A Guide to Modular Furniture Shopping

When people hear the term “modular” a few things come to mind. Standardized, easy to assemble, minimalist, and modern. When you hear the words “modular furniture” there’s probably only one thing that comes to mind: Ikea.

There are, however, a wide selection of stores (online and brick & mortar) that offer furniture to fit your minimalist lifestyle.

Reasons to go modular

Form follows function. This statement should be as true in the world of decorating as it is throughout the sciences. However, many times we buy items that are large and bulky; mistaking quantity for quality. In the world of modular furniture, form is everything. Here are some reasons you may want to start buying minimal furniture:

  • If you move often. Do you relocate for work every few years? Are you a student or young professional who does a lot of jumping around apartments? In a workforce that is increasingly freelance and online in nature, there are fewer bindings holding us back from moving.
  • If you like low-maintenance. Modular furniture is perfect the the person who likes to set something up easily out of the box. You won’t have to worry about complicated maintenance or difficulty finding parts because modular furniture tends to be highly standardized.
  • If you’re a space-saver. Are you the type to try to take advantage of every inch of free space in your home? Alternatively, do you like to give your home a spacious atmosphere through smart decorating? Modular furniture is intelligently designed to take advantage of space. Modular furniture pieces like sofas are often able to be reconfigured or rearranged in different pieces so you can place them in corners or sparsely around the room to open up space. Similarly, they often contain interior storage space for things like blankets and pillows.
  • If you have a refined taste for space. Modular furniture is at the cutting edge of home technology. Therefore it often boasts visually-appealing, minimalist form and modern color schemes. Like any industry, style varies between makers. But generally modular furniture companies tend to stay current with trends.

The biggest names, the best prices

Since modular furniture is an up-and-coming industry, there are a number of stores to choose from, some even with brick & mortal locations. Here are some of our favorites.

ikea

Not much needs to be said about IKEA. They started with one man in Sweden and now have locations in over 40 countries. IKEA is the standard by which all other modern furniture stores are weighed against.

vitsoe

Vitsoe keeps it simple with three basic modular “systems.” Chairs, tables, and shelves. One of each system could easily fill a room. Their designs are minimalist and space-saving, which is evident by the “nesting” tables which fit into one another.

way basics

If you’re looking for simple, lightweight and affordable storage and shelving, Way Basics is where you should start your search. They specialize in storage cubes and they take the humanitarian and environmentalist approach to doing business.

urban outfitters

They may seem like a strange addition to this list, but Urban Outfitters–the paragon of urban hipsterdom–has a surprisingly great selection of modular furniture items in their online shop. They do an excellent job of fusing vintage style with modern function.

 

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Safe Food Storage and Preparation Tips

Everyone uses a slightly different set of guidelines when it comes to food safety, but some people’s standards are a bit more “flexible” than others. The perfect example is the so-called “five second rule.” If you’re not familiar with it, that “rule” states that if you drop food on the floor (or ground) and pick it up within five seconds, then it’s safe to eat!

In some cases, you can wash and safely eat food that has fallen on the floor, but it depends on the condition of the floor and what type of food you’re dropping. While some mothers may jokingly say, “My kitchen floor is so clean you could eat off it,” eating food that has fallen on the floor can be somewhat risky.

Although the 5-second-rule has its humorous side, food safety is a very serious subject. Making sure that perishable food is properly prepared, cooked, and refrigerated is one way to help keep your family healthy. There’s also a psychological benefit to being careful with food safety: When you and your family know that your food is fresh, safely stored, and properly prepared, it helps give you peace of mind and makes mealtime more of a pleasurable experience.

Basic Food Safety Tips

One way to keep track of food freshness is to pay attention to expiration dates and other information printed on food labels. Another step involves putting your own labels on perishable foods and leftover food containers. “When in doubt, throw it out,” is also a good policy to consider.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (DOH) offers a number of helpful food safety guidelines to keep in mind and discuss with your family. To reduce the chances of cross-contamination and harmful bacteria growing on food, the agency recommends the following practices:

  • Wash hands for 20 seconds before preparing food
  • Wash food preparation surfaces, utensils, and cutting boards after each use
  • Wash the outsides of fruits and vegetables to help remove bacteria and other impurities
  • Promptly refrigerate food and follow recommended storage times and refrigeration temperatures

While there are a lot of safeguards to be aware of when preparing, handling, and storing food, the DOH breaks it down into four easy-to-remember categories: “clean, separate, cook, and chill.” A couple related topics worth researching and keeping in mind  are minimum cooking temperatures for meat and recommended refrigerator storage times for perishable food (often three to five days).

As an afterthought, the other advantage of putting dates on your food packages and leftover containers is that you avoid wasting food by throwing it away prematurely.

Healthy food preparation and storage does involve heightened awareness and sometimes creating new habits, but preventing food poisoning and other digestive ailments in your family is well worth the effort!