Tag Archives: home organizing

Moving is perfect time to organize

Does this stress you out?unpacking

A new home makes life a little more busy.  The “to-do” list usually becomes an activity booklet. But work, family responsibilities, other commitments have not slowed; and you still need to find the moving company and get everything packed and purged.

During the packing process boxes should be labeled to the new house destination.  This makes unpacking much easier.

The unpack is the time to think about how to be more organized.  Keep things where they will be used.  Sort by category and in closets use uniform hangers.  Everything will hang at the same level and clothes will not be playing hide and seek.

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Utilize walls for vertical storage.  Such as for ties and belts in closets, or pots and pans in the pantry.


Should you need storage in a garage or basement, line a wall with shelves.  While I love the beauty of stylish design and architecture, there is something appealing about a wall of metro shelves organized into zones.  Slat wall or peg board is a fun way to organized a work space.

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And the best and most important moving tip, edit before you pack the old house.  There is so much that is hiding in our homes that is no longer important.  With the clutter gone, all that is left to organize is what will enhance your new home and life.

Organizer’s Dream comes to Farmer’s Market
The Container Store
Opens New Location August 9th

ContainerStoreNewWhile professional organizers never encourage buying for the sake of buying, I would like to share some exciting news. For our friends in the west Los Angeles area, if you need innovative, stylish, fun containers for your home or office organizing needs The Container Store is coming your way in the historic Los Angeles Farmer’s Market, adjacent to The Grove.

During the opening weekend, August 9 and 10th, this retail giant will donate 10% of the all that locations sales to Step UP – inspiring women to inspire girls. Since the company began in Dallas in 1978 they not only created the storage and organization category for retail, but have nurtured an employee-first culture along with high level of customer service. It is listed in FORTUNE magazine’s top 100 companies to work for. Many of my colleagues would call the store the Neiman Marcus of containers.

Now about the Farmer’s Market location…
-20,000 square feet of shopping with more than 10,000 mulit-functional and innovative products.
-Products organized in 16 signature lifestyle departments
-Employee knowledge, each full-time sales person receives more than 263 hours of training (part-time employees receive 177 hours) in their first year.

Join the Los Angeles design and organizing industry in welcoming this newest location.

Limited Kitchen Storage Increased by Professional Organizer

galley kitchen
This galley kitchen works better than most would think considering its size. More storage was created in this home when we designed a unique bar/buffet. Holding stemware, china, liquor the buffet features silent closing drawers, bottom drawer designed for bottles, and lower convenient pull out shelf. The finish matches the dining table.
Custom Designed Buffet
China/bar storage
The looking at the closet across the hall from the kitchen, a custom closet was designed to be part pantry and part home office storage.
Pantry in Hall Closet
Now this kitchen has almost doubled its’ storage. The pantry was organized into zones just like grocery isles. Now there is more room and a place for everything this gourmet needs.

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.

Staging, DeCluttering, Makes Quick Sell above Market Price

Due to a family death, a client had one week to prepare a Tennessee home for Open House and Auction.  Quick decisions allowed us to clear out all the personal items in the home-photographs of family, trophies, awards.  Furniture was removed from every room allowing each area to seem larger.  Dated window treatments were either replaced with inexpensive blinds or removed completely.

BEFORE Living Room

AFTER Living Room – tables along walls removed and sofas pushed back to give more room in center of floor.BEFORE Dining Room



AFTER Dining Room – oversized china cabinet removed, guests can easily walk around table now. Fresh flowers are an added touch for the open house.

AFTER Kitchen – Dated window treatments removed and counters cleared of clutter.BEFORE Master BedroomBEFORE – Master Bedroom


AFTER Master Bedroom – Twelve small frames replaced by one framed print, two oversized chairs removed opening more space.

BEFORE Master Bedroom


The owners were chain smokers and by adding Glad Plug-in in each room and adding fabric softener sheets to the cold air returns the smoke smell was almost unnoticeable.  Fresh flowers the day of the open house presented a totally new home that sold that day for $15,000 over the market estimate.

This is the only time I will reveal a client’s identity…it was me.  I have worked with clients for 12 years as they experienced what life and death brought.  Now I know first hand what clients experience when loved ones pass.  My brother passed 4 years ago and his wife joined him last spring.  I know many thought I was moving too fast.  I did keep some items that were special to them, but also allowed their friends to come by and choose their momentos.  It is just “stuff”, but allow yourself to cry and enjoy the opportunity to revisit memories of a lifetime.

BEFORE – Man’s Room

AFTER – Man’s Room – while the room was perfect for my brother, an avid hunter and fisherman, I knew that this small room needed to grow as it was also the second bedroom. The walls cleared and only desk and computer desk remained.

I did move faster than most because I live in Los Angeles and had limited time in Tennessee to get the work done.  But the home was not on the market for a day, and sold at auction by Sam Furrow and my realtor Tom Pettitt of Realty Executives.

Now I am able to move on, enjoy the momentos kept, and not be cluttered with things that just do not mean anything to me.  If you find yourself in the same situation, go at your own pace, but try to make quick decisions.

Staging can take place by just packing and putting extra items into storage.  But remember this is a great time to really deal with extra clutter for good.

If your home needs staging and you just don’t know how to start….Get It Together LA!

Serving Los Angeles and Knoxville



We Like the Spice House


Well Organized family kitchen

A chef can not create delicious meals without the finest spices.  When we organized family kitchens, one of the first things we want within reach are spices and our favorite supplier is The Spice House.

The Spice House's Inventory

Spices should be replaced every year.  If it is time for to update your supplies check out The Spice House.  You don’t have to live in Chicago to take advantage of these “hand-selected and hand-prepared spices and herbs”…order from the website or call them at 847-328-3711.

Spices are best kept near the range, keeping ingredients convenient while cooking.  Should you only want to order these beautiful uniform spice jars that is possible.  However, their spice prices are very reasonable and time will be saved in labeling and refilling these containers when you include ordering the spices too.

Spices on "Stadium Raisers"

If spices are kept on “stadium raisers” in your cabinet, when ordering ask The Spice House to place the labels on the top of the jars.  Otherwise you might not be able to see the spice needed.  And sometimes a free drawer is just the right spot for keeping spices handy.

The Easter Bunny, Clutter and Organizers

Easter Sewing Basket

Easter Sewing Basket

I barely remember waking up on Easter morning and rushing to see the great basket of treats left by that annual unseen rabbit.  It would be filled with yummy chocolate bunnies, Malamar Bars, marshmallow treats, and jelly beans.  Not a thing was wasted.

This week a friend said he had a craving for a Easter basket.  So yesterday while walking home from The Grove I stopped in K-Mart to up pick one.  I know it has been…well lots of years since I have been on the receiving end from the Easter Bunny but of all the hundreds of baskets the store had were definitely different from what I remembered.  Instead of sweet treats and yummy candy every basket had plastic toys that would certainly become clutter and unwanted by later in the day.

For about the same amount of money of the pre-packaged baskets I purchased quality candies, colored grass stuffing, baskets and stuffed rabbits were available to create a custom basket.   For a hostess gift I even filled grass stuffing and chocolates in a sewing basket to take to a dinner party this evening.

The commentary to all this is any event, holiday, or gift is what you make it.  As an organizing expert helping my clients keep clutter at bay it is evident that habits start at an early age.  So even those gifts your children receive can start traits that are not seen for years to come.  Don’t just spend to buy something.  Have a clear goal when you go shopping.  If something doesn’t look like what you are looking for, don’t settle.  Keep looking or make the gift yourself.  And by the way, my friend loved what the Easter Bunny brought him!

Friday Night Dine with the Famous and Organized

Hal Sparks

Hal Sparks

If you are in Los Angeles this Friday, January 30, why don’t you join Hal Sparks of “Queer As Folk” and Christopher Knight of “The Brady Bunch” and “My Fair Brady”  at the 2009 Los Angeles Organizing Awards?  Also appearing will be organizing celebrities Sam Saboura, Gia Russo, and Jodie Watson all of “Real Simple. Real Life”, Dorothy Breininger of “Dr. Phil Show”, Linda Koopersmith of “Clean House” and Monica Ricci of “Mission: Organization”.

Los Angeles Organizing Awards

Los Angeles Organizing Awards

The entertainment industry is not the only group walking down the red carpet during the Hollywood Awards’ season.  You are invited to join professional organizers from across the county at the gala that “made organizing sheek” according to Oprah’s Peter Walsh.

Chris McKenry, Immediate Past President of NAPO-LA will also be on the program that evening and  Get It Togethter LA! is a finalist in the Best Closet Design category.  In 2007, Get It Together LA! took home that honor.

The Office Depot, Presenting Sponsor of the event, will have a drawing for a $500 shopping spree.  The event is produced by the National Association of Professional Organizers, Los Angeles chapter and with production support by the Dave Linden Group.

Share the glamor of Hollywood, the culinary delights of the Luxe Hotel in Bel Air, and excitement of the 4th Annual Los Angeles Organizing Awards.  REGISTER NOW at napola.org.

Hear McKenry on Home Wizards Saturday

Get Organized Month is just days away and getting organized is recession proof.  Organizing Expert Chris McKenry will join Cindy Dole on her show, Home Wizards Saturday, December 27 at 8 am.  The show can be heard on News Talk 870 KRLA or found live on the web at www.HomeWizards.tv.

“The New Year is upon us and this segment will help us get our act together from our paper files for taxes, to the rest of the home,” states host Cindy Doyle.  You can call into the show and ask your questions about getting organized for your most productive year by dialing 1-866-870-5752.

Getting Ready for Move-in Day


Unpacking Boxes

Unpacking Boxes

Before the furniture and boxes arrive measure the rooms in the new home and prepare floor plans. Thoroughly clean the home before moving in.  There is no better time to shampoo carpets and wax floors than while your house is empty.  This is also the time to line cabinets and shelves.  Now that the windows are washed, floors are clean, and the kitchen scrubbed you are ready for the best part!

Designate a place to put the broken down boxes and used packing paper before unpacking begins.  Cover carpeted floors with protection film before the truck is unloaded.  This will protect the areas just cleaned.  Take time to carry boxes to the designated rooms before unpacking begins.

Unpack as many items as space allows before putting things away.  The goal is to get the boxes out of the way.  As boxes are emptied, break them down and get them to the designated area, most likely the garage or patio.  Also, open ALL the packing paper.  The smallest items might be inside what you think is just “filler”.

Unpack your “hot boxes” first.  Then you are sure to have bedding, towels, and toiletry essentials for your first night.  As with any organizing project, delegate tasks to family members and play music to break the monotony of unpacking.  Before you know it, you have a beautiful new home.