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College Dorm - Move In

College Move In Revisited

· Back To School · , , , , , , , , , ,

Last month, I posted a blog entry on college move in tips based on advice from friends and my own expectations about the process. Now, after doing two college move ins in two states for two children in three days, I’m ready to pass along my expertise to you. And, if it’s too late for you this year, I’ll repost it next year in July!

Four to Six Weeks Before Move In
• Select and order bedding. For my children, I ordered wrinkle free sheets from Lands End Home. I had the sheets monogrammed for an extra special touch.
• Unless your child attends Washington University (like my daughter) where dorms boast tempurpedic mattresses, you’ll want to invest in a mattress topper. I got this one for my son.
• Both my children also ordered headboards. While definitely not a necessity, they did make both rooms look much more put together.
• Visit your local Bed Bath and Beyond where you can take advantage of their Pack and Hold service. This means you can shop for the items you need in your local store, and you pick them up at a store near your college campus. We ordered the following: very deep under bed stackable drawers, shower caddy, drawer dividers, stackable shoe shelves, drawer inserts, towels, bath mats, mattress topper (noted above), garbage cans, hangers, Brita pitcher, desk lamps (one for the desk and one for next to the bed), extension cords, surge protectors, and stick on lights (for inside the closet).
• Select wall art and have it shipped to the dorm. My daughter was an intern at Art Sugar, and they sent her beautiful framed pictures. My son ordered artwork from Icanvas and Ikonik.

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Elizabeth Sutton’s Long Island Art Studio

All That Glitters – Organizing an Artist’s Studio

· Home Improvement / Decor, Makeovers · , , , , , , , , , ,

I first reached out to Elizabeth Sutton in December after seeing her posts on social media. Recently divorced with 2 young children, Elizabeth had experienced a tragic loss: while displaying her works at Art Basel, two of her employees, also dear friends, were in a devastating car accident. One did not survive, and the other was seriously injured. In dealing with the aftermath of the accident, all of her artwork in Miami was haphazardly packed and shipped to her studio in Long Island City. In the process, many paintings were damaged, and she herself felt emotionally damaged.

When Elizabeth and I spoke, she talked about a feeling of chaos, both in her personal life and in her studio. And, she knew that the chaos would increase the following month when she would be closing a pop up store in Soho and sending all of the art and supplies there to the Long Island City studio.

Elizabeth also expressed how her art studio, once a place of great inspiration, was now filled with sad memories and completely disorganized. That’s when Resourceful Consultants got involved. Our goal was not only to organize Elizabeth’s Long Island City studio, but also to create a hip, fun vibe that would match the mood of the vibrant pop art that is Elizabeth’s signature style.

Elizabeth and I met in her studio the following month. We talked about the organizational challenges she was facing, and how Resourceful Consultants could help. Elizabeth demonstrated how labor intensive each of her paintings was by crafting a single butterfly, gorgeous and glittered, while we watched. We met her team in order to understand how they worked together and separately, so that we could determine how best to organize the physical space in the studio.

1Glitter

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New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep

· Lifestyle, Time Management · , , , , , , , , ,
Wynwood Walls exhibit, Miami Florida

Credit: Wynwood Walls Miami, Florida

Every year, so many of my friends and clients vow that this will be the year they get organized. And, despite the best of intentions, organization often falls by the wayside. So, instead of resolutions that are so ambitious or broad that they’re destined to disappoint, here are five simple behavioral changes you can implement to help you stay organized in 2018.

  1. Tackle the Tough Task: Do what you dread most first—the rest of the day will run more smoothly without that dreaded task hanging over your head.
  2. Stick to a Routine: Get in the habit of doing things the same way every time—if you always put your cell phone in the same pocket of your handbag, you won’t be scrambling to find it each time it rings.
  3. Fight the Onslaught of Paper: Discard all catalogs, solicitations and advertisements you get in the mail immediately. Personal correspondence, bills and necessary financial documents should all go in an in-box and then addressed weekly.
  4. Declutter Your Digital Space: In your downtime (waiting on line, waiting on hold), unsubscribe from all of your digital junk mail. Create an online filing system, so you have a place to put emails other than leaving them in your inbox.
  5. Minimize Stress by Being Prepared: At the end of each workday, make a to-do list for the next day. Knowing what’s ahead of you will let you unwind in the evening and start the next morning in an organized way.

Nix Holiday Stress in 6 Easy Steps

· Holiday · , , , , , ,

Holiday StressWe all know holiday prep has a way of spiraling into full on hysteria. From gift shopping and RSVPs, to party attendance and clean-up, managing your holiday schedule is a full time job. This season, approach “the most wonderful time of the year” with a clear, organized plan of attack. Keep calm and party on!

  1. Buy gifts you love in bulk and give them to as many people on your list as possible. Gift cards are your best bet.
  2. Have hostess gifts on hand and keep it simple. It’s okay to bring a bottle of wine or to buy a dessert instead of cooking or baking.
  3. Take inventory of your holiday decorations before and after the holiday. Before the holiday, you can assess whether you need to buy anything new. At the end of the holiday, you can get rid of anything broken or soiled.
  4. Keep a spreadsheet of all of the holiday tips you give. You may not remember how much you tipped your mail carrier last year, but he or she will.
  5. If you have a social commitment that you’re dreading, be targeted about how you spend your time when you get there. Arrive early and spend a few minutes one on one with the host. Put in your face time, do the necessary networking, and be on your way.
  6. Don’t feel obligated to save your friends’ holiday cards with their children’s pictures. Since you probably don’t have your own children’s photos perfectly organized; why would you add pictures of someone else’s kids to the mix?

Jewelry Storage – Valentine’s Day 2017

· Valentine's Day · , , , , , , , , ,

Chocolates, stuffed bears, and roses are all nice Valentine’s Day gifts, but as Marilyn Monroe sang, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” If you’re lucky enough to receive a beautiful bauble this Valentine’s Day, it deserves a proper place to be stored. So, in honor of the holiday, take a look at some of our favorite jewelry storage options that will make you just as excited to put away your jewelry as you are to put it on!

 

Grand Lacquer Jewelry Box, Antique Silver1. Best Multi-Purpose Jewelry Box: Grand Lacquer Jewelry Box from West Elm: $219.00  

This jewelry box contains three levels of jewelry storage with top sections that flip out for easy access to what’s below. It’s roomy enough to fit all of your jewelry needs, with a specialized cushion area for rings and earrings. When closed, its simple exterior and shape will match almost any décor and surface. An added bonus is that it can be monogrammed.

BUY >

 

White Supersize Stackers Premium Stackable Jewelry Box2. Best Modular Jewelry Storage: Stackers Premium Stackable Jewelry Boxes from The Container Store: $29.99-39.99

These stackable trays are available in three colors, three sizes and many different interior configurations. You can choose which tray style you want based on the type and amount of jewelry you have, and you can add trays as your jewelry collection grows. One of the variations is a lidded tray that can be placed on top of your stacks, so when the top is closed, It gives the appearance of one coherent jewelry box.

BUY >

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Purchasing the Perfect Gift

· Gift Guide · , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In the 22 years that I’ve been married, my husband has given me many gifts. While I certainly love getting the occasional extravagant gift, the one I appreciated most was definitely the least expensive and possibly the most boring. It was a stationery embosser with beautiful paper. Romantic? No. Practical? Yes. Do I still have it 15 years later? Yes.

Selecting the perfect gift can be highly stressful; there’s the discomfort over what to buy, how much to spend, and whether the gift will be appreciated. Recent research out of Indiana University Kelley School of Business and the Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business suggests that while “givers are drawn toward surprising or entertaining gifts that are fun in the moment of exchange…they underestimate how much people typically appreciate practical gifts.” If you want to be sure that your gift is one that “keeps on giving,” try these helpful hints.

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Addressing Email Overload

· Digital Decluttering / Technology · , , , , , , , , ,

From CEO’s to soccer moms, we’re all overwhelmed by the volume of emails received each day. Studies show that the average person checks a device approximately 150 times during waking hours. Still, it seems that we can never catch up. If you feel stressed just thinking about your inbox, here are some tips to tame the email beast.

  1. Create a digital filing system. Filing emails reduces visual noise and eliminates wasted time re-reading emails already opened. It also facilitates emptying your email box on a daily basis (getting to “in-box zero”).
  1. Search messages by name. Using the search box, type in the names of your boss, important colleagues, and frequent correspondents. This will help you categorize and file emails in a meaningful way. Most emails more than a week old are probably irrelevant and can be deleted.
  1. Don’t save emails as a visual cue to take action. Unless you have white space on the bottom of your computer screen, a saved email is just clutter.
  1. Touch each email only once. Avoid opening emails multiple times without responding. Make a decision about how it will be handled (delete or file) and move forward.
  1. Any time you receive an unwanted email, take a few seconds to unsubscribe so you never see it again.

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You Are What You Eat

· Kitchen / Nutrition · , , , , , , , ,

Over the past several months, I’ve organized several kitchens with my colleague, Lara Metz. One of the issues we’ve been seeing repeatedly is the duplication of items in the refrigerator and pantry. Here’s our advice on how to avoid this in your kitchen.

  1. Start by purging all of the foods that have expired in both your refrigerator and pantry. This should be done on a weekly basis prior to going to the grocery store. Then, in an accessible area, store a pad or a white board to keep a running list of what needs to be replaced. Let your family know that this is everyone’s responsibility, not just yours, so even children are in the habit of adding to the list when they take the last bag of pretzels.
  1. In order to maintain organization, group all similar items together. In both the kitchen and pantry, there should be zones for different food categories. In the refrigerator, take advantage of built in compartments. For example, put all fruit in the fruit drawer and produce in the produce drawer. Then, store your products in straight lines with like items one behind the other.

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Avoid the Paper Pile Up – Tips for Reducing Paper Clutter

· Paper Organizing · , ,

In spite of the fact that so much of our communication takes place digitally, there  seems to be more paper in our lives than we’d like.  In fact, the average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year!  If you feel like you’re drowning in paper, here are some tips for reducing paper clutter.

  1. Consolidate both credit card accounts and bank accounts. The more accounts you have, the more accounts you have to monitor.
  2. Cancel accounts you no longer use. Extra paperwork from unused accounts creates unnecessary clutter.
  3. Avoid the temptation of new credit cards and the annoyance of insurance offers by using OptOutPrescreen.com or by calling 1-888-567-8688 (1-888-5-OPT-OUT). You can opt out each member of your family for 5 years or forever!
  4. Reduce unwanted catalogs by contacting the mail-order companies directly or use a free service at (http://www.catalogchoice.org/), which will send opt-out requests on your behalf.
  5. Stop mailings for deceased family members by going online to the DMA’s Deceased Do Not Contact List (http://www.ims-dm.com/cgi/ddnc.php).
  6. Use automatic transactions whenever possible. Pay bills online, have your employer use direct deposit for your paychecks.
  7. Shred ATM receipts, bank deposit slips, and credit card receipts each month (once you’ve checked them against your statement).
  8. Take bills and statements out of the envelopes. Discard the outer envelope, and put bills in an in-box.
  9. Have a set routine regarding bill paying. For example, pay bills on the same day every week. When bills are left unpaid, they get sent again and again until they’re paid, causing even more clutter.
  10. Touch each piece of paper once. Take care of what you can immediately. Put the date in your calendar, send the check, RSVP, and be done!

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!