, coffee and tea.

Laundry room

Filtering the water you use to do your laundry prevents any chemicals or well-water odors from becoming embedded in your clothing. Your clothes will last longer, maintain their colors more effectively and feel softer. You’ll also save money on detergent since you won’t need to use as much.


Showering and bathing in tainted or hard water could have harmful effects on your body such as irritated skin and brittle hair. Also, as you clean yourself in hot water, any chemicals in it are released into the air. Filtering your bath water will prevent you from breathing these chemicals in and will also give you softer skin and silkier hair.

Do you have any other suggestions for filtering water in your home? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Angelo DiGangi is a Home Depot “on the floor” sales associate and a regular contributor to Home Depot’s website. Angelo’s interests include providing tips on water filtration systems and water softeners for the home. Angelo also writes for homeowners on topics ranging from bathroom vanities to doors and windows.

Clean Water for a Clean Body: Water Filtration Systems for Your Home

There’s a lot more in your water than just hydrogen and oxygen. From chemicals to minerals to bacteria, the tap water in your home could potentially contain unwanted substances.


There are various ways to clean your water with different kinds of water filtration systems. Let’s take a look at what’s best for certain areas of your house as well as the price ranges of the different options available. The benefits of water filtration extend beyond drinking water.

Whole-House Water Filters

Chlorine is added to public drinking water to kill bacteria, but studies have shown that prolonged exposure to chlorine itself can have harmful effects on humans. Since it’s already in the water when it reaches your home, it’s up to you to get rid of it and other contaminants before they reach your body. Whole-house water filters catch the water at the point of entry before it reaches your pipes. They range in price from a DIY basic filter around $50 up to $1,000 and can reduce the harmful effects of chlorine and other chemicals, as well as removing particles that can cause build up in your pipes across your entire home.

Water Softeners

Water softeners are a way to treat “hard water,” which is water filled with minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Hard water can cause these minerals to build up not only in pipes but also in water heaters, coffee machines, dish washers, etc. Water softeners will allow these appliances to last longer and will improve their efficiency. Soap and detergents work better with soft water. They are typically beneficial if your home uses well water. Water softeners range in price from a couple hundred dollars up to about $600.

UV Water Purification Systems

UV water filters use ultraviolet light to purify water, which is the same technology used by many bottled water companies. The ultraviolet lamp creates short-wave radiation that kills bacteria and viruses. This is another great option if you use well water since UV purifiers do a great job without having to add chlorine. These can be picked up for about $400.

Reverse Osmosis Filters

Reverse osmosis filters are installed under your sink and cut down on contaminants such as lead, arsenic and ammonia and chemicals like fluoride and chlorine. These run for about $150 a piece.


Angelo DiGangi is a Home Depot “on the floor” sales associate and a regular contributor to Home Depot’s website. Angelo’s interests include providing tips on water filtration systems and water softeners for the home. Angelo also writes for homeowners on topics ranging from bathroom vanities to doors and windows.

Freshen Up Old Furniture for Fall

MomsGetReal Guest Contributor Jennifer Lutz

Many of us have old pieces of furniture that have seen better days. Time-worn hand-me-downs or impulsive yard sale finds sometimes become glaring eyesores that can ruin the look of your home. Don’t be in a hurry to relegate them to Furniture Heaven though. With a bit of paint, you can breathe new life to shabby, outdated, yet still functional, furniture pieces. Oftentimes, redone furniture becomes statement pieces that draw the most attention and conversation from your guests.

Wondering what colors to use for this painting project? Look outside and let the lovely colors of fall serve as your source of inspiration. Shades of red, orange, and yellow rouse feelings of warmth on cool days, and green imparts a sense of freshness and health to any space.

1. Red desk

A perfectly good piece of furniture is a shame to waste. Rejuvenate an old, tired desk with a fresh coat of paint and it will become the darling of any room it occupies.

Give your old desk a stunning make-over with an attractive shade of red paint. Simply polish the brass pulls so that they look brand new.

Pro-tip #1: If you’re raring to try your hand at painting furniture, it’s good to know a few fundamental steps. Begin by dry wiping your furniture, then wet wiping it with a non-toxic cleaner to remove waxy build-up or oily spots. Place the piece in a well-ventilated area and place newspaper or a drop cloth underneath it.

Pro-Tip#2: Smooth out rough spots with an electric sander or 200-grit sandpaper. Aside from making the surface flat and even, sanding helps the primer adhere to the surface, preventing paint from peeling off. Remember to sand along the grain.

2. Orange ombre dresser

A well-constructed dresser is a versatile item that is meant to be used for a long time. Update an old, reliable dresser by painting the drawers ombre-style, or in a series of shades of a single color. The result is an eye-catching fixture that looks perfect in a casual bedroom.

Paint the bottom drawer of the dresser with the main color. Mix in varying amounts of white paint for the subsequent drawers. If you’re not very confident with your paint mixing skills, you can just head to the paint store, ask for a gradient color swatch, and request samples of each shade. Depending on the size of your drawers, the samples should be enough for two coats.

Pro-Tip#3: Apply a coat of high-quality primer with a paintbrush or foam bush and let it dry for a full 24 hours or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Once the primer has dried, you can start painting. For hardware that you don’t want painted, remove the parts or cover them with painter’s tape. If you are concerned about seeing brush strokes, use spray paint. Position the can about 12 inches away from your piece and spray using a sweeping, back and forth motion. After the paint has dried, check for any spots you may have missed, then spray on a second coat.

3. Yellow chair

If you have an old, sturdy chair languishing in your garage or basement, bring it out for a little sunshine and a new paint job. With a few coats of homemade chalk paint, you can turn a beat-up brown seat into a happy, yellow garden chair. Paired with a snazzy, new fabric for the cushion, this charming chair adds a vibrant splash of optimism to any indoor or outdoor space.

Pro-Tip#4: If you want to use a paintbrush, use flat finish or semi-gloss paint since high-gloss paint tends to accentuate the flaws and imperfections of the wood. Allow the paint to dry for about two hours, and then lightly sand the furniture with fine grit sandpaper before applying the second coat of paint.

4. Green side table

Spruce up a drab, brown end table with a healthy helping of green paint. If you want a semi-dark shade of green, you can apply a black glaze on your newly repainted side table to darken it. Add a vase of flowers for accent, and this little table brings a beautiful pop of color in a neutral-hued room.

Pro-Tip#5: After allowing the paint to dry overnight, protect your furniture with a clear coat. A clear coat helps enrich and preserve the finish of high-traffic pieces, such as kitchen tables, desks, and chairs. Beginners will find water-based, brush-on clear finishes the easiest to work with. Apply the first coat and allow it to dry. Sand the piece with 220 grit sand paper before applying the second coat.

Give neglected furniture a second lease on life with a little attention and a bit of paint. You will love how such a small change can instantly liven up the look of your home.


Jennifer Lutz is the home décor expert at A collection of DIY projects can be found on the Christmas Tree Market blog at


Talking to Children About Inheritance the Right Way

MomsGetReal Guest Contributor Mary Harmon

No matter how diligent you have been in planning your estate and getting your affairs in order, most parents fall short in one important area: being honest and thorough with telling your kids. It’s not always because it’s uncomfortable for them to talk about when you’re no longer around. In many families, it can simply be the strain of a financial discussion that creates drama and bad blood long before a parent is even elderly or ill. According to the New York Times, children will inherit $30 trillion in the next 30 years, and yet there is a 70 percent failure rate when it comes to transferring family wealth. If you’re worried that your children will squander their inheritance, you may not be wrong. But the best thing you can do for them is advise them early on.

Treating Your Children Equally

01.Family.MeridianHillPark.WDC.26June2011Though disinheritance and unequal inheritance is common, the most responsible thing to do for your family is almost always to give children the same amount of money as much as possible. In every family, one sibling will be more responsible than others. Some might be wealthier than others. Some might be ill or disabled. If you need to provide for a disabled child to have access to care after you are gone, explain that to your other children as soon as it’s decided – it’s likely they will completely understand. If you’re worried about one child being more irresponsible with money than the others, leave them trust funds and appoint a trustee who will exercise sound judgment. Tell your kids what you’re doing and why so that it isn’t a surprise later on.

Use Financial Advisors

When you’re meeting with your kids to discuss the provisions of your will, it’s important to have the experts present. As logical as your decisions might be, the children can respond with resentment when the information comes with you. Your attorney, financial planner, or accountant can encourage an impartial environment, and they can also advise your children on investing their inheritance and ensuring a successful transfer of wealth. An expert is more likely to present positive solutions to toxic family issues that can arise because they have no vested interest in playing favorites.

Talk About Personal Items

Family Golf - Evening View of Golf GroundEven if your children understand who is getting what financially, you need to have an important conversation about family heirlooms and personal items. Jewelry, china, and artwork can be of special interest to your children, but so are smaller items that aren’t necessarily worth money. This can be an awkward thing to discuss, especially for you, because you’re asking them for a clear idea of how they will divide up your belongings when you die. Make sure they understand that it is not greedy, morbid, or inappropriate to have this conversation, and that you would feel better knowing material things won’t cause serious family fights after you are gone. Family inheritance disputes over money, property, and other items are extremely common and often undermine the entire purpose of estate planning.

If possible, allow your kids to hear the rough draft of your will and pose any questions they might have. The language of your will should be strong and make clear how much you love them. If all else fails, stress to them that you have the legal right to distribute your wealth as you see fit and that challenges to wills almost always fail. Understanding their financial future is the best thing they can do for themselves, and it’s the best thing they can do to honor you, too.

Author Mary Harmon is a full-time blogger for where you’ll find more about the ins and outs of inheritance.

Keep Mosquitoes at Bay Naturally with Mosquitno

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

I’m always on the lookout for products that are natural, safe, and still effective, but I never thought I would find a product that would let me give up DEET-filled bug sprays. As I’m incredibly paranoid about things like West Nile Virus (when you live a humid, damp climate like we did where mosquitoes breed out of control and the first case of West Nile usually pops up early in the season, it pays to be a bit paranoid) so the idea of not using mosquito repellant never occurred.

mosquitnoMosquitno, however, doesn’t use chemical warfare to keep bugs away. You don’t have to spray yourself with sticky, horrible smelling poison in order to avoid being eaten alive. And best of all, Mosquitno works! Mosquitno has created wristbands, stickers and shirts that repel mosquitoes and other bugs naturally. You can spend more time outside without smelling like a bottle of pesticide and you don’t have to worry about trading West Nile for some other form of horror from using mosquito repellant.

Mosquitno products are infused with Citronella, a natural mosquito repellant (and a more pleasant smelling one). Simply slip a band on your wrist or put a sticker on your shirt and enjoy your outdoor fun without another thought. Visit the Mosquitno blog for more suggestions on natural ways to minimize the risk of West Nile Virus.

More Reasons to Love Mosquitno:

If you love supporting companies with a social conscience, you’ll be glad to know that:

  • Mosquitno supports charities and gives 10% of all profits to UNICEF
  • Mosquitno collects their used bands and recycles them
  • Mosquitno is a family-run business


Four Advanced Planning Tips For Your Next Move

Most storage rental and moving companies provide handy checklists that can be used to plan your next relocation. These helpful lists typically include packing tips, reminders about contacting and confirming your scheduled appointment with your chosen moving company and ideas about streamlining the relocation process. However, a few simple changes in your everyday routine can also make the process easier and more convenient. Here is a checklist for moving that you can put into action now to prepare in advance for your next big change of residence.

Simplify your life
Most of us live in the midst of clutter and accumulated items that we may no longer need, want or use on a daily or even a yearly basis. By getting rid of some of these unused items, you can free up valuable space inside your current home. The process of reducing clutter can streamline cleaning and organizing to a considerable degree; additionally, discarding or donating unwanted items now can help to reduce the work necessary when it is time to move to a new home.

Maintain a home inventory
A complete and up-to-date home inventory list can be useful in a wide range of situations. After a storm, accident or break-in, this inventory can be used to bolster your insurance claim and to identify the missing, damaged or stolen items more quickly and accurately. Be sure to include the dates of purchase, serial numbers and brand names on your inventory list. Make at least two copies of this document; one should be kept inside your home, and the other should be stored in a safe location at your workplace or in a safety deposit box.

Picture this
movingTaking pictures of your most valuable items can also help you plan for a future move more effectively. By insuring household goods for their replacement value, you can protect yourself against unexpected financial losses in the event these items are damaged or lost on the way to your new home. Photographic records of these valuables can provide evidence of their existence and their condition if a claim must be made.

Research in advance
Checking the rates and reputations of local and national firms can help you to select the right company for your next move. Be sure to check back when the date is actually set, as many local companies offer short-term rates and promotions that may not be in effect at the time of your planned relocation. National companies typically offer more stability in both rates and services over extended periods of time.

By taking a few simple steps to prepare for your next move now, you can streamline the process and ensure that your relocation efforts are successful and less stressful whenever your big day occurs.

Dan needed to hire a moving company to take care of his families needs when they decided to move to another state. He was lucky enough to take his wife’s suggestion and take a look at They were able to find everything they needed in one location.

Clean Up: 5 Fun and Tidy Ways To Organize Your Child’s Room

MomsGetReal Guest Contributor Rianne Hunter

Playrooms and children’s bedrooms are the best room in any house. It’s where the magic happens. It’s the room where superheroes live, the place where princesses have their castles, the place where little girls get to pretend to be mommy’s and little boys get to drive their cars all over the place. Playrooms are wonderful, but they can be messy. Clean up time is never fun, but with these tips, it can be a little easier to keep the room clean.

Tip One: Less is More

Cleaning UpThe best way to keep the room clean is to prevent it from ever getting dirty. A lot of kid’s rooms are overloaded with toys that are broken or outgrown and they just add to clutter. Get rid of toys that are no longer used, and don’t buy more toys without giving a few away first.

Tip Two: Teach Your Children To Clean

Why should you be the one cleaning when you didn’t even make the mess, right? Children as young as two can be taught to clean up after themselves. A good way to get kids to clean is to put on the same song every time it’s clean up time. There are lots of good “clean up” songs that work well. You can teach a child that every time this song comes on, it’s time to clean.

Tip Three: Everything In Its Place

Have a place for everything in your playroom. Buy tubs to hold like toys. That way, when you child wants to play with a specific toy like kitchen toys for example, he or she doesn’t have to dig through tons of toys to get to the kitchen toys. There will be just one box full of kitchen toys.

Tip Four: Get A Storage Unit

Do you have some toys that you really don’t want to get rid of, but your kids just don’t play with them anymore? Consider getting a storage unit to get those special toys out of the way, old toys that your kiddos have grown out of, and anything else that’s just clutter. Because really, who needs three sets of Legos taking up space?

Tip Five: Get In A Routine

Kids love routine. They like to know when and what they are going to be doing. If your child knows that every day before lunch their room gets cleaned and each day before bedtime the room gets cleaned again, they will come to expect it and they will even help you clean. See tip number two for more help getting your child to help with the cleaning.

Those are just a few tips to help keep your child’s room organized. The biggest thing to remember is not to get frustrated if it’s messy sometimes. You have a growing child, after all.

Author Bio

Rianne Hunter is first, a mother to three boys, and second, an avid writer. Currently residing in Riverside California, she’s been writing since she was a little girl, and aspires to be a published novelist one day.


For those who are looking to get their lives easily organized, Rianne would recommend finding a local storage unit, like Fontana CA Self Storage, to store unused items.