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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.

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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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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Fruits & Veggies

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, stoIMG_7634re 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Use organizing products that will make your refrigerator and pantry functional and look great. Here are some of our favorites:

Studies suggest that people reach for what they see first, so to encourage wellness in your home, position fruit and healthy snacks at eye level.

When a Storage Unit is a Good Idea

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

Over the past few months, I’ve had a number of clients ask me for help organizing storage units. Some clients have multiple storage units and some have just one. In some cases, the storage units are complimentary perks that come with apartments, and, in other cases, exorbitant fees are paid. Sometimes, the client knows exactly what’s stored in the unit and wants to make it less cluttered or more appealing. And sometimes, the items have been put away for years, and the client has no idea what s/he will find there. While I generally believe that a client is better off purging and living within his/her space means, here are some instances when a storage unit is a good idea:

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My Favorite Products for Organizing Children’s Playrooms & Bedrooms

· Children / Teens, Shopping / Products · , , , , , , ,

Because I spend so much time organizing  children’s playrooms and bedrooms, I’m often asked what my favorite products are for these areas. So, here’s my list….

1. Alexandra Ferguson House Rules Pillows

2.Herman Miller Eames Hang-It-All Coat Rack
3. Neiman Marcus Lucite Dachshund Bookends

4. Restoration Hardware Storage Armoir

5. Mabel’s Labels Clothing Label Stickers

6. So Luxe Luggage Tags

7. Ubabub “Book See” Shelf

8. Sandy Vohr Animal Paperweights

9. Sandy Vohr Animal Bookends

10. Skip Hop Stroller Organizer

11. Organize It Baby Closet Dividers

12. Amazon LEGO Storage Brick

13. Pottery Barn Carolina Grow-With-You- Craft Table

14. Minimalist Desk

15.  Land of Nod Wire Ball Bin

16.  Bed Bath & Beyond Fabric Covered Picture Frame

17. Container Store Felt Hangers

18. Pottery Barn Mini Lazy Susan

19. Bigso Box

20. Offi Rockabye Storage rocker

21.  Poppin Starter Desk Set

22.  C Wonder  Monogram Jewelry Box

23.  Three Sprouts Laundry Hamper

24.  Wisteria Kaleidoscope Wastebasket

25.  Iomoi Lucite Tray

26.  See Jane Work Bella Leather Desk Blotter

27. Hector Serrano Seletti’s Desktructure Organization System

28. Picture wall Photo Frames

29.Bisley Drawer

30. Etsy Baby Keepsake Memory box/ Frames

31. Vitra Uten.Silo I