Purging

10 Items to Get Rid of Now

· Purging

Even though the temperatures in New York City are still hovering in the 40’s, I have to believe that spring is right around the corner.  And if spring is near, then it’s time for SPRING CLEANING.  Sometimes purging is emotionally draining because of the sentiments surrounding your possessions, but here are 10 items you can get rid of RIGHT NOW without another thought!

  1. Clothing that’s too small, too big, stained, torn, or beyond repair
  2. Clothing that’s never been worn and never will be worn
  3. Any toiletries, cosmetics, or medications in your bathroom that have expired
  4. Food that’s expired
  5. Socks without mates
  6. Tupperware bottoms without tops
  7. Old holiday cards
  8. Books you didn’t enjoy and will never read again
  9. The old sponge in your kitchen sink
  10. 10. Your old toothbrush.

 

 

Queen for a Day for the “Queen of Clean”

· Purging · , , , , ,

This month I was profiled in an article in AARP magazine entitled, “Declutter Your Life – Now! Meet the Queen of Clean”.  While just being chosen for the profile was exciting enough, what went on behind the scenes was truly a thrill for me!  Here’s the article, and here’s what it was really like to be the “Queen of Clean”.

First, I got to work with Jancee Dunn.  For those of you who don’t know her, Jancee has written for every major magazine, covering dozens of celebrities (Bono, Madonna, Brad Pitt, Cyndi Lauper).  The idea that she would be writing an article about me after she had just finished working on a project with Cyndi was just unfathomable.  And, Jancee was so easy to work with and such a lovely person, I enjoyed every minute of my time with her.

One day, Jancee accompanied me to a client’s apartment.  While at first it felt a little strange to be observed, Jancee was just a “fly on the wall”, and I quickly forgot she was there.  Then, she wanted to see my house, so we met there one morning. We chatted as I opened closets and drawers showing her my organizing techniques.  Everything was neat as a pin until I opened my husband’s closet and a yellow promotional bag was sitting on the floor.  To quote Jancee quoting me in the article, I said, “What the hell is this?”  I just love that she included that!

I next heard from AARP when they wanted to schedule a photo shoot with me.  I imagined they would send a photographer and snap a few pictures, but that wasn’t what they had in mind at all!  In early June, I received a “call sheet” listing me as the “talent” and then proceeded to list a dozen other people such as the photographer, prop stylist, wardrobe stylist, and set designer.  I couldn’t get over being called “the talent”.  I briefly wondered if a mistake had been made.  It became more real though as I had calls with the wardrobe consultant about my size and style and the prop master about how I would style a living room.

Then, it was the day of the shoot. I arrived at a sleek, airy downtown loft at 9:00 in the morning ready for my big day.  The photographer and his assistants were setting up their equipment.  Living room furniture had been rented and set up in one part of the loft, and the prop stylists were creating a messy “before” living room (later, I would transform it to the “after”).  Another part of the loft was set up with racks of clothes, rows and rows of shoes, a table filled with jewelry, and a whole table filled with crowns and scepters (for the Queen look).  A make up artist was setting up her brushes near the wardrobe section while I looked around still not quite believing that I was “the talent”.  To steady my nerves, I helped myself to a yummy breakfast which was set up in a back area.

 

After I had eaten, I had my hair and make-up done by Lauren.  As a person that rarely wears make up, it was fascinating to see how much time she spent making me look my best.   Whenever I thought there couldn’t possibly be any more makeup to put on my face, Lauren added something, smoothed something, and added something more.  Then she worked on making my hair just the right amount of curly for another hour!  I was starting to really enjoy being the talent.

Next it was time to try on clothes.  Jessica, the wardrobe stylist had prepared several looks for me.  The first was a long gold dress with a fur stole.  I loved it, but when the photographer took some test shots in front of the “before” living room, the color didn’t provide enough contrast.  Instead, I wore a long red satin skirt with a tailored white shirt complete with a crown and scepter for most of the shoot.  When the clothing didn’t fit perfectly, they pinned and clipped the side not on camera until it did.

Now, we were ready to start the shoot.  Chris, the incredibly talented photographer, taught me how to smile on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 is no smile, 7 is a big smile) and everything in between.  I posed leaning back, moving my shoulder down an inch, my arm up an inch, turning the scepter up and back and turning my head this way and that.  During all of this, Lauren and Jessica would periodically stop to arrange my clothes, fix my hair, and dab my makeup.  The photographers and the technician would crowd around big screens scrutinizing the photo angles and the colors.  Who knew being a model was so complicated?

After a few hours of posing, we stopped for lunch and an outfit change.  My next ensemble was much more like what I would wear on a regular day: jeans, kitten heels, and a blazer.  Chris took pictures of me in front of the set, and then the real fun began.  While Chris directed, a time lapse video a time lapse video of me organizing the set was taken.  I worked with the prop stylists from top to bottom and left to right.  We arranged the books in color and size order, we alternated between horizontal and vertical displays, used props of every type, and even put pictures on the mantle.  It took us about 30 minutes in real time, but the video speeds it up to a minute!

As it approached the late afternoon, we needed to hurry a bit, so we didn’t lose the light.  I had one more outfit change (jeans and blouse), and posed with different organizing tools like the Brother P Touch label maker, bins, and folders.  By this time, I was an old pro, and could smile and position myself easily into whatever poses Chris thought would work. There were a lot of laughs at the end as we wrapped the shoot.  Admittedly, I was a little sore the next day (from using “modeling” muscles never used before), but what an experience to be queen for a day, the Queen of Clean!

 

 

Use It or Lose It

· Lifestyle, Purging

Many of my clients believe that if they save certain items, one day they’ll become the type of person that uses them. I hate to say it, but in my experience, it doesn’t happen like that.  Instead, these things tend to lie around FOR YEARS without ever getting any use.  If you’ve had any of these items lying around for one year, five years, or ten years, it’s finally time to use it or lose it!

  • Baby Clothes: If you aren’t having another one, it’s time to donate old baby clothing.  The same goes for the toys and games your children have outgrown.
  • Clothes That Don’t Reflect Your Lifestyle:  If you haven’t worked in corporate America for years, there’s no reason to have a wardrobe of conservative suits.  If you aren’t having another baby, purge all maternity clothes.
  • Cute” Clothes for Kids: Instead of saving these for special occasions, have your child wear them and wear them often.  Expensive children’s clothing is outgrown so quickly, why leave it sitting in a drawer?
  • The Skinny Phase Clothes:  If your weight fluctuates, keep clothing for a realistic range of weights.  One size bigger or one size smaller should be enough.  And, if you do lose a ton of weight and didn’t save your “skinny” clothes, don’t you deserve a little shopping spree?
  • Old Purses: If they’re sitting in the back of your closet, consider consigning ones with value and donating the rest.
  • Extra Large Kitchen Appliances: If you haven’t used them, or can’t figure out how to use them, it may be time to get rid of the bread maker, ice cream maker, fondue fountain, and anything else taking up unnecessary space in your kitchen.
  • Distilled Spirits: Go through your liquor cabinet, and only keep alcohol you might drink or serve to guests. Keep in mind that open bottles can lose their flavor after multiple years, so purge those as well.
  • Fine china and silver:  If you have it, find an occasion to use it!
  • Photos: Put them on display, create photo books, or save them to the Cloud.  They’re useless sitting in piles or boxes, where they may get damaged.
  • Home Decor Pieces: Souvenirs from vacation or art that your spouse hates…if it’s not going to be put on the walls any time soon…it shouldn’t be kept anywhere else.

 

Day to Day Organizing

· Purging

Although there’s nothing I love more than spending an entire day blissfully organizing my home, I recognize that this is not everyone’s idea of nirvana. If the thought of spending the day organizing is daunting, I recommend spending a few minutes every day to keep clutter at bay. This way, you can maintain organization without putting in a lot of time or energy. So, in addition to NOT creating a mess each day, here are some ways you can proactively avoid clutter build up.

1. Make your bed as soon as you wake up every morning. There are few things that take less than 5 minutes that give you as many organizing points as this one. Not only does this start your day in the right mindset, but don’t underestimate how happy you’ll be to see it neat and orderly when you come home later in the day.

2. When you’re getting dressed in a hurry, you may change outfits a few times. If this is the case, Do NOT discard clothing on your bed or closet floor. After you try something on, it takes literally seconds to hang it back on the hanger. Also, if you find that every time you try something on, you opt not to wear it, consider donating it. Whenever you take something off a hanger, move the empty hanger to the front of your closet. This saves time when you need a hanger, and it allows you to accurately see how much space your actual clothes (not empty hangers) take up.

3. Wash your dishes as you use them, and empty the dishwasher when the dishes inside are clean. This avoids a dirty pile accumulating in the sink. When you prepare meals or snacks, make extra, so there’s some available for another day.

4. After showering, hang up your towel. Quickly wipe down the counters and mirror to keep surfaces clean.

5. Sort your mail every day. Throw away junk mail, catalogs, and solicitations immediately. Put bills and anything that needs to be processed in a designated in-box.

6. When you walk into your home, hang up your coat and bag. Charge your phone in the same place every day, so you don’t have to run around looking for it.

7. If you can, multitask. Phone calls can be made while doing light exercise or straightening up the living room. If you commute to an office, capitalize on this time to answer emails or catch up on news on your phone.

8. Follow the “one thing” rule. Whenever you leave a room, bring one thing in the room to its rightful place elsewhere in the house. Try not to leave a room without SOMETHING in your hand, unless, of course, everything in the room is in its proper place.

Treasures You Don’t Want to Toss

· Purging


You know the saying, “Out with the old, in with the new?” Well, it doesn’t always apply, especially when it comes to household appliances. It’s tough enough to keep up with the latest high-tech versions of everything from your television to your toothbrush, but sometimes, the vintage pieces you’ve had since you moved into your first home turn out to be the ones that are most useful. While I’m often a little ruthless in my quest for clean counters and a clutter-free home, here are a few items I’d suggest you treasure, not toss.

Pencil Sharpener
You might be tempted to give in to a shiny, sleek electric sharpener, but I find that a manual sharpener is generally your best bet to give #2 pencils a crisp point. Timeless and reliable, old-fashioned pencil sharpeners also lend aesthetic appeal to your desk, imparting a charming, vintage feel to your office.

Coffee Pot
Sure, the latest Nespresso commercials feature actors who are tall, dark and handsome, but that shouldn’t be incentive enough to toss your trusty old coffee pot. The best brews often come from your reliable, no-frills Mr. Coffee machine, and all that high-tech gadgetry just can’t cut it when it comes to delivering a classic cup of joe that’s good to the last drop.

Toaster
Today’s multi-tasking toasters are just trying too hard. Make a pizza, roast a turkey – they claim to do everything with delicious results. But what about when you want a simple piece of perfectly-toasted bread for breakfast?  These new toasters have so many buttons, dials, and knobs, that it’s unclear what to press when you just want toast.  That’s why you ‘ll be happy to have your simple, two-slot, pop-up toaster. When you hear that familiar sounding “ding,” you can be sure you’re about to enjoy a tasty treat.

Blender
Just like the toaster, today’s blenders have gone too far.  I don’t need my blender to bake cookies  or prep a meal.  I just need it to make smoothies and milk shakes.  A few years ago, I decided my very old blender that blended to perfection no longer looked cool on my counter.  Big mistake.  I still haven’t found a blender that looks good that’s worthy of the space it occupies.

So, readers, what old products do you still own?  Let me know: I’d love to hear from you!