Category Archives: Holiday

Contain and Label

It sounds so simple and easy, keep things together and where they are most convenient for use.  Often though our treasures are spread throughout the house.  Using containers that are the same size help maximize space.  Then the most important step is labeling the contents. Organized storage in basements, garages and attics will save you time and help you enjoy the activities they represent.

Making Room for 2017

Every year we make resolutions to make more time for family, business, and ourselves.  Each year we promise we will get more organized in the new year.  This is why January is National Get Organized Month.

Happily, I am ahead of the game.  For the first time, I took all Christmas decorations down within days of Christmas.  Yesterday, I created my 2017 file folders.  That never takes too long, but in the past I have always procrastinated until well after first of the year.

It is amazing how much better I feel; prepared for a successful 2017!  It really is true, getting rid of excess makes room for future.  Not just in physical space, but in your mind as well.  The tree is down, and makes my home seem bigger.  Files for 2016 are boxed and ready for storage and new files ready for action.  

Next week is busy with clients, but I am ready for busy year and look forward to more time for myself. If you are ready for a change in 2017, don’t wait.  Start meeting your goals today.

 

Organize Time, Don’t Hoard the Clock

Time is one of life’s most precious commodities.  We never have enough for family and friends. It seems work and project deadlines are always upon us; who reading this has too vacations that are too long?

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Recently a friend , not an organizing colleague but a professional in another field, was sharing an experience of working with a hoarder. “She kept me waiting for an hour, another time she was still asleep the when I arrived” he said.  I explained that hoarding not only happen with collections of “stuff”, but it also can occur with time.  A time hoarder is someone that is trying to “do it all, not just keep it all”.

Dicitionary.com defines Hoard as a supply or accumulation that is hidden or carefully guarded for preservation, future use, etc.  Saying “yes” to every opportunity, not being able to “edit” your schedule can make your free time disappear.

Schedule work and play activities, check the calendar before making commitments, and most importantly do not be afraid to say “no” or “not now”.  You will be surprised how quickly the clutter of your minutes become pleasant organized hours.

Kitchen Clearing Clutter Game

Play High, Low, or Let It GO!

Kitchen Upper

If it is difficult to edit the clutter from your kitchen, try a fun exercise I created when helping a client organize her kitchen. The new custom home was finished and the move-in had just begun.  After the long anticipation my client found it difficult deciding what to edit and where to place the keepers.

So in the kitchen, I mounted the step ladder with items in hand. After creating the zones for kitchen work – food storage, food preparation, cooking, and cleanup – I simply asked “High, low, or let it go?”  Things needed for daily use were placed in the lower part of the tall upper cabinets.  If they were seldom used, but needed for entertaining they went high.  Quickly, she realized that if items did not fit into either of the first two categories, there were easier to pass on to others and clear the clutter.

After ten minutes, she said this made the process into a more enjoyable game.  If you have had a time editing your excess, try “High, Low, or Let It GO!”

Diary of a Move
from city to village

Long time clients recently moved to the east end of Long Island.  In her blog, MyFoodVoice.me, Louise shares the story of their transition and gives insightful lessons for letting go.  She relates the difficulty of moving across country and the weight possessions have when holding onto things only because of the memories they carry.

Louise loves cooking and has become a talented knitter and needlepoint artist.  Her husband is an avid gardener, grill master and enjoys his well organized garage.  They truly understand the benefits of an organized life.

IMG_2389Our paths first crossed in 2007 when interior designer Connie McCreight contacted me to assist with the organizing needs related to their Los Angeles home remodel.  Since then, my team has enjoyed working on the first move to their second vacation home, then later when they decided to make the east coast their permanent home.  Along the way, we have helped with other projects including decorating for Christmas.

I left LA for Knoxville just before the move was to start, but colleagues John Trosko and Ros Lakomy took over the California end of the final move.  When I joined the team for the unpack in New York, it was a “working” reunion for clients, organizers and designers.

After reading “The Art of Moving – Letting Go and Embracing Change” check out the rest of the blog for delicious recipes and tips for food buying and entertaining.  I did mention she is a talented cook?

Thank you for sharing your story Louise.  Many will benefit from your moving experience.

 

Tailgating Starts in a Organized Home

Football season is here (what happened to the summer?)!  That means fans from Neyland Stadium to the Rose Bowl are ready for Tailgate Parties.  Menus need planning,  supplies will be bought, but is your home field organized?

Here are some simple tips for successful Tailgating season:

1.  Team effort – get family involved and delegate tasks.
2.  Home field advantage – clean out and organized the refrigerator and pantry.

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3.  The field house (garage) – have space in garage to keep dry goods stored for each weeks game – paper goods, coolers, folding chairs, etc.

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4.  The pre-game Stadium (your car) – get that trunk cleared out and find containers that can go from garage to trunk for quick set-ups.

With just a little planning the Vols will not be the only ones running through the “T” this tailgating season.

Organized Entertaining

Often when entertaining it seems that “four letter” words include host and work.  An organized event can mean fun for all, especially you!  With the holidays here, these simple tips should make entertaining fun for everyone.

Create an event journal for each occasion.  Include the guest lists, menu, shopping list, tasks to delegate and check list of activities leading up to the party.  Start in the pantry and clear all out of date foods.  Organize into categories – think of it as your personal market.  Then once the menu is planned, inventory can be taken to create your shopping list.

Plan “concierge area” for over night guests.  Most likely this would be the laundry room.  Show guests where supplies are kept and invite them to make themselves at home,  This way you will not feel like an overworked housekeeper.

Find ways to expand the entertaining area.  If weather permits, add gas heaters outdoors and add lighting.

Prepare as much food ahead as possible and set the table a couple days ahead.  Don’t be afraid to delegate,  Guests want to help…they just need direction.

Food, friends, and organization…a combination for happiest of holidays.

Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving…

Cocktail Parties –
Organized, Free of Clutter, Fun for Host

Big Entertaining in Small Spaces

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Even a small galley kitchen doesn’t have to restrict the size and ease of entertaining.  By thinking ahead and being organized your party will be fun and easy. Plan your menu to include simple items that are prepared in advance or purchased ready to serve.

Table scaping  doesn’t need to be extravagant to give style and flair to your party.  Small bud vases with roses from the neighborhood grocery with contrasting color flowers in the center will draw attention to the hors d’oeuvres prepared for the evening.

 

 

cocktail party food 1Remove chairs from the side of the dining table that faces the guests. this makes it easier to get to the food. Organized refills before company arrives in the refrigerator and pantry so it is quick and simple to replenish serving plates as they empty.

Once guests arrive, place the second round of food to be warmed in the oven.  And be sure to trash or hide any containers so your guests will think you have been cooking all day.  It’s our secret!

 

 

cocktail party drinks

Set up drinks at the end of the kitchen nearest the dining area.  Make your guest feel at home and ask them to help themselves to their favorite dring.  This allows them to feel welcomed and allows you to enjoy your event.  Bag ice from your ice maker several days ahead and leave in freezer.  All needed throughout the evening is grabbing Ziplock, prepared ice for the bar.

Now see how easy a gathering of friends can be.  Make your quest list, plan a simple menu and set a date.  Let us know how it goes.

For more ideas for organizing your next party check out this month Get Organized Tips.

Finding New Uses for Storage

An antique pie safe, a family heirloom, once cooled great-grandma's pies.

An antique pie safe, a family heirloom, once cooled great-grandma’s pies.

Now serves as china storage in Tennessee condo.

Now serves as china storage in Tennessee condo.

Urban small spaces and even suburban larger homes, often need to find unique storage solutions. At this vacation condo, we kept family history and give it new life. With no room for more cabinets or china display, we used this unique pie safe that was used by client’s great grandmother as early at 1890 to cool delicious deserts. Seems only natural that a piece of furniture that once kept foods the family devoured, now holds the most treasured china that is used for special occasions.

Think outside the box for your storage needs.

Gift Giving? Simple Solution to Wrapping Presents with Ease

Do you like the idea of a craft room, but only have inches of space to spare? I love this from our friends at The Container Store. Gift Wrapping Station
When not in use it hangs in the closet and holds everything needed for gift wrapping including scissors, gift cards, bags, rolls of paper, and ribbons. Then any table is quickly converted into a work room as the station stands on its own and holds the paper roll at table height making wrapping a snap.
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If you are like me, there is never enough ribbon. Throughout the year like to pick up all types of ribbon I find in retailers and boutiques. My final tip is to keep extra rolls of ribbon is a container that makes it easy to handle and see the supplies.
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Like anything else, if you are organized in a task it will save time and make the work more fun. Now wrap it up!