Archive for September, 2010

Step Into Our HookUp

We like to hangout.  And we hook up quite often.

(We couldn’t resist!)

Hooks are incredible little pieces of hardware we recommend to every customer.

Why? Well, they:

  • Immediately free up space (in any closet, cabinet, or room)
  • Make items visible and easily accessible
  • Compel us to put things back in their rightful place
  • Force us to take advantage of vertical (often unused) space
  • Provide opportunities to showcase our belongings

There are many kinds – here are a few of our favorites:

Extra cubbies = extra storage! Perfect for front entrance ways.

Reusable hooks with command adhesive rock our worlds (and our wardrobes!).  3M makes great products.

Hangout in the bathroom

And the boudoir

Hang purses, belts, keys, scarves, jewelry, and hats. Any accessory really.

Love it, love it, love it!

Organizational brilliance!

Don’t forget about your tools

And check out more fabulous ideas here:

http://freshome.com/2010/05/11/25-of-the-most-creative-wall-hook-designs/

You’ll be hooked!

Hooks are a hoot!

September 29, 2010 at 9:29 am 1 comment

Step Into Our Gift Box

Gift Guilt: noun

A feeling of responsibility or remorse for discarding (or wanting to discard) useless, impractical, overpriced crap you wouldn’t use, display, or re-gift if your life depended on it.

We all own hideous objects (given as “gifts”) stored away in boxes, cabinets, closets, drawers, and under beds (pulled out only when the person who gave them is expected for a visit).  Cheryl’s is a jewelry box currently living in the trunk of her mother’s car.  Beth’s is an ice cream maker churning ice-dust as we type. Yum.

Shouldn't have happened

Saying goodbye to gifts we no longer use (or ever used) or want (or ever wanted) is probably one of the most challenging pieces of the de-cluttering process.

What is this intrinsic sense of responsibility?! Is it rooted in knowing the giver spent money, time, energy and effort? Do we project and ask “what if I gave the gift and someone tossed it?” “How would I feel?”

Well, how would you feel?  If you’re like most people, you wouldn’t care. You want people to use and enjoy their gifts.

We certainly do.

In an effort to wrap-up the stress and guilt related to gift giving, receiving, storing, and tossing – we’re offering some ground rules

Give USEFUL things.  Albeit the notion of “useful” is highly open to interpretation but please use common sense.  Think of the receiver and ask: do they have space? Is it possible they own one already? Did they mention wanting or even liking whatever it is you’re contemplating purchasing on their behalf?  Safe and predictable gifts are good! If they like beer – buy beer!

Don’t do it! An LCBO gift card will suffice.

Learn to love gift cards. Get over the fact the amount spent is identified! Gift cards get USED (and you can’t fool people anyway – they always know how much you spent or didn’t spend).

Gift cards are available for everything, from department stores to spas. Get online gift cards for sites like amazon.com (for books, music, electronics and more!).

Always stick to registries. Just do it.

Be creative and purchase a luxury item or luxury experience the receiver would enjoy but never buy for themselves. We like: cleaning services, de-cluttering services (ahem!), gourmet at home chef experiences, a baby-sitter, a weekend away, and massages.  The possibilities are truly endless.

Think outside the gift box and make a donation on someone’s behalf (there are many wonderful organizations out there – find one that suits the recipient.) Or plant a tree in someone’s name.  Check out this site for other eco-friendly ideas.

In terms of saying goodbye to gifts we’ve received and have no use for – let the guilt (and the gift) go.  There’s someone in this world that will find a home for it. Holding on to things out of guilt is not benefitting you, your space, the giver, or the potential new owner.

Be proactive. We know it’s tough but try having open and honest conversations with friends and family members.  It’s ok to say “I do like to cook but really don’t want ANOTHER cookbook for my birthday”.  Or “yes, I have an affinity with butterflies, but wouldn’t wear butterfly socks if you paid me”.  It’s ok. Tell them now before the holiday season begins.

September 21, 2010 at 7:16 pm 4 comments

Step Into Our Moving Van

Move on up!

Over the past few weeks we’ve been helping a customer downsize from a house to a condo.  Not only did said customer move dwellings – she moved cities as well!   

The entire process got us thinking about how emotional, stressful, exciting, and transforming the experience of moving can be.

There’s the physical/logistical pieces: preparing to pack (we like to call it Editing), finding boxes, finding trusted movers, packing, transporting, unpacking, settling in. And the emotional pieces: going through EVERYTHING you own at once, memories evoked, making decisions around what to keep and where to put it, saying goodbye to a space once called home.

Despite inevitable challenges, we see the entire process as an opportunity to grow. (And shrink! Which is growth to us.)  

Taking up residence in a new space forces us to map out exactly how we want our homes to look and feel. It compels us to trim the excess.

We asked our customer to pack only the things she needs and loves.  Tough stuff for someone who’s spent a lifetime collecting knickknacks, magazines, records, clothing, books and linens.  Needless to say we worked our magic and our customer is now enjoying her beautiful new home filled only with useful and meaningful things.

Here’s how:  

Prepare well in advance

Choose areas/rooms in your home and begin de-cluttering.  Create Pack, Toss, and Maybe piles.  Ask yourself those tough questions.  When was the last time I used/wore it? Could it be put to better use by someone else? Can I access or purchase another if I ever really need it?   

Purchase boxes from liquor stores and grocery stores. Furniture stores can also provide larger boxes and scrap cardboard that can be used to protect furniture etc… A drop of lavender oil inside each box goes a long way. Invest in durable tape as well!

 Book reliable movers weeks ahead or make a ton of friends!

Clean items before packing them.  Makes the unpacking process and immediate use so much easier!

Always pack like with like. After filling a box/container, mark it clearly with the room it will be stored in

Carve out time to properly dispose of no longer needed items

Welkom Huis!

September 16, 2010 at 9:05 pm 1 comment

Step Into Our Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchens are practical and necessary rooms.  Thus, they should be kept as sanitary spaces that work with (and not against) their owners.

Cramming unused food, dishes, small/useless appliances, containers, and cookbooks into cabinets and cupboards is an immediate storage solution that does not reap long term benefits.  Unused items rapidly become a source of irritation as more kitchen miscellanea is purchased or received as gifts.

Our motto: If you’re not using it – it’s not useful!

Please ask yourself  – do I ever use the waffle maker aunt Peggy gave me? Or the hot dog warmer I purchased at 4am in a drunken stupor from The Shopping Channel?  Do I really need 53 pieces of mismatched Tupperware just in case I host a dinner party and everyone I know (and have ever known) shows up?

Seemed like a hot idea at the time ...

For such a substantial and high traffic space, we suggest working through our 8 step de-cluttering method.

A kitchen should be functional and its important to keep separate cabinets for complimenting items.  Dishes with dishes, cleaning supplies with cleaning supplies, baking ware with baking ware – you get the picture.

Great Tips

Hide trash and recycling in separate cabinets or under the sink (many are set on tracks that make changing bags easy!)

Corner cabinets? Consider lazy Susan hardware (lazy Harvey? Call it whatever you want).

If space is limited use a mug rack or hooks that hang from the cabinet shelves

Add extra shelving to separate like items

Purchase appropriately sized cutlery trays

Keep your spices, fridges, and junk drawers in order!

And, while de-cluttering cabinets, assess counter space and remove appliances  not used on a daily basis (now that the Garfiled mugs from 1986 are gone - there’s room to hide ‘em!).

September 9, 2010 at 4:36 pm 3 comments

Step Into Our Underwear Drawer

The age old adage “wear clean undergarments in case you’re in an accident” needs an update.

How about “wear clean undergarments in case of a spontaneous rendezvous with the new guy in accounting”? Or “wear clean undergarments because your personal hygiene and sense of self-worth are at stake”?

Regardless, clean underwear is important (as is the spaces in which they’re kept). Don’t get your knickers in a knot.  Follow these simple rules to keep your drawers and drawers fresh, organized, and up-to-date.

Compartmentalize – use drawer dividers and hanging cubbies.  If possible separate from socks and PJs.  Intimates deserve alone time!   Empty drawers occasionally to vacuum and dust.

Fold delicates appropriately. Rolling underwear saves so much space!

Take your time laundering. Use mesh laundry bags and gentle detergents. Always wash in the “knits and delicates” setting and forego the dryer.

Check out this post!

Let go of faded undergarments, boxers, and lingerie that a) doesn’t fit or b) hasn’t seen a cheek or chest in 5 years.  Intimate pieces (especially those given as gifts) can evoke sentiments and memories – be discerning and remember letting go makes space for new things to enter (how esoteric of us!).

Shop strategically.

Invest in a good bra fitting – it’s so worth it! We’ve heard as many as 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. We love Secrets From Your Sister in Toronto.  Or check out blogTo’s Ten Best Bra Boutiques in Toronto.

Avoid the dreaded muffin top. If a piece is too small, it’s time to say goodbye (for everyone’s sake).

Check out: http://www.wikihow.com/Choose-Comfortable-Underwear or go,er, commando.  Terrible expression, we know.

September 1, 2010 at 12:47 am 2 comments


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