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FBAP_002 Pure Storage FlashBlade Certified Architect Professional syllabus |

FBAP_002 syllabus - Pure Storage FlashBlade Certified Architect Professional Updated: 2024

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Question: 11
What must an architect do to delete a filesystem?
A. Unmount the file system from clients
B. Turn off the system services
C. Enable Fast Remove
D. Take a snapshot and then remove file system
Answer: C
Question: 12
A customer is a heavy Windows user and generally uses SMB for everything, including backups. The customer wants
to refresh the storage used within their backup environment. The customer is using Commvault for the backup
Which protocol should the architect recommend?
C. S3
Answer: A
Question: 13
What happens when a blade is added to an existing 7x17TB FlashBlade system?
A. The system gains ~1GB of write performance and ~15TB of capacity.
B. The system gains ~1GB of read performance and ~15TB of capacity.***
C. The system notifies support via Pure1 and waits for blade acknowledgement.
D. The system gains additional fault tolerance and increases the reserve capacity.
Answer: B
Question: 14
How many rack units (Rus) of space are required to support a multi-chassis FlashBlade with 40 blades?
A. 18 Rus
B. 14 Rus
C. 12 Rus
D. 9 Rus
Answer: B
Question: 15
A customer has an existing Flashblade with 13x52TB blades in a single-chassis configuration and needs more capacity
for a new application coming online in the next few weeks. The architect has determined they need an additional four
How many additional rack units are required to accommodate the new blades?
A. 12
B. 10
C. 6
D. 4
Answer: D
Question: 16
A customer is interested in deploying Splunk for their infrastructure logs. They will not be replicating the Splunk
environment to another site, anticipate a 2TB per day ingest rate, and want to be able to easily scale their indexers
independent of their storage.
How should the architect recommend that the customer deploy Splunk?
A. Spluck Classic on FlashArray
B. Spluck Classic on FlashBlade
C. Spluck SmartStore on FlashBlade
D. Spluck SmartStore on FlashArray
Answer: C
Question: 17
An architect need to create capacity sizing of FlashBlade to move data from a 6-year old EMC-Dell Isilon.
The current Isilon solution consumes almost 1.3PB.
There are three workloads:
- Warehouse application (40 TB, estimated compression ratio 2:1, IO size 8K)
- Images (20 TB, estimated compression ratio 1.0:1 average image size 1M)
- Log files (40 TB, estimated compression ratio 4:1, average file size 4k)
What is the required FlashBlade configuration?
A. 7x17TB blades
B. 15x17TB blades
C. 15x52TB blades
D. 42x52TB blades
Answer: A
Question: 18
A customer decides to use S3 as a protocol between the Backup Server to FlashBlade. The Backup Application S3
client in multi-threaded .
What is the expected maximum restore throughput?
A. ~10Gb/s
B. ~80Gb/s
C. ~70Gb/s
D. ~20Gb/s
Answer: B
Question: 19
Which two network configurations must be present for FlashBlade to server data? (Select two.)
A. Duplex set to Auto
B. LAG(s)
C. Active/active port-channel
D. A reachable SMTP server
E. A reachable SNMP server
Answer: A,B,C
Question: 20
What are Port 31/32 on the XFMs reserved for?
A. Customer Network
B. Console
C. Switch interconnectivity
D. FlashBlade Chassis
Answer: C
Question: 21
'The Network admins create a network setup:
What is the result if the FlashBlade is run in this configuration?
A. The FlashBlade causes ARP storms.
B. SMB clients are unable to connect.
C. NFS clients experience higher latencies.
D. FlashBlade will be unable to resolve internal DN
Answer: A
Question: 22
A customer is using the FlashBlade as an image database backup/restore target. The dataset that they are backing up is
100TB. The customer has a 5-day snapshot retention policy, and an average of 50TB of data change from day to day.
Which factor will alter the physical datasize?
A. Erasure Coding
B. Write Size
C. RAID Overhead
D. Snapshot Retention
Answer: A
Question: 23
A customer has an application that needs to prioritize speed for untrusted applications to put large numbers of files on
an NFS export .
Which NFS Export options should be used?
A. *(ro, async, root_squash)
B. *(rw, async, root_squash)
C. *(ro, sync, no_root_squash)
D. *(rw, sync, root_squash)
Answer: D
Question: 24
A customer wants to use and orchestration tool to manage the FlashBlade.
How should the customer create the API key?
A. Go to Settings/Users
B. Go to Storage/File Systems/Details
C. Run pureadmin from the command line
D. Run pureconfig from the command line
Answer: C
Question: 25
A customer asks an architect to help troubleshoot low throughput in their high-performance compute (HPC)
environment. All 70 HPC nodes have a single 10Gb connection to a 96 port 10Gb switch. The FlashBlade is connected
to their dedicated HPC switch with 8x10Gb connections. The HPC application is using a single shared S3 bucket for
the data being processed.
Which change is needed to increase throughput?
A. Add more uplinks to the HPC switch.
B. Add more VLANS to FlashBlade.
C. Add more IPs to the existing VLAN
D. Add more nodes to the HPC cluster
Answer: A
Question: 26
A customer is implementing a new backup system using four backup appliances, with dual 10Gbps NICs writing to a
FlashBlade. Each backup appliance can write at line speed.
What is the minimum number of 52TB blades to be able to handle this workload?
A. 8 blades
B. 15 blades
C. 27 blades
D. 35 blades
Answer: A
Question: 27
A customer is deploying a FlashBlade into a datacenter where the top of rack switches cannot be configured into a
single LAG.
Which two actions are necessary to configure the FlashBlade to use both switches? (Choose two.)
A. Create multiple exports
B. Create multiple VIPs
C. Create multiple LAGs
D. Use round robin load balancing
E. Use a multi-chassic configuration.
Answer: A,C,E
Question: 28
The customer expects at least 2GB/s of backup throughput but only sees 1GB/s .
What is causing the issue?
A. Architecture of FlashArray and server infrastructure configuration.
B. Architecture of the backup server and FlashBlade network.
C. Architecture of server infrastructure and backup server network.***
D. Architecture of backup server/FlashBlade NFS/Data VIP configuration.
Answer: C

PureStorage Professional syllabus - BingNews Search results PureStorage Professional syllabus - BingNews Develop Professional Services Around Storage

Solution providers must invest in developing storage service practices around major technology and application areas. One of the most lucrative and most successful so far has been in the area of enterprise backup and recovery. Backup and recovery is a critical requirement for all businesses and there is a shortage of engineers who understand the complexities involved. It is no wonder backup and recovery is becoming one of the hottest areas in outsourcing.

Invest in bringing in some talent from the professional services industry. Develop project management capabilities to manage complex deployments. And above all, charge for it all! Don't give anything away for free. You'll make more money on the consulting to deploy a SAN than you will reselling the pieces.

SAN and NAS: Taking it to the Next Level

SAN and NAS Market Conditions

Customer Barriers and Requirements

Six Ways To Increase SAN and NAS Sales Effectiveness and Profits

Sat, 16 Dec 2023 15:40:00 -0600 text/html
Certified Automation Professional (CAP)

The ISA Certified Automation Professional® (CAP®) certification is a mark of career excellence that affirms your commitment to quality and demonstrates your expertise and knowledge of automation and controls. ISA CAP certification provides you with a non-biased, third-party, objective assessment and confirmation of your skills and expertise as an automation professional.

Who Are CAPs?

ISA CAP logo
CAPs are individuals who have proven they possess an extensive knowledge of automation and controls and that they have the expertise and qualifications to excel in their fields. As automation professionals who work in process automation and manufacturing automation industries around the globe, CAPs are responsible for direction, definition, design, development/application, deployment, documentation and support of software and equipment systems used in control systems, manufacturing information systems, systems integration, and operational consulting.

CAP Certification Requirements

To become an ISA CAP, you must meet certain education and work experience requirements, pass an exam, and commit to the ISA Code of Conduct. Learn more about CAP requirements.

CAP Body of Knowledge

The CAP Body of Knowledge (BOK) encompasses the full scope of knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for competent job performance. It defines automation project domains, the tasks within the domains, and the knowledge and skills required to complete the tasks. View the CAP Body of Knowledge.

How to Apply

There is no application form to fill out for CAP certification. Simply complete the following steps:

  1. Commit to the ISA Code of Conduct.
  2. Meet CAP certification criteria, qualifications, and conditions.
  3. Acknowledge that you are subject to a random application verification audit.
  4. Agree to provide the supporting documents proving your qualifications if you are audited.
  5. Pay the exam fee.

Upon paying the exam fee, the application process is complete, and you have acknowledged that you meet the requirements listed above in numbers 1–3.

Next Steps

  1. Watch for an email from our testing provider, Meazure Learning ( Expect to receive it fifteen days before your exam window. The email will include information about how to schedule your exam online or at a test center. NOTE:The CAP exam fee is not included with the CAP review courses (EC00, EC00V, EC00E, and EC00M)..
  2. Watch for an email summarizing your exam results. If you pass your exam, you will also receive your digital badge and you will be listed in the ISA Credential Directory.
  3. Watch for an email from regarding an audit. You will only receive this email if you have been randomly selected to be audited. If you do not receive this email, you do not need to do anything. Audits are conducted three times per year, so it may take several months after completing your exam to receive an email if you have been selected for an audit.

Click the button below to add the exam fee to your cart.

Add CAP Exam Fee to Cart

About the Exam

You can take the CAP exam online from your office or home if the testing environment meets the requirements and your computer meets specifications. You can also take the exam at a Scantron test center. The CAP exam has 150 multiple-choice questions and is four hours long. Learn more about Certification Exams and Testing.

How to Prepare

We highly recommend taking the Certified Automation Professional (CAP) Exam Review Course (EC00). ISA has also developed an extensive library of training courses, study guides and publications that are built around the technologies and topics covered on the CAP exam. These resources have been developed and reviewed by subject matter experts. Learn more about the review course and the additional resources here.

Reference to Standards and Codes

The aspects of automation covered on the CAP exam reflect the tasks performed in the range of practice settings throughout the United States. Familiarity with the following standards and codes is recommended. Download the Reference to Standards and Codes (PDF).

  • ISA Standards
  • IEEE Standards
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Codes and Standards
  • National Electrical Code (NEC)
  • National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Standards
  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Standards
  • National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Standards
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Codes and Federal Regulations
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Standards
  • US Food and Drug Administration Regulations
  • American Petroleum Institute (API) Standards

For International applicants, note that the validation study for the exams was done in the United States, so there may be questions on the exam that reference US standards and codes.

Have Questions?

For assistance with certification or certificate programs, contact us at

For frequently asked questions, visit the following pages:

Important Announcement for CAPs and CCSTs

We are pleased to announce that our Certified Automation Professional® (CAP)® and Certified Control System Technician® (CCST®) certification programs have a brand-new look! Please check your Badgecert account to access your new logo.

Thu, 16 Nov 2023 04:46:00 -0600 en text/html
Best Moving Companies Of 2024

Moving is notoriously costly, but with the right deals and discounts, it doesn’t have to be. With that said, finding applicable deals, discounts and specials is not always as simple as it seems, and doing the labor of looking for them on top of all your other moving-related chores can be overwhelming.

Sometimes it’s not always about finding the best moving companies—you want to find the best deal also.

Avoid Scams

Often, when a deal seems too good to be true, it is. So if you notice a moving company offering a suspiciously low price, investigate before you commit. Make sure that the moving company in question is licensed and insured and has a reasonably high rating on sites like the BBB and Yelp. It also never hurts to ask friends, family and neighbors for recommendations.

If you’re still on the fence, you can have a mover from the company come to your home to provide an estimate so that you can assess the company’s professionalism and get an accurate quote for your move.

Get a Free Quote

A great way to save money and ensure professionalism during your move is to get a free quote from the moving company. Many companies offer an at-home estimate service, wherein a professional mover will come to your home, assess the state of your belongings, discuss your move with you and offer you a quote accordingly.

If the price seems wrong, go with a different company. Getting a free moving quote is also a good way to make sure that the movers you hire will be on time, precise and easy to work with. If a moving company doesn’t advertise a free quote, you can always ask anyway. Often, companies will oblige if you’re seriously considering their services.

Make Sure You’re Eligible

Deals and discounts can be so enticing that you fail to read the terms and conditions. Make sure you read the fine print before committing to a moving company offering a discount that is only available to, say, senior citizens or military personnel. And if you are eligible for the deal in question, be sure to have I.D. and any other required proof on hand.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

If a moving company you’re interested in isn’t advertising deals and discounts, you should ask anyway. If a company learns that you’re interested in using its services, it may be more inclined to help you out with a discount or to tell you about a promotion that may not have been publicized.

Sometimes, a representative, either via email or via phone, will turn down your request for a discount. This may simply be because they do not have the authority to provide you with one. Politely ask to speak to a manager or another higher-up just in case there’s a chance of snagging a deal.

Try Your Hand at Haggling

If a competing moving company has offered you a deal or discount, try informing the company you’re interested in of it. They may be willing to play ball and attempt to match the price you’ve been offered. If you’re going to go this scrappy route, be sure to have proof, like a copy of the quote the competitor has given you.

Use an App

Searching for discounts online can be extremely overwhelming in this day and age, so you may want to use a coupon-based app or software to organize your options for you. These services can narrow down your choices to discounts in your area and show you how to get the best bang for your buck.

Avoid Extra Fees

Moving companies, especially long-distance moving companies will often charge more for the transportation of specialty items, like exercise equipment, pianos, large kitchen appliances, hot tubs, lawn mowers, safes and washer and dryer units.

If you’re planning on moving any of these items, consider selling them and then replacing them later if need be, as the cost may turn out to be roughly the same. Alternatively, you could try to borrow a friend’s truck and DIY some of these jobs to keep moving costs down.

Book Early

You can save money by scheduling your move well in advance, since many moving companies will charge more the closer to your move you schedule. Sometimes, they’ll even offer you an early bird special.

Avoid Busy Times

The busiest time of the year for moving is summer, especially around Memorial Day and Labor Day. Year-round, weekends are much more common moving times than weekdays, and the beginning and end of each month are busier than the middle. If you can, book your move off-season as a way of saving money. You may even be able to get a discount off of the already-reduced quote if you do so.

Tue, 02 Jan 2024 01:13:00 -0600 Deane Biermeier en-US text/html
Professional Photography and Videography Services Information No result found, try new keyword!Professional photography and video services work with clients to provide videos and photographs for a variety of purposes including advertising, training, documentation, and employee communication. Sun, 25 Feb 2018 08:24:00 -0600 en-US text/html The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services for 2024

File syncing and storage services provide seamless access to all your data—Word docs, PDFs, spreadsheets, photos, and any other digital assets—wherever you are. Syncing and storage services also add safety and security to your online life because when you sync files via the cloud, you create a backup of them by default as well. If you lose your laptop, all your files are still accessible to you when you log into your syncing service from any browser. And when it comes to collaborating, having a cloud storage and syncing service usually means multiple people can edit files at the same time, with all your version history saved automatically. It's a huge convenience.

If you don't yet have an online storage and syncing service, you should seriously consider getting one. Which one you choose depends on the kinds of files you store, how much security you need, whether you plan to collaborate with others, and which devices you own. It may also depend on your comfort level with computers in general. The best online storage and syncing services are extremely user-friendly, while others offer advanced customization for more experienced techies. Find our best picks below, followed by a detailed guide to understanding cloud storage and file-sharing services.

Deeper Dive: Our Top Tested Picks

Microsoft OneDrive

Best Overall

Why We Picked It

OneDrive is a great storage and syncing option for just about anybody. It works on all major devices. Its functionality and design have reached a point of slick usability and reliability. The cost is more than reasonable seeing as you can get added OneDrive storage by paying for a Microsoft 365, which includes office apps. Because it provides automatic backup for documents, photos and other files in Windows and syncs documents in Microsoft's office apps, it's a natural choice for Windows or Microsoft 365 users.

Who It's For

If you use Microsoft 365 apps regularly, including the online version of the apps, using OneDrive for storage and syncing offers real benefits. And Windows users will be delighted that their Desktop, Documents, and Pictures are safely backed up to the cloud, and automatically restored when they get a new PC. It's also a great option for anyone looking for value in an online syncing and storage service. Free users can take advantage of the 5GB of storage, which isn't the most generous free version you can find, but it's in line with the competition.


  • Excellent interface
  • Clients for Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows
  • Well integrated with Windows and Microsoft 365
  • Strong online photo presentation and management
  • Powerful file sharing and collaborative editing


  • Less free storage than some competitors
  • Doesn't back up all folders on drive


Emphasis Office Apps
File Size Limit 15GB
Free Storage 5GB
Online Editing
File Versioning
Windows App
iOS App
Android App

Why We Picked It

IDrive has long offered the best deal for online syncing and storage, giving you the most space per dollar and no limit on the number of devices you install it on. Beyond that, it's also a solid service, with apps for all major platforms and a bevy of features. For example, you can set IDrive to back up files to an external hard drive or a network drive. There's even support for creating a complete disk image, although it's limited to the Windows version. Its archiving capability means you can always find your files, even if you deleted them on the local computer.

Who It's For

IDrive is for anyone looking for the best price per TB for their online storage and syncing service. It's also appealing to those who want to take advantage of its archiving and continuous backup features.


  • Easy setup
  • Unlimited devices per account
  • Free local backup
  • Fully encrypted
  • Fast upload speeds
  • Excellent value


  • Storage isn't unlimited
  • Limited Linux support
  • Complete disk image backup only for Windows


Emphasis Backup
File Size Limit 2GB
Free Storage 10GB
Online Editing
File Versioning
Windows App
iOS App
Android App

Google Drive

Best for Google Workspace Users

Why We Picked It

Over the years, Google Drive has become easier to use locally, though it's always been a superb place to automatically store files you create using the Google Docs office apps. Google Drive has strong file sharing capabilities, and you get more free storage space than most competitors—15GB, though that space is shared with Gmail.

Who It's For

Google Drive is the natural choice for anyone who regularly works in Google Docs, Sheets, and other online apps; it integrates with many third-party online apps as a cloud storage option. It's also a great choice for people looking for a generous free online storage and syncing service.


  • Generous free storage space
  • Excellent productivity-suite collaboration
  • Includes desktop-to-desktop file syncing
  • Many third-party integrations
  • Cross-platform apps


  • No password-protection for shared files
  • Mobile apps could do more; multiple apps required for all related functions
  • Some privacy concerns


Emphasis Full service file storage, sharing, syncing, and collaboration
File Size Limit 5TB
Free Storage 15GB
Online Editing
File Versioning
Windows App
iOS App
Android App


Best for Simple, Straightforward Syncing

Why We Picked It

Sync is a reliable tool for storing your files online and syncing them among up to five devices. We love how user-friendly it is. Paid individual plans start at $96 per year for 2TB of storage space, which is a competitive price. It works on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and the web, but not Linux.

Who It's For

Sync is a simple and straightforward service for anyone who doesn't want to store their files with one of the big tech giants. It's a great option for people who prefer simplicity over an excess of features. A free account comes with 5GB of storage space, making it competitive with most other major services. Linux users should look elsewhere, as Sync does not offer a Linux app.


  • Simple and effective
  • No individual file-size limit
  • Client-side encryption means company can't access your files
  • Works quietly and unobtrusively
  • Supports syncing on up to five devices


  • No direct local area network syncing
  • No Linux app
  • Limit of five devices per account, even paid


Emphasis Simplicity, Ease of Use
File Size Limit Unlimited
Free Storage 5GB
Online Editing
File Versioning
Windows App
iOS App
Android App

Apple iCloud Drive

Best for Mac and iPhone Users

Why We Picked It

Apple iCloud is a must for iPhone and Mac users, since it backs up photos, documents, and settings on their devices. It's among the simplest and most reliable storage and syncing services we've seen. It isn't ideal for people who like to have a lot of control over storage and syncing and the web client lacks some basic tools such as search, but it is a no-brainer solution for people who don't want to futz with it.

Who It's For

Apple iCloud is best for Mac, iPhone, and iPad users who don't want to think too hard about backing up and syncing their files, especially their photos.


  • Tightly integrated with Apple products
  • Capable Windows client and web access
  • Fast uploads


  • No Android or Linux clients
  • Can only share files with people who have an Apple ID


Emphasis Apple Device Users
File Size Limit 15GB
Free Storage 5GB
Online Editing
File Versioning
Windows App
iOS App
Android App

Box (Personal)

Best Business Integrations

Why We Picked It

Though Box isn't highly competitive on price, it does offer dozens upon dozens of integrations with other services and a flexible web app that can open files using desktop software. The free version comes with a generous 10GB of storage space.

Who It's For

Ultimately, we find Box is better suited to business use than personal use, based on its features. The two use cases are different enough that we have a separate review of Box for Business. Anyone who likes Box for Business and wants to use it for the personal files as well will likely be happy with this service. It is a great option, however, for anyone who doesn't want to pay for online storage so long as they have less than 10GB's worth of stuff to store.


  • Flexible web app that can open files using desktop software
  • Integrations with over 1,500 applications
  • Support for offline syncing


  • Expensive for the amount of storage offered
  • Low file-size limit
  • Can't configure location of desktop syncing app


Emphasis Business Use, Compatibility
File Size Limit 5GB
Free Storage 10GB
Online Editing
File Versioning
Windows App
iOS App
Android App


Best Integration With Third-Party Services

Why We Picked It

Dropbox is an established player in the online storage and syncing space, and it continues to offer a reliable service that includes good, if sometimes tertiary, features (such as e-signatures).

Who It's For

While Dropbox doesn't offer anywhere close to the best price per TB of storage, it is a great option for people who are long-time users and don't want to switch to another service, and those who need a healthy stable of integration options.


  • Plenty of additional features
  • Integrations with thousands of applications
  • Fast upload speeds


Emphasis Simplicity, Ease of Use
File Size Limit Unlimited
Free Storage 2GB
Online Editing
File Versioning
Windows App
iOS App
Android App

Proton Drive

Best Privacy and Security

Why We Picked It

Proton Drive offers the best privacy and security of any of the services included here. Your files are fully encrypted at rest and in transit, and only you have the security key to unlock them. Even Proton employees are unable to access your files. You can even pay the company by sending cash through the mail, rather than using a credit card online, to protect your identity.

Who's It For?

The service is clearly for the security-minded user. It's not for those who want speed, as all that encryption exacts a performance hit. Proton Drive also lacks many convenience and productivity features, such as collaborative document editing, and there's no macOS or Linux versions yet.


  • All files fully encrypted
  • Simple sharing options
  • Protected by Swiss privacy laws
  • Free tier available


  • No macOS or Linux apps (yet)
  • Slow upload speeds
  • No collaborative editing


Emphasis Privacy
File Size Limit Unlimited
Free Storage 15GB
Online Editing
File Versioning
Windows App
iOS App
Android App

Buying Guide: The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services for 2024

What Can Cloud Storage Do for You?

The very best cloud storage solutions play nicely with other apps and services, making the experience of viewing and editing your files feel natural. Especially in business, you want your other software and apps to be able to retrieve or access your files, so making sure you use a service that easily authenticates with the other tools you use is a big deal. Box and Dropbox are particularly strong in this regard.

Google Drive web app with previews of image files

With Google Drive's web app, you can access all your files, including images, from anywhere. (Credit: Google/Jill Duffy)

The range of capabilities of cloud-based storage services is incredible. Many of them specialize in a specific area. For example, Dropbox focuses on keeping a synced folder accessible everywhere and in sharing folders with colleagues outside your company. Proton Drive emphasizes security. SugarSync is unique in its ability to let you map a folder on one computer to a specific folder on another, but drawbacks keep it from being included in this list of the best. Some cloud storage services, such as Apple iCloud, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive, are generalists, offering not only folder and file syncing, but also media playing, device syncing, and backup. These products even double as collaboration software, offering real-time document co-editing.

Distinct from but overlapping in some cases with cloud storage are backup services, particularly ones that offer online backups. Some of them, such as Carbonite, specialize in data protection and recovery, while others like IDrive, combine data protection with syncing and sharing capabilities.

Most cloud services do offer some level of backup, almost as a consequence of their intended function. It follows logically that any files uploaded to a cloud service are also protected from disk failures, since there are copies of them in the cloud. But dedicated backup services sometimes also create a disk image of your machine so you can restore not just your files, but everything, including system settings and programs. Syncing, by contrast, is about backing up and managing selected files only. folder options

Box's web interface lets you manage your folders and files. (Credit: Box/PCMag)

What Is the Cloud in Cloud Storage?

There's a half-joke saying in the tech world, "There is no cloud. It's just someone else's computer." So, to clear up any confusion, the cloud part of cloud-based storage refers to putting your files somewhere other than your computer's hard drive. Usually, it means the service provider's servers.

Having data in the cloud gives you the ability to access your files through the internet. Your data is usually encrypted before making the journey over the internet to the provider's servers, and it remains encrypted while it lives on those servers.

Well-designed services don't upload a brand-new copy of your files every time you change one little thing. Instead, the file syncing service looks for changes to your files and uploads only them, saving your connection bandwidth.

Dropbox in macOS Finder window showing icons with syncing status

Dropbox, once installed, shows you icons in the Finder or Windows Explorer indicating the sync status of each file you save to the cloud. (Credit: Dropbox/PCMag)

You can access your cloud files through an app or utility software installed on your computer. Once it's installed, it usually shows a small notification icon and creates your synced folder structure that fits into Windows Explorer or the macOS Finder. You can also get to the files via your web browser. Of course, you need an internet connection for it to work, but if you temporarily are without a connection, that's okay. The service waits until the next time you do have a connection and takes care of business then.

For a deeper explanation, see our explainer on cloud computing.

Recommended by Our Editors

Free vs. Paid Cloud Storage

Many cloud storage services have a free account that usually comes with some limitations, such as the amount of storage or a size limit on files you can upload. We prefer providers that offer some level of permanent free service, even if you get only 2GB of storage space rather than a time-based trial. This way you can fully integrate a service into your life for several weeks for real-world testing. During that time, you get a feel for how it works and what might go wrong with your setup.

OneDrive web app showing files and folders

OneDrive offers 5GB for free, and you get more storage with a Microsoft 365 account. (Credit: Microsoft/PCMag)

What could possibly go wrong? Human error accounts for a good deal of cloud storage tragedies, but the dropped internet connection is another common troublemaker. Not to mention that every internet service suffers the occasional outage. Ask around (or just look through our review comments), and you'll hear sad stories of how cloud storage can go wrong. One of the benefits of paying for an account is that it usually comes with additional support from the provider, so if anything does go wrong, someone from the company can help you resolve the issue.

There are many other reasons to pay for cloud storage, from getting a lot more space (a terabyte really doesn't cost all that much anymore) to being able to upload huge files. That last benefit is relevant to graphic designers, video editors, and other visual artists who often host enormous files. Other perks of paying for your cloud storage often include increased access to file-version history (meaning you can restore an important business proposal to the version you had before your colleague made a bunch of erroneous changes), more security, and more features for collaboration and teamwork.

Outlook Cloudy

Here, we list only the best cloud storage services among those we've tested. When PCMag tests these services, we evaluate their feature sets, ease of use, stability, and price. There are other cloud storage services on the market that didn't make the cut for this article, based on these criteria. For more about any one of the services that did make the cut, click the links above to read an in-depth review of each of our favorite cloud storage and file-syncing services.

Sun, 17 Dec 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html
How to Store Holiday Décor, According to Professional Organizers

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Putting up holiday decorations is a whole production — from hauling in a Christmas tree and hanging ornaments to stringing up lights and tinkering with a topper. But the post-production can feel like even more of a to-do, once all the gifts are unwrapped and all that’s left is the glitter on a bare tree skirt. So having a storage strategy is a good idea to protect precious baubles, keep garlands untangled, and make it easy to get everything out again next year. To that end, we asked professional organizers for their advice on storing everything from an artificial tree that didn’t come with its own storage bag to a surplus of wrapping paper. Just keep in mind that some of their favorite solutions are considered seasonal products, so you should shop early accordingly.

In the off-season, heavy-duty totes are the most straightforward solution and the Container Store’s stackable Weathertight Tote is what the professionals use. Its clearness is a big selling point because it helps you keep track of what’s inside (in contrast to the merry red-and-green bins that pop up in lots of other stores). Naeemah Ford Goldson of Restore Order Professional Organizing recommends arranging the items inside like you’re playing Tetris. The totes come in a number of sizes ranging from 6.5 quarts to 156 quarts, so you can use them to hold almost anything, and you won’t have a row of “fake Santas sitting at the top of your closet,” says Sara Losonci of Shelfie. Organizer Britnee Tanner also likes the totes for their durability, as they’re made of mega-sturdy plastic with a watertight seal and secure latches that are key to keeping the contents safe. This means you can confidently store them in an attic, basement, or garage, says Lauren Saltman, owner of the organizing service Living. Simplified.

Mary Cornetta of Organized Overall organizes her curated collection of holiday decorations in this handy-dandy Sterilite, stacking ornaments in their original boxes, wrapping breakables inside stockings, and containing strands of lights in Ziploc bags. The 18-gallon size works best for her — Cornetta likes that it offers a decent amount of storage without sacrificing transportability. “I have short arms and it’s not too big or bulky to carry,” she says. You can choose between ten- and 30-gallon sizes as well.

Though this Rubbermaid is rather brutalist in appearance, it’s as heavy-duty as they come. It’s one of our favorite storage bins overall, not just for holiday decorations, and is especially well-suited to a basement or garage. “Any of the big bins made by Rubbermaid are fantastic quality,” says Lisa Zaslow, owner of Gotham Organizers. Just make sure to label the outside: “You think you won’t forget what’s inside,” Zaslow warns, “but you will.”

If you don’t have much room to spare, Ikea’s Stuk is a good bet. Though under-bed cases like this one are usually designed to hold clothing, Tanner says it works just as well for décor. It features netted ventilation slots in the corners (important if you’re storing textiles like a snowman throw that only sees the light of day in December), a clear pocket for labeling the contents, and handles that make it easy to grab from under your bed frame. Since it has smaller dimensions — measuring 28 by 20 by 7 inches — Tanner notes that it will also fit on many closet shelves if you’re looking for an “out of sight, out of mind” solution.

If you can find them, the red-and-green-themed Christmas storage solutions from Target’s Brightroom line are cleverly designed (like a hatbox carrying case for wreaths). You just might have to go the “buy online, pick up in-store” route as stock is frequently in flux and shipping availability can be dicey. Organizer Ann Sullivan mentioned its ornament boxes in particular for their sturdiness and great price points. Still-life stylist Liz Peters also called out a set of ornament boxes for their stackability. She likes smaller sizes so there’s less chance of overpacking, or “something on the top smooshing something on the bottom,” but the Brightroom line also has many different bins and tote sizes available — including a 45-gallon one with wheels — depending on what you need.

[Editor’s note: This set is sold out online, but you may be able to pick it up at your local Target, depending on your Zip Code.]

“So often, ornaments are wrapped in everything from paper towels to tissue paper in hopes of lasting another year without any cracks,” Tanner says. These “bin drop-ins,” as the Container Store calls them, come in three sizes. Two of them are designed to hold ornaments (standard three-inch ones or larger four-inch ones) and another for miscellaneous trimmings. The ornament trays in particular are also perfectly sized to fit in the 74-quart size of the aforementioned Weathertight Totes. Tanner favors stacking the trays on top of each other within a larger tote and filling them based on categories, such as grouping all the woodland animals together. The structure of the trays — which are made from fabric-covered cardboard — means your adornments won’t be jostled too much. Saltman notes that the dividers are useful for two reasons: They’re movable, so you can adjust them as you like, and acid free so decorations won’t tarnish.

The downside of the trays above is that they’re meant to be stored within a tote that you buy separately. These stackable storage boxes are a standalone option. The pack of two includes a buildable cardboard support system that can hold up to 75 3.5-inch ornaments. Ann Lightfoot, founding partner at Done & Done Home, and Meredith Goforth, founder of House of Prim, both recommended them. Lightfoot likes that the hinged lids allow for easy access.

This organizer from decades-old storage-solution company Zober is a favorite of Heidi Lee of home-organization service Prune + Pare. She raves about the box’s divided interior, which includes five ornament-specific trays, areas for figurines (like nutcrackers), and zippered sides for anything miscellaneous. Even the lid doubles as storage space with folderlike pockets.

Organizing expert Caroline Solomon describes this box as the “motherload of ornament storage organizers.” This is the biggest size the brand makes, to fit up to 128 three-inch ornaments within “reasonable enough” dimensions (approximately 25 inches long by 13 inches wide by 14 inches high). A fabric divider portions the interior into two sections, and the box comes with cardboard ornament grids for each side. Those have to be assembled, but are also adjustable to better accommodate your collection. Or you can forego the grids and use the two interior compartments to hold string lights or other décor, Solomon suggests. For those with smaller ornament stashes, there are also 54-, 64-, and 80-ornament versions.

Zaslow directed us to this decidedly more design-y box from Songmics, the maker of one of our favorite jewelry boxes. She points out that while it’s patterned with polka dots, it’s still sheer enough to “let you see everything at a glance when you’re ready to trim the tree.” It comes with eight trays that have modular dividers, which you can fill with up to 128 ornaments depending on how you organize them. Zaslow suggests cataloguing your pieces in one of three ways: by color, age (old versus new), or theme.

Goldson prefers this cube that, once opened, reveals three pull-out trays with dividers that slot together. The canvas the box is crafted from is simultaneously flexible and durable, Goldson says, with a fastener that keeps the lid in place and a magnetic flap closure. She finds it especially useful for more delicate ornaments, as there’s enough “separation of space” to stop them from clinking into one another inside. It’s available in two sizes: one for three-inch ornaments and one for four-inch ornaments.

Balsam Hill is king when it comes to realistic artificial Christmas trees. Each of the brand’s trees comes with its own storage bags, so you don’t have to keep the original cardboard box the tree was delivered in. But Goldson has been on the hunt for an upright storage bag for hers. “I don’t like the task of fluffing the tree every year,” she says. “This might save a little bit of time with that.” She’s been eyeing this one that comes outfitted with wheels, handles, zippers, and a tag for labeling the contents (important if you happen to have more than one tree). It’s basically a big tube of canvas that pulls up around the tree while it’s standing, then cinches at the top. Goldson points out that you’ll need plenty of vertical space to use this bag, so measure your storage space before you buy. It also starts at $179 (on sale), so Goldson also recommends checking out cheaper alternatives like this triangular, tentlike one from Honey-Can-Do.

Or go for a tote that resembles a rolling duffel with a combination of wheels and handles to make it easier to lug. This tear-resistant and waterproof one from Zober ensures your tree is protected “for the 11 months of the year you don’t use it,” even if you store it in a damp basement, Zaslow says. It comes in two sizes, 7.5 feet and nine feet.

Goforth also backs the nonwheeled version of the tote above, which is a little less expensive but similarly heavy-duty (with 7.5- and nine-foot versions to choose from as well). She likes that it comes with a label slot to know which of her trees — she has three — is stored inside.

Instead of canvas, this Zober bag is made from plastic, so it’ll be a little more forgiving in terms of shoving a tree inside. Though the material won’t be as durable, Lightfoot likes that it’s waterproof. And Tanner notes that these sorts of bags will let you pack in extra lights and base parts thanks to the material’s flexibility.

These light reels from the festively named Santa’s Bags company are approved by Lightfoot, Sullivan, and Saltman. “You can easily roll up entire strands of lights, which can then be unrolled without any frustration,” Lightfoot says. Each spool will hold up to 150 feet of wire and prevent lights from tangling; this set comes with three spools that all fit into a corresponding storage bag.

For larger collections of lights, these hard-sided, stackable bins each contain five removable reels that hold a total of approximately 625 feet of miniature lights or 375 feet of the larger C7 kind. “I like to be able to see what lights are where,” says Tanner, who recommends choosing clear storage whenever possible.

Goforth likes this storage box that comes with movable dividers to create up to six compartments, as well as wraps for up to 12 individual strands. You coil your lights inside the wraps and fasten them with the attached bands on each end, Goforth explains. A handy window in the lid offers a quick glimpse of what’s inside.

Or follow Goldson’s advice: Pick up a cheap, heavy-duty wheel from your neighborhood hardware store. Though these are made to hold extension cords, Goldson has found they work just as well for lights.

These holders, which are sold in a set of eight, have grooves on each end to catch wires and keep them from tangling. If you’re especially worried about bulbs breaking, Solomon recommends wrapping each holder with newspaper or tissue, putting it inside a bag, and then placing it in the storage box she mentioned above.

Wreaths are large, bulky, and fragile,” Zaslow says. And because most of them are round, they don’t fit so well in a rectangular container alongside other holiday décor. She recommends this bag that will help keep the branches intact. It fits up to 36 inches in diameter and features a dual zipper that goes almost all the way around the top of the bag so you can easily access the contents. “You can even hang them on a hook to save shelf space,” she says.

This case has an assortment of pockets and compartments to hold anything you might need to wrap a present — from the paper itself to the bows, tags, tape, and ribbon. Lightfoot likes that it’s long enough to hold 40-inch rolls, while Zaslow appreciates that it keeps supplies like scissors and tape all in one place. Solomon recommends an almost identical version that can also slide beneath a bed or sit on a closet shelf.

Interior designer Betsy Burnham has a huge stash of gift-wrapping supplies with gift-wrap in floral, gingham, buffalo check, and toile prints (including one called “countryside Christmas”). She divides her wrapping paper rolls between two of these organizers — one for seasonal designs, and the other for paper that works all year round. (Meanwhile, her ribbon, tissue paper, and gift bags live in Weathertight Totes.) According to the brand, each can store up to 16 large rolls. Because they hold rolls vertically, they don’t take up much floor space so long as you have the height you need to slide them into a closet, and the lid ensures the paper’s protected.

If you just need a place for a few odds and ends, Tanner uses these “truly multipurpose” bins from the Container Store to hold her holiday knickknacks that may not have a home otherwise. The top of each snaps on and you can stack them into columns dedicated to similar items. “You can’t beat the price point,” Tanner adds, as these boxes start at just $2.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Thu, 22 Dec 2022 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html
57 Home Organization Tips You’ll Wish You Knew All Along 57 Home-Organization Tips That Could Change Everything

The dos and don’ts of home organization

Mail on the table. Misplaced car keys. Expired spices in the pantry. Sound familiar? If so, it’s time to get organized. I’ve been a professional organizing expert for more than 20 years, and I know how hard it is for people to get and stay organized—if they don’t know a few simple tips and tricks. And I do mean simple. That’s because when it comes to home organization, two things are always true: The best solutions are always the easiest, and when you see instant results, it’s very motivating.

These solutions will make the biggest difference for the least amount of effort. Read on for the best pantry organization ideas, fridge organization strategies, closet organizing ideas and quick clean-up suggestions for every room. They will help you get ahead of the mess so you feel less overwhelmed and more in charge of your space, which will make you want to stick with them. Trust me: These tiny tips can change everything.

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Invest in a label maker

It’s hard to remember exactly what’s in bins and storage containers, whether they’re in your attic, your closets or even your pantry. Sure, you may have put the stuff in there, but you’ll forget the specifics over time—and your family may not have ever known what was where in the first place! “Consider labeling containers with attractive, easy-to-read labels,” says Olivia Parks, owner of Professional Organizer New Orleans. “This DIY closet organization tip streamlines locating items and ensures every family member can effortlessly contribute to maintaining an organized home.” Plus, a quick glance at it will let you’ll know what’s missing.

Helin Loik-Tomson/Getty Images

Buy a cookware rack

Do you have a precariously teetering tower of pots and pans stacked in your kitchen cabinets? You can never find anything, and when you do, you run the risk of having everything come crashing down—literally. Thankfully, there’s a better way. I love this Ordora pots-and-pans organizer, which is adjustable, roomy enough to accommodate pots and pans of all sizes, and ensures nothing gets scratched. Bonus: It’s super easy to put together. Time for an upgrade? Here’s the safest cookware for your various cooking needs.

Contain container lids

Lids for food storage containers have a way of multiplying like gremlins in your kitchen drawers in the messiest of ways—and even though you have a bunch, you can never seem to find a match. Corralling them all into one divided organizer will prevent this problem, says Christina Del Famma, a personal assistant and professional organizer for LifeSquire. Designed specifically for storing lids, these ingenious tools will totally transform your cabinets or deep drawers, keeping lids upright and easily accessible. You seriously won’t know how you ever lived without this product—or this home organization tip.

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Use a move-it bin when organizing

It’s all too easy to get sidetracked from organizing, even when you’re returning an item to its proper spot. After all, once you get there, you might notice more problems in the next room or get distracted by a family member. A “move-it bin” can solve that problem. “If you’re pulling things out while organizing and find an item that does not belong in that room, resist the urge to put it away immediately,” says Sarah Giller Nelson, owner of Less Is More Organizing Services. “Instead, put it in the ‘move elsewhere bin,’ and keep going with your sort. Only when you are done organizing the space should you leave the room to put the collection of items away.” A collapsible laundry basket makes an efficient move-it bin that can fold away when not in use.

Try a trinket dish

Stop losing your jewelry with this tip from professional organizer Ellen Delap: “Place a small, decorative dish in your kitchen and bathroom for frequently worn jewelry that you take off at home. It keeps your jewelry safe and where you can find it.” For the rest of your favorite baubles, try these jewelry organizers.

Arrange spices alphabetically

“Alphabetizing spices allows you to quickly find what your recipe calls for and makes putting them away just as fast,” says professional organizer Amy Trager. And there’s another surprising benefit to arranging your spices this way: You can figure out which ones are missing from your cabinet, so you don’t encounter any unwelcome surprises in the middle of making a meal. By the way, spices don’t last forever, so make sure to replace them periodically to maintain their full flavor.

Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images

Stick spring dividers into drawers

“I am obsessed with spring-loaded drawer dividers,” says Nelson, noting this is probably something only a professional organizer would say … though you might be saying it too after you realize how handy they are. Drawer dividers create structure within a large, open space, and they can corral odd-shaped items in the kitchen and throughout the house. “I often use one to create a section in the Tupperware drawer for lids, and I use another to keep grilling utensils that are too long to fit into standard drawer organizers neat and tidy. It is remarkable how one vertical line creates a sense of order that is very satisfying.”

Nelson’s trick for creating a custom, built-in look? “Buy them in the same color as the finish on the inside of your drawers.” Here are more kitchen storage ideas to free up space and organize what you have.

Style your to-be-read pile

We all get tons of catalogs and magazines, and it’s all too easy to leave them right on your kitchen counter. After all, you’re going to look at them soon, right? That thought is exactly how clutter starts. Delap suggests relocating this to-be-read pile from your kitchen counter to a stylish rack. Put everything in a narrow rack right where you do the rest of your reading. When it gets full, it’s time to purge. If you’re getting too much junk mail, here’s how you can stop it—for good.

Keep socks matched

A zippered mesh laundry bag is the answer to preventing mysteriously disappearing socks, according to Jennifer Truesdale of STR8N UP Professional Organizing Services. “Use a clothespin to clip a zippered mesh laundry bag to each person’s laundry hamper,” she advises, noting that the socks should go there instead of the main hamper. “When you’re ready to do a load of laundry, throw the bag in the wash, then transfer it to the dryer. You won’t ever have to sort socks or look for missing ones, because they stay together through the laundry cycle.”

Another pro tip: Choose a bag with anti-rust zippers and a zipper lock to prevent the bag from opening in the wash. While we’re on the topic, check out our comprehensive guide to doing laundry the right way.

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Use a folding template

Wish you could have perfectly folded piles of clothes like they do in stores? You can with this home organization tip from professional organizer Denise Clifford, author of The Decluttered Effect. “When folding my laundry, I usually keep out one item as a guide,” she says. “This way, I’m making sure that all of my sweaters, for example, are being folded the same size and will fit nicely into my drawer or on my shelf without my having to refold anything.” You can also use a FlipFold to ensure the same fold every time.

Add an organizer to your trunk

Your car is your home away from home, and as such, it can get just as messy—especially when you’re toting a lot of stuff (and people!). Ashley La Fond, founder of the home organization company Of Space + Mind, has a car hack that will stop problems before they start: “Keep your car tidy with a trunk organizer for tote bags, kids toys and groceries.” A sturdy, collapsible organizer with compartments can be folded flat when not in use … though chances are, it will always be filled.

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Downsize mementos by taking a photo

Keepsakes and treasures are lovely … until you start drowning in the clutter of the past. “If you’re keeping something purely for sentimental reasons, take a picture and then give the item away or throw it out,” suggests Sarah Krivel, owner of Kleriti Business Solutions. “After all, it’s usually the memory you cherish, not the actual item.” Create a slideshow of all your favorite mementos with a Wi-Fi-enabled digital photo frame. You’ll get to take a walk down memory lane every time those memories pop up! This also makes a great gift idea for nearly any occasion.

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File receipts right away

Receipts are a headache. You cram them in your wallet, then forget about them. Or you put them all in a folder … only to be faced with a disorganized mess when you need to return an item or sort out expenses during tax season. Instead, “get a monthly divided sorter to keep receipts in for a year,” says Mary Jo Contello of Organized by MJ. “Then you always know where they are when needed for a return.” Look for an expandable accordion folder with slots for each category so you can put your receipts in the correct spot right away.

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Color-code storage boxes

Color coding is key to keeping seasonal decorations organized, according to Lee Silber, author of Organizing from the Right Side of the Brain. The key? Match holidays with the colors they’re associated with so you know exactly what’s inside each storage container. So, Halloween decorations should go in orange tubs, Hanukkah decor in blue bins, Christmas items in red ones and so on. “You don’t even need to be able to read a label to recognize what’s in there,” says Silber.

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Designate a drop zone

“The last thing anyone wants to see when they come home after a long day is clutter piled near the front door,” says Dawn Falcone of The Chaos Liberator. “Creating an entryway drop station will keep things off the floors because shoes, backpacks and other belongings will now have a dedicated storage space.” Your best bet will be a decorative multitasking structure that has a storage bench, shoe cabinet, shelves and hooks for coats, backpacks and even keys. Trust us—it’s a total game-changer!

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Hang a wall-mounted jewelry organizer

It’s an unfortunate truth: If you don’t see it, you’ll often forget about it—no matter how much you loved it when you bought it. That’s doubly true when it comes to jewelry. But a wall-mounted jewelry organizer can change all that. “Store pieces where you will see them so you will use them,” suggests Delap. Find one with designated spots for necklaces, bracelets and even a basket for rings. Bonus: Depending on what you choose, it can be organization and decor all in one!

Delete digital clutter

“Digital clutter can be just as burdensome as physical clutter,” says Maura Thomas, author of Personal Productivity Secrets. A quick glance at your crowded, unorganized inbox or the tens of thousands of photos on your phone will corroborate that statement! To cut down on this, Thomas suggests a multi-tiered effort. “Set up a secondary email account for things like newsletters and promotional mail,” she says. “Also, take five minutes every so often to clear out your pictures, text messages, music and other electronic files on a regular basis.” Finally, free up storage space (on Android or iPhone) by sending backups of your photos to the Cloud or downloading them to a smartphone storage saver.

Add fridge bins

It may seem like a little thing, but all those little moments you spend searching for ingredients to make a regular snack or meal will add up. Fridge bins, however, can save you a ton of time and energy. “Instead of grabbing each item off a different shelf, place them together,” says Emily Rosenthal, president of Masters of the Day and an expert in organization and leadership. “For example, if you are making a smoothie, put all the ingredients in one designated area—ideally, a single container you simply grab from the fridge.” Choose clear, easy-to-wash plastic bins with helper handles, so when you’re ready to whip up your go-to, all you have to do is pull out the bin and start prepping.

Access deep shelves

Deep cabinets seem great—oh, the storage!—until you realize that your things tend to get lost behind one another. My solution? The YouCopia Roll-Out Under-Sink Organizer. Because it doesn’t require a bracket, there is no installation, making it ideal for homeowners who don’t want to drag out the tool chest or renters who don’t want to put holes in the cabinets. Plus, it has plenty of room, as well as dividers to keep your items organized. Roll one under the sink, in a cabinet or even in the refrigerator to totally transform those spaces.

Ditch the dressers

Do you really need a dresser? According to Stacy Erickson Edwards, a professional organizer with Home Key Organization, the answer is … nope! “Swap traditional dressers for wooden cube organizers with bins,” she suggests. “This way, clothes don’t always have to be perfectly folded to close a drawer. Bonus: It will be easier for kids (and adults) to put clothes away.”

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Scoop up stuffed animals

If the room is overrun with cute toys, it looks anything but cute. But a hammock can change that in a flash. You can use a proper patterned one to go with your decor, or you can hang a mesh net in a corner of a room a few feet down from the ceiling, says Roth. For the latter, you might not even need tools for installation if you use sticky hooks. Once your hammock is hung, use it as a guide to gauge how many things are in the room. “Once it’s full, stop buying stuffed animals,” says Roth. That part may be easier said than done, of course! Now that the stuffies are off the floor, find out how to organize your kid’s closet.

Roll away arts-and-crafts supplies

Stop stuffing arts-and-crafts supplies in drawers, where they can get lost and damaged. Instead, Delap suggests containing them on a rolling cart. “A cart makes it easy to see your inventory,” she explains. “Plus, you can wheel it over to the work area, then roll it away.” You can choose a pretty one in a color that coordinates with the room it will mostly live in, whether that’s silver, white, navy or even pink.

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Add extra recycling bins

Stay on top of mail by taking care of unwanted papers right away rather than letting them pile up. Krivel suggests putting recycling bins where they’ll be used—like the entryway, kitchen and office. Don’t worry: You don’t have to go with the industrial-looking blue ones. You can opt for a slim, sleek container or even a vintage-looking basket. No one has to know it’s a recycling bin except you!

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Hang over-the-door storage

“If space is limited, tap into your vertical space,” advises Urban, who likes to hang clear shoe organizers over her doors. Why? Because they let you quickly see what you have and locate exactly what you need without searching all the compartments. And get creative: That shoe organizer can be used for a lot more than just shoes. You can also use it to store office or crafting supplies, pantry items, beauty items, toys, video game controllers, accessories and pretty much anything else that will fit in them. In fact, they’re so helpful, you may want one in every room!

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Carve out clutter-free space

Remember desk blotters? They may have gone out of fashion for their original purpose, but clutter coach Claire Tompkins suggests using one to mark off untouchable space on your desk. That way, even if you are still piling too much stuff on your work surface, you’ll at least have a piece of prime real estate where you can sit and work. Opt for a bright color to work as a visual cue that you’re not allowed to put anything on that particular spot.

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Add under-sink storage

To make the most of the storage space under the bathroom sink, try adding clear bins with drawers. They add tons of space and create an easy-to-follow system. “Covered clear drawers are great for under-counter bathroom storage because you can easily see what’s inside while keeping things contained,” says Truesdale. “They are also stackable and slender, so you can usually build a system around any pipe layouts that might be difficult to put larger bins around.”

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Corral clothes hangers

If not every hanger in your closet has an item of clothing hanging from it, it’s got to go (at least temporarily). This little tip will go a long way toward streamlining your closet. “Store empty clothes hangers on a hanger organizer to use your hanging space only for clothes” suggests Delap, who says, “hanger organizers keep your space tidy, and the hangers are easy to find when needed.” Plus, when mixed in with clothing, empty hangers make the closet look messy, and they can catch on and damage clothes. Choose an organizer with easy carry handles to tote empty hangers to the laundry room, where you can hang clothes before they wrinkle.

Display garage items

You’ll finally have space to park your car in the garage if you install Rubbermaid FastTracks. “They are my favorite way to get garage stuff out of the way and on display,” says Amy Bloomer, who has a master’s degree in organizational psychology from Columbia University. All you have to do is attach the tracks to the wall, then add hooks, baskets and bins to store bikes, tools, car-care items, garden supplies, lawn chairs and pretty much anything else. While you’re tidying up, though, toss out these items in your garage.

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Clear the car

Here’s my tip for keeping your car tidy: Get in the habit of removing everything from the car that belongs elsewhere after each trip. Yep, every single one. That includes gym bags, work stuff, random papers, water bottles and, of course, trash. And speaking of trash, collect it in a waterproof bag or trash bin specially made for your car. Hang it on the back of a headrest, where it’s easy for everyone to reach—and easy to dump every time you fuel up the car.

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Organize grocery bags

“Wrangle the avalanche of plastic grocery bags—the ones you currently store under the kitchen sink—into an organizer,” advises Nelson. When compressed, those bags will take up just a fraction of the space. No more plastic bags in your town? Do the same with your reusable bags. A sturdy, over-the-cabinet organizer will make use of the wasted back-of-the-door space and be the perfect place to tuck the bags until you need them.

Take action with a file box

Turn those piles of paperwork on your kitchen counter or desk into a functional to-do list by organizing them in a small desktop file box. “These boxes can be maintained with a small number of hanging folders responding to the action required,” says Truesdale. “For example, bills to pay, things to read, things to respond to, coupons/gift cards to use and things to return.” Make sure to label sections with action verbs so you’re motivated to do the things you need to do. That visual cue will make all the difference.

Swap out bulky hangers

A simple hanger swap can make a big difference in your closet. “Did you know that 3 inches of plastic hangers equals roughly 1 inch of velvet hangers?” asks Urban. “So upgrading to velvet is a no-brainer if you need more room. Plus, the velvet will give your space a more luxe look and feel, and you’ll prevent your clothes from slipping off the hanger and getting lost at the bottom of your closet.” Translation: With these space-saving hangers, you’ll instantly have a more uniform and polished space for a minimal investment.

Stash the small stuff in bags within your handbag

Does your handbag feel like a black hole where you put things and somehow never find them again? You can avoid this problem, says Delap, by using mini mesh zip bags to store all the little things. Designate separate bags for medicines, receipts, makeup and charging cords, using different colors for different categories. Bonus: They may be mini, but these bags can hold a surprising amount of stuff!

Iryna Veklich/Getty Images

Wrap up the gift wrap

Gift wrap is awkwardly shaped and tricky to store, and it can be all too easy to lose tape, ribbons and bows—unless you have a special gift-wrap organizer, that is. Professional organizer Lisa Cantu, owner of An Organized Home OC, loves this hanging organizer by ProPik. “The clear pockets are great for holding cards, ribbon, tape, gift wrap and more,” she says. “And it’s thin enough to fit in any closet while taking up minimal space.” You’ll never lose the tape again!

Keep a to-do bag right by the front door

Did you forget the dry-cleaning again? Or that item you meant to return? A to-do bag stationed right near your door (where you can’t miss it) can be stashed with stuff, then transported right to your car, says Rosenthal. Clip a note to the bag for items that need to stay refrigerated until you are ready to leave, and to keep your hands free, choose one with a comfy shoulder strap.

KatarzynaBialasiewicz/getty images

Dedicate a memory bin for each family member

We all have those things we can’t part with—and, quite honestly, shouldn’t. That said, we can certainly organize them! Get a bin for each family member and use it to collect sentimental items. “When you come across a keepsake, just add it to that person’s bin,” says Elsa Elbert, founder and CEO of Composed Living, a Los Angeles–based professional organizing company. “When the bin is full, you know it’s time to review the items and declutter if necessary.” You can also choose proper storage for more delicate items. Creating a home for these items gets them out of your day-to-day space while keeping them safely stored out of sight.

Use a shoe rack

The floor of the closet is not the ideal spot for shoes. You can’t see what you have, and it’s all too easy to toss them in there when you’re trying to clean up in a hurry. Instead, try a tiered shoe rack, so you can see and easily reach your shoes. I also like to align shoes toe to heel, so you can fit more shoes on each shelf. Choose racks that are sturdy and easy to wipe clean, and place a welcome mat under the rack to catch any falling debris.

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Don’t lose items left in pockets

Why can’t family members empty their pockets before throwing their clothes in the hamper? It may be the eternal mystery of life, but at least now you’ll have an easy place to put all that random stuff. “Keep a clear jar in your laundry room for holding items found in pockets like coins, receipts or lipstick instead of leaving them loose on top of your washer, where they can get lost,” says Nina Ward, professional organizer, designer and regional director at ShelfGenie. Opt for a clear plastic jar so you can see what’s in there and when it’s getting full—and because it won’t shatter if it drops.

Tie up charging cords

All those cables and cords—yes, you need them, but they’re so unpleasant to look at! To get rid of this type of visual clutter, Urban suggests using a cable management box to hide power strips, adaptors, chargers and cords. “Many cable-organizing products on the market have a beautiful aesthetic and are still very functional,” she says. “They’ll keep your cords bundled together so they’re not a free-floating, tangled mess.”

Justin Sullivan/getty images

Time yourself when organizing

To avoid getting overwhelmed with home organization, especially when you’re just starting out, try setting a timer for 30 minutes, suggests professional organizer Felice Cohen, author of 90 Lessons for Living Large in 90 Square Feet (or More). When the buzzer goes off, you can stop. Seeing progress is motivating, and you’ll probably surprise yourself with how much you get done in a short period of time. You also won’t mind doing it again, since it doesn’t derail your day. This is also one of our favorite expert-recommended ways to create good habits you’ll stick with.

Stow the sports equipment

Between the balls, bats, racquets, clubs and helmets, the garage can get messy—fast. I suggest getting a heavy-duty sports rack to keep gear organized and garage floors clear. With two wire-grid bins, a ball basket and upper organizer, this one from the Container Store will ensure that everything has a spot … and that everyone knows where their items go when they get back from practice and games.

Dean Mitchell/Getty Images

Keep a “going up” basket by the stairs

You know all those items from your second floor that get scattered throughout your house and left there seemingly forever? Clifford keeps an empty basket at the bottom of the stairs to corral those random things. At the end of the day, right before bedtime, she takes the basket upstairs with her and puts everything away in its proper spot. That makes for a much better day tomorrow—and every day afterward!

Light up your life

Unless you carry a flashlight with you, seeing what is stored in the back of a deep shelf, under the sink or on the floor of a closet can be difficult. Well, battery-operated, motion-activated, bright LED lighting will be your savior. No need to hire an electrician either: These super-bright lights stick on most surfaces. And the real benefit? When you can see your space, you can keep it tidy, making finding what you’re looking for a whole lot easier. Here are some other closet lighting ideas for every type of closet.

Display your family’s to-do lists

Get your family in (organizational) shape by creating a family command center using self-adhesive white-boards decals. They’re just like dry-erase boards, only better, because they don’t require nails and, therefore, won’t damage your walls. Stick one to the inside of your kitchen cabinet or in the mud room, where you can’t lose it and everyone will see it. Truesdale says it’s great for keeping track of schedules, meal planning and even your organizing and cleaning to-do lists.

Hang the cleaning tools

Don’t forget: Your cleaning tools can also get messy! I like to keep them tidy and ready to grab in a wall-mounted organizer. This IMillet organizer has five spring-loaded grabbers to keep brooms and mops upright and hanging by their handles. I also hang my dust pan and cleaning towels from the hooks.

Petra Richli/Getty Images

Decant pet food

No more torn-open bags messing up your pantry! Instead, pour pet food into a rolling container for the ultimate in home organization. The scoop makes it easy to dish out, and your pantry will stay organized. Large bins can hold up to 50 pounds of dog food. Just remember to look for something with an airtight snap latch to keep out moisture, humidity and pests.

Add a shelf

Need more shelf space for shoes, jeans or folded sweaters? Skip the contractor, and go with shelf extensions instead, says Cantu. And these closet organizers aren’t just for clothes. You can slide a telescoping shelf wherever you need more storage space, like in the pantry for cereal, in the hall closet for board games, over the toilet for towels or above the washing machine for supplies. These shelves are so versatile, you’ll find ingenious uses for them all over your home.

Sirintra Pumsopa/Getty Images

Hang pegboards

Go back to the basics with this handy home organization trick. “Hang a pegboard above your desk or command center to keep smaller items from getting cluttered,” suggests Urban. “With the pegboard, you can incorporate trays and containers for storing markers, pens, scissors and elastic cords for paper items like photos, cards, artwork and school papers.” Plus, a pegboard will keep your desk essentials close at hand while giving you more surface area to work on.

Kristin Mitchell/Getty Images

Utilize unused space under the bed

Make use of the wasted storage space under your bed—and prioritize the things you need. Store out-of-season items in shallow containers, and slide them under. Voila! You’re done. But one note: Think beyond just swapping out clothing. Rotate all your seasonal items, including shoes, accessories, bed linens, decor, throw pillows and blankets, so they’re out of the way and in great shape when you need them.

Set up bye-bye bins

Warning: “It isn’t enough to pull out all the stuff you don’t need,” says professional organizer Evan Zislis, author of ClutterFree Revolution. “You need to purge it from your home by trashing it, recycling it, thrifting it or consigning it.” Set up bins lined with heavy-duty bags for items you are donating, consigning or sharing through a local Buy Nothing group. Those bags are key, because when the bin is full, you simply take it out and remove it from your home.

Plug in a charging dock

Whether you live solo or with a large family, charging devices can seem to take over your house (especially in the latter situation). That’s why it’s a smart idea to find one place to plug in and charge all small electronics like cell phones, laptops, iPads and earbuds. You’ll just need a multi-port, high-speed charging station to power up your entire household. And here’s a bonus pro tip from Falcone: “If your charging center can be placed in your entryway, this will prevent you from leaving the house without one of your gadgets.”

Designate an “eat me first” section in the fridge

We know—you have the best intentions when you stock up on food at the grocery store or pack up those leftovers. But they can get forgotten in the craziness of the week and buried in the fridge, and by the time you look at them again, they’re past their prime. One simple trick will prevent this, says Lauren Hayes of Star Domestic Cleaner: Buy a clear container with a well-fitting lid so you can see what’s inside, and always store it in the same spot in the fridge. You’ll basically be training yourself to go to this spot first. In the end, you’ll save time and money, not to mention reduce food waste.

Make filing fun

“For long-term results, make filing fun and pretty,” says Zislis. “This will give you the inspiration you’ll need to maintain your newly organized systems.” No drab legal folders here—try these floral options or any others that are more your style.

Divide shelves

Roth uses shelf dividers to separate one shelf into multiple, more functional, compartments. They’re also great at “preventing tall piles from tipping over, as well as propping up things, like handbags.” Designed for wooden shelves, these clear, thin dividers from the Container Store simplify this concept—there’s no need for screws or even adhesive.

Store seasonal clothing in a way that allows you to see it

Getting off-season items out of your closet feels great—until you have to go searching for something you need. Think: vacations, transition seasons and even pulling out everything again next year. That’s why I always use these Periea storage boxes with zip-down window panels. I can see what’s inside and retrieve things without un-stacking them. In addition to being perfect for clothing storage, they’re also great for guest linens and seasonal throws. A total bonus is the fact that the steel frame folds, so the box collapses and can be stored flat when not in use.

Set up a coffee bar

For a quick kitchen reorg and a little bit of morning magic, create an at-home coffee bar. Take coffee pods and tea bags out of their boxes, and store them in stackable bins so they not only look neater but are also a whole lot easier to access. This mDesign two-pack organizer designates one container for tea bags, with its four sections; the other has space for 48 coffee pods. It also comes with 32 preprinted labels, so you’ll be able to easily identify your favorites.

Thomas Bullock/Getty Images

Add a turntable

Lazy Susans aren’t just for the kitchen. Also, they aren’t lazy at all—they’re total home organization workhorses that you can use in nearly any space, including the bathroom. “This is the ideal way to keep bathroom products together for easy access every morning while your countertop stays organized,” says Delap. You can also try this in your home office and even in your den for your collection of remote controls.

Now that you’re fully organized, keep your home in tip-top shape with these cleaning tips for every room.

Additional reporting by Charlotte Hilton Andersen.

Originally Published: July 22, 2021

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ICSI Announces Exam Schedule & Syllabus Choices for CS Executive & Professional June 2024


The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) has officially disclosed the examination timetable for the CS Executive and Professional exams slated for June 2024.

Scheduled to take place from June 1 to June 10, 2024, candidates can now prepare for the exams based on the 2017 and 2022 syllabus options.

The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) has officially disclosed the examination timetable for the CS Executive and Professional exams slated for June 2024. Scheduled to take place from June 1 to June 10, 2024, candidates can now prepare for the exams based on the 2017 and 2022 syllabus options.

Prospective examinees must complete their registration for the CS Executive and Professional exams by January 31, ensuring eligibility for the upcoming evaluations. During the examination period, students will be allocated three hours to attempt the question papers, with the added advantage of no negative marking. Each correct response will earn candidates two marks, providing a fair and encouraging assessment environment for participants.

Find the CS Professional Exam Sheet below for reference

Find the CS Executive Date Sheet below for reference

Last updated on 02 Jan 2024

Mon, 01 Jan 2024 10:00:00 -0600 text/html

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