Archive for February, 2011

Step Into Our Bookcase

Books are hard (and we’re not just talking about their covers!). 

Stories and resources that have transported us to other worlds, taught us something invaluable or have told our own story, compel us to hang on. Most people have the intention to revisit or reference, but do they?     

 

There’s also a sense of fulfillment that comes with owning (and displaying) numerous books (especially text books). When displayed in common living or entertaining areas, books spark conversations (not a bad thing). They also have the ability to make one look like an academic (definitely not a bad thing). 

Organize by genre and dust frequently!

The issues with book-ownership then lie within space, usage and packing (when it’s time to move or re-decorate a room). 

Go through your book collection and be honest – what’s really worth keeping? Why are you holding on? Could someone else benefit from the book? Trust that if you ever really need or want to reread something, you’ll find it.

Book Clutter Reduction Strategies:

Utilize your local library instead of purchasing books. Think of all the cute, smart, organized people you’ll meet! 

And share with (or simply give away) to friends. Keep a list of what you’ve loaned, and to whom, if you’re adamant on having them returned. We like leaving boxes of books labeled “Free” at curbsides and in public spaces like laundromats.

 Or

Sell books online (i.e. eBay, Amazon.com) and to secondhand bookstores.

Donate children’s books to daycare centers, nursery schools, and anti-illiteracy programs.

Donate to your local library.

Use Freecycle!         

Sell relatively new text books to University and College students.

 

Check out BookCrossing to share your books with the world!

We love ebooks!

And you.

XO

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February 25, 2011 at 7:08 pm 3 comments

Step Into Our Wardrobe!

We like to play Stacy and Clinton once in a while (Beth always gets to be Stacy – not fair, we know).  Love it or leave it, “What Not To Wear” catapulted “stuff editing” into the mainstream.  Their points around clothing, style, appropriateness and “just in case mentality” are always valid (and most times their targets have an emotional epiphany on air).   

Wardrobe editing has a huge impact on not only one’s sense of space (and closet) but on one’s self-esteem.  We live in a culture where clothing, style and image count and where clothing is a means of self-expression.

Here’s our version:

Remove all clothing from closets and wardrobes every six months (make it a seasonal routine). Be prepared to toss pieces.

   

Sort and put things in “like with like” piles. Go through each item (try on if necessary) and ask yourself:

  • Has it been worn it in the past six months?
  • Does it FIT?
  • What’s its FUNCTION?
  • Is it FABULOUS? Do I love wearing it? Or is it for slopping around?One should only own three or four slopping-around-the-house outfits. If you need more – you need an antidepressant.
  • What can I wear with it? Do I need to buy something to make it an outfit? Keep an ongoing list of items you need to purchase/replace.  This reduces random shopping trips and encourages in-depth wardrobe knowledge.

Jeans are tough - how many do you actually wear?

Toss pieces that aren’t being worn or that you’ve outgrown (physically or otherwise). Sentiment scared? Take a picture. And stop holding onto pieces just in case you’re invited to a theme party!  

Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine wrote the book - it's such a helpful tool!

We all have unwanted, unused and underutilized wardrobe pieces.  Visibility is key (otherwise we forget items exist)! 

We all struggle with weight and body issues as well.  This leads to owning clothing in multiple sizes. Although a GOAL outfit is not damaging (and may actually be a source of encouragement) having more than a few can lead to negative feelings (and less clothing options). Clothes should make you feel good and should be an extension of the person you want to be (and thus are – Cheryl’s revisiting Descartes).

We all wish we had a walk in closet (an entire room wouldn’t suffice for Beth) but most of us don’t.

One day ...

Tips towards alternative closet luxury:

Use hanger alternatives or hire a custom closet configuration specialist! Email us – we know some good ones!

Vacuum sealed bags conserve space – perfect for seasonal storage.

Add a second bar to an existing closet – it doubles hanging space (no, not that kind of  bar!)

Ok, you deserve a bar after all the de-cluttering work.

Use hooks!

And keep dreaming.

February 18, 2011 at 8:38 pm 2 comments

Step Into Our Cleaning Caddy

Are you sick of ads harping on about the magical properties cleaning products possess? And of being told nothing else will clean your grime faster or better? And that Mr. Propre, err Mr. Clean, will appear out of thin air while scrubbing your toilet? We are.

Everyone knows elbow grease is the only real magic when it comes to cleaning and yet we’re all lured into purchasing multiple cleaners for “different purposes”.

Lately we’ve been helping customers downsize their cleaning supply inventory – forcing them to ask “how many products are REALLY necessary?!” The result has been a reduction in cleaning supply clutter, fewer chemicals in their homes and lungs and an overall movement towards cleaning simplicity.

Here’s how:

Don’t let unused products overwhelm precious storage space. Sort through and discard products that haven’t been used in six months. Always dispose safely.

Cleaning products are often kept under kitchen and bathroom sinks –make the most of that space with Do-It-Yourself shelving systems! Available at any hardware store.

Stop shopping. Effective, inexpensive and environmentally safe cleaners can be found in the kitchen:

*White Vinegar

*Baking Soda

*Lemons

*Oregano oil and thyme oil (natural disinfectants!)

Keep all cleaning supplies accessible in a handy caddy.

What’s in our caddy?

–  Rubber gloves

–  Paper towels (compostable)

–  Scrub brushes

–  Sponges

–  Microfiber cloths for dusting (they’re machine washable, great for polishing (no streaks!) and can be used again and again)

–  Only necessary cleaning products!  One all-natural, all-purpose cleaning solution covers the majority of cleaning needs.

We like these lines:

Or make your own using all-natural dish-soap and lavender oil – aromatherapeutic!

Other neat tips:

A little rubbing alcohol makes stainless steel appliances, canisters and garbage cans shine.

Use crumpled newspaper (!) to make windows sparkle!

Apply heat to wax based messes (think crayons on the wall or candle wax on your glass coffee table) with a hair dryer.

Check out The F.U.N. Place for more great tips!

And don’t be dirty!

February 12, 2011 at 4:10 pm 4 comments

Step Into Our Flat Surface

Flat out – horizontal surfaces accumulate clutter.

What’s a flat surface?

  • Dining Room Tables
  • Coffee Tables
  • End Tables (Nightstands)
  • Side Tables (Living Space)
  • Kitchen Countertops
  • Shelves and Shelving Units
  • Entertainment Units
  • Book Shelves
  • Bathroom Countertops
  • Desks
  • Dressers
  • Work Bench & Work Tables

We love drawers!

Above all they’re easy and accessible places to drop (and leave) keys, bills, toys, receipts, make-up and other miscellanea.  Stuff piles up and eventually these piles become too overwhelming to sift through. Streamlined surfaces = less clutter.

Ack!

1) Walk through your home and assess.  Are your flat surfaces clean and clear? What’s accumulating? Mail? Clothing? Books? Dishes? Remove everything and sort into “like with like” piles.

Invest in baskets for mail and short term papers.

2) MOST IMPORTANT – Designate homes for each displaced item and put them away in the moment. You may need to configure a new home for these things – if necessary purchase an organizational tool.

3) De-clutter hidden spaces to make more room (i.e. de-cluttering kitchen cabinets allows things left on the countertop to be put away – leaving  it free for more commonly accessed items).

Or nothing at all!

4) Be cognizant of what’s displayed.  We understand personal items and design touches make a house a home but these items should be placed with intention.  Don’t display every chachskis you own s’il vous plait.

We like

And just think of all the FUN you can have once your surfaces are clean and clear.

Ahem.

February 4, 2011 at 1:06 pm 4 comments


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