Thursday, September 30, 2010

Organizing Tip: Setting Examples for Your Kids

One of my clients has a young daughter who occasionally observes our working sessions. She has seen us sort, purge and place kept items in their new homes. The other day, my client caught her playing "organizer" in her bedroom, cleaning and tidying her room.

Parents are children's first role models. Many of their behaviors and attitudes are developed by observing their parents. Teach your children the importance of being organized and lead by example. A "do as I say, not as I do" attitude is hypocritical and unfair.

Teach your kids to be organized by giving them assignments that are easy enough to do but challenging enough to leave them with a sense of accomplishment. It may be something as simple as hanging up all their clothing or putting away their toys every day.  Organizing habits established early will stay with your children for life and help them be focused and productive.

A Peek Inside My Kitchen Drawers

I recently organized 3 drawers in my kitchen. Only an organizing geek like me would think this is blog worthy, but it's one of those little things that has been driving me insane that I finally got around to fixing.

This is our household drawer. I got tired of my husband constantly asking me where the scissors, batteries and tape were kept, so I consolidated all those household items in one of the kitchen drawers so he could help himself. Notice the 3 pairs of scissors? This is what happens when I am not organized - I end up buying duplicates because I thought I lost original, and sure enough, I find the misplaced item it after I buy the duplicate and it's too late to return it. Argh . . . .

This is the newly organized silverware drawer. When my husband and I first moved in, we both had our own silverware caddy that were kept in two separate drawers as they were both too big to fit together in one drawer. It was aggravating toggling between 2 drawers, so I bought an expandable caddy to hold everything in one drawer.  I also squeezed in 3 additional baskets at the top for smaller items.  No more dead space.

Spices are now kept in a drawer. Previously, they were inefficiently kept in a cabinet where I had to remove 20 jars to get to the oregano way in the back. Cooking became a chore as I would overcook food while I was wading in the cabinet hunting for the right jar. I wanted an easy way to view all the spices at a glance, and storing them in the drawer was the perfect solution. The drawer is very shallow, and most in-drawer spice inserts were too tall, so I improvised with some drawer dividers. This made access to the jars quick and easy.

This is where we keep the duplicates spices. Once again, I bought duplicates not knowing I already had the items. I now have enough dill, paprika and chili spices to last me a lifetime.

I'm still trying to figure out the most efficient set up for the rest of the kitchen, but organizing these 3 drawers have made cooking a pleasure rather than a dreaded task. Each one of the prior inefficiencies alone was annoying but bearable, but it was the accumulation of all the annoyances that was making me dread cooking. Now, the kitchen is more streamlined and I look forward to making a home cooked meal.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Displaying Collections

Glass collection, originally uploaded by m4linn.

My husband and I recently bought this console to display his glass work he blows as a hobby. Before, his glass work was scattered in the house, getting lost in bookcases and random places in the house. Now, we have a gallery-like showcase next to the front door, giving our guests a preview of what to expect in the house.

Your collections reveal volumes about your personality and lifestyle. Showcase them in a way that elevates them as art. It's a great conversation starter, and your friends and family will get a deeper understanding of who you are and what moves you.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Out Box

This this more an "Out Nook" than an "Out Box", but it's the perfect place where my husband and I gather all the things we need when we head out the door in the morning. The left side is my side. I recently sold quite a few gadgets and books when I was cleaning out the office, and there they sit on top, ready to to be mailed. Below is my bag I take to client sites. The right side is my husband's side. Office items sit on top, and his computer bag is on the bottom. This nook is next to the garage that serves as our main point of entry and exit. We tried to add a little more style to this nook by adding flowers and glass work my husband blows as a hobby. Through out the day, all out items get collected in this little nook, and getting out the door the next morning becomes a breeze.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Organizing Tip: The Vicious Cycle of Clutter

When I first meet with clients, I often hear the same stories explaining why their environments are in disarray. The following themes repeat themselves like a broken record regardless of the client's income, background or education.

1. Emotional chaos manifests itself in clutter chaos. There are difficult life events that create turmoil in our lives like catastrophic illness, death in the family, job loss and divorce. The stress, disorder and turbulence of these events are all consuming, and keeping house is no longer a priority.

2. No infrastructure to support order. The absence of organized infrastructure like a landing strip when you first come home or a functional storage system in the kitchen contributes to the proliferation of clutter. When you don't have an easy and well defined way of putting things away, possessions tend to accumulate on any available flat surface.

3. No established workflow. When clients get overwhelmed with bills or children's paperwork from school, it's often because there is no established workflow of receiving, processing and returning the paperwork.

4. The clogged flow of clutter. Posessions come in and out of our lives. It's easy to bring things in, but for some, it's harder to let things go. Items outlive their usefulness, clothes go out of fashion, and children outgrow their toys. Some clients don't have the time to purge, and some clients are too emotionally attached to their possessions.

5. Packing for a move without purging. Moving is a stressful process, and under the duress of an impending move date, some people pack everything in sight. When they move to the new house, they find themselves in the same clutter situation in a different house.

The first step to developing an organizing solution starts with a diagnosis of the symptoms. Often, it's a combination of the above that creates the chaos in the house, but once the situation is understood, it becomes an easier problem to solve.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Stripe Me Happy

Pieter Estersohn Design

I vividly remember the first time I saw this bathroom in a magazine over a decade ago. The clean lines and simple palette of the horizontal stripes made a strong, graphic impact with out resorting to any design cliches. That was the first time I realized in my wanna be designer's mind that simpler was better, and you can't get any simpler than stripes. Thus began my love affair with horizontal stripes.

These jack-of-all-trade stripes work in any decor ranging from sweet nurseries to modern living rooms. Small tweaks in width, color and scale create a wide range of tone and mood workable in any room.

Wide, variegated stripes impart vibrant energy in this modern room.

Contrasting stripes create a glamorous vibe in the foyer.

Tonal stripes set a quieter mood in this boy's bedroom.

These stripes remind me of an an upscale boutique. I wish I did this in my bathroom.