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Monday, January 23rd, 2012

2012 Organizing Resolutions: Tackling the Closet

Becky

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So…last week I gave you five easy-peasy organizational projects to get you back on that new year’s resolution wagon. If you skipped that post, go back and dip your toes in with it. Now that February is fast approaching, let’s get something a little bit more substantial done. I’ll be adding projects each week to keep you on the organizational track.

image via L.A. Closet Design

Today’s project is not about color-coding or getting perfectly organized, it’s about cleanliness. Hopefully by now you’ve tackled each little drawer or box one at a time. If not, tackle that. You can do them at a rate of one a day as your project time, then wait for the weekend to tackle the closet cleaning.

You Will Need: Stepladder, featherduster, wipes or cleaning solution and a cloth, the vacuum with attachments. If your closet is carpeted, baking soda, if not, some sort of mop or swiffer getup, wastebasket, shopping bag, notebook, pen.

DwellStudio Baby Storage Bin, $50-100

  • Take every last thing out of your closet and put it in another room. Ignore it all for now; make sure you’ve left yourself a place to sleep tonight in case you run out of steam.
  • Grab a feather duster and a stepladder, and to to town, from where the walls hit the ceiling to the light fixture. Work your way from the top to the bottom.
  • Grab your cleaning agent of choice, be it vinegar, bleachy wipes or soap and water, and wipe down all your shelves.
  • Pick up any detritus like dry cleaning and price tags, cedar balls that have lost their scent, renegade mis-matched socks, etc. and toss it in the wastebasket you’ve brought into the closet.
  • If your vacuum is carpeted, sprinkle it with baking soda; leave for 1/2 hour.
  • Regardless of whether or not your closet is carpeted, turn on that vacuum and go to town.
  • If the closet is mop-able, you know what to do.
  • Grab any extra hangers and/or plastic dry cleaning bags and put them in the shopping bag to recycle next time you go to the dry cleaner’s.
  • If the mood strikes you, pull out your giveaway container and sort through your clothing – do that whole KEEP/TOSS/GIVEAWAY/REPAIR sorting thing. If you’re exhausted from all of that cleaning, forget it, you can sort another day –put everything back in and call it a day!

DESU DESIGN Symbol Coat Rack, $435

Speaking of that sorting day, keep your notebook open with your pen out so that you can sketch out ideas for how to improve your freshly cleaned closet and keep a running list of things you may need to make it happen (new hooks, shoe racks, baskets, scented drawer liners, new lighting, etc.) While you’re out shopping for that stuff, pick up some cedar blocks to keep things fresh.

Lights Up! Flush Mount Lamp, starting at $148

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Friday, January 13th, 2012

Five Easy Organizing Projects for 2012

Becky

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Harummph. Have you lost steam after the initial resolution excitement and are at the point of giving up? Don’t do it! Do a small project that will give you a sense of satisfaction and give you your confidence back! Here are some ideas:

ONE: Instead of saying “I’m going to completely reorganize the 10,000 pictures I have in iPhoto into properly titled albums and make books and cards and upload half of them to Flickr and – and – and –,” grab one box of old-school actual photos and fill one old-fashioned album.

Don’t these beautiful cloth-colored KOLO photo albums make you miss photo albums?

TWO: Instead of tackling that entire closet, tackle one measly drawer, or one simple task like your jewelry. For inspiration, check out Closet Designer to the Stars Lisa Adams’ guest posts. She’s incredible!

This offer is also good for simply sorting out your notecards and other types of cards. I love this cabinet that Lockette has organized in her studio:

photo by Lockette

THREE: Get that Dopp kit or cosmetic bag ready for your next trip. Seriously, is there anything worse than trying to throw that stuff together at the last minute? I always forget my face stuff or my contact case or something else very important. Also, one of the only pleasurable things about a trip to CVS is perusing the travel-size aisle. While you’re at it, clean our your bag and toss all of those ancient hotel conditioners that have 1/2″ left in the bottom, the unraveled Q-Tips and the Advil that escaped the bottle and has stained the inside brown. Better yet, toss the whole thing and get a new bag.

photo: Flowie

photo: Blu Dot

FOUR: As for the office, so maybe you didn’t revamp that filing system and sort every single file, putting every piece of paper in alphabetical then chronological order. Take on a drawer and make sure you have a handy spot for your stapler, your writing utensils, your scissors and your post-its, either in said drawer or in an office organizer.

photo: Vitra

FIVE: Tackle the fridge. I know it isn’t fun or sexy, but it is hygenic, healthy and extremely satisfying when you are done. Wait for the day before you hit the grocery store, so that it will be as empty as possible. Besides, this is a much easier task than tackling the pantry!

photo from bigchill.com

If you’re not psyched to do this, watch an episode of Hoarders. If that doesn’t motivate you, take all the pictures and magnets off your fridge and reorganize those!

Also, I’ve recommended both of these books before, but they really do get your ready to get cracking on projects, I promise:

Unclutter Your Life in One Week! by Erin Doland

The Happy Home Project by Jean Nayar

Let us know if you accomplish any of these, and what other projects you are tackling. I’ll be back next week with five more easy-peasy instant gratification projects!

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Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Guest Blog: Three Cheap-n-Easy Repurposing Projects

Guest

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Hi Everyone! Becky here! Please welcome Alex Levin, who is guest blogging for us today. Alex is a writer for Granite Transformations, agreen remodeling company that advances sustainable construction practices by finding new ways to reduce waste and recycle such as using broken Skyy vodka bottles to make countertops. Take it away, Alex…

Whether you are doing a complete re-vamp or just adding new elements to your home, there are endless possibilities for creating a unique and comfortable atmosphere for your living space. I try to be as green as possible, combining repurposed pieces with new ones in order to achieve a feeling of lived-in usability.  Here are a few tips for repurposing that will make you feel a bit like a Home Improvement MacGyver.


A Free Storage Solution For Mugs, Pots, and Pans: One of the biggest problems in kitchens is lack of storage space. I, for one, have more mugs than cabinet space. Some friends of mine found a great solution to this problem in their Brooklyn loft that will work almost anywhere: mounting a shipping pallet on the wall with hooks for hanging items. Pallets are available from trucking companies, warehouses and even home improvement centers, sometimes for free – keep your eyes open for them on the sidewalk, in the alleys, and leaning up against dumpster. Make sure the pallet you choose is clean and structurally sound. If you’re not feeling the natural wood, paint it or stain it.  Next, install hooks along the slats. The small, screw-in type of hook works well for mugs, but if you are planning on hanging larger items from your pallet, upgrade your hook quality accordingly.  You can also use “S” hooks is you don’t want to commit to your hook placement. Once you’ve got your hooks where you want them, mount the pallet on your wall, making sure to utilize the studs in the construction. Ask at your local home improvement store for advice on the hardware necessary for your type of wall. Voila! From beer steins to measuring cups, this is a great space saver.

Have an Old Door? Think Horizontal! Another resourceful idea is to use an old door as a table. With a repurposed piece like this, you can feel free to paint, stain or adjust whatever you want to work with your individual style. Scope out your local flea market or hit up an estate sale for pieces that will fit in your space. First, make sure your door is sanded and clean; this may require a wire brush.  Second, attach the legs. Home improvement and hardware stores sell table legs in various heights. Consult a pro when determining the best way to attach the legs. Before you know it, Knock, knock…who’s there?  Your dining room table!

If you’re still on a repurposing roll, an old ladder is a great piece for storage.  A short, fixed ladder can be suspended from the ceiling in the kitchen and used as a pot hanger. First, make sure you have a secure ceiling for this project as it will be quite heavy (in other words, don’t just screw it into a popcorn ceiling!) Simply grab some “S” hooks from a hardware store and hang pots and pans from them.  A ladder can also be used as a towel rack in the bathroom.  This is a great solution for a bathroom with tiled walls where installing a traditional towel rack is tricky.  Just lean the ladder against the wall at a suitable angle – no tile damage required!  If you have enough space in your bathroom, a step ladder can be a fun way to create even more storage.  Hang towels along the rounded rungs and place bath supplies, candles or houseplants on the steps.


Now that you’ve got a few ideas, head to your local flea market and go nuts! Look at things with new eyes and try to imagine how you could use it.  Repurposing projects aren’t just limited to large fixtures.  You’ll be amazed by what you can create from the most random of things – if you’ve ever used a coffee can for pens, you’ve already repurposed!

Images via Funky Junk Interiors

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Friday, September 9th, 2011

Flickr Faves on Friday: TGIF

Becky

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As school gets back into gear and there’s a crispness in the air, I’ve been inspired to purge the excess stuff from my home and keep things organized. I printed out this image and stuck it in my organization folder. It must be a great feeling at the end of the week when one can look at Friday and then look back at the earlier days of the week, realizing all of the crossed off accomplishments on the boards! Thanks to Flickr member anneclaire24 for posting this in our Fresh New Spaces Group.

Have you been working hard around your home and want to show it off? Please post it to our group!

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Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Organization Wednesday: 5 Tips for Making Your Closet Summer-Ready and Organized

Becky

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Thanks so much to Lisa Adams, owner and founder of L.A. Closet Design for sharing her expertise with us today! Take it away, Lisa!

Summer Stress Saver: 5 Tips for Making Your Closet Summer-Ready and Organized

Summer is time for relaxation. Lazy afternoons basking in the sun, spontaneous voyages to the beach, pina coladas at arm’s reach. Summer means many wonderful and adventurous things. One thing the spontaneity of summer shouldn’t include? Navigating the tangled jungle of your closet. Here are a few tips for making sure your closet jives with the serenity of the season.

1. Start with a clean slate.
It’s July now. If there are still remnants of wool, fur, or fleece in the main parts of your closet, something is wrong. Take the time to divide and prioritize your closet space, making sure that your cold-weather adornments are neatly packed away in the less accessible parts of your closet or in another storage place in your living space. Same goes for your trusty boots and Uggs. Let them have a break and give your gladiator sandals and Rainbows a bit of air and wiggle room.

2. Banish the hoarder in you.
You know that voice in the back of your head that whispers: “Well, give it some time, maybe you’ll wear it soon…” “I mean, you do plan to diet next week…” “But maybe it’ll come back in style…” This voice may masquerade as a friend, but alas, she is not. In order to add a healthy dose of pragmatism to your wardrobe, mark how often you wear each article of clothing by the hanger positioning. Start with all hangers facing the same way, then turn the hanger around each time you wear something. When summer draws to a close, the articles that are still hung in the original position should probably be tossed. It may hurt at first, but it’ll get easier. I promise.

3. Be ready to roll.
Summer usually brings about certain activities or excursions. Days at the beach, trips to the lake, or timely weekend trips are all things that might manifest themselves during the dog days of mid-year. What will prevent your closet from meandering into mayhem as you frantically try to pack or leave for a day out is to have a small part of your closet devoted to the summer activity of your choosing. For instance, if you love to go to the beach, have your beach tote ready, stocked with bathing suit, cover up, sunscreen, hat, and your other must-have summer wears. Not only will this prevent the tornado of time shortage and stress from waging war on your closet, but it will also ensure that you don’t forget a crucial item.

4. Have it in the bag.
Summer calls for the transition from structured, heavy bags to lightweight totes and slouchy hobo cross-shoulders. Keep your fall and winter purses intact by stuffing them with bubble wrap or tissue to keep their shape, then stash them with the rest of your winter goods. Ideally, it’s best to have a couple hooks devoted to your bags so that you can efficiently and easily switch from day to day or make the seamless transition from day casual to nighttime chic. If you stick with this organizational tactic, you’ll never again be throwing the contents of your closet or room every which way in search of that one bag that perfectly complements your seasonal duds.

5. Be Future-focused.
Divide your closet into 3 sections: spring-to-summer choices, solely summer apparel, and summer-to-fall transitions. That way, when the warm breeze starts carrying a chill, you only have to take out the preceding section of your closet, then moving those seasonal clothes into storage and trading out your winter wear that has been hibernating the past few months. The summer-to-fall part of your closet will be ready as the appetizer to the main course of hearty sweaters and coats that accompany the chill of the winter months. Planning for seasons—and the transitional times in between—will ensure that you always keep one step ahead of the weather.

Just five simple rules. Abide by them, and you will not only find yourself more organized, but also more free to enjoy the relaxing respite of the season. After all, summer should de-clutter your mind and de-stress your lifestyle…why not do the same for your closet?

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