Life Organized: The Blog

Tips & Tricks from Barbara

Organizing Children’s Artwork

· Children / Teens · , , , ,

Childrens ArtworkA few years ago, my mother decided it was time for me to take possession of my childhood memorabilia. For several weeks, she sent boxes of childhood art, trophies, and yearbooks. While I did save a few college papers I had written, yearbooks, and awards, all of my preschool and grade school artwork went right into the trash. After being saved for 30-40 years, and being moved into 4 different homes, the vast majority of it meant nothing to me. This is what I try to impart to my clients who want to save everything their children create… most of it is not worth saving.

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Closet Makeover for Hollywood Life Fashion Director

· Makeovers · , , , ,

HollywoodLife Closet

I first met Katrina Mitzeliotis, a chic and adorable fashion director with Hollywood Life, over breakfast in midtown, Manhattan. Newly married and highly motivated to get organized, Katrina admitted that her clothes were currently in piles on the floor of a spare bedroom in her home in Brooklyn. And, when she said “piles,’ she was using the term loosely.

Piles

Many people would shy away from sharing a “dirty little secret” like a room with clothes and shoes strewn about, but Katrina wanted Hollywood Life readers to know that there’s no shame in learning to be organized. While Hollywood Life often features celebrities and their fabulous clothing and closets, Katrina is relatable and typical in many ways. She has more clothes than she needs, she has no idea how to organize them, and she lacks the closet infrastructure that would make organization attainable. A closet makeover was just what she needed, so I teamed up with ClosetMaid to give Katrina the closet of her dreams. Continue reading “Closet Makeover for Hollywood Life Fashion Director” »

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.

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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.

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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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Diamonds Are Forever, Monogrammed Gifts Are Not

· Entertaining · , , , , , , , , , , ,

When my twins were born 17 years ago, we received not one, but two decorative, monogrammed seesaws…from one store. It’s difficult to imagine that the store wouldn’t have told the second person ordering this “gift” with the same names and delivery address to select something else, but that’s another story. Suffice it to say that I was stuck with two seesaws that were, in my practical mind, a waste of space and a silly gift. So, I did what any self-respecting professional organizer would do and put them both out on the curb the next morning.

Although this can be difficult for some people, never feel compelled to keep a gift you don’t like. It will end up taking up space in your home and your psyche for what is often literally years. To avoid this, consider these tips

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…Or Not

· Holiday · , , , , , , , , , ,

The time between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve can be the most festive, but also the most stressful time of the year. Between holiday parties, work events, shopping for gifts, eating too much and spending too much, sometimes we wish we could skip the entire season. But since that’s not an option, here are some guidelines to help you feel more in control this holiday season.

  • Say no. You don’t need to attend every party to which you’re invited. If you don’t go, you don’t need to find a babysitter, pay a babysitter, find something to wear, or purchase a hostess gift. Think of all the time you save.
  • Buy multiples of the same gift for as many people on your list as possible.
  • Have hostess gifts on hand. Whether it’s a bottle of wine, a candle, or chocolate, prepare in advance.
  • Purge your playroom. You have more leverage now than at any other time during the year. Tell your children you can’t buy them any new toys if there’s no space on those playroom shelves. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to donate what your children truly don’t use.
  • Get gift cards in a variety of dollar amounts. These take up almost no space, and are great for when you forgot about a last minute gift you might need.
  • Plan a go to outfit that you can wear to multiple parties. A simple black dress and a pair of black slacks and heels can take you through a variety of parties from business casual to more formal.
  • Breathe deeply and engage in some form of mindfulness each day.

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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Digital Photo Organizing

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

According to a recent study by Sparefoot and APPO, the average person has 10,000 to 15,000 photos. While it’s amazing that smart phones have allowed us to capture our every day moments so easily, I constantly hear people complain that they can’t find a picture when they need it. Similar to those boxes or bags of photos you never put in albums way back when, digital photos can cause you stress and frustration if they’re not filed properly. So here’s what can you do to organize your digital photos. . .

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The Power of Paint, by Guest Blogger Paul Denikin

· Home Improvement / Decor · , , ,

I recently became acquainted with Paul Denikin. While Paul was always interested in home improvement, he became an expert when his daughter, Maggie, was born with special needs. At that time, Paul realized  he needed to modify his home so that it would be safe and functional for Maggie.  He started his website, dadknowsdiy.com, to share what he’s learned with the rest of us.   Here, he talks about how painting your home can improve its value and its appearance.

DIY home improvements are one of the most common ways home sellers will try to increase the value of their home. While some DIY projects can be complex or expensive such as redoing your bathroom, other projects are far less complicated. It may seem difficult to up the value of your home, but in reality, a few simple improvements can dramatically change how your house is viewed by potential buyers. The best way to make an impact without breaking the bank? Paint.

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Unexpected Guests

· Entertaining · , , , ,

Recently, after a great day boating with friends, we decided to meet at my house for drinks before having dinner at a nearby restaurant. Some of our guests were on the boat with my husband and I, and others would drive to our house. They would arrive before I did, so there would be no time for a last minute clean up. Since I’m a professional organizer, that didn’t pose a problem for me. My house is almost always company ready. However, if you’re not like me, what can you do if you get a call that friends “are in the neighborhood” and will be there in 20 minutes? Tilly Rose, founder of TenancyCleaning, a cleaning service in London, offers these tips for de-cluttering your home when it needs to done quickly.

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